78Mike Smith
Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames find grit against Flyers

The Calgary Flames didn’t play their best game on Wednesday night, but they got yet another late offensive outburst in the third period to force overtime. They beat the Philadelphia Flyers in a 6-5 thriller at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

The Rundown

The Flyers came out with some speed, while the Flames looked pretty jumpy. The Flyers had the first seven shots on goal, but Mike Smith was sharp. The Flames killed off a penalty midway through the period, got some momentum, and then got to work.

The Flames generated a lengthy shift in the Flyers end, with Alan Quine, Sam Bennett and Matthew Tkachuk cycling the puck ably. Tkachuk fed Bennett at the side of the net and he chipped the puck past Anthony Stolarz to make it 1-0 for the home team.

Calgary generated 12 of the final 13 shots in the first period. Shots were 12-8 Flames and scoring chances were 10-6 Flames in the opening 20 minutes.

The second period was an adventure.

The Flyers tied the game up on their first shot of the period, as Claude Giroux sprung former Calgary Hitmen star Travis Sanheim – a defenseman – all alone in front of Smith and he beat the Flames netminder with a back-hander. That made it 1-1.

With Sean Monahan in the box for tripping, Mark Giordano beat Stolarz stick-side on a two-on-one rush (with Derek Ryan, who he probably wasn’t ever going to pass to) to retake the lead. The Flames led 2-1 at that point.

As they were announcing that goal, with the Flyers still on the power play, a bouncing puck off an errant scoring chance found its way to an unaccosted James van Riemsdyk and he tapped it into the open net to tie the game at 2-2.

32 seconds later the Flyers generated a two-on-two rush. Travis Hamonic fell down, but managed to get back into position, but Jakub Voracek chucked the puck towards the crease and Sean Couturier beat out Monahan in a footrace to redirect the puck past Smith. That gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead.

On their fifth shot of the period the Flyers got a gift: Dale Weise put a wrist shot on goal from just inside the Flames blueline and it somehow beat Smith to make it 4-2 Flyers.

But just over two minutes later the Flames got one back. Johnny Gaudreau drew a penalty and on the ensuing power play Tkachuk teed the puck up for Monahan in the high slot. Monahan’s big slapper beat Stolarz top-corner to cut the deficit to 4-3.

Shots were 10-6 Flames and scoring chances were 6-3 Flames.

David Rittich replaced Smith in net to open the third period. The Flames had a pair of power plays but couldn’t score, and then Couturier got behind the defenders and beat Rittich on a short-handed breakaway to make it 5-3 Flyers.

But the Flames clawed back: Rasmus Andersson beat Stolarz with a slapper from the point to make it 5-4 with just 68 seconds left in regulation.

They kept pressing and improbably beat Stolarz again, as Tkachuk made a shot that rebounded right to Monahan in the slot. He put it over Stolarz to make it 5-5 with seven seconds remaining.

Shots were 16-4 Flames and scoring chances 3-0 Flames in the third period.

After a big save by Rittich that kept things deadlocked, Gaudreau scored in overtime to make it a 6-5 victory for the Flames.

Why the Flames Won

It’s impossible to argue that the Flames got the goaltending they needed on this occasion, because they definitely didn’t. That fourth goal is entirely on the goaltender. But three of the five goals allowed were direct byproducts of some iffy defensive play that led to odd-man rushes and really nice scoring chances for the Flyers.

But the Flames and their ever-potent offense found a way to win. They just kept pressing and eventually they managed to connect on enough passes to score.

Red Warrior

Tkachuk was really engaged in this game and had assists on four Flames goals. But several other Flames had impressive, multi-point games: Giordano (three points), Gaudreau (three points) and Monahan (three points).

The Turning Point

Two goals in the final 68 seconds to force overtime. Few teams in the NHL these days have the firepower to tilt a game that late. The Flames happen to be one of them.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
For%
OZone
Start%
Game
Score
Quine 83.3 0.0 0.920
Monahan 78.6 70.0 3.400
Gaudreau 76.9 63.6 3.475
Kylington 75.0 28.6 0.300
Lindholm 73.9 63.6 1.275
Andersson 70.0 28.6 1.200
Brodie 68.0 71.4 0.425
Hathaway 66.7 0.0 0.175
Giordano 60.9 71.4 2.300
Neal 56.5 50.0 -0.035
Hanifin 54.2 60.0 0.350
Hamonic 53.9 60.0 0.650
Mangiapane 50.0 50.0 -0.300
Tkachuk 50.0 0.0 3.675
Bennett 50.0 0.0 1.540
Jankowski 44.4 50.0 -0.115
Ryan 25.0 0.0 0.345
Czarnik 0.0 0.0 0.075
Smith -2.000
Rittich -0.350

This and That

It was mentioned in-arena before puck drop that Harvey the Hound was the National Hockey League’s first mascot. During a TV timeout in the first period, they aired a video where Harvey the Hound found a Jack-O-Lantern decorated to look like Gritty, the Flyers’ mascot. Harvey stole the pumpkin and tossed it off a C-Train walkway.

Monahan’s second goal was his 20th of the season, making it six seasons in a row where he’s hit that mark.

Up Next

The Flames (20-10-2) are off tomorrow, then hit the road for a few days. They play in Minnesota on Saturday afternoon.

