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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: Flames rout Blues in a wild one

The St. Louis Blues entered tonight’s game in Calgary as the best team, standings-wise, in the Western Conference. Losers of just four games in regulation, the team was reportedly extremely upset at how they were playing after suffering a loss against the New York Islanders. The Calgary Flames faced off against a really good, motivated Blues team at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday night. They played arguably their best home game of this young season, surviving some ebbs, flows and a potential injury to goaltender Mike Smith en route to a 7-4 win.

The victory gives the Flames five wins over their lengthy seven game homestand.

The Rundown

The opening period was full of chances in both directions. The Blues opened the scoring at four-on-four, as Vladimir Tarasenko uncorked a wrist shot from the side boards that beat a partially-screened Mike Smith to make it 1-0. The Flames battled back, though, as Mark Jankowski jumped on a loose puck in the high slot and hammered a slap shot past Jake Allen to make it 1-1.

The Flames briefly took the lead on a nice sequence from Jankowski’s line. They had an initial chance miss the Blues net, but Sam Bennett’s back-checking held the puck in the zone, allowing Jaromir Jagr to find Jankowski near the slot. Jankowski deked around a sprawling Allen and tucked it past him to make it 2-1.

But that lead wouldn’t last as roughly two and a half minutes later, with T.J. Brodie in the penalty box, the Blues responded after a weird sequence. Alexander Steen’s stick exploded on an attempted shot. All the Flames followed the shrapnel, but the puck bounced to Jaden Schwartz for a wrist shot goal to make it 2-2. Shots were 12-7 Flames, but scoring chances were 9-9.

The Flames seemed to find their legs in the second period, even with Smith being replaced by Eddie Lack in net. Three of the Flames’ four forward lines generated chances and significant zone time, but they just couldn’t score. Shots were 8-4 Flames, while scoring chances were 11-4 Flames.

The floodgates opened offensively, for both teams, in the third period.

  • The Flames made it 3-2 six minutes in: Jankowski’s initial shot was stopped by Allen, but Sam Bennett picked up the scraps while crashing the net for his first goal in 100,000 years.
  • The Blues tied it up at 3-3 after a pretty blah Flames power play. Alexander Steen’s shot careened off Micheal Ferland and past Lack, drawing some jeers from the crowd.
  • After Oscar Sundqvist got the extra minor after a scrum triggered by him crashing into Lack, Ferland jammed home a rebound from a Johnny Gaudreau initial chance to make it 4-3.
  • But that lead lasted all of 12 seconds, as Tarasenko got his second of the game off a beautiful pass from Schwartz from beside the net. That made it 4-4.
  • The fourth line supplied the game-winning goal, as Kris Versteeg buried a Troy Brouwer feed off a rush to make it 5-4.
  • Gaudreau and Sean Monahan went in on a two-on-one but Gaudreau couldn’t get a shot away. Mark Giordano corralled the puck and whiffed on a shot attempt of his own, but the puck bobbled over to Gaudreau for a wrister and a 6-4 lead.
  • Michael Frolik added an empty-netter to make it 7-4.

Shots were 17-11 Flames, while scoring chances were 9-5 Blues.

Why The Flames Won

The Flames didn’t get what they needed from their penalty kill, but arguably every other part of their game contributed something positive tonight. They got goals from basically their entire lineup, a power play goal, and a decent enough performance from their backup goaltender in relief.

And let’s be honest here, the game was ugly at times, but the Flames played a smart enough game that they put themselves in a situation where they just needed to win the third period to beat the best team in the Western Conference. The game was theirs for the taking, and they managed to take it.

Red Warrior

Let’s go with the most maligned selection in the 2012 NHL Draft, Mark Jankowski. He was first start, led the Flames in goals, points and was tied for the lead in shots. He was buzzing tonight, and his offense gave the rest of the team a bit of time to find their legs.

The Turning Point

Gaudreau’s insurance marker ended a segment of the third period where the teams exchanged goals willy-nilly, and extinguished any fears from the stands (or the press box) that the Blues would be able to tie this game up yet again.

