Post-Game: Ducks roasted

Through the first 30 minutes of tonight’s game at the Scotiabank Saddledome, it seemed like the Calgary Flames and the Anaheim Ducks were destined to grind out a low-scoring, tight-checking game. Then the game got wacky. On the final night of the Flames’ three game home-stand, they erupted for eight goals in a game that featured three fights and 11 goals.

The Flames got back to the .500 mark emphatically by way of an 8-3 victory over Anaheim.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames were energetic in the first period, though they couldn’t execute as well as they probably would’ve liked. Johnny Gaudreau scored on his very first shift on a drop-pass from Sam Bennett that Gaudreau almost over-skated. The shot eluded Jonathan Berner and the Flames led 1-0. Shots were 11-7 for the Ducks in the opening period, but they didn’t really create any dangerous chances.

The second period was really a tale of two segments. The Ducks tied the game early in the period, as T.J. Brodie coughed up a puck behind the Flames net and it trickled out into the slot for Ryan Kesler to bury. That made it 1-1. Mid-way through the period, everything seemed to click for the Flames and the Ducks seemingly forgot how to play ice hockey.

Calgary regained the lead about half-way through the period on the power play, as Troy Brouwer got his stick on a bouncing puck after some nice passing throughout the offensive zone – the Flames won the initial draw and then had possession and pressure for about 61 continuous seconds.

The Flames took the lead 52 seconds later, as Bennett made a really nice individual effort to keep a puck on-side at the Ducks blueline – with roughly half of Anaheim’s skaters way up ice already – giving his line time for some nice passing. Bennett and Gaudreau combined on a chance that Bernier stopped, but Alex Chiasson picked up the scraps to make it 3-1.

35 seconds after that goal, the Flames went up 4-1 after a nice individual effort by Matt Stajan to maintain possession of the puck on a contested zone entry. He battled from the blueline to behind the net, then chucked the puck out to the point. Dennis Wideman unleashed a slapper that Stajan got a piece of on its way past Bernier.

A few minutes after that, the Flames connected again on a pair of rapid-fire goals. On a power play that was dwindling, Mikael Backlund and Chiasson were playing catch below the goal line. Bennett snuck into the slot during all of this, and got his stick on a puck that was sent out front and tipped it past Bernier to make it 5-1. 55 seconds after that, another nice individual effort to maintain possession – this time by Garnet Hathaway – led to a puck teed up at the point for Dougie Hamilton and a 6-1 lead. Shots were 13-7 Calgary in the second.

The third period began with a flurry of hits, fights and chippy play. The Flames extended their lead to 7-1 off a nice individual effort by Matthew Tkachuk. He held the puck in at the blueline, flung it deep into the zone to Kirs Versteeg, who put it in the slot for a tap-in for Sean Monahan. The lead was extended to 8-1 via a short-handed 2-on-0 breakaway for Mark Giordano and Brouwer, which saw Giordano score. Ryan Kesler and Logan Shaw responded late for the Ducks (just 20 seconds apart), but couldn’t get close to closing the chasm between these two clubs tonight. Shots were 15-5 Anaheim in the third.

WHY THE FLAMES WON

The Flames were simply more energetic, better and luckier than the Ducks tonight. Anaheim was the victim of circumstances here on the back end of a back-to-back, but the Flames made a lot of scoring chances happen with smart individual efforts – half of Calgary’s goals were preceded by nice back-checking or battling on the boards. But it also helps that the Ducks seemed completely terrified of the Flames when they had the puck, particularly after the Flames got a 3-1 lead.

They managed to out-score the Ducks both at even-strength (5-2) and on special teams (3-1). When you do that, you should win most of the time.

THE TURNING POINT

Chiasson’s goal to make it 3-1 completely deflated the Ducks bench. Bennett managed to hold the puck in and that left his line with plenty of time and space. They made it count, and it was off to the races from there.

RED WARRIOR

There are plenty of contenders. Let’s go simple and go with Gaudreau, whose return seemed to energize the entire bench.

Also having good efforts: Bennett, Chiasson, Stajan and Hathaway. Heck, possession stats aside (see below), nobody was particular bad in red tonight.

THE NUMBERS

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

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Ferland 100 100 0.100
Frolik 64.7 50.0 0.135
Giordano 63.6 80.0 1.775
Backlund 61.1 50.0 0.900
Stajan 55.6 33.3 2.430
Hathaway 54.6 33.3 1.200
Hamilton 53.9 57.1 1.850
Tkachuk 52.4 37.5 0.550
Brodie 52.2 36.4 0.475
Gaudreau 50.0 38.5 2.300
Wideman 47.8 33.3 0.800
Chiasson 44.4 50.0 2.025
Monahan 39.3 72.7 1.645
Bennett 35.3 45.4 2.190
Brouwer 34.8 88.9 1.840
Engelland 31.8 71.4 -0.400
Jokipakka 28.6 58.8 -0.450
Versteeg 26.9 69.2 1.350
Johnson 0.750

THIS AND THAT

As noted elsewhere, Micheal Ferland was injured in a first period fight with Kevin Bieksa. (It’s not thought to be serious.) The third got scrappy, with a pair of fights: Deryk Engelland scrapped with Jared Boll and Alex Chiasson completed his Gordie Howe Hat Trick when he fought Joseph Cramarossa.