  • BendingCorners

    In the old days the Flames could spot a team 3 goals and not worry about it – they would simply crank it up later in the game and skate away with a win. This team needs maybe a bit more sandpaper and one more scorer (since Neal is a bust) but are awfully close to the modern game’s equivalent of that 80’s team.
    I still have trouble believing what I’m seeing but this team is more fun to watch than any edition since the spring of 2004.

    • Albertabeef

      Hearing this on the radio was as good as hearing the 8-8 tie with the Nordique, and that one come from behind game in the 90’s against the nucks game which the flames were down 4-1 and ended up winning after I called the comeback to my buddies at work at the time lol. I feared that I called it wrong to my buddy tonight but the Flames came to my rescue at the last minute(and 43 seconds lol).

  • MWflames

    Why does andersson get thrown out at the end of a game when we’re down with an EN, but can’t buy himself some PP time? Him and kylington have better offensive instincts and skills than hanifin. I like hanifin don’t get me wrong, but he’s not great as a PP QB.

    Promote one of the rookies to PP2 and it starts to balance out ice time a lot better too

    • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

      It’s a minor complaint because Peters player usage is genius compared to GG, but I thought Kylington deserved more ice time tonight and the analytics backed that up. 75% Corsi For with only 28.6% Offensive Zone Starts. Plus Hamonic and Hanifin were hot garbage tonight, easily their worst game of the year, I would have rolled out Kylington and Andersson more in the second half of the game Even Strength. I know we weren’t really counting on it this year, but Kylington is starting to already look like a legitimate NHLer at this point. Man can he skate! He does wonders on the second wave of the attack because his speed is so good. Most impressive is he hasn’t made on glaringly bad error since he’s been up, that was always the knock against. His head has really caught up to his feet. He could be scary good in a couple of years if he continues to progress and he hits his ceiling. I think
      the world of Hanifin, but he may have an even higher ceiling than him. Hanifin, Andersson, Kylington, Valimaki….. The Flames don’t don’t need to draft a defender in the first couple of rounds for at least four or five years. Time to stockpile skilled forwards like last year.

      Alan Quine also deserves a longer stay with the Flames after his last three games. His skating in particular looks a lot better from last season. He’s always been skilled, but he’s getting there a bit faster this year it seems.

      • Cfan in Van

        Huska bump with Anderson and Kylington. It’s great to have their development coach guiding their performance on the big club. That’s some great continuity for their development path.

  • Brian McGrattan's Salute

    Wowza! I was really surprised that Ras and Kyl got so many dzone starts! That shows a hell of a lot of trust on Peters’ part.

    Also, we never give Gio enough credit offensively. He has a great shot, and overall strong game on the other side of the puck. Like, yes he’s great defensively and is a workhorse, BUT he’s also a really strong offensive player, especially on a team that has lacked a lot of those for the last decade or so (or since the 80s if you wanna go back that far). He is outstanding.

    Also, no one ever gives Gio enough credit for his shot and his offensive abilities. Yes, he’s a workhorse and wonderful defensively, BUT he’s pretty damn good on the offensive side of the puck, especially considering we’ve been pretty bereft of offensive players in the last decade.

    • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

      Kylington and Andersson were our best defensive pair tonight by a mile. I’m blown away that Kylington has been so steady, considering the knock was always “Elite Physical Tool Package, Poor Hockey IQ”. He is starting to look like the defender that was projected as a Top. 10 pick most of his draft year, before he had one bad spring U18 tournament.

      • everton fc

        It’d be nice if we could lock both of them up for a bit, contractually. You have to love the fact Peters plays young guys like this, in critical situations. Shows what kind of coach, and leader, Peters is.

        • Cfan in Van

          Yep. I think Kylington’s internal stock as gone way up since he’s impressed on the big club. Great to see him make the most of it, and I hope he keeps it up and stays put.

    • KKisTHEproblem

      I agree, mostly. The one knock on Gio offensively for me is yes, he has a great wrist shot and is good at getting it thru from the point. But, he doesn’t have the rocket slapshot. That shot of Anderson’s last night is one thing we’ve been missing on the PP and when we can hem other teams in. If a shot that hard comes in low, there will always be rebounds to clean up. And so far, seems like he can get it thru walking the line a bit, as he did with Tkachuk’s tip in the last minute about a month ago. Don’t get me wrong, luv Gio but wish he also had a slapper like Andersson and that’s a great addition. Guess you can’t have everything with one guy!

    • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

      Yup, I’ve watched him a bit growing up and the knock was always “just an average skater”, but his skating looks way better this year, especially his first couple of steps. He’s always been talented offensively in junior and was always a smart player, but there could be more there now. He now deserves a prolonged look with us.

    • deantheraven

      I’d also prefer to see TOI to put the other numbers into perspective. Corsi removes the dynamic in-game events, that change the energy and flow, into a numbed down, statistical perspective.

  • deantheraven

    Gotta call BS on those possession stats. The Flames chased the game for 52 minutes. Most of the first half was played in the Calgary zone. Yeah, they got shots (mostly one good scoring chance and then back check) and Philly didn’t , but the Flames played most of the game without the puck (until the 3rd period).
    Corsi Schmorsie!

  • deantheraven

    The only way James Neal is ever going to get another goal is if he gets some PP Unit 1 time.
    I say give him a game or two with JH & Monny, at least on the PP. They all want him to get one, and putting him out there with the top unit is the closest we can get to guaranteeing a goal. Maybe then he’ll have a little more pep in his step.We all hope that that will be all it takes.