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Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: Comeback kids win brunch game

The Calgary Flames continued their lengthy six-game road trip today in Philadelphia. They had a matinee against the Flyers, scheduled as such because the National Basketball Association needed the building for their traveling dribbling-and-dunking road show in the evening. Despite a slow start, the Flames managed to find their stride and overcome some self-imposed obstacles in a game played during the brunching hour.

Despite never actually holding a lead at any point during the game, the Flames triumphed in overtime by a 5-4 score over the Flyers.

The Rundown

The first period was brought to you by silly penalties, bad puck management and unintentional screens on the Flames’ own goaltender. 90 seconds into the game, Sam Bennett’s attempted no-look pass in the defensive zone was nabbed by the Flyers, leading to a Brandon Manning point shot hitting Mike Smith through traffic and trickling over him and into the net to make it 1-0 for the home side. A little while later, though, Johnny Gaudreau continued his point streak with a gorgeous pass from Micheal Ferland to spring him on a breakaway – he beat Brian Elliott with a deke to make it 1-1.

But after an off-sides call, Kris Versteeg took a silly penalty for shoving Taylor Leier from behind. The ensuing Flyers power play sliced and diced the Flames’ passive penalty kill up with precise passing, ending with Sean Couturier tapping in a rebound out front to make it 2-1 Flyers. It became 3-1 Flyers later in the period, as a face-off loss led to an Ivan Provorov point shot that beat Smith by virtue of a double-screen from Dougie Hamilton and Jori Lehtera – you can’t stop what you can’t see. Shots were 13-12 Flames and scoring chances were 9-3 Flames.

If you like goals, the second period was your jam as the Flames power play came alive. On their first man advantage, Sean Monahan carried the puck in, passed it off and headed to the net. He deflected a Kris Versteeg point shot to make it 3-2. On their next power play, the Flames tied things up after Gaudreau’s shot was blocked by a sprawling Elliott, allowing Monahan to wander in and pick up the scraps to make it 3-3.

The Flyers regained the lead after a flat Flames power play. With the tired power play unit still on the ice, the Flyers had pressure and multiple strong chances. Smith made a couple nice saves in close, but Nolan Patrick tapped in a rebound to make it 4-3 Flyers. But that lead didn’t last long. On their umpteeth (fourth) power play of the period, Leier blocked a Gaudreau shot in his mid-section and went down. Gaudreau collected the puck and fed Monahan in the slot for a wrister that beat Elliott and made it 4-4. Shots were 16-12 Flyers and scoring chances were 10-5 Flyers.

Neither team scoring in the third period, though the Flames saw Mark Jankowski and Bennett hit posts. The Flames survived a late Flyers power play to make it to overtime. Shots were 11-5 Flyers and scoring chances were 6-3 Flyers.

In overtime, the Flames cashed in once again. Micheal Frolik and Mikael Backlund combined for a really nice give-and-go sequence. Frolik buried a one-timer set-up from Backlund in the slot to cement a 5-4 victory. Shots were 1-0 Flames in OT.

Why The Flames Won

On this occasion, Calgary’s best players were better than Philadelphia’s. They got three power play goals from Scorin’ Sean Monahan and even strength goals from their first and second lines. Smith was shaky early on but was very good as the game wore on, making 35 saves overall. The Flames’ top guns kept pushing for the last 40 minutes of the game, while the Flyers seemed to wilt as the game wore on despite getting a ton of shots and chances against Calgary’s lesser lights.

Red Warrior

First career hat trick and a four-point game? Give it to Monahan. But stick-taps to Ferland and Gaudreau, who have been part of an extremely dangerous and productive top line lately.

The Turning Point

There’s two, really. The first was Monahan’s hat-trick goal to re-tie the game and (eventually) lead to overtime. But the Flames’ penalty kill came up big after T.J. Brodie took a minor with 2:01 left in regulation and the game tied. They got the kill they needed at the right time, and it gave them some momentum heading into overtime.

Their PK still isn’t good, but it was enough on this occasion.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Monahan 75.0 61.5 3.935
Ferland 72.0 61.5 1.850
Gaudreau 69.6 61.5 3.050
Frolik 57.7 25.0 1.015
Hamilton 55.9 50.0 0.475
Giordano 54.6 50.0 0.850
Brodie 53.3 50.0 0.675
Backlund 51.9 25.0 0.865
Hamonic 51.6 50.0 0.300
Brouwer 50.0 25.0 -0.015
Jagr 30.0 75.0 -0.450
Jankowski 26.1 75.0 -0.680
Bennett 24.1 75.0 -0.915
Kulak 20.7 16.7 -1.000
Stone 18.5 16.7 -0.850
Lazar 14.3 0.0 -0.825
Versteeg 14.3 0.0 0.525
Stajan 11.1 0.0 -0.480
Smith 0.500
Lack

Up Next

The Flames (11-8-0) hop on a train to Washington, D.C. today. They play the Capitals on Monday night.

      • The Doctor

        Funny I was only able to watch the first period and I said to myself “our top line is the one thing that stands out as looking really good.” Next thing I know I check my iPhone and Monahan has a hat trick and the line has 4 goals.

