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Photo Credit: Billy Hurst / USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Brouwer Play

The Calgary Flames came into the Scottrade Center in St. Louis this evening looking for a strong finish to a fairly disappointing road trip. Having lost two in a row and facing a Western Conference wildcard contender for the second time in as many games, the Flames really needed a win to give themselves some breathing room.

The Flames were full marks in a very eventful 65 minutes of ice hockey, battling back from a third period deficit to force overtime and then clobbering the Blues for the duration of three-on-three overtime. Ultimately, it was a goal from Sean Monahan with just 2.5 seconds left in overtime that tilted the balance. The Flames beat the Blues 3-2 in a very intense hockey game.

THE RUNDOWN

Man, this game was awesome. If you like playoff-style, tight checking hockey, hop onto NHL GameCentre and check out the replay when it’s available.

The Blues were better than the Flames in the first period. They had more chances and arguably more dangerous chances, but Brian Elliott was very good. Troy Brouwer (of all people) scored on a power play, beating Jake Allen glove-side to make it 1-0.

Shots were 13-9 Blues.

Things opened up in the middle of the second after a pair of penalties made things four on four; Johnny Gaudreau lost the puck on a three-on-one rush. Vladimir Tarasenko nearly bonked an airbound rebound past Brian Elliott with his chest. Matthew Tkachuk nearly scored coming out of the penalty box (and Brouwer almost got his second on the rebound). But the Flames began running around in their own end on a Blues rush, everyone got scrambley and the Blues scored. Stone blocked the initial shot with Elliott way out of position, but the rebound went right to Ivan Barbashev who made it 1-1. The Flames pressed but couldn’t get another goal. Shots were 10-6 Flames.

The Blues took the lead in the third off another wonky rebound play. The initial shot was booted out by Elliott, but it went right to a charging Jaden Schwartz who deflected the deflected puck in with his skates. It was reviewed, but judged to have no kicking motion so the goal counted and it was 2-1. But the Flames charged back and responded fairly quickly.

The Flames drew a penalty with a nice speedy zone entry (which drew a hook), and with the extra attacker on for the delayed call, Matt Bartkowski wandered into the Blues zone, collected an errant puck and beat Allen just inside the far post (off a defender’s skate) to tie things up at 2-2.

The game tightened up at that point, as neither team wanted to lose a free point. Shots were 11-6 Blues.

It was off to overtime. The Flames were all over the Blues but Allen was very sharp. Just when it looked like this game would go to a shootout, Monahan beat Allen between the legs with 2.5 seconds left (off a scramble out front) to win it.

Shots were 6-1 Flames in extra time.

WHY THE FLAMES WON

The Flames weren’t great tonight, but they were really good at taking advantage of some strong situational matchups to create momentum. Every 3M shift seemingly saw them create chances, and that often bled into the next shift for the next line.

Similarly, the Flames seemed to adjust to the Blues systems on the fly and really seemed to find ways to get to the net as the game went on. That allowed them to score to tie the game in the third, and it really allowed them to create oodles of overtime chances.

THE TURNING POINT

The Bartkowski goal came at the exact right time to give the Flames momentum (and the exact right time to take it away from the Blues). St. Louis only held a lead in this game for a couple minutes.

RED WARRIOR

Elliott made 29 saves and was really good when the Flames needed him to be. Once again, he gets the nod here.

But the usual suspects – Tkachuk, Backlund, Frolik, Hamilton and Giordano – were very good and Monahan and Gaudreau each had multi-point nights. Heck, Tkachuk almost scored by trying this.

THE NUMBERS

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

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Tkachuk 76.9 11.1 1.500
Backlund 76.5 20.0 1.350
Frolik 71.9 20.0 0.600
Giordano 63.0 60.0 0.900
Hamilton 58.5 61.5 1.525
Brodie 45.5 40.0 0.000
Bennett 43.8 62.5 0.015
Stone 42.3 23.1 -0.100
Gaudreau 41.9 78.6 -0.200
Monahan 41.9 78.6 -0.100
Bouma 40.0 57.1 0.000
Ferland 40.0 80.0 -0.300
Chiasson 33.3 57.1 -0.255
Versteeg 31.8 40.0 0.050
Bartkowski 31.8 75.0 -0.140
Brouwer 29.2 25.0 -0.400
Engelland 24.0 60.0 -0.035
Stajan 23.8 0.0 -0.335
Elliott -0.850

THIS AND THAT

Due to the Flames reaching 88 points, they’re now guaranteed to finish ahead of Winnipeg, Dallas, Vancouver, Arizona and Colorado. In other words: only Los Angeles can mathematically catch them now.

