Post-Game: Visiting Flames not blue in St. Loo


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(Jeff Curry / USA Today Sports)

Last night, the Calgary Flames put together a damn fine 60 minutes of hockey and managed to beat the Chicago Blackhawks in a shootout despite some defensive gaffes. Tonight, the Flames rolled into St. Louis to play the Blues in their second game in as many nights. They continued their stretch of solid hockey, beating the Blues 4-1.

That’s right: the Flames have seemingly snapped out of whatever funk they were in and have captured four points in the last 27 hours.

THE RUNDOWN

Remember how the Flames were good in Chicago in the first? Well, they were about as good here in the first but faded a bit as St. Louis made adjustments late and took over for awhile. Anyway, the Flames power play opened the scoring for the second time in as many games (in as many days): the Flames won the face-off, all four Blues players skated into the corner after the puck. The puck got sent out to Dennis Wideman for a one-timer and a 1-0 lead.

The lead was boosted to two goals later in the period, as Kris Versteeg came in on the rush with Sam Bennett. The Blues guarded Bennett like a hawk, which opened up a lane for…Deryk Engelland, who snuck in from the point and beat Carter Hutton with a nice backhand deke to double the lead. The Blues pressed for basically the last eight minutes of the period but couldn’t bury anything. Shots were 8-5 Flames in the first.

The Flames opened second with a PP after the Blues took a lazy too many men penalty at the end of the first. They didn’t generate very much, but then Bennett beat a screened Hutton after the penalty expired to make it 3-0.

The Flames had more chances throughout the period, but couldn’t score again. But they also managed to minimize St. Louis’ chances. Shots were 15-6 for Calgary in the second.

The Blues finally answered back early in the third, though they got a lot of help from a lapse in discipline from the Flames. Bennett went off for boarding and Mark Giordano went off for shooting the puck over glass, giving the Blues 1:43 of a two-man advantage. Kevin Shattenkirk took advantage of the time, space, and traffic in front of Brian Elliott to make it 3-1. But that was as close as the Blues got, and Johnny Gaudreau added an empty-netter late to make it a 4-1 final. Shots were 13-7 for St. Louis in the third.

WHY THE FLAMES WON

They were better than the Blues in all three zones and through much of all three periods. They weren’t perfect, but they played a fairly smart, structured road game. They scored when they needed to and got saves from Elliott when they needed to. Aside from taking two penalties in succession, they never really got in their own way tonight.

THE TURNING POINT

As weird as it feels to declare, it was Engelland’s goal in the first period. The nice deke came outta nowhere and gave the Flames their first two-goal lead of the season. The Blues seemed as taken aback as hockey Twitter was, and they never quite got back into the game all the way.

RED WARRIOR

Bennett had a goal and an assist, and generally served as the anchor to a really strong line between Versteeg and Brouwer. His face-off numbers weren’t great, but he was otherwise a strong contributor in all three zones.

Honourable mentions to Elliott, getting his second Flames win immediately after his first Flames win, and Tkachuk was also consistently dangerous (and had an assist).

THE NUMBERS

(Percentage stats are even strength. Game score is overall.)

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Frolik 55.0 0.0 -0.075
Tkachuk 54.6 0.0 1.125
Hamilton 53.9 22.2 1.075
Bennett 46.2 37.5 1.745
Giordano 45.2 41.7 0.450
Backlund 45.0 0.0 -0.090
Brouwer 43.5 42.9 0.960
Gaudreau 42.9 63.6 1.750
Versteeg 42.1 40.0 0.820
Grossmann 42.1 25.0 -0.150
Monahan 41.7 66.7 0.210
Chiasson 40.9 80.0 -0.200
Engelland 40.0 40.0 0.550
Wideman 39.3 41.7 1.050
Brodie 36.7 33.3 -0.425
Stajan 36.4 0.0 0.540
Ferland 20.0 0.0 0.400
Bouma 12.5 0.0 -0.425
Elliott 1.550

THIS AND THAT

Reminder: Giordano was an unsigned OHL player that the Flames recruited to be a filler body on their shared AHL affiliate in Lowell, MA after they lost the 2004 Stanley Cup Final due to running out of human bodies. Now? An NHL captain with 600 games under his belt.

UP NEXT

The Flames (2-4-1) return home and commemorate the end of their road trip with a CBA-mandated day off tomorrow. They’re back on practice ice on Thursday and back in game action on Friday night when they host the Ottawa Senators. It’ll be the annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night, with tons of opportunities for fan to donate funds to various cancer-battling charities.

  • The GREAT WW

    Wow, Backlund missed another wide open net on the Chuk Rush…..

    If there was a stat for wide open net misses Backlund would top the league every year…

    WW

  • cjc

    Wow, Flames play their best game of the season and we’re arguing over who has more cred on this board? Can we stick to judgments about hockey, rather than each other?

  • DeadRedRedemption

    I will gladly eat crow about my earlier statements about GG…. But not yet.

    One regulation win in eight games.

    The team have played better in the last 2, no doubt. I’m just not convinced that wasn’t more on the players than the coach. Look who is stepping up: Wideman, Engelland and the heart and soul guys. Guys playing for contracts.

    Did GG draw up those plays? “Engs… I want you rushing the net”. Or were the Blues playing a crap game? Why wasn’t J. Allen in net?

    Jury is still out.

  • Thunder1

    I was on here last Saturday after the thumping at home from St. Loo saying the Flames would be .500 by the end of business Friday this week. No ledge jumper here!

  • Thatz Nuckin Futz

    No jumping on and off for this guy. Flames Fan thru thick or thin, rain or shine. I did, however, recently compare Engy’s skating ability to that of an oak tree. And then he channels Bobby Orr last nite on his first goal of the season!!!!

    The season is an 82 game marathon. Consistentcy is what every team strives for in order to make the playoffs. I like our trend line but 90 % of the season remains. Lots of time to keep going upwards with the occasional quick slide in and out of the ditch. I like this team’s character.

    I have no idea what this GG is like behind closed rink doors, but behind the bench he looks cool & calm as a cucumber.

  • 1_4theMoney

    The Flames got their swagger back….plain and simple

    Whether thats from having confidence in the system, themselves, or eachother it doesn’t really matter. That game was a treat to watch and shows what this team is actually capable of.

    Confidence is a strange thing in sports

  • RedMan

    Mods, please do something about the childish arguments and p*ssing contests…

    this is getting so old and if they don’t have the maturity to regulate themselves they need to be managed.