108Elias Lindholm
Photo Credit: Russell LaBounty/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames score nine goals, beat Columbus

The Calgary Flames weren’t great in the first period of Tuesday night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. But their talented players flipped the switch for the final 40 minutes. In a game that was defined by sloppy defensive play on both sides, the Flames beat the Blue Jackets by a 9-6 score.

The Rundown

The Flames opened the scoring early, with Johnny Gaudreau taking a drop pass from Sean Monahan and beating Sergei Bobrovsky with a wrist shot that made it 1-0 Calgary.

But the Jackets answered back. The Flames spent awhile hemmed into their own end and finally broke out, but they lost the puck in the neutral zone. Alexander Wennberg jumped on the loose puck and drove into the Flames zone. David Rittich made the initial save, but the puck rebounded into the slot where Zack Werenski buried it into the open net to make it 1-1.

Later in the period, with Mark Giordano serving a penalty, the Blue Jackets won a corner battle for the puck then fed Josh Anderson in the high slot. He used Mark Jankowski as a screen and beat Rittich inside the post (stick-side) to make it 2-1 Columbus.

Cam Atkinson made it 3-1 with 18 seconds left in the first period, beating Rittich with a wrister off the rush (on another neutral zone turnover) that found a hole in Rittich.

Shots were 14-9 Jackets and scoring chances 8-4 Jackets.

Mike Smith came into the game to relieve Rittich to start the second, and gave up a goal in the first minute of the period. Artemi Panarin fed Atkinson off the rush and Atkinson beat Smith over the shoulder to make it a 4-1 lead for Columbus.

Brandon Dubinsky got called for hooking 1:50 into the second. After that, the Flames seemingly flipped a switch and started burying every single good chance they had. 25 seconds into the Dubinsky penalty, Monahan deflected a Mark Giordano shot past Bobrovsky to make it 4-2 Columbus.

Less than a minute later, Elias Lindholm beat Bobrovsky off the rush after a nice feed from Travis Hamonic gave him a great lane to the net. That cut the Jackets’ lead to 4-3.

Midway through the period the Flames got another power play goal. Lindholm’s initial chance was stopped by Bobrovsky, but Matthew Tkachuk got a stick on the loose rebound in a scramble and scored to tie the game at 4-4.

Less than a minute later, Tkachuk found Noah Hanifin creeping into the slot with a crazy between-the-legs pass – the first time that move has actually worked in a competitive game – and Hanifin put it in the wide-open net to give the Flames a 5-4 lead.

Another minute later Gaudreau was stopped by Bobrovsky on a breakaway, but TJ Brodie swooped into the slot and bonked in the rebound to make it a 6-4 lead for the Flames.

But before the period ended Nick Foligno took advantage of a neutral zone turnover and beat Smith high on a breakaway to cut Calgary’s lead to 6-5.

Shots were 14-9 Flames and chances 6-5 Flames in the second period.

After killing off a spillover penalty from the second period, the Flames scored another power play marker in the third to make it 7-5. Giordano’s slap shot was blocked, but Monahan put the rebound past Bobrovsky.

The Flames got some breathing room off a really nice play. Giordano sprung Gaudreau and Monahan into the Columbus zone with a long pass. In two on two, Gaudreau waited out the defenders and then beat Bobrovsky five-hole to make it 8-5.

That ended Bobrovsky’s night, replaced by Joonas Korpisalo. Atkinson competed his hat trick with a deflection goal to make it 8-6, but Austin Czarnik made it 9-6 with a great individual effort to cap off the game’s scoring.

Shots were 7-6 Columbus and chances 7-5 Columbus in the third.

Why the Flames Won

The Flames were on their heels for the first period (or so) and deservedly trailed 4-1. But they made adjustments and really held their own for the rest of the night against a good team.

This game boiled down to this: the Flames’ best players were better than Columbus’ best players. They weren’t perfect – they gave up six goals, after all – but they were good enough to get two points. Case in point: the Flames’ power play out-scored Columbus’ 3-1.

Red Warrior

Let’s go with Gaudreau, who had four points and was dialed-in offensively. But Monahan, Lindholm, Backlund, Tkachuk, Giordano and Brodie all had strong games as well.

The Turning Point

Let’s go with that three minute stretch in the middle of the second period where the Flames scored three goals, swinging the game from being 4-3 Columbus to being 6-4 Flames. They held the lead for the remainder of the game.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
For%
OZone
Start%
Game
Score
Jankowski 56.3 83.3 0.780
Hamonic 51.4 42.9 1.850
Tkachuk 50.0 100 2.400
Hanifin 48.7 33.3 1.250
Backlund 48.4 100 1.265
Lindholm 47.4 54.6 2.290
Andersson 47.1 100 -0.050
Bennett 46.2 50.0 -0.190
Brodie 46.2 41.7 1.150
Gaudreau 45.8 50.0 3.750
Neal 44.4 71.4 0.235
Monahan 43.5 46.2 3.360
Mangiapane 40.9 71.4 -0.350
Hathaway 40.0 25.0 -0.350
Czarnik 38.9 75.0 0.620
Prout 33.3 100 -0.550
Giordano 33.3 36.4 1.400
Ryan 12.5 25.0 -0.580
Rittich -1.150
Smith -0.950

This and That

The Flames’ five-goal second period was their fourth period with five (or more) goals this season. The other 30 NHL teams combined have done it three times.

Up Next

The Flames (17-9-2) head home tonight. They host the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.