The Numbers

(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Corsica.hockey)

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Monahan 73.1 50.0 0.950
Gaudreau 70.8 50.0 2.400
Frolik 61.3 0.0 1.225
Hamilton 59.4 75.0 0.825
Ferland 58.8 50.0 0.880
Stone 58.3 33.3 0.725
Kulak 57.1 55.6 0.695
Giordano 56.8 60.0 1.300
Tkachuk 53.6 0.0 1.500
Backlund 53.6 0.0 0.775
Jagr 46.9 88.9 1.100
Versteeg 46.2 33.3 1.150
Brodie 44.7 28.6 0.275
Lazar 42.9 33.3 0.695
Brouwer 40.0 33.3 0.700
Bennett 38.7 80.0 1.215
Hamonic 35.7 50.0 -0.350
Jankowski 34.5 72.7 2.385
Smith -0.800
Lack -0.200

Quotable

“I just thought that Hammer, Hammer’s had one practice and was off for a week. One practice, and then he gets smoked into the goalie early. So we just switched him and Stoney just because we wanted to take a bit of heat off him. I could tell that he wasn’t… and it’s probably my fault, he’s probably not completely game-ready after one practice, but it’s hard to keep that guy out of the lineup because he’s so competitive and he wants in there. We made that switch, but that’s was an in-game adjustment. That won’t be anything long-term.” – Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan on his defensive pairing adjustment, swapping Michael Stone and Travis Hamonic.

“I think that every game I feel a lot more comfortable and with my two linemates now, we’ve had a few games together and we’ve been clicking really well. Every shift, we’re getting chances and stuff. So I felt like we continued that.” – Flames forward Mark Jankowski on his comfort level these days.

Up Next

The Flames (10-7-0) hit the road tomorrow, flying off to scenic Detroit, Michigan. They’ll play the Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on Wednesday evening.

  • RKD

    Janko was a beast out there, the whole line of Bennett-Jankoswki-Jagr was dominant tonight. They will cause a of match up problems for other teams. Janko is a gamer with size and pretty slick hands. Jagr is a beast on the boards and Bennett complements both so well on the left wing with his quickness and hands.

  • Sven

    It seems more and more apparent that the Flames have three legitimate NHL caliber lines…
    .
    and five very solid defensemen

    the pieces seem to be falling into place
    .
    .
    on a somewhat peripheral and much sadder note

    Rest in peace Calgary sports enthusiast and ex Arizona Coyote owner George Gosbee

    you were one of a kind my friend

  • Off the wall

    We won against a great team here folks. 13 of 18 skaters got on the score sheet. Pretty impressive.
    Jankowski is getting more competitive each game, I’m really happy for him. He looked dominant.

    Bennett gets a greasy one. I think that’s a good sign for him.

    All 4 lines did well. We’re starting to play like a team. I’m hoping Smith is going to be ok, but not disappointed in Lacks performance tonight. Those two he let in were impossible to prevent. He made a great save in the last 5 minutes with his pad otherwise we might have seen a different outcome.

    We are only 4 points behind in the Pacific.

    Time for the road show.

  • Truculence

    Hard to believe that the Bennett-Janko- Jagr line was underwater in terms of possession. It seemed by the eye-test (and obviously the stat sheet)that they outplayed the opposition.

    • Carl the tooth

      There were a few shifts they were hemmed in a bit in defencive zone tonight too but I can’t really remember another time in the last few games that that line was . (Before Jagrs return as well) .

  • OYYC

    On another note, there were at least 4 calls that the refs missed the Flames way. A couple of interference calls, a hold when the Flames were already on the powerplay, and a blatant holding of Lazar’s stick.

    It might be time to mix up that PP, they have a heck of a time gaining the zone and maintaining possession. It looks like the 2nd unit is more of a threat to score. Tkachuk and Jagr can really protect the puck.

