73Johnny Gaudreau
Photo Credit: James Carey Lauder/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames ground Jets

The Calgary Flames headed to Winnipeg on Thursday night to kick off the post-holiday portion of their schedule. Despite a sleepy start to the game, the Flames got timely goals and strong goaltending en route to a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets.

The Rundown

The Flames looked like they were working off the turkey dinner early, as they seemed overwhelmed by the speed of the Jets. Luckily for them, David Rittich was dialed in. Nobody scored, but the Jets were sharp. They out-shot the Flames 14-7 and out-chanced them 9-3.

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But the Flames scored a pair of goals in the second period – one early and one late – to grab hold of the game. Sean Monahan sprung Johnny Gaudreau into the offensive zone on an odd-man rush. Patrik Laine attempted to block Gaudreau’s pass, but his block deflected the puck past Connor Hellebuyck to make it 1-0 Flames.

Later in the period a lapse in concentration tied the game up. After the Flames were hemmed into their own end and iced the puck, Alan Quine tried to pass the puck to Mark Giordano to clear the zone. But Adam Lowry was located in-between them in the high slot, and he wristed the puck past David Rittich to make it 1-1.

But the Flames answered back 56 seconds later. Monahan and Elias Lindholm back-checked in the Jets zone and made them cough up the puck in their own zone. Gaudreau and Lindholm combined for a crazy give-and-go, ending with Gaudreau tapping a puck past Hellebuyck to make it 2-1 Flames.

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Shots were 13-11 Flames and scoring chances 13-11 Jets.

The Jets pressed early in the third period, but the Flames got many saves from Rittich. Derek Ryan took a penalty midway through the period, but Mark Jankowski scored on the ensuing Jets power play to make it 3-1 Flames. (It’s the 10th short-handed goal of the season for the Flames.)

Gaudreau completed the hat trick with an empty netter late, though he received a slash from Dustin Byfuglien. That goal made it 4-1 Flames.

Shots were 11-8 Jets and chances were 7-2 Jets.

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Why the Flames Won

Their goalie was better than Winnipeg’s goalie and their offensive players were better than Winnipeg’s offensive players. Neither team was amazingly sharp, but the Flames were better in each game situation and were good enough to capture two key points.

Red Warrior

It’s gotta be Rittich. He made 35 saves, many of them timely, and one of them that was absolutely mesmerizing.

The top line of Gaudreau, Monahan and Lindholm were also really sharp.

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The Turning Point

The Jets were pressing throughout the first chunk of the third period, but Jankowski’s shortie really deflated them. They looked like they could get a second goal, but getting more than a couple past Rittich seemed like too tall an order for them.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Lindholm 52.0 55.6 1.725
Gaudreau 51.9 55.6 3.240
Kylington 50.0 83.3 0.000
Monahan 50.0 55.6 2.225
Hamonic 50.0 27.3 1.250
Jankowski 46.4 42.9 0.965
Andersson 46.2 83.3 0.150
Quine 44.0 42.9 -0.300
Hanifin 43.3 27.3 0.350
Neal 41.9 42.9 0.525
Hathaway 37.5 0.0 0.075
Frolik 37.5 0.0 -0.250
Bennett 34.8 37.5 -0.225
Ryan 33.3 0.0 -0.130
Tkachuk 33.3 37.5 -0.100
Backlund 31.8 37.5 -0.325
Brodie 31.6 23.1 -0.875
Giordano 31.3 23.1 -0.075
Rittich 2.750

This and That

This was Mark Giordano’s 791st career game (tying him with Theoren Fleury for fourth on the Flames all-time franchise leaderboard). It was also Mikael Backlund’s 577th career game (tying him with Joe Nieuwendyk for 11th on the all-time leaderboard).

Up Next

The Flames (23-12-3) head home tonight. They practice tomorrow and host the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Tonight’s Takeaways:

    Apart from his horrendous giveaway, Quine played another solid game and earned another start on Saturday.

    No complaints with Neal’s effort tonight. He had jump. I also hoped he would use his size more this evening against the largish Jets, but he didn’t.

    Wheeler was wheely a non-entity in this game.

    Kylington cannot possibly be demoted when Valimaki returns. No way! No how! Peters has to make room for Kylington.

    Is ready Freddie Brathwaite still the best Flaming Jet of all time?

    The Jets impress me. As of now, they are the gold standard in the west, but give the Flames credit for winning both games.

    Anybody think the final game of the season between the Flames and Jets won’t have an impact on the final standings?

    Speaking of Flames and Jets in the playoffs, I can’t help but remember the pitiful fate of the legendary Badger Bob when the no-nothing Jets ousted the future HOF Flames in Round 1 in ’87. The Calgary media and fandom, who had elevated Badger to the status of a god less than a year earlier when his club knocked off the dynastic Oilers and made it to the finals, turned on their beloved Badger and demanded he be run out of town ASAP. Their wish was granted and the Crispy era began. Even the judiciary wanted Badger’s hide for if you’ll remember, the kid who pleaded guilty to spray painting “Yankee Go Home!” on Badger’s garage door got a slap on the wrist. Never saw a coach in Calgary fall from grace as fast as the Badger did. Perhaps the only thing that softened the local hatred of Johnson was his sudden illness and tragic passing.

    While it was an entertaining game played by two highly skilled teams, I didn’t find this game as electrifying as the one against the Lightning last week. The Christmas layoff might have been a factor.

    Let’s hope that Paul Bunyan’s—I mean Dusty’s—vicious hack on Johnny’s arm doesn’t cause #13 to be sidelined. That slash was diabolical. What I hated even more was Johnny’s response to it. He looked like he was in a lot of pain.

