Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: Flames keep streaking against the Wild

The Calgary Flames have played some good hockey lately. They haven’t been perfect, but there’s been more good than bad in their game lately. They played two really strong periods of hockey – for the most part – on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild, then held on for dear life as one of the National Hockey League’s best home teams pressed hard in the third period.

Despite blowing a 2-0 third period lead, the Flames captured two crucial points by way of a 3-2 overtime victory in Minnesota to keep their winning streak going.

The Rundown

The opening period was pretty even, but the Flames opened the scoring off a nice passing sequence involving the top line that ended off with Micheal Ferland scoring to make it 1-0. (Go to the front of the net, kids, good things happen.)

Shots were 8-7 Wild, scoring chances were 6-3 Flames.

The Flames were really good in the second, and probably should’ve gotten rewarded more often. They did double their lead off a nice set of individual efforts. Johnny Gaudreau held in a puck as the Wild attempted to clear it around the glass, then shuffled a pass over to Ferland, who set up Sean Monahan for a nice wrister to make it 2-0.

Shots were 13-10 Flames, scoring chances were 8-6 Flames.

Down 2-0 to a conference opponent at home, the Wild were very good in the third period and began to bear down on their chances. Seven minutes in, the Flames couldn’t collect a puck rimmed around the end-boards by Ryan Suter. The puck squirted out to Mikael Granlund, who beat a partially-screened Mike Smith over the shoulder to make it 2-1. A little while later, Jared Spurgeon wandered in from the right point and beat a partially-screened Smith just inside the far post to make it 2-2. Minnesota had a few power plays later in the period, but the Flames’ penalty kill really stepped up and kept the game tied. Shots were 13-5 Wild, scoring chances were 4-3 Wild.

So it was off to overtime. With T.J. Brodie in the penalty box for jousting with Matt Dumba, Dougie Hamilton actually got 3-on-3 ice time. And it paid off! Gaudreau chased down an errant Mark Giordano pass, then found Hamilton in the slot for a wrister that beat Stalock to end this one by a 3-2 score.

Shots were 2-2 in overtime.

Why The Flames Won

They were quite good over the first 40 minutes at even strength. They were quite good at killing penalties throughout the game, and especially in the third period. They were in a position where special teams could make or break their game; they eked into overtime because their penalty kill was sharp.

It wasn’t a complete game, but enough parts of their game were good at key times to make this work.

Red Warrior

Gaudreau had three assists, including setting up the game winner, so let’s go with him. And stick-tap to Smith, who made 33 saves and was very sharp when he wasn’t screened.

The Turning Point

Gotta go with the Hamilton goal, as Little Brother Dougie got his second game-winner in as many games. (Clearly Freddie was the problem.)

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Stone 68.2 25.0 0.425
Brouwer 66.7 15.4 0.540
Backlund 65.2 18.2 0.360
Tkachuk 63.6 18.2 0.425
Lazar 54.6 40.0 0.180
Brodie 54.6 44.4 0.175
Mangiapane 50.0 40.0 0.150
Kulak 50.0 22.2 0.225
Giordano 50.0 18.2 0.950
Jankowski 50.0 0.0 -0.085
Hamonic 50.0 40.0 -0.125
Hathaway 46.7 0.0 -0.200
Bennett 46.7 0.0 0.015
Monahan 43.5 44.4 1.790
Gaudreau 41.7 44.4 1.825
Stajan 41.7 40.0 0.005
Hamilton 40.0 18.2 0.825
Ferland 39.1 57.1 1.665
Smith 1.800

This and That

The Flames are now on a four-game winning streak, their longest of the year.

The Drive to 95 (Points)

The Flames now have 48 points with 40 games remaining. They need 47 points over their remaining schedule – the equivalent of a 23-16-1 record to hit the 95 point mark that’ll probably be the playoff cut-off.

Up Next

The Flames (22-16-4) are off to Florida, where they play the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday and the less-hot Florida Panthers on Friday.

  • Captain Ron

    I think the title should be Flames nearly blow it but salvage a win in OT. Until this team gets a PP worth talking about they are going to continue to make things tough on themselves.

    • Jobu

      Jobu will repeat himself here. Lately the Flames power play has given up more scoring chances than generated. Playing one player high exposes us and teams have taken notice. It would be a different story if the PP was effective in this format, but its not. Plain and simple, the power play needs to change either in style or in personnel. I’m tired of seeing the broken record/tire fire. Coaches need to swallow their pride, admit it doesn’t work and move on before it costs us.

      • Captain Ron

        You nailed it Jobu! It is ridiculous that with the level of talent we can put on the ice on at least PP 1 that they are not more productive on the PP. We could be top ten in the league for sure. They are way too passive on the PP!

  • Ludis Fanaticus

    Since the inception of the shoot out 96 points has got you into the playoffs 96% of the time.
    Only the Eastern Conference in 2014/15 required more points. In that year, you needed 97 points.

    The Flames have averaged 11.43 points every 10 games, so far, this season.

    The Flames have 40 games left.
    12 points every 10 games, gets us to 96.

    That’s doesn’t seem like an insurmountable improvement.