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 5. With the overtime victory, that number drops to 4 (with the Kings playing the Rangers later tonight). Any combination of 4 Flames victories or Kings defeats puts the Flames officially in the post-season.

UP NEXT

The Flames (42-29-4) fly back home tonight. They’re off tomorrow and then host the Colorado Avalanche at the ‘Dome on Monday night.

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  • John Wayne's Hat

    Ok, Brouwer had the kind of game the Flames expect from him. I thought a very important play was in the first when there was a little pushing around in front of Elliott (the Flames went on the pp afterwards), Reaves went in looking for someone to bully. Brouwer new Reaves was on the ice and immediately went to find him, pull him away and keep Calgary from getting pushed around. It was a veteran play by a strong, heavy player knowing the immediate situation. It was important though it doesn’t show on the counting stats or fancy stats. In this way Brouwer adds value and will be important as the season ends and the playoffs begin.

    • Arminius

      Monahan’s goal was lucky too. So was Bartkowski’s. Honestly I feel most Flames fans don’t even deserve this win. I will now let you all go back to lifting your leg and spraying that fine mist of scat over Bart and Brouwer..

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    The Flames could have won all 3 road games and just as easily lost all 3 games. I was pleased to see them pull this one out against one of the hottest teams. This will prove to be a huge confidence booster. The move by MT could possibly be the sickest move I have ever witnessed….through the legs to beat a defender followed by a shot through the legs….oh and this is done at full speed in a phone booth.

  • Pizzaman

    Technically Jaybo scored two goals for Calgary. Brower’s goal deflected off of Bouwmeester’s stick and Bartkowski’s goal was off Jay’s skate. I can imagine the razzing on Blues video review tomorrow

  • The Sultan

    Los Angeles shut out by the Rangers. Man that team is a tire fire right now. I heard the other day that Ben Bishop was still looking for his first win as a King, but at this rate, he might not even get one.

    Anywho, the magic number is down to 3.

  • Greg

    Why the flames won? Because apparently the combination of Michael Stone and Matthew Tkachuk will overwhelm every other team in the league. I don’t get it, but we are still undefeated with both of them in the lineup.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      If a team allows the Oilers to run and gun, the Oilers will be tough in Round 1. In Round 2, they will be disembowelled by a superior opponent. Apart from the Flames, do the Ducks make any other team quake–or should I say quack–in their skates? The Sharks are in total free fall which is a little early for them as they usually save their worst hockey of the year for postseason.

      Hawks are the class of the West. I have no idea what to expect from the Wild, Blues and Preds. Any of those three could represent the West in the cup just as easily as they could be ousted in the first round.

      Flames will be in over their heads if they draw the Hawks or Ducks in Round 1. Against the other clubs it will be a crapshoot.

    • otter2233

      Oilers have the 3rd best record VS the West (27-10-6 including 14-5-3 VS the Pacific) behind only Hawks and Wild, but yeah, every team wants them…. Don’t let the facts get in the way there genius…

  • Rocket66

    Why do I have to read about coiler hockey on this site In order to win the vezina you have to beat the other goalies. Talbot does not lead in any category But if that’s the way it works maybe Brouwer will win the voting race

  • BlueMoonNigel

    If all goes according to Hoyle, Monahan should finish the regular season with between 27 and 31 goals which would have him at a goal scoring rate we have come to expect from him. So what? Remember how not too many months ago so many posters were dumping on Sean calling him fat, slow, lazy, disengaged, etc.? “Hey, fat cat Monahan, take the money and waddle!”

    Reminds me of another notorious slow starter who as a Flame would struggle like mad to score goals in October and November, but he always figured it out as the season went along, so much so that he is regarded as the greatest Flame of all time and is a drop kick to be a first ballot Hall of Famer.

    Now why doesn’t Sean get that kind of love?

    • OKG

      Monahan as a center is expected to contribute even when his stick isn’t hot. See Bennett for example, been dominant even though he has had the luck of a guy walking under a ladder for two months.