  • Trevy

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but even Brouwer had a decent game and seems to be settling in on that 4th line. I’m thinking being a little less out of the spot light is allowing him to be more comfortable. Lack still scares me a bit though. He seems unsure of himself, but hopefully he builds some confidence with more playing time. At least it looks like the team likes him

  • Just.Visiting

    That’s the Janko I’ve been waiting to see. His feet were moving more, he was more physical and he was playing with a different level of confidence. We officially have three strong lines now, as that line definitely has chemistry. That type of game sets a standard of performance towards which he can always strive, even if the fancy stats say it wasn’t a good game. Credit to Jagr for setting a great example with his work ethic.

    Janko is going to have a long productive career if he brings that intelligence, skill and effort to the ice most nights.

    Looking forward to an article in due course from the writers in the Janko “might eventually be a fourth liner, replacement level camp” admitting that they are guilty of having underestimated his potential. Owning up to it and moving on will make you feel better, really.

    Love it when a Stone tries to bomb the net. I’d flip Brodie to the second pp unit with Stone.

    Kulak continues to look solid out there. The real test for GG will be if the team loses and Kulak didn’t have his best game. Does he stick with him or go back to Bart…..

    Not sold on Lazar as an upgrade on Stajan yet.

    Ferland is playing with greater confidence now. I hope this means that GG realizes the error of his ways with Brouwer on the pp.

    Speaking of Brouwer, with his helmet off during the anthems and his moustache, he reminded me of a big Freddie Mercury.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      The game seems to have passed Matty this season. He gets tossed from the faceoff dot. He can’t do anything n the O-zone. Even his PK looks old.

      Nice to see we have moved on from Glass for now. Seems like they will give Lazar games while he is trying hard. I can’t see the sense in keeping Freddie here; he’s not going to get in.

      Once they decide that Bart is not needed, even as a 7th D-man, the team will be better off.

  • Intercourse the Penguins

    The franchise started to turn it around in the Jay Feaster era. The Daryl was a good coach but a poor GM and the cupboard was bare when he ran a one-man show .Props to the Jayster.

  • flames2015

    The boos for Eddie at the Dome tonight was unnecessary and disappointing. We aren’t montreal. He had no chance on either goal, one deflected by Ferlund infront and a 2 on 1 bad giveaway that led to a Tarasenko snipe. Good to see him get his first W as a Flame.

  • The Sultan

    Great to see Bennett get that monkey off his back. After he scored he either said “Finally” or another common expression that begins with F.

    Also I’m glad the Michael Ferland experiment is panning out. I think I’m finally sold on him being a first line player. He might not be able to go all out like he did in that Vancouver series, but with his silky mitts he may not have to. Ferland looks like he’s in for a career year: last season, 76 games played, 15 goals, 10 assists. This season, 16 games played, 7 goals, 2 assists. This young man deserves all the success that comes his way.

    • Grayone

      Wow what a roller coaster ride! I didn’t notice GG’s move to put Hamonic with Kulak … that was astute in the end! Anderson is sooo close to my aged eyes … I trust he will be lights out in Stockton. This will give Tre another piece to ponder going forward. Sultan, your Bennett comment is well taken and let’s face it THAT was a timely goal of his regardless how it was crafted … seems only fair considering the 10-bell chances that Allen somehow saved or we missed!

      I was surprised at my reaction to Janko’s goals in the 1st … so sweet. That 2nd was so well taken eh? Right out of GG’s video’s library I suspect … Janko going for space off the boards and Jagr’s superb pass to send Janko in alone!

      Idea: just sayin’ … MJ is very solid defensively and last night he proved that taking faceoffs could be a unsung trait for him …. suppose it is the last 3 minutes of a tight game, could be that Jagr’s energy levels should be fading. Put Janko and Bennett with ???? to form a 45 second shut-down 3-some? Follow that up with the 3-M line for an ultimate shut-down sequence!?! Who could replace JJ for that shift or 2 near the end? Versteeg? I think going forward that would be an interesting tactic for GG to ponder … and finally yah how could Feaster not hoist a scotch or 2 after last night … regardless of his other legacies eh?!

