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Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian / USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: Flames Run Streak To Nine Against Jets

The last time the Calgary Flames played in Winnipeg, they didn’t do too well. They were flat and played 60 minutes of uninspired hockey en route to being shut out by the Jets. In their do-over, they didn’t start out looking very good at all. However, the Flames were able to survive a terrible start to the first period and a flat start to the second. A pair of power play goals gave them life and they were able to skate to a 3-0 victory over the Jets at MTS Centre.

The win pushes the Flames’ winning streak to nine consecutive games (and extends their points streak to 11 games).

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames were BAD in the first 12 minutes of the first period. How bad? Really bad. Missed passes! Missed coverage! Missed shots! Missed everything! However, Brian Elliott was extremely sharp and kept the game scoreless. Sam Bennett drew a penalty off a sequence where the Flames chased down an errant pass to avoid an icing, then managed to create some pressure. Mikael Backlund had a monster shift on the ensuing power play, chipping the puck in and spending the next minute-or-so in dogged pursuit of it. Dougie Hamilton’s shot was stopped by Connor Hellebuyck, but Backlund chipped in the rebound to make it 1-0.

The Jets had many, many chances in the first, but that was the lone goal. Shots were 10-7 Calgary.

For a second straight period, the Flames came out flat to begin the next frame but the Jets couldn’t take advantage of it. Calgary killed off a Jets power play, then Sean Monahan drew a double-minor after Ben Chiarot’s stick drew blood. Once again, the Backlund (top) power play unit scored. With young Matthew Tkachuk creating havoc out front, Michael Frolik buried a loose puck to make it 2-0.

The Jets seemed to deflate after the Frolik goal and the Flames played sensible defense for the remainder of the period. Shots were 14-12 Winnipeg.

Calgary carried play for much of the third, with the team seemingly content to hang back and wait for Winnipeg to make mistakes. Elliott continued to make some nice saves. Alex Chiasson made it 3-0 off a nice feed from Sean Monahan during a shoddy Jets line change that left their defensive zone coverage a tad discombobulated during the Flames’ rush.

Shots were 9-7 Winnipeg.

WHY THE FLAMES WON

When the Flames weren’t great, Elliott was. Once they got their legs going and started to play some hockey, the top two lines (and occasionally the fourth line) generated enough good chances to win. The Flames out-scored the Jets in terms of both special teams and even strength play. If you do that, you’ll win most nights.

THE TURNING POINT

The MTS Centre crowd seemed to deflate after the Frolik goal made it 2-0, as did the Jets. The insurance goal allowed the Flames the confidence to play smart defensive hockey without worry, and they confidently rode their lead to the very end.

RED WARRIOR

Elliott. 31 saves, including a few real dandies in the first 25 minutes of this game where the Flames seemed to be struggling to put two clean passes together.

The 3M Line and the Hamilton/Giordano pairing were also really good, as we’ve become accustomed to seeing.

THE NUMBERS

(Percentage stats are even strength. Game score is overall. Data via Natural Stat Trick.)

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Backlund 61.3 12.5 1.445
Gaudreau 56.3 85.7 0.225
Hamilton 55.6 22.2 2.100
Frolik 55.6 22.2 1.915
Giordano 55.2 30.0 0.525
Chiasson 50.0 60.0 0.975
Stajan 50.0 40.0 -0.330
Tkachuk 50.0 30.0 1.150
Ferland 50.0 87.5 0.125
Bouma 43.8 5o.0 0.050
Brodie 42.4 45.5 0.075
Engelland 38.5 45.5 0.000
Monahan 38.1 87.5 1.015
Wideman 33.3 80.0 -0.125
Bartkowski 26.3 77.8 -0.450
Versteeg 16.7 44.4 -0.280
Bennett 15.8 55.6 -0.560
Brouwer 6.3 28.6 -0.700
Elliott  3.000

THIS AND THAT

With their efforts tonight, both Backlund (48) and Hamilton (44) have set new career highs for points. The Flames have 14 games remaining, so they’ll extend those new bests.

There was an awesome fight between Bennett and Jacob Trouba in the late second period. Both players were bloodied.

MAGIC NUMBERS

Stick-tap to our pal (and yours) Pat Steinberg for busting out the slide-ruler to do the initial calculations on these!

The Flames magic number to clinch a playoff spot began the night at 12.5. The win dropped their magic number to 11.5, meaning any combination of Flames wins or Kings losses adding up to 11.5 cements their playoff spot. The Kings play Washington in the late game tonight, so the number may drop to 10.5 by the end of the night’s play.

Oh yeah…

The win bumps the Flames into second place in the Pacific. They’re tied with Anaheim but have the edge in regulation and overtime wins (ROW). Edmonton has a game in hand, but will spend the night in the first wildcard position.

UP NEXT

The Flames (38-26-4) head back to Calgary tonight and they’re off tomorrow. They’re back at it on Monday night when they host Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins at the ‘Dome.

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  • ChinookArchYYC

    How many stupid naratives has this team dispelled?
    1. Gulutzan is Eakis 2.0 and should be fired.
    2. GG system doesn’t work for elite players, and stifles goal scorers.
    3. Backlund is over-rated on FlamesNation.
    4. Hamilton is over-rated.
    5. Elliott is terrible.

    I must be missing more?

    • Derzie

      The narratives are only “stupid” now. It took 75% of the season to dispel them. Hardly stupid. Without this streak, then what? Call things as they are. Team was terrible. Now they are not. No one knew which way it would go.

