Post-Game: Flames hold on to cool the Jets

Several times this season, the Calgary Flames have had to claw their way into a game after chasing the opposition. For the second time in as many games, they spotted themselves an early lead and held on. On Wednesday night they beat the Winnipeg Jets by a 6-3 score.

The Rundown

The Flames were caught off-guard early, as Brandon Tanev scored 15 seconds into the contest. He caught Austin Czarnik a bit flat-footed, managing to get both an initial shot and grab his own rebound to beat Davd Rittich. That gave Winnipeg an early 1-0 lead.

But less than two minutes later, the Flames answered back after a strong shift from their fourth line. Mark Jankowski found Dillon Dube with a pass from below the goal line and the rookie jammed the puck home to make it 1-1.

A few minutes later the Flames took the lead on a very smart play by Matthew Tkachuk. Connor Hellebuyck lost his stick on a prior scoring chance and the Jets defenders whiffed on an attempted clear, putting the puck on Tkachuk’s stick on the right side of the slot. Recognizing that Hellebuyck had no stick, Tkachuk passed to Sam Bennett on the left side of the slot and his wrister beat the Jets netminder to make it 2-1 Flames.

The Flames made it 3-1 off another smart play. Tkachuk noticed a line change for the Jets and merely went for a skate through the neutral zone. He uncorked a wrist shot from just inside the Jets blueline that eluded Hellebuyck to extended the Calgary lead to two goals.

That goal spelled the end of Hellebuyck’s evening, as he was relieved by backup Laurent Brossoit. Mark Jankowski made it 4-1 shortly thereafter, going for a wrap-around and having his shot glance into the net off Tyler Myers’ skate.

Late in the period, Gaudreau scored with a wrist shot off the rush to make it 5-1 Flames.

Shots were 14-9 Flames and scoring chances 11-4 Flames in the opening period.

The Flames sat back a bit in the second period, as the Jets came out angry – like a team who were down four goals after 20 minutes. They had three big penalty kills in the period, but Patrik Laine scored off a one-timer just after the third penalty expired late in the period to cut the Calgary lead to 5-2.

Shots were 17-3 Jets and chances 10-3 Jets.

The Jets cut the lead to 5-3 Flames off another Laine one-timer, this time on a power play. Elias Lindholm nearly cleared the puck out of the Flames zone, but his stick exploded as he swung to clear the zone. The puck stayed in, Lindholm scampered off to grab a replacement stick from the bench, and in that short time window Laine corked one past Rittich.

The Jets nearly made it 5-4, but the goal was called back due to goaltender interference – a Jets player cut across the top of the Flames crease and took Rittich’s foot out from under him immediately before the shot. The Jets challenged the no-goal call, but the call stood and the game remained 5-3.

But that’s as close as the Jets managed to get. Derek Ryan added an empty-netter to make it a 6-3 final. Shots were 14-9 Jets and chances were 7-6 Flames in the third period.

Why the Flames Won

This was basically two games for the Flames. The Jets were jumpy and fairly porous defensively in the first period and the Flames took advantage of every defensive lapse. In the other two periods the Jets played hungry, desperate hockey. The Flames weren’t amazing defensively – once score effects have hold of you, it’s hard to break free of them – but they got good enough goaltending when they needed it to eke this one out.

Red Warrior

Let’s go with Rittich, who was the most consistently good Flames player overall. Honourable mention to the fourth line of Jankowski, Hathaway and Dube, who did a surprisingly good job generating scoring chances against the Jets.

The Turning Point

Tkachuk’s wrist shot goal chased Hellebuyck from the game and gave the Flames some much-needed breathing room, ensuring a bad bounce wouldn’t make things close.

And let’s not discount the goal review on the disallowed fourth Jets goal. It gave the Flames a bit of time to reset when they were running around a bit in their own end.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Jankowski 53.9 28.6 1.940
Giordano 53.3 76.9 0.625
Bennett 52.2 81.8 1.610
Dube 50.0 28.6 0.875
Brodie 50.0 83.3 0.850
Neal 47.8 100 0.050
Hanifin 47.1 30.0 0.725
Hathaway 46.2 42.9 0.800
Backlund 45.8 83.3 0.470
Andersson 45.5 57.1 0.200
Tkachuk 43.5 71.4 1.975
Gaudreau 43.3 66.7 1.650
Monahan 42.9 66.7 0.985
Czarnik 42.1 33.3 -0.175
Ryan 42.1 25.0 0.605
Hamonic 40.0 44.4 -0.225
Lindholm 39.1 66.7 0.415
Valimaki 34.8 60.0 -0.225
Rittich 1.450

This and That

The Flames received five first period goals from five different players (representing four different draft classes).

