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Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: Top guns power capital gains

The Calgary Flames are in the midst of their longest road trip of the season. Tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals was the half-way point of the road trip. It was perhaps the team’s best game of the season – which is interesting, since their previous best game of the season was also against the Capitals. The Flames were thoroughly good against a pretty strong Capitals team en route to a 4-1 road victory, getting goals from their key players.

The Rundown

The first few minutes of this game was probably enough to make most fans nervous. Jakub Vrana beat out Travis Hamonic on a dump-in, speeding past him and feeding Lars Eller in the slot (as T.J. Brodie over-skated the puck) for a tap-in to make it 1-0. But a few minutes later, Sean Monahan sprung Johnny Gaudreau on a rush chance and Gaudreau beat Braden Holtby with a wrister stick-side to make it 1-1. Shots were 12-11 Washington, scoring chances were 10-7 Flames.

The Flames really took over the game in the second period, with their power play giving them a lead. The man advantage had several in-close chances and Holtby went back and forth making a few saves, but the puck trickled through him and Monahan tucked the puck into the open net to make it 2-1. Shots were 13-6 Flames, scoring chances were 8-6 Flames.

The visitors kept piling on in the third period. Mikael Backlund buried a rebound on the power play five minutes in to make it 3-1. Two minutes later, just seconds after a subsequent power play expired, a Mark Giordano point shot beat Holtby through traffic to make it 4-1 – Jaromir Jagr got an assist and had a great screen on Holtby. Shots were 15-12 Flames, scoring chances were 10-9 Washington.

Why The Flames Won

Honestly? Aside from how shaky the Hamonic/Brodie duo were on the first goal, the Flames played one of their best games of the season. It wasn’t quite a 60-minute effort, but they played 54 really good minutes. They were better at even strength and their special teams were much better than Washington’s. They trailed for just 3:47 and led for more than half the game.

I hate using this term, but after an awful effort in Detroit and a rough first period against Philadelphia this was the exact type of game they needed to have to give them momentum for the back half of their road trip.

Red Warrior

Gotta go with Monahan, who scored his team-leading (and league-leading) fifth game-winner of the season. But aside from the fourth line and the Brodie/Hamonic pair, just about everybody had a good game.

The Turning Point

Backlund’s power play goal in the third period gave the Flames a two-goal lead on the road… and it came with a delayed penalty call to Washington, so they had an additional two minutes of PP time after that. They had a lead and tons of momentum, and they never looked back.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
D.Hamilton 71.4 70.0 2.150
Giordano 66.7 77.8 1.375
Frolik 65.4 50.0 0.475
Backlund 63.6 50.0 2.020
Bennett 62.9 60.0 0.675
Jagr 61.5 71.4 1.150
Ferland 60.0 57.1 0.425
Monahan 60.0 57.1 2.420
Stone 58.8 66.7 0.350
Jankowski 58.6 62.5 0.550
Kulak 57.1 60.0 0.325
Tkachuk 54.6 42.9 1.250
Gaudreau 53.3 62.5 1.375
Brodie 51.2 44.4 0.175
Hamonic 46.0 44.4 -0.025
Versteeg 40.0 75.0 0.105
Brouwer 37.5 80.0 -0.160
F.Hamilton 26.7 71.4 -0.325
Smith 2.150
Lack

Up Next

The Flames (12-8-0) are off to Columbus, Ohio for the fourth stop on their whirlwind tour! They face the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Wednesday night.

      • Skylardog

        5v5, they gave up 13 High Danger Scoring Chances Against. That is 18.13 per 60, nearly double the rate of 9.59 HDSCF/60 the Caps have averaged this season.

        By contrast we only had 9 HDSCF, for 12.55 per 60, a little lower than the 12.88 the Caps average against.

        The league average in HDSCF/60 is about 10.8. Giving up 18.13 is not a good defensive night. What was good is 1 goal on those 13 chances, a 957 save percentage. Smith.

        We were great on the PP. Smith was the master early on when it could and should have gotten out of hand. We then benefitted from a Holtby gaff on a JG shot. Took a ton of steam out of the Caps. The Caps are fragile this season. They have not been particularily good offensively either despite their reputation.

        After that, yes, we played much better defensively in the 2nd and 3rd.

        Don’t be mad at me. It was a good win. My point is that we are not playing as well as we need to, to be among the elite in the NHL.

        The next game is a great test to see where we really are.

  • Alberta Ice

    Kudos to the team. The ‘old guys’, Smith and Jagr are adding a winning attitude and a ‘can do’ spirit of fire. They are becoming the story of this season’s success. Got to love the balance on this team and the continuing building confidence and momentum. Great resilience from that tire fire game in Detroit shows maturity and grit. Great to have Tkachuk back into the fray. And what can you say about Johnny and Mony and Ferly? Awesome. Keep the stock rising Flames.

  • CofRed4Life

    What I’ve noticed from my limited viewing of flames games, is on the PP, when we’re in the offensive zone, we’re quite effective. The problems occur when we lose the face off or the puck and they clear it. It’s painful watching them try to enter the zone. Every once in a while it works, but they need to be more creative entering the offensive zone, especially on the PP.

  • The Fall

    Jagr with amazing feeds to Sam and Freddie… neither of those guys finish. There is nothing in Sams game that makes me think he is capable of ‘breaking out’.

        • BringtheFire 2.0

          Oh, Archie is in full Troll tonight, baby, and what better time than when the numbers, the gameplay and the RECORD all say he’s wrong!?!?