    • What’s the point anyway? It will be another four game sweep and still no first, There are no three on threes or shootouts in the playoffs, if they can’t win at five on five, in regulation, and can’t score on their pp chances, what difference does 4 extra games in April matter? And yet BT of Boston pizza royalty still won’t at least replace the guy in charge of motivating his special teams.

      • Cfan in Van

        Yeah, probably shouldn’t try for the playoffs then. Hey, if they decided to forfeit the remainder of the games, they could probably get a decent pick… Hell of a plan.

    • Jobu

      The only caveat is that this year has shown more parity than most years prior. A lot more teams are in the thick of it, resulting in a lot of teams likely ending around the 96 point mark. Might not be enough this year.

      Lets aim for 100, just in case. 🙂

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Winning goal tonight showed the difference between a young Gaudreau and a young Gretzky. Johnny was being raped by Zucker but he never gave up on the play. He was down but he bounced up, kept possession of the puck, hung on to it, waited, dished it off to Dougie. Game, set and match. In contrast, a young Gretzky would have lay flailing on the ice chirping at the refs to call a penalty.

    Imagine the points Johnny would have put up in ’80s hockey.

    • BendingCorners

      I used to watch the young Gretzky. Trying to hit him was like squeezing fog. Players just ended up looking silly while he scored on a backhand or passed to whomever for an open-net tap-in.
      But Johnny would have lit up the scoreboard probably like Dionne did – 130 points per year.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        Ever wonder why Gretzky picked up the nickname “whiner?” It took the young Gretzky a few years to learn to play the NHL game the right way and he couldn’t have done so without a massive amount of tutelage from captain Lee Fogolin.

        • BendingCorners

          You’re funny. He never stopped whining. Scored 137 points in his first season and peaked at 215 points. Pretty sure he knew the right way to play from the get-go.

      • oilcanboyd

        The Smythe Division back in the Gretzky era was the run and gun division. In our cup year, for example, 4 Flames had more than a point per game; 5’9″ oey Mullen had 51 goals and 59 assists and 110 pts!

    • Al Rain

      How about picture Gaudreau in the dead puck, clutch and grab era – he wouldn’t have made it out of college hockey.

      He wasn’t playing in the 80s, he’s playing now, which is kind of great. Let’s just enjoy it.

    • oddclod

      Johhny is a puck God. But not yet scoring 50-100% more than his peers in a season. Nice try. Gretzky was the most dominant athlete of all time in any sport. In comparison to peers if he was a home run hitter he’d have hit 150 homers a year. If he were a running back he’d have 3500 yards rushing a year. If he were a basketball player he’d average 70 points a game. Soccer, 2 goals every game. Again, Nice try. Johnny knows hockey but there’s only one Great One. That sai, I have seen Gretzky like awareness in his game and his skills are Simply a marvel to watch and I’m grateful he’s in our silks. Can’t wait for Phillips.

        • Broken

          No disrespect to Orr, but he played in the most watered-down era ever, where the NHL went from six to twelve to fourteen in three seasons. If you think I’m exaggerating, just take a quick look at the top scorers the last season prior to expansion to the season Vancouver and Buffalo joined (making it fourteen teams).
          The top ten scorers in 66/67 compiled 267 goals (677 total points), in 70/71 the top ten scorers accounted for 400 goals and a combined 1001 points. The explosion in goals and points in the top ten (and it would be similar if you look top 20, top 30 etc) didn’t come as a result of the top half of NHL rosters getting better, it was because the bottom half of NHL rosters got far worse.

    • BalzacFlames

      Stupid comment. Gaudreau couldn’t HANDle the hand slashes last year and you want to transplant him into the 80’s..like my Pappy says “If your Aunt had balls, she’d be your Uncle.”

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Wild are losing out on a major gimmick at their home rink. When they score, a klaxon goes off. Really exciting! I hear that at practically ever rink. They are in a unique position to borrow from the old Batman TV series from the ’60s. When legendary film director Otto Preminger took his turn as the infamous Mr. Freeze, his catchphrase was “Wild!” How cool would it be when the Wild score to hear, “Wild” being said again and again just as Preminger said it in the show?


  • RKD

    I guess Gulutzan should go on more tirades, last season he called his players out and they won 10 in a row, this year he dropped 12 curses and threw a stick 13 rows up in practice and they win 4 in a row, lol!

  • Calgarycandle

    Flames are now a season-best six games above .500, so the good play of the last 10 or so games is paying off. They are only 5 points behind LA (they have 48 to LA’s 53), so they could conceivably battle it out for second in the Pacific with the three California teams.

    As good as the O zone Gaudreau is, I was not happy with his battle on the first Wild goal although he certainly made up for it in ot. Ferland’s second no-look pass in two games was a thing of beauty. His peripheral vision is amazing.

    Tampa up next then Florida (Rittich) which is making a run. I’d be delighted with a split in those two games.