T.J. Brodie led the Flames in ice-time with 22:56…but failed to register a single point.

This was the first time the Flames scored five goals in a single period since 2011. It was the first time they scored eight or more goals since an 8-1 win against Edmonton in March 2014.

QUOTEABLE

“Eight different goal-scorers is good, too, it’s good for morale. Bringing Johnny back into the mix, putting him with Benny and Chaser, made it harder for teams to match up against us. From what I saw, they played a solid game.” – Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan on his team’s performance and the decision to put Gaudreau with Bennett and Chiasson tonight.

“We took a penalty along the wall and they scored on the power play, and it seemed like the roof caved in from that point. I thought for 30 minutes of the hockey game we were in it, we were playing our game, we seemed to have a lot of momentum going our way after we scored the goal. We were doing a lot of things right, and it was tight, that’s the way you have to play on the road, off a back-to-back. Then they got the one and it seemed like the roof caved in on us.” – Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle on the game getting away from his team in the second period.

UP NEXT

The Flames (13-13-2) hit the road once again for a quick two-game jaunt. Their road trip begins Tuesday in Dallas. They’re back home on Saturday night when they host the Winnipeg Jets.

  • everton fc

    “Coach Glen Gulutzan said he believes the Micheal Ferland hand injury is minor and expects him to travel with the team to Dallas tomorrow.”

    Good news.

  • Brodano12

    It took us 16 games to learn Gulutzan’s system, which is the exact amount of games we were predicted to be bad for according to Darren Haynes (when he researched how long other teams generally take to learn their new coach’s system and start having a winning record. Both Pittsburgh and San Jose last year started badly for ~16 games before their cup runs last year). Here’s our record:

    First 16 games: 5-10-2

    Last 12 games: 8-3-1

    Add an elite player like Gaudreau to our already well structured winning system of the past 3 weeks and we suddenly become a force to be reckoned with.

    All the GG haters can repent now. Playoffs, here we come.

    • Crash

      Okay, sooo… is it GG’s superlative coaching, or is it that they’ve stopped trying to ‘stuff a square peg into a round hole’ by forcing Elliott to be the #1. Ocho has been playing out of his MIND (which I pointed out as early as game #4) to the point that Mr. Lou from ‘the Fan’ declared: there isn’t anyone on the planet playing the position better… On the PLANET! Let me ask you this: how many starts did Ocho have during the 8-3-1 run? Betcha it’s A LOT!

      I’m still not convienced… I’ll start giving GG credit once #13, #23,#7 and #5 start looking like “their old self” (which, sadly, might never happen under this new Regime).

      We need a coach to hold these young players to the highest standards possible, and to hold them accountable.

      ;{

  • ChinookArchYYC

    An 8-3 rubbing couldn’t have happened to a more deseving team. Bieksa, Perry, Kssler and coach Carlye go home angry. You got smoked and being your DB-selves didn’t pay off for a change.

  • CalgaryCandle

    Emphatically back to 500. 8-3-1 in last 12. 3 for 3 in homestand. Very solid goaltending continues. Suddenly new sets of pairs with serious scoring threats on 3 lines: Benny, JH; Monahan, Versteeg, Backs, Frolik. 2 PP Goals (a minor miracle) 3/4 on the PK and the 4th when game was out of reach. For first time in a long time do not remember being physically dominated by the Ducks–some functional toughness in Ferland, Chaisson, Hathaway, England.

    Shots of GG on the bench looking comfortable and relaxed vs. like his head was in a guillotine the first 16 or so games.

    Goals for/against -11 near fifth worst in league. I was among many calling for GG’s head at the beginning of season, but this team is turning around convincingly. Just one blowout game, but delighted it came against an arch enemy.

    GFG!!!

  • RKD

    Love a good old fashioned beat down of the Ducks, hate that Kesler scored two on us. Anyone but Kesler. Love seeing Gaudreau and Bennett together that whole line looked fantastic tonight. Glove looks kinda funny but if it protects our start Johnny, then I’m all for it. Chiasson with the Gordie Howe hat trick, he and Versteeg are giving us some nice secondary scoring.

    • Lucky 13

      Agreed about Kessler scoring on us. Can’t even look at his face without wanting to mash it. Close 2nd I don’t like scoring on us is Perry and I’m so happy he’s on a 18 game scoring drought.

  • Eggs Bennett

    “They managed to out-score the Ducks both at even-strength (5-2) and on special teams (3-1). When you do that, you should win most of the time.”

    By definition you should win ALL your games if both those conditions are true, not most. Lol.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I am speachless. This was total domination and I loved every minute of it. I don’t even mind Kesler getting 2 meaningless goals. I am impressed bythe turn around and credit to GG.

