Post-Game: This One Goes To Eleven

The Calgary Flames battled back from a defensively shaky first period (and a two-goal hole) and carved their names into the franchise record books with a 5-3 victory tonight over the Edmonton Oilers.

The win represents a few big milestones: it’s the first win from a home team in the Battle of Alberta this season, it’s just the second time the Flames have been above. 500 all season (not the first), and it’s their 11th straight home victory, setting a new franchise record.

THE RUNDOWN

The locals came out of the gates strong and had the Oilers on their heels early, getting out to a 6-1 shot advantage before they crashed back down to Earth in the second half of the period. After the Flames failed to figure out what to do with the puck on an offensive rush, the Oilers came back and generated a nifty tip-in goal from Benoit Pouliot (off a Jordan Eberle shot) to make it 1-0. The Oilers kept pushing and scored another one before the period was complete, as some defensive confusion amongst Lance Bouma, Dennis Wideman and Deryk Engelland with the puck on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ stick ended up the way you’d think it would – with an Edmonton goal, again from Pouliot. Shots were 10-8 Flames in the opening period, while attempts were 21-20 Edmonton. It was an even statistical period, but the Oilers were more dangerous.

The middle frame was both awesome and terrible. If you like defensive hockey, you probably hated it. Neither team was great in their own end. But there were goals a-plenty. Calgary’s two best players connected on the first Flames goal, as T.J. Brodie went for a skate and found human highlight reel Johnny Gaudreau in the slot to make it 2-1. The Flames had a power-play but failed to generate much, to the point where their entire unit got stuck in the offensive zone as the Oilers sprung Teddy Purcell for a breakaway just after the advantage expired, and he buried it for a 3-1 lead. However, the Flames soon took a penalty – Joe Colborne took a silly holding-the-stick penalty just as the Flames were breaking out of their own end – and their killers came up huge. Markus Granlund and Matt Stajan were sprung on a 2-on-1 and after the initial chance didn’t go in, Stajan kept at it and knocked in the third or fourth rebound to make it 3-2. Later still, after a nice sequence from Granlund’s line and Mikael Backlund’s line led to a Flames power-play, Mark Giordano powered a slapper past Anders Nilsson to tie the game. And to complete the period, with 32 seconds remaining Sean Monahan induced an Oilers giveaway, leaving Gaudreau all by his lonesome with the puck, which he chipped top-shelf past Nilsson to give Calgary their first lead of the game. Shots in the second were 20-12 Flames and attempts were 28-22 Flames. The Flames got better as the period chugged along (and the Oilers got worse).

The final frame was fairly even, given that neither club really gave the other very much and after the river hockey that we saw in the second, both teams made an effort to reel things in. Johnny Gaudreau pressed for a hat trick and drew a late penalty, and after some struggles gaining the zone, the Flames finally iced it as Mark Giordano scored his second of the game (and second power-play goal of the game) for insurance. Shots were 11-7 Edmonton while shot attempts were 23-16 for the visitors as well.

THE NUMBERS

(All situations) CorsiFor% OZStart%
Gaudreau 50% 76.92%
Monahan 53.85% 76.92%
Hudler 52.78% 71.43%
Colborne 52.17% 66.67%
Ferland 55% 66.67%
Brodie 50.98% 64.29%
Giordano 61.9% 62.5%
Wideman 36.11% 58.82%
Raymond 41.03% 57.14%
Engelland 45% 54.55%
Backlund 51.85% 50%
Granlund 41.03% 50%
Russell 42.86% 46.15%
Hamilton 56.25% 46.15%
Bennett 44.44% 44.44%
Stajan 57.14% 33.33%
Jones 52% 33.33%
Bouma 44% 27.27%

WHY THE FLAMES WON

For once, the Flames won the special teams battle. They got their first short-handed goal of the season, on a man-advantage that could’ve put them down 4-1. And they got a pair of power-play goals – the first time they’ve scored twice in a game in that situation.

It also helps that Johnny Gaudreau didn’t need to score all the goals himself.

RED WARRIOR

Let’s go with Sam Bennett, who was great on the forecheck, created chances, drew penalties and generally made the Oilers frustrated all night long.