Bennett left the game briefly in the third period after blocking a shot with his right arm. He returned to the game, though.

Up Next

The Flames (13-8-1) practice tomorrow, then head off to scenic Las Vegas. They play the Vegas Golden Knights with an early 4 p.m. MT Black Friday start on Friday afternoon.

    • Off the wall

      I think Peters is getting a little concerned as well.
      Both Neal and Czarnik only had 3 shifts in the 3rd period and were the only minus players in the entire game.

      Only about 9 minutes for either player.

      I wonder if Peters actually benches Neal for a game?
      It certainly wouldn’t hurt, other than his ego..

        • Lazarus

          I’m not concerned. He isn’t hurting the club and sure he’s not putting up the goals or points he is being paid for but the team is winning. Enjoy it.
          Sometimes it takes time for a player to find his footing in a new city and Neal had played a lot the last 2 years. The team is too talented for him not to get in on the fun at some point.
          People need to chill out. It’s legal now if that helps some of you..

  • Cool Story, Brodie!!!

    Dear god Rittich is an absolute beauty. The Jets are a buzzsaw of a team and he handled them in kind. I’m expecting bigger and better things from this team moving forward..

  • RKD

    Flames are finally getting some more secondary scoring. After the 1st they sat back way too much and took way too many penalties you know Peters won’t be happy about that. Rittich was great once again.

    • Cfan in Van

      The game definitely shifted after the first, but that should be fully expected. Both quality teams, but the 5-1 score didn’t reflect the fact that the Jets are extremely good, and the Flames aren’t a five-goals-per-period team (who is?). 3 penalties, almost back to back definitely helped to shift the momentum in a huge way.

      Big ups to Rittich and the penalty killers. They did a fantastic job. I’d also like to mention that around the 6 minute mark of the 3rd, the Flames got back to their super solid fore check that was giving the Jets fits in the 1st, which staved off the Jet’s push at a crucial moment. Not perfect, but a very solid win against a very good team.

  • smatic10

    Great 1st, very scary 2nd and 3rd periods. It wasn’t so much that we stopped playing our system, it was just those penalties that allowed the scariest powerplay in the league to work its magic. So many weapons and they all move around on the ice and keep you guessing. Overall the boys contained their offense well though, I would say. Horrible luck on the Jets third goal as Lindholm was clearly going to exit the zone but his stick snapped.

    Rittich is our savior.

    The 6th goal alone shows why Ryan is a huge upgrade over Stajan. I know he hasn’t had the greatest season up to this point but on that play, he wins a crucial faceoff, helps carry the puck up the ice and his right shot on the right side helped ice the game. As great as the shutdown line is, you can’t rely on Backlund to win that faceoff. Goes to show why 20+ teams were interested in signing Ryan in the off-season.

  • The GREAT JP

    To quote for a moment if I may, lyrics cant help but ring through my ears.
    “My people we don’t know defeat we crush the strong and
    Percolate the weak daily (everyday) we make our moves to
    Improve our groove because we love to rule where we
    Lay yo!..(Yo!) work and play we started at the bottom and
    Now we’re leading the way and yea!..(yea!) I’m havin a fit kickin it
    At the top because I’m too legit to quit…sang!..
    Too legit… Too legit to quit (hey…hey…) Too legit…too
    Legit… Too legit to quit…(hey…) Too legit… Too legit to quit
    (too legit…) too legit… too legit to quit”

    MC Hammer.

  • Calgarycandle

    So nice to see some of the unsung heroes score: Dube, Bennett, Jankowski. Hopefully the floodgates open for all of them. Is it just coincidence the Flames are coming out flying in the first. Or are they confident enough to focus on the offensive end of the ice with Key Save Dave in net?

  • Jobu

    The real reason the Flames played different after the first – a constant stream of penalties and clock killing game plan.

    Jobu believes that if the team wanted to continue pressure they would by why take a chance on a hard forecheck with a 4 goal lead?

    • Flaymin Frank

      Agreed. Jets went hard with two on the deep forecheck and our guys were trying to attack with one hand on their stick. They hung in there for the win and that’s what counts.

    • Alan Trammel

      The clock killing wasnt exactly working though. Jets were pouring it on and getting tons of chances. If that 4th Jets goal had counted it wouldve been even tougher to stop them from getting the 5th witn the momentum they had. Thankfully the disallow took a bit of the wind out their sails.