  • smatic10

    Now that this team understands the systems and the structure, we’re finally seeing this team play up to its potential. We were horrendous to start the season but you just knew that this team had so much more to give. I’m not saying I expect us to be great from now till the end of the season, I feel like we’ll still go through ups and downs but this team is definitely playing with a lot more chemistry.

    Versteeg-Monahan-Brouwer
    Gaudreau-Bennett-Chiasson
    Tkachuk-Backlund-Frolik
    Ferland-Stajan-Hathaway

    We’ve all been critical of GG, but credit to him for finding a balanced forward lineup. Skill on every line, grit on every line. Side note: Stajan has been INCREDIBLY consistent all season. I’ve yet to see him play a bad game. What a story.

    Gio-Dougie
    Brodes-Wides
    Kevin-Engo

    Offense from the backend starting to come in as well with Dougie, Gio, and Wides picking up points.

    Keep it rolling boys, I’ll be in Dallas on Tuesday to catch the game.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I agree on Stajan…he seems to be playing better this year than the last couple…he seems faster. I love when the old dogs find a renewed training program to help them stay relevant.

  • Oilertown

    Second of a back to back after a hard fought loss to the Oil dont get too excited Shames! Team is more like the start they had then the last 2 weeks. Couple years out of playoffs yet for you nuckas!

    • Eggs Bennett

      Yeah, and did I hear MIN beating the Oilers in the SO? You know, the same MIN that the Flames beat in the SO a couple nights ago? Is that why there are so many Oiler trolls roaming here to justify their lame existence on a Flames forum?

      Oh and BTW, your sky high PDO from earlier in the season is starting to catch up with you, I believe. And the Flames bottom-5 PDO is trending up. Regressing to the norm I believe it’s called?

  • Thatz Nuckin Futz

    Was waiting for the SPCA to intervene – abuse of and cruelty tpwards feathered animals!!

    Lots of fave moments but mine was watching GG grinding on the refs for cheap shot on Jokipatta when we’re were up 6 – 1. Loved to see that emotion.

    Shout out to the Coilers for softening up Anaheim on Sat nite – hah!! And then losing last nite.

  • DoubleDIon

    Johnny was electric last night. They took about 4 penalties on him that weren’t called too. The Ducks looked terrified every time he had the puck. I like him with Bennett as opposed to Monahan. Monahan is the better finisher, but Bennett can skate with Johnny. Chiasson looked good there, but I’d still like Ferland playing the other wing on that line. Bennett stirs crap up and teams take liberties on Johnny so it would be nice to have someone who can skate and play with them while giving other teams pause before they decide to crosscheck Johnny in the back of the neck.

  • Derzie

    The knock on GG has been a focus on line-blendered grinder hockey. Johnson has played out of his mind and we have strung some wins together. This game was the first game where we had some offense to go with it. Return of JG lit a fire. Also, Bernier stunk it up and Carlyle is a worse coach than GG. Let’s not crown GG as king after 1 game. Things are MUCH more positive than before but if the naysayers get pummeled for calling out GG in poor times, dishing out ‘i told you so’s’ when some wins happen is hypocrisy. Let’s just say the wins are nice and go from there. One game where we score some goals does not a season make. Great game though. Best of the season by far.

    • cberg

      The earlier comment about Darren Haynes’ documentation of a team’s implementation of new systems/new coaches after 16-20 games is right on. The Flames have been dramatically better the past couple of weeks, and that combined with Johnson’s excellent play has resulted in their recent surge.

      Last night the Flames played as a TEAM, answered the physicality/intimidation bell and were aggressive on the forecheck, which is a must playing against Anaheim and teams like them. GG has finally settled on D pairings which seem to be working, and the forward lines last night gave us 4 solid lines that are all a threat. Gaudreau with Bennett, and Chiasson was a revelation and I’m excited to see how that plays out. I’m also very impressed with Kris Versteeg, after a slow start, as he is playing very well and building pretty solid chemistry with Monahan. Finally, what can you say, Stajan is playing the best he ever has as a Flame and Ferland is developing nicely. GFG

  • Justthateasy

    Nice to finally see balanced lines–all containing touch an toughness. I also love the complete balance in one player–Stajan. PTP (perserverance, toughness and amazing polish).
    Johnny oven mitts is the real deal. I hope we don’t have to encase him in a sponge suit.

    • cberg

      “Johnny Hockey” should patent that design, or whomever came up with them, as they may become top sellers for skilled guys since the NHL refuses to crack down on illegal hand slashes…. Great to see him back!

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    There is Definately logic behind not taking a goal keeper early in a draft. You never really know what you have in a keeper until much later than other positional players. Calgary’s system is a perfect example, on both the Flames and the AHL affiliate, our back up keepers are out performing the starters.

    We all know that Elliott’s pedigree was deemed better than Johnson but Johnson has found his rhythm before Elliott and has secured the top spot on the team with his stellar play. In Stockton, Rittich has been dominant with a 1.43 gpg including 3 shutouts while Gillis has been only solid.

    These are both small sample sizes that could change in a hurry but it supports the idea that Goalies are on a different trajectory than other positional players and require more patience.