          It’s a beautiful thing Archie…

          * winks *

          …keep it up 😀

        • freethe flames

          Before we go and make dubious trades lets see if the solution lies within. If the problem is that Bennett can not score with Janko and Jagr then maybe bring Mangiapane up and give that a try.(A line of Bennett/Lazar/Hamilton might be a good alternative 4th line) Do we have a LD on the farm ready to replace Brodie? Are you ready for an every night Bart, Tspoon or Kylington? Personally I’m not. If Lack is not the answer as the back up have we really given either Gilles or Rittich a chance; I would do that before I acquire Johnson.

          • Skylardog

            GG can waive the left right thing and has this season. Andersson is ready and superior to Brodie defensively. Points for that Brodie has been posting would have to be the concern.

            However, as GG doesn’t seem to like to activate the D in the rush, it may not be a huge factor. Brodie seems to be the cause of at least a goal against per game, and he is not creating a goal a game. Net is a positive.

      • Crazy Flames

        I’d stay far away from Kane. Let him sign in Vegas or Vancouver. That’s where he wants to be.

        Sure he can be really good but right now he is playing for a contract. After that all bets are off.

    • HAL MacInnis

      I feel bad for Sam because I think he was always meant to be a winger. He’s finally playing the position he’s built for. I feel like the Flames stunted his growth. Hopefully, we can evaluate him from here on out and put the “center experiment” behind us. I think he has a goal and an assist on the wing currently.

  • The Doctor

    Columbus will be a big test. They’re clearly one of the better teams in the league this season and Bobrovsky is playing like an absolute Beast. Plus I remember last season, one of our biggest stinker games, where we got totally outclassed, was against the Jackets.

    • freethe flames

      Normally I would agree with you but last night FHamilton was pretty solid; if he played that way every night it would be easy to keep him in the line up ahead of Stajan and Brouwer. Who are these 6 forwards on the farm that are better than him. There is only 1 center iceman who is likely better than him and that’s Hrivik and he has struggled anytime he has been in the NHL. Mangiapane and Hathaway are probably the top 2 forwards on the farm and is Hathaway significantly better than Freddie? Mangiapane is the one guy who I think a case could be made for that would help the Flames but that would mean reshuffling the lines. After that it is questionable if any of the other forwards would be an upgrade.

      • Broken

        I don’t think F Hamilton’s starting 71% of faceoffs in the o-zone and ending up with a CF @ 26% is solid. That sounds more like a guy who should be in Stockton, and the sooner the better.

  • oilcanboyd

    Johnny Hockey Flame on Fire! Could have had a hattie tonight.
    Notice that his shots have more zing to them this season. Now that he doesn’t have to wear that Ove Glove to protect his wrist while it was healing.

    • Hockeyfan6778

      So awesome to see him tearing it up. And with his contract makes it even better.

      Also cute how ON wants to be just like us. I can’t blame them though.

      • oilcanboyd

        They think they can’t turn their season around like the Flames did last season,lol. Not happening, maybe next season.
        McD missed practise today due to illness. Just sick and tired of playing for that sac sack bunch! Besides his 12.25 million contract doesn’t kick in until next year, so why should he bust his ass and show up for practise?

        • flamesburn89

          I would be so pissed if I was McDavid. PC is just sitting on his hands with millions of cap space when his roster sorely needs top 6 wingers. As a Flames fan though I love his ineptitude.

          • Rudy27

            Agree that PC has hurt the Oilers, but there’s not a lot of top 6 wingers available at this time of the year unless you have something worthwhile to trade for that would be an immediate positive impact to the other team. If someone is giving up a winger, they probably want a center or d-man. Translation: Oilers hooped for now!

  • Off the wall

    Monahan had a really solid game. I like how he’s being used on the PK now. Good job GG making the changes. I’d like to eventually see Jankowski and Bennett killing more penalties.
    Also F.Hamilton and Lazar.

    Gaudreau seems to be playing with the most confidence I’ve ever seen. He’s even making better defensive decisions.

    Our 3rd line looked dangerous. I can’t believe they didn’t get on the score sheet.

    Pretty decent game all around, thank you Smith for being rock solid when we needed you.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Kudos to Johnny for lifting OVs stick in the slot. That was not part of his game in the past. I think Jagr has been the best assistant coach hiring. He has our star players believing in themselves. When a certain HOF likes your game it is easy to find another bounce in your step.

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    We’ve won 7 of 9, and that looks as good as…Seven of Nine.

    Trotz after the game; “I don’t know what happened tonight guys, but we couldn’t get the puck to Ovie. Don’t worry, gonna tweak the systems and alter slightly…how we get the puck to Ovie.”

    Also, with the fifties thing, the memorial visit, all that good stuff, these guys are actually bonding. This could be the trip that makes this season for us. We just CRUSHED Washington in their own barn after starting a road trip with an 8-2 loss against a mediocre team.

    Teams get to the playoffs, friends win a cup.

    Also, over the next few seasons and beyond could Johnny Hockey become…Johnny Legend?

    Think about it. (At the very least, we HAVE to make him a Mortal Kombat character at this point).

  • Flaymin Frank

    Nice pair of bounce back matches after that Meltdown in Motown. We’ve got 3 lines that are nicely set and can be rolled onto the ice without even thinking about too much. Don’t fc*k with them. Leave Bennett alone. The kid probably puts more pressure on himself than the rest of us can. He’ll come thru just fine on the other side. There’s no quit in him. Brodie seems to be a fog at times but who you gonna get in return? That silky smooth skating style and puck handling skills don’t grow on trees. I wonder how the fans in Hab Town feel about the Weber – Subban trade now. The Habs are free falling and there’s going to be a garage sale at the Forum real soon.

    • The Doctor

      Carey Price covered up a lot of weaknesses. The Hans are not deep, their forward group is not terribly impressive after Pacioretty, Drouin and Gallagher, losing Radulov hurt them, Weber is their only scary good Dman, it goes on and on.