39David Rittich
Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Two out of three ain’t bad

The Calgary Flames completed their Central Division road trip in Denver on Saturday night. After allowing two goals in the opening 2:40 of the game, they roared back and beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in overtime.

The Rundown

Things looked bad early, as the Avalanche scored twice on consecutive TJ Brodie shifts. 11 seconds in, Sean Monahan couldn’t complete a clearing pass. Mikko Rantanen stole it, shot it at David Rittich, and Nathan MacKinnon beat Brodie to the loose rebound to make it 1-0. A couple minutes later Brodie whiffed on a bouncing clearing pass, allowing JT Compher to go top shelf with the puck to go up 2-0.

The Flames recovered and pressed, but couldn’t bury anything. Shots were 17-10 Avalanche and chances were 12-7 Avalanche.

The Flames kept pressing in the second and Sam Bennett got rewarded for going to the net – like you’re supposed to, kids – and buried the rebound off an initial Mikael Backlund shot to reduce the deficit to 2-1.

Shots were 16-7 Flames, chances 9-4 Flames.

The third was even more tilted towards the Flames, as the Avalanche went into a defensive shell and tried to run out the clock. But Elias Lindholm jumped onto the ice as Bill Peters pulled Rittich for the extra attacker. Lindholm waltzed into the Avalanche zone, stole the puck from Matt Nieto and beat Semyon Varlamov with a low wrister to make it 2-2.

Shots 12-3 Flames, chances 9-0 Flames.

In extra time Monahan made up for his whiff in the first 11 seconds of the game, springing Johnny Gaudreau for a breakaway. Gaudreau beat Varlamov five-hole to finish the comeback. 3-2 Flames was the final score.

Shots were 2-0 Flames in overtime.

Why the Flames Won

They were a bit iffy in their own zone, again, but they didn’t wilt under pressure when they got down by a pair. They kept playing their game, wildly out-chanced the Avalanche, and eventually were rewarded for their efforts.

Red Warrior

Rittich made his first start and was full marks after a shaky first 2:40. He stopped the final 22 shots he faced and was really good early in this game when Colorado was trying to make it 3-0.

Stick-taps to Bennett, Gaudreau and Lindholm for their strong games.

The Turning Point

Lindholm’s game-tying goal tied this thing up and seemed to deflate the Avalanche. They were shaky before then, and then they collapsed.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
For%
OZone
Start%
Game
Score
Bennett 83.3 71.4 1.425
Backlund 75.0 55.6 1.775
Valimaki 74.2 80.0 1.050
Neal 72.7 50.0 0.650
Stone 72.4 70.0 1.550
Dube 68.8 25.0 0.345
Czarnik 68.2 50.0 0.590
Giordano 67.9 28.6 0.700
Jankowski 66.7 75.0 0.085
Tkachuk 65.6 62.5 0.775
Brodie 62.5 37.5 1.075
Hathaway 60.0 80.0 -0.050
Lindholm 57.1 50.0 1.100
Monahan 54.6 66.7 0.960
Ryan 53.3 50.0 0.060
Andersson 50.0 63.6 0.200
Gaudreau 48.4 66.7 1.225
Hanifin 46.2 58.3 -0.075
Rittich 0.900
Smith

This and That

Peters busted out the line blender after the first 20 minutes. The trios for the remainder of the game were: Gaudreau-Monahan-Tkachuk, Bennett-Backlund-Neal, Dube-Lindholm-Czarnik and Ryan-Jankowski-Hathaway. The defensive pairings weren’t tweaked.

Rittich seemed to know Gaudreau was going to score on the OT breakaway:

Up Next

The Flames (3-2-0) head home tonight after taking two of the three games on their road trip. They’re off tomorrow, then head back to the practice ice on Monday. They host the Boston Bruins at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday night.

  • Off the wall

    So happy for Bennett. He was ferocious out there!
    What a win for the Flames.

    Rittich held the fort down, while Lindholm and Gaudreau put the win back into our column.

    Great effort team!

      • Off the wall

        Haha Skylar.
        Every single woman at the movie was quietly sobbing at the end of the movie. (A Star is Born) My wife included. It was quite the sight to behold. Talk about awkward moments.

        While I was reading the previous comments on here I thought I was back at the theatre. We might need to hand out crying towels for our FN members. It’s like reading a PMS diary. Sorry ladies.

        I knew we’d win.
        I’ll accept a simple thank you for my sacrifice…

  • Chiz

    I don’t remember ever rooting for a player to succeed as much as I do with Bennett. Everyone needs to forget where he was drafted and respect the effort and grit he brings on every shift

  • Skylardog

    Brodie had a rough start, but has been solid other than that this season. Bennett is back to the form he was in during his year with Hartley.

