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Photo Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: History repeats itself, Flames beat Montreal

The Calgary Flames went to Montreal on Thursday evening looking to build on a couple decent games against Philadelphia and Toronto. They looked like a group playing their second game in as many nights, and they probably wish they had played a tighter defensive game in front of their backup goaltender. That said, the Flames battled back from blowing a lead and having to chase in the third period. They forced overtime and managed to get a win in a building (and city) that is historically not too friendly to visiting teams.

But the Flames have often had success in Montreal. Thursday night was no exception, as the Flames earned a 3-2 overtime victory over the Canadiens.

The Rundown

The opening period of this game was vintage Flames hockey. In the sense that the Flames scored first but managed to blow their lead (a) quickly and (b) with a goal allowed late in the period. After Carey Price stopped a Mark Giordano point shot through traffic, Sean Monahan grabbed the loose puck and banked a wrist shot off Price’s back to make it 1-0. It wasn’t pretty, but it counted. But the Habs answered back 125 seconds later with their own ugly goal, as Daniel Carr bonked the puck off David Rittich’s mask and in to tie the game at 1-1. Shots were 13-9 Montreal and scoring chances were 9-9.

Montreal was really sharp in the second period, while the Flames were up to their old tricks of failing to clear the defensive zone and losing the puck at the offensive blueline. After a sequence where the Flames failed to clear the puck four times – including a clearing pass that went off a linesman and bounced into the slot – the Flames coughed the puck up in the neutral zone and gave up an odd-man rush. Their tired defenders failed to guard against a really nice Max Pacioretty pass from the side boards – I’m still trying to figure out what Giordano was doing on the play – and Phillip Danault tipped the puck past Rittich to make it 2-1. Shots were 13-10 Flames, but chances were 12-4 Montreal.

 

Faced with coming home with just one point from their road trip, the Flames put together a decent push in the third period. Off a scrambley play walking out from the back of the net, Garnet Hathaway jammed in a rebound past Price. On the ice it was initially blown down and called no-goal. The on-ice officials had a meeting and said there was goalie interference, as Hathaway had gone into the crease to chase the puck. But Glen Gulutzan challenged the call and it was ruled a good goal – the rules say you can go into the crease to battle for a loose puck if the puck is there before the pursuing player is – and that made the game 2-2. The Flames had a five-on-three power play with seven minutes left, but for some reason they didn’t have much urgency or Dougie Hamilton on the ice, so the two-man advantage led to nothing. Shots were 12-12 but chances were 7-5 Habs.

It was off to overtime! Each team had a chance or two, but Johnny Gaudreau found Monahan waltzing into Montreal’s zone as the trailer on a two-on-two rush and Monahan beat Price with a nifty wrister to make it a 3-2 final for the visitors. Shots were 2-1 Flames.

Why The Flames Won

This was a really tight game and the top six on each team basically cancelled each other out. The Flames’ depth players – their bottom six and third pairings – were better than Montreal’s, and that was enough to overcome some shaky defensive play by the Flames at various times throughout this game.

Red Warrior

This will sound odd considering that Monahan had two goals, but I’m going with a joint award to that third pairing. Stone and Kulak were buried in the defensive zone most of the game, but led the team in possession and were part of the third period push that led to the game-tying goal.

The Turning Point

Hathaway’s goal swung things towards Calgary and, more importantly, forced overtime.

Glen Gulutzan’s reaction to the challenge result was a thing of beauty.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Stone 67.7 33.3 0.675
Kulak 65.5 33.3 1.150
Hathaway 64.5 83.3 1.875
Stajan 57.1 0.0 0.235
Lazar 56.3 0.0 0.080
Jankowski 52.8 83.3 0.465
Bennett 51.6 100 1.135
F.Hamilton 50.0 0.0 -0.075
Gaudreau 46.8 50.0 0.500
Monahan 46.2 47.1 1.710
Giordano 44.0 40.0 0.575
Ferland 42.5 44.4 0.990
Frolik 42.1 25.0 -0.215
Hamonic 41.5 50.0 0.025
D.Hamilton 41.1 38.1 -0.475
Backlund 40.5 27.3 -0.260
Brodie 40.0 46.2 -0.225
Brouwer 37.1 27.3 -0.600
Rittich 2.000
Smith

This and That

The Flames are now 2-0-0 in games where Matthew Tkachuk is suspended. Coincidentally, both were road games with multiple Sean Monahan goals where the Flames won in overtime.

Up Next

The Flames (15-12-2) fly home tonight and are off tomorrow. They’ll host the Vancouver Canucks in the late game on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday night.

  • Burnward

    And Rittich straight up taking a Weber clapper from close range and not flinching, just eating it, is serious onion bag.
    That’s the kind of stuff that will earn him so much love and respect from the gang and that bruise is going to be a serious badge of honour. Rittich is tough as all getout and that moment will be forefront in everyone’s mind thinking about him going forward.

  • The Fall

    Red Warrior to the third pair — on a night where Monahan wins the game and jumps into a tie for third MOST GOALS IN THE NHL…?! And becomes the fastest player to 9 GAME WINNING GOALS…?!

    Future captain. Love the way he plays.

  • Chucky

    Jankowski belongs in the NHL and probably will be a top 6 forward in a year or so. It would be nice to see him shoot more he has a great release and good velocity but low frequency. Hopefully he will notice that he is not shooting as much as his line-mates and start taking the opportunities when they present.

  • McRib

    People hate on Matt Stajan here (and although I would rather a young player in his place like Andrew Mangiapane), when he doesn’t have to play with anchor Troy Brouwer he does what you want out of a fourth line centre keep the play out of our own zone. 57.1% Corsi For with 0% offensive zone starts isn’t bad.

      • Stajanforadirtyboot

        Why not. His play is definitely worth the 4 million cap hit. Perhaps he would take a team discount and only go after 3.9 million this time. He’s a bum. The hate is justified and Brouwer-play is not his issue. He has averaged 22.5 points per season…and that number reduces every fame he plays. The game has past him long by. But to be fair I never liked him even when he wore blue.

        • McRib

          Hahahah. Of course I don’t want to resign him, I even said in my comment that I would already prefer a younger player in his place. The contract is the contract, no use dwelling on that it wasn’t even signed by this GM, get over that, you aren’t paying his salary.

          Stajan hasn’t produced offensively because he isn’t asked to as a FOURTH LINER, hence the zero offensive zone starts, but when he is on the ice the other team isn’t scoring either, which once again is what you ask of a fourth liner. Troy Brouwer has barley found the score sheet this season and he is getting regular PP1 minutes, if Stajan had that opportunity his numbers would exclipse what Brouwer has done with a lot more chance.

          • Cheeky

            You also said Mangipane should be the 4th line centre…he’s a top 9 winger. Trash away and pout all you want but don’t get upset when others call out your remarks over a $3.15 mil 4th line centre with better, cheaper, faster and more skilled guys available…