And to be honest, a lot of guys had good games. Aside from Jiri Hudler floating around the offensive zone and the continuing misadventures of the Wideman/Engelland pairing in the defensive end, I can’t think of anybody that really made me cringe during the contest.

ELSEWHERE

The Calgary Hitmen beat Kootenay 4-0, with Pavel Karnaukhov assisting on the game-opening/game-winning power-play goal.

The Stockton Heat weren’t nearly as fortunate, losing 5-1 to the San Jose Barracuda in San Jose. Joni Ortio gave up four goals for the sixth time (in 11 starts) this season and got chased from the game.

UP NEXT

The Flames are above .500 and back in action in another divisional clash on Tuesday night as they welcome the Anaheim Ducks to the Scotiabank Saddledome.

  • cgyokgn

    A night of firsts: a record-setting 11 game winning streak at home, two PP goals scored, the first short-handed goal of the season and two goals for Gio. What’s not new: another come-from-behind win and big night for Johnny. Granted, the Oilers were playing the second of back-to-back games and were missing some key players but it always feels good to win the Battle of Alberta.

  • MontanaMan

    The positives keep on coming. Guadreau had almost all assists to begin the season, but now the goals are far out numbering the assists. He has grown tremendously, even from the beginning of the season.

    The “D” of last year is back–they had 4 points in tonight’s game.

    Bennett is turning into a welcome force and Ferland has 15+ minutes of ice time again. Hartley may be criticized for his deployments, but he seems a genius at bringing young players to starring maturity–Monahan, Gaudreau, now Bennett and Ferland. I think Hartley is very strong at playing players even when they make mistakes and putting them in key situations.

    Ramo was .903, so the Flames are getting competent tending and I didn’t see any softies let in tonight.

    The PP is looking for real more consistently and we’re doing much better on the PK the last three games or so.

    Now if Calgary can tighten up in its own zone….We’re looking much more like an legitimate playoff team.

    GFG!!!

    • Captain Ron

      I disagree about the deployments. I don’t think Bennett was properly rewarded for his amazing game. Under 12 minutes of ice time after drawing penalties, big game changing hits, high danger scoring chances out of nowhere and some nice defensive plays,

      Yes the flames won, and yes the youth is doing well. But Hartley needs to recognize when one of his players is going like that and take full advantage.

  • hulkingloooooob

    THE GOOD:
    Johnny!!, Stajan, Granlund, Russel, Backlund!!, Gio!, **Bennet!!**, Brodie, Ferland, Ramo

    THE BAD:
    Colby’s passes
    3rd pairing
    Englles “buttler esque” giveaways

    THE UGLY:
    Colby’s Penalty.

  • MonsterPod

    Wow, Bennett — Bennett, Bennett, Bennett!

    This kid was all over the place.

    Absolutely loved the game from the rookie.

    Jacked to see what he becomes in the future.

    I don’t care what Draisaitl is doing. I’d still take Sammy93.

  • MonsterPod

    Favorite part of the game might have been how all you hear from Coilers fans is a mocking laugh at Sam Bennett not being able to do a pullup..yet he bullied them from whistle to whistle doing what he pleased. Who’s laughing now, and sidenote -Bennett has now played in 2 BOA’s – we won them both

  • MontanaMan

    With acknowledgement to Kane and Benn, Gaudreau needs to be included in the Hart discussion at the all star break. Is there any player more important to his team?

    • Toofun

      I was the 13th prop on your comment, Johnny’s number lol.

      Johnny is being talked about that discussion already…but, of course these are Canadian commentators, whereas Kane and Benn play in american markets…

  • MonsterPod

    Wow… now 114-88 alltime. That is pretty lopsided.

    Do you think Oiler fans sit at home and line up all their draft picks on the coffee table… sit and drink coffee and stare at all those picks?

    • Flames Fan in Edmonchuck

      Couldn’t agree more, trading for Kassian is a desperation move and adds a gutless, classless loser to the Coil… awful, awful decision to bring him into the fold. Even if he “turns it around” best case you have what a 10 goal scorer? And you are forever waiting for him to snap and almost kill someone…. oh and he is locker room cancer more so in the Oilers locker room than anywhere else (guys don’t forget a thing like the Gagner injury) what we’re they thinking??