81Oliver Kylington
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Depleted Flames triumph over Predators

The Calgary Flames entered Saturday night’s game against the Nashville Predators missing a couple key pieces, namely captain Mark Giordano and two-way center Mikael Backlund. But playing against a similarly depleted Predators roster, the Flames merely stuck to their game-plan, relied on their depth, and grinded out a 5-2 victory over Nashville.

The Rundown

The opening 20 minutes were very scrambly, with both teams getting decent looks but a lot of plays falling apart just inside the offensive bluelines on both sides. The Flames opened the scoring 72 seconds in, though, as after an initial scoring chance fell apart Elias Lindholm found Oliver Kylington sliding into the slot. Kylington’s wrister beat Juuse Saros to make it 1-0 Flames.

But the Predators tied things up with 53 seconds left in the first. Roman Josi laid a saucer pass towards the Flames net which just got past TJ Brodie and dropped at the right time for Colton Sissons to get a stick on it for a slight redirect past Mike Smith. That made it a 1-1 hockey game.

Shots were 7-4 Predators and chances 5-4 Predators in the first period.

The second period was more of the same, with both teams afraid to give the other too much time or space. Nashville was content to clog things up in the neutral zone and in the middle of the ice, while the Flames tried their best to create off the rush but kept making one pass too many – or had passes hit skates.

But the Flames took the lead late in the second period. Travis Hamonic’s rim-around from the point was held in the zone by Noah Hanifin, who chipped the puck below the hashmarks to Sean Monahan. With no Predators between him and Saros, Monahan drove the net and chipped the puck over Saros to make it 2-1 Flames.

Shots were 12-8 Flames and chances 8-6 Flames in the second.

54 seconds into the third period, Nashville even things up off a rough goal for Smith. Craig Smith shot the puck from the far side of the faceoff circles and it hit Smith and dribbled through him, just trickling over the goal line to make it a 2-2 hockey game.

But the Flames retook the lead midway through the period off a faceoff win. Derek Ryan won the puck back to Kylington, who teed it up for Matthew Tkachuk at the point. His shot was tipped by Garnet Hathaway past Saros to make it 3-2 Flames.

Playing in his first game as a Flame, Alan Quine added some insurance a few minutes later. He dangled into the slot and back-handed the puck over Saros to make it 4-2.

Elias Lindholm added an empty-netter to make it a 5-2 final.

Shots were 12-9 Predators, but chances were 9-5 Flames in the third period.

Why the Flames Won

Despite missing some key pieces, the Flames got contributions from all areas of their lineup. They got four goals at even strength from three of their forward lines, and even the line that didn’t score made things happen. They didn’t slump when Nashville scored and they just kept rolling along, as they seemingly have for much of this season so far.

Red Warrior

Kylington. He had a tremendous game in all three zones, making smart decisions and especially making good things happen with the puck.

But this was a game where a lot of players did a lot of good things that snowballed as the game went along.

The Turning Point

The go-ahead goal gave the Flames their lead back, but also allowed them to erase Smith’s dribbler that tied things up a few minutes prior. From there they kept things rolling and were able to cement a big victory.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
For%
OZone
Start%
Game
Score
Prout 72.7 85.7 0.900
Czarnik 66.7 50.0 0.415
Kylington 62.1 85.7 2.200
Ryan 59.1 77.8 0.390
Gaudreau 57.1 50.0 2.150
Quine 54.6 50.0 1.045
Lindholm 53.9 60.0 1.840
Monahan 53.3 50.0 2.020
Bennett 52.9 50.0 0.060
Tkachuk 52.2 77.8 0.600
Neal 51.9 50.0 0.300
Hanifin 51.7 57.1 1.025
Mangiapane 50.0 60.0 0.125
Hamonic 47.2 57.1 1.000
Hathaway 47.1 100 0.975
Jankowski 45.8 60.0 0.140
Andersson 44.8 50.0 0.525
Brodie 43.3 50.0 -0.225
Smith 1.000
Rittich

This and That

Bill Peters fired up his Line Shuffle Machine to open the second period. He kept the first line (Gaudreau-Monahan-Lindholm) and the third line (Mangiapane-Jankowski-Neal) together, but swapped the other two lines around. Matthew Tkachuk played with Derek Ryan and Garnet Hathaway, while Sam Bennett, Alan Quine and Austin Czarnik made up the other trio.

This was Mark Jankowski’s 100th NHL game.

Up Next

The Flames (19-9-2) are off to Edmonton. They face the Oilers in a Battle of Alberta rematch on Sunday night at Rogers Place.

  • canadian1967

    In Honor of Mark Jankowski’s 100th NHL Game, I would like to fire off a big “Eff you, Ryan Lambert, you know nothing Hack”!
    Still waiting for the FN article authored by that Fool so we can all have a good laugh.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      I don’t think he has any tenure in the Nation these days. He still posts insulting tweets on Twitter about the Flames.
      Much like the former HB blogger.

    • Captain Ron

      Lambert was the biggest hack we were ever subjected to on this site. It’s no surprise that he didn’t last around here. I remember challenging him on several occasions regarding Janko and at the end of the day it is gratifying to know that we were right and he was wrong about him.

    • FLT

      I wasn’t a fan of Lambert’s writing here either, but in his defence there was a long stretch where it didn’t look like Jankowski would amount to anything at the NHL level. At the time I didn’t think he would either.

      Im very happy to have been wrong about that though, good on Janko for making it so.

    • Albertabeef

      Sheltered vs not sheltered? Not to take anything away from Kylington but Brods plays against top 6 while the rookie gets bottom 6 to play against. I’ve never seen a player play a perfect game, and do it every game. It never happens. Can’t win every game with a shut out either. Why nitpick? We won, we’re in first place in the west. We are in a five game winning streak, Flames look great, why not just be happy? 🙂

  • FLT

    Pike – really appreciate you banging out the post-game summaries so quick after each game. Not that they were ever bad but your posts have improved dramatically since you started here. Well done.

  • FlamesFan27

    I’m going to the game tonight. Can’t wait. Both teams are playing well, and we may have an actual Battle of Alberta on our hands. And my wife gave me an early Christmas present to wear tonight – a brand new Tkachuk jersey. I know how much he is loved in Edmonton, so I might take a few barbs! Go Flames!