  • Justthateasy

    I’m beginning to see the value in Derek Ryan. He really deserved that final goal after winning the face off and working the puck up the ice. It was nice of Johnny to let him have it. It does take some time to adjust to a new team.

    • SeanCharles

      I’ve been extremely critical of the Ryan signing but he is starting to come around and make some plays that make me appreciate him a little bit more these days.

      Here’s hoping he keeps it up.

      • Cfan in Van

        It was actually pretty funny. Dube scores and I’m shouting “YES! Man, he needed that one. Then when Bennett scores, and I’m all “YES, Benny! He needed that one too. Now we just need to get Janko a goal”. Then Janko pots one, and it’s “Well, Neal and Ryan… your turn!”

        At least Ryan got what he deserved. Neal, still looking at you buddy. It’s time.

      • Ben.

        mmmmm….good hockey skill but I lost alot of respect for him seeing that video clip of his blind-side high-speed near-head hit on Boyle.
        He has no respect for other players when he uses his 260 lb weapon and does that sorta shizzle.

    • Cfan in Van

      I’m always amazed by Buff. His skill and speed doesn’t seem mechanically possible with that frame. But it happens, and it’s mostly unstoppable. You gotta focus on sealing off his team mates, and try your best to keep him to the outside. What else can ya do?

  • Alan Trammel

    Jets are a powerhouse, I know we won the game but they were so hard to contain in the 2nd and 3rd.
    Facing them in the playoffs would make for a crazy tough/fun series.
    Also loved Rittich kissing (or talking to?) his crossbar after a shot rang off it.
    If he keeps this up he might get some Vezina consideration, wouldnt that be something!

    • Cfan in Van

      The two flukey penalties (Bennett trip, Vali delay), wouldn’t be a constant in a playoff series, and those additional penalties can’t be understated with regards to the flow of the game.
      It remains true though, I think most teams in this league are in tough against the Jets over 4-7 games. They don’t ever seem to get worse, they just get better.

    • Cfan in Van

      Just holding the fort is a huge accomplishment against that team. Stick tap to the fore-checkers late in the 3rd, for continuing where they left off in the first. At least before the goalie was pulled.

  • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

    I just have to say one last thing Bill Peters is a genius compared to Glen Gulutzan, especially when it comes to feel for a roster in game. If someone is playing well Peters is all over it, whereas GG would be sitting them to ice on the bench and would be in turn playing players heavily on their off nights. When Peters puts the lines in a blender he actually chooses players to play together with some chemistry and let’s face it GG rarely tinkered. Not to mention our third pairing if it was still GG would be Stone and Dalton Prout. I love that Peters actually has confidence in young players, it really shows and in today’s game you need young upside in the lineup at all times in a salary cap world. Valimaki, Andersson and Dube would all be in the AHL if it was GG. I am just enjoying watching the Flames so much more this year compared to the last two seasons because of coaching alone.

    • calgaryfan

      agree, Peters is on top of the game and makes changes on the go. Empty net goal Ryan on the ice for the faceoff instead of Monahan, small change but it worked.

    • Jourflamesfan

      100% agree. I hated GG as our coach more than any other coach or player past & present.
      Should not be in the nhl. Imo!
      He would make a fine salesman though…seeing as how he convinced Treliving for the flames HC job.

    • smatic10

      I especially love that he mixes up the D pairings during the game. It’s a unique thing that most coaches don’t do. And he did that tonight too, in a game that we were winning! So cool to see him throw Andersson on that top pairing or put Brodes with Hanifin or put Gio and Hammer on the PK.

      He definitely has a way better feel for his roster than GG did.

  • TheWheeze

    Wow. This is great. Been a long time, even during the Hartley years, you felt the Flames were in good hands. Not often this season did you have to yell at the screen and wonder what the hell the coach was doing. Like our Kenn doll of the past two years

    • Cfan in Van

      GG was beyond bad, so in contrast Hartley was great. But Hartley was massively limited in his ability to adjust the game they played (Live and die by stretch pass).
      We’ll never be able to make an apples-apples comparison, due to the hugely increase talent on the roster, but IMO, Peters is way better than BH, who was way better than GG.

  • Korcan

    Not related at all, but has anyone else noticed that at this point Hanafin has more points on the year than does Dougie Hamilton. AND Brodie is tied with Dougie. And we don’t even need mention how well Gio is doing. That trade is looking better by the day.

  • TKO

    Flames next 4 games:
    Vegas, Arizona, Dallas, Las Angeles
    If Calgary can avoid a swoon or stepping off the gas peddle, they can really make hay to finish out November