A whirlwind 24 hours of games and news for the Calgary Flames ended earlier this evening at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Playing their first of what will likely be several games without star winger Johnny Gaudreau, the Calgary Flames played a scrappy game and dominated the Arizona Coyotes for two periods after a slow start. Despite some superb goaltending from Arizona, the Flames managed a 2-1 overtime win for their second victory in as many nights.
Here’s how it went down.
The Flames came out of the starting blocks rather groggily, likely due to a combination of last night’s game in Minnesota, the travel, or the emotion of learning they’ll be without their top gun for the time being. However, after that slow initial 7 or 8 minutes the Flames woke up and took over the period. They had the most dangerous chances, but just couldn’t bury any. Shots were 8-5 Arizona in the opening frame.
The locals continued their nice play as the second period began, pressuring on a few early shifts and looking poised. On one particularly nice sequence, Matthew Tkachuk teed one up for Michael Frolik in the slot…only for Frolik to be robbed by the glove hand of Mike Smith. We seemed destined to head into the second intermission deadlocked, but fate – and some wonky Flames defensive coverage – intervened in the dying seconds of the period. Off a lazy clear attempt, Jordan Martinook chased the puck down just inside the blueline and fired it towards the net, where Tobias Rieder was able to tuck it past Chad Johnson with just 16.7 seconds left in the frame. Shots were 8-7 for the Flames in the period and they carried the play for the balance of the period, so you gotta believe it stung to head to the break down a goal.
After a sleepy start to the third, the Flames tied the game off a really nice sequence on an offensive face-off: Mikael Backlund tied up his man, Frolik tied up his man, and Tkachuk grabbed the puck and wristed it over both a sliding defender and Smith’s shoulder to make it 1-1.
Yung Matthew makes it 1-1 as his surrogate fathers Mikael and Michael give him the room he needs to shoot.
Precious family moments. pic.twitter.com/TF4NKv9Nqq
— FlamesNation (@FlamesNation) November 17, 2016
The Flames were all over the Coyotes from that point onwards, peppering Smith with shots and nearly scoring a couple But Arizona’s goalie held ’em in, so extra hockey was needed to decide this one. Shots were 10-6 for the Flames in the third.
There wasn’t need for much additional time, as Frolik strode in and beat Smith with a nice wrister to close this one out.
WHY THE FLAMES WON
They were the better team. They dominated possession. They kept pressing. They didn’t let a late goal in the second period deflate them. They didn’t allow any power play goals.
The Coyotes aren’t an amazing team, but the Flames out-chanced and out-worked them for the balance of this game and got a well-deserved two points as a result.
THE TURNING POINT
The Flames pressed for the better part of two periods (and change) but weren’t rewarded. It seemed like Smith might save everything. Then Tkachuk put a puck upstairs from a nearly impossible angle, and the Flames were off to the races from there.
Micheal Ferland was a bowling ball tonight in the best possible way. He was crashing and banging, and had a really nice scoring chance off the rush in the first. He anchored a really good fourth line
Tkachuk was also pretty solid, aside from his snipe in the third that swung the game.
(Percentage stats are even strength. Game score is overall.)
THIS AND THAT
As soon as Johnson was scored on late in the second, ending a stretch of over five full periods of shutout hockey, a few folks claimed responsibility for the goal.
It is not insignificant to note that Chad Johnson hasn’t surrendered a goal in over 100 minutes.
Excellent FA signing.
— Christmas Roatis (@CRoatis) November 17, 2016
— Jermain Franklin (@TSNJFranklin) November 17, 2016
It was an 8 p.m. start because of a Sportsnet double-header. It was a late night for everybody.
Headed to overtime at the Saddledome. 1-1. I’m sure everybody is at home cursing at their TV sets about late starts and print deadlines. No?
— Wes Gilbertson (@WesGilbertson) November 17, 2016
“I really liked their response. I thought we were really good in the third. There was energy there. There was a will to win. I liked our group. It was an incredibly shot by Chucky, but I thought we created a lot of chances,a lot of zone time. I liked our response. It was a good win for our group.” – Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan on his team’s response to the late second period goal by Arizona.
“We haven’t really practiced that play, but [Backlund] wanted to, if we were losing he was driving and he took the D out and nobody came to me. I think that’s the first time we’ve run that all year, that little over-the-top play. It worked, though.” – Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk on his game-tying goal in the third period.
The Flames (7-10-1) are off tomorrow and back at it on Friday night when they host the Chicago Blackhawks at the ‘Dome.