        • 25yearflamesfan

          Haha yeah when we were down 3 1 I told my brother that it’s a shame but we are gonna need 3 more goals from first line to win today. Good job. But a better team doesn’t rely on one line.but a wins a win and every one of them counts

  • Atomic Clown

    Oh god, that 4th line corsi. I watched the game and yet I can’t believe how bad at controlling play that line is. And I’m going to repeat myself: Brian Elliott is a f***ing awful starting goalie.

    • Justthateasy

      Yes that’s about as keyed up and focused as Elliott can get. Glad to see him gone.
      Nice to see Johnny finally listening to FN. Making no mistake on an important breakaway opportunity. Gotta have those Johnny. Thanks.
      Great team game overall. Fighting back from Detroit and uphill all game.
      I’m beginning to wonder about Brody. He’s a good choice to have out there 3 on 3. Other than just as many giveaways as everybody else, why does that man not shoot when he is dead center in the slot? I thought he was correcting that bad habit.

      • 25yearflamesfan

        What i like most about Johnny game is that he is shooting. He is also not taking big risks to get his chances. He was in position to back check and break up some plays defensively. He’s getting smarter and becoming more of a two way player. Really happy to see him maturing in his total game . Not just offensively. Keep it up 13

  • KeepitReal

    Those ‘no look’ passes ( ie – Sam B’s) were killing us in the first period. By my count, those were converted into about ten turnovers in the defensive zone. That’s gonna bite us in the arse against good teams. I was unable to watch the 2nd period. Bad one to miss apparently. Especially if you like Money Hands.

      • 25yearflamesfan

        Exactly. What the he’ll is Glen thinking ? He thinks he is being tricky. But in reality he’s being stupid. Stajan shouldn’t of had a shift past the 45 min mark.

      • flamesburn89

        Especially considering how they were absolutely getting dominated. If you have a 4th line that can actually defend, maybe it’s ok to have them out there. The Flames 4th line was getting their teeth kicked in and GG still decided that they would be the best unit to put out there late in the game.

  • Broken

    That first period was awful. I think if anyone other than Mike Smith had been in net, the Flames might have packed it in. Smith’s never-say-die attitude rubs off on the rest of the team.

      • ThisBigMouthIsRight

        Stajan only needs like 50 games to reach 1000.. Realistically, that isn’t going to happen staying with the Flames. I’d really like to see him earn/reach that accomplishment but to do that he will need to play and he has been passed by the depth on this team. Trade him to a team where he can be a mentor and get the ice time. Who Sucks and could use a Vet for 50 games? well, Arizona, Florida, Buffalo? It would be nice to see him get his Silver Hockey Stick!

        • DeadRedRedemption

          I’m with you on that, but Ragin’ Stajan may what to stay in town for another trip to the playoffs. He’s only had 3 goes in the post season in what… 16 seasons.

  • freethe flames

    I missed the game today as I had to work. It seems that the PP was good today and that the PK was somewhat better; maybe because it was Smith in net. Glad to see that Frolik scored the winner and that Backs had the helper we need that line to contribute. The issue remains as long as we are not getting O from the 3rd line and it sounds like they had chances but were unlucky we will remain a bubble team. The other truth is that we don’t have enough speed on the 4th line to change how we kill penalties; because we frequently play Brouwer and Stajan when he plays on the PK we remain passive. I would love to see these three forward groups be PK Backs/Frokik, Janko/Bennett and Lazar/Monahan(although not really fast enough) be our units let the first two units be aggressive and the third unit play if the others are tired, by having 2 centers you may win the face off and clear the puck.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Brodie for Simmonds. Simmonds is playing with Patrick and being under utilized similiar to how Schenn was before the trade to SL. If NJ can get Hall for Laesson… This is doable.

  • cornwallroyals

    Thank god M T is only out for 1 game. Stajan back in press box. This could be a really good character building game for Flames as it is a feel good win after that debacle in Detroit.

  • cgyokgn

    Don’t know what to make of this game, but good on the Flames… they found a way to come back via the PP – who would’ve thought (now 12th in the league at 20.6). They are now 4 – 0 in OT. We get Chucky back vs Washington which will help the line combos. Still going to be a very tough road trip.

    • 25yearflamesfan

      Flames were all shooting at his glove hand. They all watched him get beat glove hand non stop last year. Every shot was glove side. He made a few glove hand stops but after he stopped gio going glove side he was all out of glove saves.

  • Stajanforadirtyboot

    Stajan is so bad….I mean so bad. He does not belong in this league let alone on the ice with 2 minutes left in a tie game. I’m glad we got the win but Glen Gulutzan and his stupid decision making must go. As long as this Sears mannequin is the head of the bench there is no way this team makes it past round two.

    • Captain Ron

      Having Stajan on the ice at that point in the game is a shockingly stupid decision by GG. Of all your options he picks that guy. When he gets fired he can look back and hopefully realize how truly dumb he has been at times. Smith is the only reason he still has a job right now.

  • The Doctor

    Great road win. I was impressed by their ability to come back because things looked bad to the bone after the first period. It’s really tough to come back from a 2 goal deficit in today’s NHL, especially on the road. I agree with those on a previous thread who said our defensive zone exits need work. They should spend a practice doing nothing but that — exiting the D zone properly.

  • RKD

    Johnny and Mony are on a mission, bad first period. The turning point was the Smith save on Coutier’s breakaway when they were down 3-1. Special teams finally showed up.