    • calgaryfan

      Had season tickets during Bob Johnson’s time with the Flames, I must say I do not remember the fans running him out of town. The fans were disappointed for sure, but running Badger out of town? What would you suggest a judge give a kid for spray painting a garage door?

      • BlueMoonNigel

        Disappointed? You’re are a master of understatement. Don’t know if you if you are sugar coating the past or have lost your memory. Badger had zero chance of remaining coach following the ’87 playoff debacle, and the Oilers winning the cup again that spring was more salt in the wounds of Flames’ fans who when the playoffs began thought their club was poised to again KO the Oilers but this time win the cup. Badger needed to be purged before the Flames could continue trending upward, and so he was dumped as coach less than a year after he was so popular in Calgary that he could have been elected mayor.

        As for the kid who spray painted Badger’s garage door, that was his first but not far from his last brush with the legal system. He graduated from minor vandalism to auto theft to armed robbery to drug trafficking to murder. It is that last offense that has him currently polishing the Queen’s iron at the Edmonton Max. He has been referenced in a few books by critics of our legal system who say that our system does not reform and rehabilitate but grooms the mischievous into monsters.

  • Jourflamesfan

    So..I came into this day worried how we would play after the break.
    Last year around this time we stunk it up and our season ended pretty much from there…
    Outstanding performance by our little superstar and our 1b goaltender!
    What a huge win for this team and a big statement made here.
    This team has a destiny this year and I’m excited to see the show.
    Hang on everybody its gonna be wild!

  • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

    How about Mark Jankowski the past four or five games!?!?! He has really found another gear, especially in terms of confidence. Scored one goal, got robbed on another. If he can keep this up he’s starting to make me think he could be a second line centre some day (or a good third line centre that deserves some PP Time).

  • oilcanboyd

    Flames improved to 10-2-2, best record amongst the top 11 teams in the NHL and have the best goal differential in the group! Info coming from Darren Hayes of the Athletic, updated for tonight’s game. They beat Nashville, Colorado, and Winnipeg twice each!

  • MontanaMan

    Good road game by the Flames. Up at 0445 this morning for a 0600 flight; light skate; road game; tough day of travel with the chance to have a stinker but the club came out, played well and did what they had to win. Games in the first half where the Flames deserved to win but were let down by goaltending (Smith) so this is an opportunity where Rittich does his part (and more) to help the club win a big game.

  • Chucky

    So they can’t seem to score on the second power play unit but Jankowski can score on the penalty kill (3 goals so far this year). I wonder if he could figure out how to get the puck on the net on the power play?

    • BlueMoonNigel

      If not, I have some DVDs of the old CCCP national team that I’d be happy to lend to Ward to see if he could glean a few pointers to spark the second PP unit because it has been brutal.

    • His Dudeness

      Most teams 2nd PP unit isn’t very good anymore because everybody loads up the top unit. As long as the top unit produces I’m not too concerned. Really not sure why Ryan gets so much time on the 2nd unit though.

  • Heeeeere’s Johnny

    There’s another guy who was a beast tonight that we aren’t talking about. Hamonic was awesome defensively and drove play forward all night.

  • SouthernFlame

    If Prout is too scared to take on Buf then there is no need to have him here. If we are guaranteed a playoff spot by March then play Prout to take on Buttfuglien.

  • oilcanboyd

    Johnny appears to be OK…was interviewed after game and he talked about how Ritter kept them in the game until they found their wheels. He got whacked pretty hard on the upper arm so I can imagine how the pain travelled down the length of the arm into his fingertips!
    What magic Johnny has this season! Believing in himself since Jags told him he could win a scoring title with the talent he has…Well, maybe not with all the young talent in the league but top 5 is still excellent!

    • Jourflamesfan

      Unless McDavid is injured he will never win the scoring title.
      That is Edmonton’s Stanly cup. They will play connor every shift possible to get his points.

      • Redleader

        If you go by mins/points %,Johnny Mony ,Lindholm,TKACHUK all have more points per mins played than Mcwipe!!! And all at half price etc TKACHUK. So ball park . If you went by mins and salary ,TKACHUK is putting up more points per minute at 1/12 of the salary as mcwipe . ? So TKACHUK is 12 times better. Just sayin !

  • everton fc

    We are 11 games over .500 going on the cusp of the New Year, and we still have areas of opportunity;

    1. Neal needs to score goals. Imagine what happens to our team, if/when he does put it all together?
    2. Our 2nd PP unit – if/when this “clicks”…

    There are other minor things… But if 1 & 2 above improve even a smidge… And the Rittich/Smith tandem stays healthy… We are a dangerous team, vs. any opponent in this league.

    What a difference a coaching staff makes!

    • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

      Even if someone isn’t a Neal fan. He isn’t going to shoot below 5% forever. When he picks up worse case he makes our third line line a good secondary scoring line with Jankowski (Quine look good there tonight as well, outside of one defensive gaff). If we can get three lines that can score firstly regularly this team could be really legit, they’re already fairly legit, but that would put them over the top.

      Not to mention Rittich is going to get some pay raise this summer if he keeps this up. What a find for Treliving & Co. Rittich is currently second I believe in the NHL with a 0.926 Save Percentage and we signed him as a FA for nothing…. Voodoo goalies finally paid off for us!!! Tyler Parsons has a 0.952 in his last two stars. I really hope he can keep this up and finish the year strong, so he can get a shot at backup next season.

  • TheWheeze

    As for the hacking and slashing, not to mention the shoulder to the head in the NHL, I’m all for tough hockey. It’s a rough sport. But to me there’s a difference between rough and tough, and cheap punk stuff