87Flames score on Nashville
Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames tame Predators

The Calgary Flames were a strong road team in 2017-18. They seem poised to continue that trend, as they kicked off their first major road trip of the season with a 3-0 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.

The Rundown

The Flames opened the scoring late in the first period on the power play. Instead of fussing about zone entries, Johnny Gaudreau danced around Colton Sissons and lured Anthony Bitetto over to him as he approached the net. That opened up Elias Lindholm for a pass and a nice wrist shot that beat Pekka Rinne to make it 1-0.

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Shots were 8-7 Flames, while scoring chances were 6-4 Flames.

Calgary doubled their lead in the second, again on the power play. And it came on a weird sequence. Sam Bennett knocked in a Sean Monahan rebound, but the play was whistled down because Nashville had too many men. Everyone was confused, but on the ensuing power play the Flames scored off another nice zone entry. Gaudreau entered the offensive zone with speed, passed the puck off to Matthew Tkachuk and his rebound went right to Monahan for the tap-in. That made it 2-0 Flames.

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Tkachuk and Michael Stone were both called for tripping at the same time, but the Flames killed off the full two minute five-on-three situation. Shots were 21-9 Predators and chances were 13-4 Predators.

Monahan added his second of the game early in the third period on a three-on-one rush. Mattias Ekholm attempted to defend the rush, but his sliding block deflected the puck past Rinne to make it 3-0.

Shots were 15-10 Predators and chances were 12-5 Predators.

Why the Flames Won

The Flames won the special teams battle 2-0, which is always a recipe for success. But this was also easily the best goaltending performance they’ve received so far this season. If you have good goaltending and good special teams, you can usually win.

And if you don’t, you’re probably doing something wrong.

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Red Warrior

Mike Smith made 43 saves. He was excellent. Honourable mentions to Monahan and Gaudreau, who combined for five points.

The Turning Point

The successful kill on Nashville’s five-on-three was huge. The Flames were up 2-0 and a bad bounce could’ve eaten into their lead and killed their confidence. But everyone involved was keyed in and so it ended up deflating Nashvillle instead.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Peluso 71.4 n/a 0.150
Czarnik 59.3 16.7 0.690
Tkachuk 56.7 12.5 0.975
Backlund 51.6 11.1 0.075
Brodie 48.3 13.3 0.650
Ryan 47.1 50.0 -0.050
Giordano 46.2 13.3 0.225
Gaudreau 40.0 50.0 2.000
Andersson 39.1 100 -0.025
Frolik 38.5 0.0 -0.075
Stone 37.8 40.0 -0.475
Monahan 37.5 50.0 1.760
Hanifin 37.2 36.4 -0.350
Valimaki 34.6 88.9 -0.025
Lindholm 33.3 47.1 0.425
Dube 26.3 62.5 -0.270
Bennett 26.1 55.6 -0.400
Neal 17.9 40.0 -0.825
Smith 4.300

This and That

The two goals from the first power play unit gives them five goals in the last two games.

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Austin Czarnik didn’t score, but his line continued to generate scoring chances.

Up Next

The Flames (2-1-0) continue their trek through the Central Division. They visit the Enterprise Center to face the St. Louis Blues on Thursday evening.

  • TheBear64

    Great game by the Flames. If they keep this up, they will have a great hockey season. For the first time in a long time, I’m feeling pretty optimistic about the Flames’ chances. I was wrong about not liking the trade. I’m starting to think I was wrong about feeling unsure about Peters. He seems to be making some good moves. It’s still early, and there’s lots of hockey to be played, but I like what I see so far.

    The biggest thing right now is the great play of the top line. Last year, when my Bruins played the Flames, I posted to my friends over in Stanley Cup of Chowder that the dynamic duo of Monahan and Gaudreau was every bit as good as the Marchand/Bergeron duo. The difference was, the Bruins also had Pastrnak, and once he was added to that line, lots of people started calling it “the best line in hockey”. Now I’m seeing a similar sort of impact and chemistry with the addition of Lindholm to the Mony/Gaudreau line. They may just challenge the Bruins top line for that “best line in hockey” label.

    The defense looked great tonight. Valimaki and Andersson looked really good, I think both deserve a regular spot in the lineup. The rest of the guys played a solid, responsible game, much better than the sloppiness I had noted in some of the earlier games. And how about that stupendous mullet on Ras? Haven’t seen the likes of that since a particular well-known Czeck superstar made a stop here in Calgary!

    The Flames appear to have all the pieces they need right now to be a very successful team. Hopefully they can keep up the great play that they showed this evening, and make some real noise in the NHL rankings this season.

  • Rudy27

    I found it curious that Rebar had the first line out with a minute left in the game. To me, it is more important to get Smitty the shutout than Mony a hat trick.