    • cberg

      Though we’ve seen some bad reffing over the years, it seems like it is getting worse. JG was tackled twice on the same OT sequence and zero calls. During the game there were also multiple very marginal if not phantom penalties called. I wonder if anyone is watching, or has started to compile bad calls or non-calls across the league? I would be very interested to see the data. Is there not any accountability for the refs in this league? These so very blatant misses are a huge black eye for the league as they give ammunition to the many that want to use reffing as an excuse, and raises the spectre of league favouritism for certain teams and outcomes. That said, glad the Flames battled through and won in spite of the refs.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Johnny is awesome but he not going to win many board battles. The PP is going to burry us. Janko is quickly becoming our best defensive forward… His composure under pressure is impressive. He definately has some bite to his game. Hathaway had about 4 minutes less ice time than his linemates…maybe try Mangi. Stajan had another good game.

      • Hockey for life

        “Mark Jankowski (27:12, 1 GA) and Garnet Hathaway (14:28, 0 GA) have combined for 41:40 of SH ice time with only 1 PP goal against. #Flames PK was 29th when Jankowski started killing penalties on Nov. 15. Since that point, with Hathaway eventually joining him, Calgary ranks 13th.”

        • Grayone

          Terrific point HfL! The eye test seemed to point in that direction but the data strongly confirms. The looooong wait has been worth it and his teaming with Hathaway really augers well going forward. Just outta curiosity I would really like to see Mangi play with them just to see ‘what if ‘ …. I am a bit surprised that that hasn’t happened.

          A question: has any Stockton call-up not done well with the Flames? WW, I know Huska has been target for you but it would appear that he is developing players very well … just sayin’.

          • Jobu

            Yeah, a lot of the Huska haters (you know who you are) have STFU about him since his team now leads his AHL division, and his top players are seemlessly rocking the NHL.

  • Sven

    Earlier this season the Flames would skate against inferior sides
    # Oilers
    and lose sight of the fact that they were the more talented team

    Earlier this season the Flames would blow a third period lead – and lose in overtime

    recently the Flames have started to believe in themselves

    now they line up against inferior sides – and the dominate them
    # Vancouver

    now they blow third period leads – and they win in overtime

    Now Mike Smith keeps them close in most every game – and if they keep it close –
    they will win more than their fair share

    and when it gets into overtime…..

    ESPN November 17th

    “Simply put: Gaudreau is the best 3-on-3 player in the NHL today. Johnny Hockey has four goals and seven assists for 11 points in 41:43, a league-best 15.93 points per 60 minutes for players with at least 30 minutes in the 3-on-3. He has been on the ice for 11 goals for and just one goal against, which is remarkable. In overtime, size matters not. ”

    Roll on Johnny G

    Roll on Flames

  • cgyokgn

    From the highlights I watched, Smith made numerous spectacular saves and kept them in the game. It’s great to see the chemistry on the first line… beautiful anticipation and passing on their goals. Tampa Bay is going to be a huge test… would be great to get ar least a point.

  • Score When I like Nieuwendyk

    The Flames are successful at three on three overtime because these highly skilled players are far better when they can just react and play hockey rather than being mentally bogged down trying to remember Guletzan’s complicated playbook…
    Coach Guletzan can’t take any credit for their overtime success, because its the one time of the game the players are in absolute control.

  • Intercourse the Penguins

    Gosh. It sure seems like Douglas Hamilton is sulking since Frederick Hamilton was waived. Maybe we should trade him to pheenicks for Duclair and their entire AHL franchise.

  • Score When I like Nieuwendyk

    Guletzan is doing a lot of damage.
    I just hope Guletzan doesn’t ruin the enthusiasm Mangiapane was showing early on in his call up to the big squad.

  • Eggs Bennett

    @ Why do you want my name?
    You remind me of a certain Raffydog that we used to have around here… not sure if he/she got banned, decided to grow up, or return under a different alias. You provide unconstructive opinions, you are condescending, and you are childish. The only difference between you and Raffy is that you cheer your own post. Good luck in life buddy.

  • buts

    Smith is the MVP so far this season by a country mile. Janko and Hathaway have improved our PK immensely …..he coach’s a pk needs speed duh! I’m hard on Dougie for sure….the guy is huge, a behemoth, trust me I’ve stood beside him, he’s 6’6″ 230lbs, if only he would get nasty, raise his compete defensively, because we know he can score. We need a more physical defense overall. Having said that if BT did trade him I’m sure he could get a first round pick plus more and make room for some of our D in Stockton.

    • BalzacFlames

      I disagree. I am not one to give an MVP to the guy with the most points etc, but Johnny G has been the driving force behind this team this year. He has Sean Monahan looking like a legitimat goal scoring #1 center, he has Ferland looking like a top 6 forward and the team is rolling when Johnny is. Smith was MVP the first month and a bit but the Flames are now getting more team wins than him stealing games.

      • buts

        Without goaltending you have nothing, I don’t care if you have a all-star team….it starts in net if you want any success. Obviously you have never played hockey on any team.

  • oilcanboyd

    “Why the Flames Won” should be “Why the Flames Gave Up a Loser Point”.

    Really bad Power Play! 0 for 5 on the power play..Fix this ASAP. Shuffle the coaching staff even, better yet, FIRE Cameron!