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
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

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.

  • Atomic Clown

    Everything else aside, I’m extremely impressed with Andersson and Kylington. Andersson is so poised with the puck, and has great positional IQ. Kylington is the best and smoothest skater after Brodie on the team. His first 3 strides are so explosive, and his breakouts are already so instant. With experience and fixing his puck carrying, he’s going to be explosive

    • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

      Yup, Kylington is starting to look like the defender that was projected to go Top. 10 for 99% of his draft year, until the spring U18s where he struggled as he was batting an injury. Funny how one tournament can change scouts life time of positive opinions of a player.

      Kylington deserves an extended stay at this point, Valimaki could use some AHL season once he’s back anyway, similar to Dube. Kylington has really paid his dues spending three years in the AHL, I think he gets the nod between the two right now for me.

      Stone’s days as a Flame are numbered. Prout is best suited to the press box as the emergency seventh man. Honesty I actually don’t mind Prout for what he is, a safe stay at home defender, he’s less risky than Engelland ever was in that role for me as a comparison.

      • cjc

        There are two major cognitive problems every fan (and more importantly scout) needs to understand: recency bias and confirmation bias. The former is when we rely on a recent performance to judge a player; the latter is when we ignore data that contradicts our initial opinion of a player and cherry pick the data that supports it.

  • Brian McGrattan's Salute

    I must say, I thought that this was one of the better or best games this team has played in two years. They all worked together as a team, faced this adversity well (injuries, mike smith’s second goal), and they pulled off a very technically sound, (mostly) low event game where they controlled play, got creative when nothing was working (Anderssons slap shot rimmed around the boards leading to SM’s goal, and overall just put on their work boots for this grinding game. Really fantastic game to watch for old fuddy duddies who love that technical side of the game.

    Also, BP is a genius. To see him mix those lines around with home ice advantage is a thing of beauty. He literally never stops coaching–he never coasts, so to speak. And you can really notice that much more how well they are coached with this new, depleted, lineup. They really stuck to the game plan tonight, kept it simple, yet maintained a careful prowess throughout nevertheless.

    This team is fo real, especially with Mike Smith getting going. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even care that he let in that goal. Yes, I groaned, but he pulled it together afterwards, and was as good as he was before that goal. That really settled the team down, and we got back to work. I can deal with that.

  • Sploooosh

    I was saying this in the game fay thread and i feel like I should shout it from the rooftops. Damn, Rasmus Andersson is an amazing skater: he might not be producing lots of points, he may not be the fastest, but his skating and footwork looks effortless. He makes it look easy.