The Calgary Flames had absolutely no excuses to not win that game.
Fortunately, it never really looked like they were in any danger.
Domination – except on the scoreboard
The Flames really should have had more than four goals, and were it not for Calvin Pickard, they may very well have.
Pickard faced 26 shots, same as Brian Elliott. He also saw 55 corsi chances go against him, compared to the 45 that went against the Flames. The Flames had 25 scoring chances to the Avalanche’s 22; 15 high danger ones to the Avs’ eight.
Those numbers are in all situations. It gets worse for Colorado when you look just at the 5v5 ones: the Flames out-corsied the Avalanche 48-35, had 22 scoring chances to their 14, and out-chanced them in high-danger situations 14-5. So yeah, if you took away all the powerplay goals scored in this game it would have gone to overtime, tied at one each – but the Flames were, quite clearly, the better team, no matter what strength the game was being played at.
How many breakaways did they have? How many odd-man rushes did they generate? They were the better team, full stop.
With one striking difference: the third period. That was when the Avalanche scored both of their goals; it was also when they put up a 61.11% corsi rating in all situations. To contrast that, in the first period the Flames were the ones at 67.65%, and in the second they were at 60%.
Two things, I think, happened there:
- The Flames had a two-goal lead against a team they were handily outplaying, and a team that is ultimately inconsequential to them, especially when you consider how their schedule will end.
- The Avalanche have gotten destroyed in third periods as of late. They finally flipped the script.
Sean Monahan’s four-point night
Sean Monahan kicked things off almost immediately with a goal and didn’t let up, as he was involved in each of the Flames’ four goals.
He now has 56 points this season, sitting second in team scoring (Johnny Gaudreau’s two-point night bumped him up to 58 points on the season).
It did not look at all possible that Monahan would be able to make his third straight 60-point season; not without a big night, at least. Now, he’s on pace for exactly that: 60 points.
It’s difficult, especially now, to emphasize just how bad Monahan was in the first half of the season, but remember, he was bad. Against the Islanders back in November he was booted down to the fourth line, and it was deserved. There were times Monahan barely looked like an NHLer. When he wasn’t scoring goals – which he is pretty good at – he wasn’t doing anything.
Those days are behind us. At least they are for now; hopefully, they are forever. Monahan may never develop into a formidable two-way player, but honestly, he has his contract because he can score. He’s 22 years old and on pace for 60 points yet again. That’s incredibly hard to find – so here’s to more of it. (He’s already signed his long-term deal, after all.)
Is this the Troy Brouwer I was told about?
I’ve been pretty sceptical of the Troy Brouwer signing since… well… since always, honestly. And make no mistake, I still very much do not like it.
But you have to give credit where it’s due. That’s now three goals in his last four games (albeit two have come on the powerplay). And they’ve been meaningful goals, at that. And that was a fantastic shot by him to put the Flames up 3-1 in this game.
Why, Brouwer even has as many points – 24 – as Micheal Ferland now! And he’s only averaged, what, 5:05 more than him throughout the season? (Yes.) With nearly 150 more minutes on the powerplay? (Also yes.)
I guess what I’m saying here is, if Brouwer is going to be putting up points now, great. This is a great time to do it, and I hope he keeps it up, just like I hope this doesn’t erase the Flames’ memories of how much he has not come even remotely close to living up to his contract throughout the entire season, and how he has been, more often than not, a detriment to his linemates.
My scepticism regarding him remains, but this isn’t the time of the season for scepticism. It’s the time of year for goals. And as long as that’s going on, we’re good. For now. It’s not like anybody got mad when Brandon Bollig scored in the playoffs, after all.
Roll the lines, because why not
The Avalanche are not exactly a formidable team.
So it wasn’t surprising to see all of the Flames get a fair go at ice time.
On defence Deryk Engelland played the most, with 21:35 (in part thanks to the penalty kill); Matt Bartkowski played the least, at 18:21. There’s no gap there. There really isn’t much reason for there to be.
The 3M line got the heavy lifting, forward-wise – Michael Frolik and Mikael Backlund played nearly 18 minutes each, while Matthew Tkachuk clocked in at 16:18 – but after them, it was mostly even. Gaudreau played 15:19; Lance Bouma played 11:47. Every other Flame went over 13 minutes. There was no real cause for concern here.
Especially not with that’s to come.
(Kinda funny that Joe Colborne only played 8:04, though.)
Los Angeles. San Jose. Anaheim. Anaheim. Los Angeles. San Jose.
That’s what’s left.
When the schedule first came out, it looked like a peculiar end for the Flames’ season: one that the entire season could very well come down to.
That isn’t quite how it’s played out – the Flames have done everything but clinch their playoff spot – but these final six games of the season are going to be a good test for what’s to come, especially as they may very well be playing San Jose or Anaheim in the first round of the postseason.
Los Angeles isn’t as big a factor as we thought they would be; then again, 10-game win streak. But those are still four points up for grabs, not to mention four four-point games for playoff positioning – and hopefully even home ice, because the Flames aren’t going to be able to simply roll every line and defence pairing against their remaining opponents.
So. Do the Flames get a win in Anaheim?