      • Chucky

        I thought that your “Idea” would be that Jankowski could replace Brouwer on the PK. Solid defensively and wins faceoffs, has the size to take away large areas of the ice and the courage to block shots. With Bennett they would have speed, grit and the intensity to win puck battles.

        I think he has earned the extra time and responsibilty.

  • Skylardog

    Playing closer to what is capable. A win against one of the best. Need to clean up a bit defensively, but that is what happens when the Janko/Bennett line plays as the second line they have to be to contend.

    Backs line plays to a draw. Check – And they got their half goal.

    Monys line scores a goal. Check

    4th line contributes half a goal (they got a whole one this game). Check

    And the second line scores 1. Check. They actually got 3.

    PP scores at 25%. Check (Didn’t look but assume it was about 1-4)

    Only miss is the PK at 85%.

    That’s how you beat the elite teams.

    The line with Bennett has to be the second line. It was, we kicked butt.

  • freethe flames

    Like most people here I am happy with the win; however I am concerned about the Smith injury. Not blaming Lack for either goal but he looked uncomfortable in net. If Smith is injured I wonder who the Flames will recall; according to both stats and Stockton’s Finest it should be Rittich, therefore I expect the Flames to recall Gilles.

    On Janko; first goal a shooters goal; the second a play makers dangle. Dominate in the face off circle; this defies Corsi. If he continues to develop the way he is when will GG be forced to give him some PP time.

    Things are on the upswing now that there is some secondary scoring but we still need to clean up the unforced turn overs, the PK still needs work, the PP still needs to be better and now we have to possibly face the Smith injury on a long road trip.

  • Hockeyfan

    Nice win in a fun fast game. janko, benny and jagr, amazing value for what could be a very dangerous unit the rest of the year. Don’t forget, corsi is nerd hockey fluff for people who never played and do not know what to look for. Keep it up boys.

  • Thatz Nuckin Futz

    Eddie’s play between the pipes looked pretty solid to me. Maybe it was a different feeling if you were in the stands. Speaking of which, although I wasn’t there, it seemed like the whole Saddle Dome let out a big sigh of relief for Sammy B’s marker. St. Louis is a tough, fast team. But this could have been a 7-2 score. Steen ( the Flame Slayer ) got lucky on his shot deflecting off of Ferly’s stick. And that 4th goal was only missing a silver bow and greeting card courtesy of Dougie Hamilton. It was very nice to see Ferly score, he probably felt like sh*t after deflecting Steen’s shot. That’s just the kind of guy he is. That’s the kind of guy you want on your team.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      By the sounds of it, the fans get as excited to see Jagr dragging the puck around and tiring out d-men as they do when Johnny Hockey goes on a skate. 3 goals in 2 games by the guy left off the team in favor of Glass, Freddie and Stajan. Priceless.

      Said elsewhere, but how is it that Hamilton was tackled and taken out of the play after the puck left his stick? No call there? Of course it’s going to result in a 2 on 1.

  • WillyWonka

    what nobody has mentioned yet is the fact that the Blues din’t give this game away – they were fast, skilled, and dangerous all night. the Flames beat a very good team by being the better team. this wasn’t luck or bounces… and this team has depth at forward and defense to maintain the strong play and make a deep push.

  • Atomic Clown

    In a game dominated by Jankowski, Gaudreau and the stellar play of the team all around, I’d just like to (not that he needs it) point out that Jaromir freaking Jagr is an absolute animal along the boards. It’s beyond belief how he manages to protect and muscle the puck up and down the exact same 5 feet of ice. And he’s 45! Where is this fountain of youth he keeps drinking from? He has the strength of a man in his 30’s. There was this one play where Bennett and Jagr played keep away from Gunnarson along the boards for about a minute. And then the next shift Gaudreau took Gunnarson for a skate around the entire offensive zone twice. Poor guy couldn’t look up after that. Anyways, I can now see why between 1980 and 2000, only three players won the Art Ross.