      • Guest

        Thats not totally true. There were many articles here in Jan that the team was still playing well, but the PDO was crushing them.
        Some of us have been saying for a while we are just as good as Edmonton but without the goaltending and schedule. Personally I think we are better. The 3M line is spectacular. That style translates to playoff success (see Boston). When they are out there at this point I have so much confidence. Plus Hamilton and Gio are borderline dominant right now.
        Flames are legit good. Embrace the feeling. Its nice.

    • McRib

      Brouwer hung Bennett out to dry all game. Where in the world was Brouwer all night? Every time Bennett managed to get the puck up ice with space in the offensive zone Brouwer was nowhere to be found. It’s hard enough to play Centre in the NHL at 20 years old, but when your wingers refuse to even enter the offensive zone it is impossible to succeed.

    • Guest

      Bennett had two spectacular chances. It didn’t seem that bad but maybe it was. The 3rd/4th lines seemed mixed in the 3rd. I couldn’t listen, so wasn’t sure if it was Bennett’s major or some line juggling.

  • Lucky 13

    Well I’m impressed. The beginning of the hockey game I was a little concerned we were going to have a rough game. But after watching Elliott handle those redirects from the Jets, I knew he was dialed in again.

    I loved Bennetts fight with Trouba. Man that Benny is tough. Troubas face looked like it went through a meat grinder after that fight.

    Can’t give enough love for Backlunds line. Just troopers all the time. Nice to see Chiasson score too.

    I’m feeling confident in this group, even when they have a less than perfect game.
    I’d hate to be an Oilers fan at this exact moment…

  • Damm shame

    The Oct – Jan flames would of buckled after that horrendous first 10 mins of the game but they did what good teams do and ride it out and grinded down the Jets. Also backs is a monster and Benny can hold his own!

  • Burning Ring of Fire

    And in case the message hasn’t got through yet, the new blog formats SUCKS. It should be oldest posts first down to the most recent posts (replys included). Scrolling through each time to look at new replies is painfull and I just scroll to the bottom to read new posts.

    • Lazarus

      I’d like to know own who the architect of this is? That baggedmilk I’m the smartest guy in the room?
      If it was he royally screwed a good thing you had going on here.

    • Guest

      I almost think Brouwer might be hurt. He isn’t that bad. I remember posting about exposing him in December and getting killed for the thought. Now its swing too far the other way. He needs to get his crap together. Its not like Wideman losing skill. He just seems to read the game wrong…

      Incidentally, WW, you need to give some Backlund love to the board. “Lady Bing” all you want, but Backlund is the best centre on the league’s hottest team. I say 6 years at 5.5/yr this summer. His skill set and smarts ages well (see Zetterberg, Sedans, etc…)

      • Burning Ring of Fire

        WW has taken up knitting as a hobby (because the new blog format sucks – as we all know) and is too busy to find time to express such sentimental feelings

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        Who is that number 11.. The guy outraces Ehlers for a shot handed breakaway. That is one of the reasons we sign him to a 5 or 6 year deal…guys like him won’t lose his speed like a Lucic of Brouwer so will always have value even when their scoring dries up.

      • Nick24

        On Brouwer. It’s not like no one didn’t warn you. There were many articles on the day he was signed proclaiming how bad he is, but most people wanted to, “wait and see.” He’s declining and was never a meaningful contributor, in the first place. If you think back to Wideman, he wasn’t this unbridled catastrophe out of the gate. He had some production. Heck, he set a career high in points three season ago! But even then, it was clear that he was riding some unsustainable numbers; and when his age caught up to him he fell off a cliff.
        Don’t hold your breath on Brouwer. He’s not going to get any better; he’ll just get worse.

  • Burning Ring of Fire

    The thing that I don’t get is that for $4.5M per season I would be doing everything I could to justify my pay – I would bank shots off my ass, cup, anything just to show my worth.

  • Seabass

    I am just thrilled with Elliot and foresee him duplicating last years playoff success. After a horrendous start to the year, he is back to his old self with a .924 save percentage since mid December. So great to have confidence in your tender.

    • Burning Ring of Fire

      Yes your test worked but the reason the comments and replies are low is that the new site is, shall I say, sub-optimal. Were the new sites launched without testing or feedback from users first?

  • The GREAT WW

    Do I have to scan all the previous posts to see if anyone responded every time?….this can’t be the intention of this fancy new site ….redonculous…..

    WW

        • Lucky 13

          @WW…Yup although I don’t think that would matter, probably spent some $$ making this all pretty for us.

          If they were able to tweak a few things it would sure be more user friendly.
          As you can see I’m going back to old ways…@ just to make sure I’m commenting to you.
          Just from what I’ve observed our FN blog comments are at least 50% less than usual. New format?

        • Burning Ring of Fire

          I think ON followers might have done something similar already and from what I gather from the limited browsing I did I surmise that they preferred something to the older format. It’s not rocket science – older posts first, make it so that you can edit or delete your post in case you’ve had a few too many etc.

      • TheoForever

        Reading the posts of members is better than the articles. The new format is so bad, that it takes this pleasure away. If the clicks decline the nation will notice.

    • dontcryWOLF88

      Not that the nation network is a democracy, but I’m also not a fan of the new set up. Lots of things worse. Can’t seem to think of anything better.

      As for the flames, if they play like that against Pittsburgh tomorrow then expect this streak to end there. Don’t let the 3-0 score fool you. Against a deadly team that could have been really ugly.

      Losing stone is not an excuse for that far of a drop. Lots of teams deal with far more important injuries and keep it together.

  • Brownblazer

    Another night to see the value of Tkachuck! Did you notice he rushed out to the point and blocked that shot with 6 seconds left in the game to help preserve Elliot’s shutout? What a teammate!