    The 2 guys that seemed to pay the highest price for GG being here appear to be excelling under BP.

  • Calgarycandle

    Nice to see Peters use his timeout after the first two. Settled things down in a way GG seldom did. Admire his ability to shake lines up. Trusts his rookies. Andersson was out in the last minute. Solid PK against a very strong home PP. Great that Bennett scored, but he is finding an identity as a physical force. PP is a work in progress, but Mony hit a post and it looked dangerous. Rittich seems like he can do well in the backup role (1 game in 5) as long as Smith doesn’t go down. Flames didn’t wilt even though they had every reason to after the first three minutes.

    GFG!!!

    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      Classic Rittich. Really hope he gets more starts (like the next one). BP has specifically stated that he doesn’t “like guys sitting too long”, so hopefully he stays true to that

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Man it looked like we were going to have to settle for a moral victory after coming so close…but this a different team. I did not notice Dube but Janko needs to be 3C. Dube may be injured but I think he will end up in the AHL this season.

    • mrroonie

      The way the lines ended up for the last 2 periods, it looks like Lindholm is the new 3C with Dube and Czarnik on his wings. Until he learns to win as many or more faceoffs as he loses, Janko is at best a 4th line winger on the Flames as Ryan has the 4C spot nailed down. I’m assuming that the reason you didn’t notice Dube is that you weren’t looking in the dirty areas, somewhere Janko avoids as much as possible.

  • +pepper

    Love the articles and comments on Flamesnation. I’ve been following for a few years, but first time posting. Great win for Flames! I am really excited about our team this year!

  • Korcan

    Calgary deserved to win this one. Apart from the first period (more specifically, the first three minutes) they were the far better team. Thankfully Lindholm finally solved Varlamov or it would have been a tragic end to a very solid effort.

    Apart from Brodie’s first three minutes, the defensive pairings looked very good. Andersson seems to be adapting to the speed of the NHL and appeared to gain confidence as the game wore on.

    Nice to see Bennett finally get rewarded! He has been playing great and it looks like Neal’s game is starting to round into form as well. They looked dangerous, with Backlund at center, all night long.

    Lindholm is proving this trade with Carolina to be a steal for Calgary. He is so well rounded and now, playing with better linemates, we are seeing his offensive potential starting to show. Actually, all of the additions made this summer have contributed to really changing the dynamic and character of this team. It is a fun team to watch and one that no longer gives up on games.

    Finally, i love how Rittich never folded after those first two goals, but hung in there and battled til his teammates were finally able to claw back into it and get him the win. Very happy for his character win.

    A great, great game and very successful (and encouraging) road trip.

  • Joeyhere

    That reminded me of Hartley’s “find a way”Flames because they showed lots of heart but now we have way more talent. Heck we even have a coach now who knows when to call a time out. Great character win and fun for fans to watch!

  • Atomic Clown

    Lindholm is probably the most all rounded player I’ve seen on the flames in a long time. Great hands, great shot, fantastic hockey IQ, great two-way game. Bennett was a man possessed tonight, he was tolerating absolutely zero bs tonight. Neal is starting to pick him his play, and you can see glimpses of a veteran pest. Put Byng on a line with Bennett and Neal. Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war

  • kipper2004

    This type of finish to a game and overtime win is exactly what the doctor ordered. Although BP has better forwards this year, i can’t help but notice that BP has a waaaayyyy better read of the game play and player managment than GG, its just so obvious.

    Now the question is, do you give Rittich the next start? I’m guessing they go back to Smith

  • Justthateasy

    I like how Brodie got his confidence back and played like we know he can for the rest of the game. I like how the fourth line more or less turned the game around and hemmed in Colorado’s first line. I would like to see Raz finish his check a lot more.
    3 stars Bennett Rittich and Gaudreau.

  • PasstheDube

    Nice to see a little resiliency from the team. Maybe a little of that #neverquit attitude from a few years ago is still in this team.
    After a bit of a rough start (though I don’t think you could fault him on either of the Avs goals) Rittich held the fort and kept the team in.
    Bennett finally gets rewarded. I really think this could be his breakout year where he finally lives up to potential.

  • Garry T

    Great win. Rittich won.Should go in against Boston. Have to tighten up big time start of games. They have time to work on that Monday and Tuesday. Go Flames, go Benny,

  • RKD

    This is why Lindholm was brought in sometimes he may fly under the radar but he’s good at face offs and has 4 goals in 5 games already. He came through in a big moment. Benny needs to have more games like this if he wants to stay a Flame.