59Matthew Tkachuk
Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames overcome flat start against Red Wings

The Calgary Flames weren’t great on Wednesday night in Detroit. They were a bit flat to start, but they surged in the second half. Powered by yet another strong game from their top line, the Flames beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-3 in the first game of a four game road trip.

The Rundown

The Flames were victims of some self-inflicted wounds in the opening period. Andreas Athanasiou sprung Darren Helm into the Flames zone with a chip around Travis Hamonic. He deked around a flat-footed Noah Hanifin and went five-hole on Mike Smith to make it 1-0 Red Wings.

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Before the period ended, the hosts got another one. The Flames got running around in their own end and the Red Wings out-numbered them in front of the net. Jacob de la Rose took advantage of a goal-mouth scramble and put a loose puck past Smith to make it 2-0 Red Wings.

Shots were 13-12 and chances 12-8, both in favour of Detroit, in the opening period.

The Flames woke up in the second and managed to chip away at Detroit’s lead. Elias Lindholm caused a turnover with a smart back-check in the Red Wings zone. He flipped the puck towards the net and while Johnny Gaudreau was stopped by Jimmy Howard, Sean Monahan jammed in the rebound to trim the Detroit lead to 2-1.

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A little while later the Flames drew even, as TJ Brodie’s point shot glanced off Gustav Nyquist and elevated past Howard to make it a 2-2 game.

But just 24 seconds after the Flames tied it up, Detroit re-established the lead after Athanasiou was hooked by Oliver Kylington on a breakaway. He beat Smith on the ensuing penalty shot to make it 3-2 for Detroit.

But that lead wouldn’t last, either. The Flames tied things up on the power play as Lindholm beat Howard with a heck of a shot off a face-off win to make it 3-3.

Shots were 11-9 and chances 8-5, both for the Flames, in the second period.

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The Flames kept pressing and finally took the lead in the third period. On another power play, Matthew Tkachuk deked the puck past Howard and went below the goalie line, but he passed the puck behind Howard and through the crease right to Gaudreau for a tap-in and a 4-3 Flames lead.

Michael Frolik added an empty net goal to make it a 5-3 final.

Shots were 12-10 Flames and scoring chances 5-2 Red Wings in the third period.

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Why the Flames Won

The Flames weren’t overly sharp in the first period and they didn’t play a perfect game. But they’re a talented group with a dangerous top line. They weren’t great, but they stepped on the gas pedal in the second and third periods and played well enough to win.

They need to be better defensively, though.

Red Warrior

Gaudreau was superb in the second and third periods. He had four points and easily could’ve had another three or four more.

The Turning Point

Gaudreau’s game-winner. It was the natural end-point of how the game was going, as the Flames tilted the ice and Gaudreau was very dangerous as the game wore on.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Monahan 68.0 35.7 2.540
Gaudreau 66.7 35.7 3.800
Lindholm 65.4 31.3 3.055
Frolik 60.9 42.9 1.480
Kylington 54.6 37.5 -0.050
Andersson 54.6 37.5 0.450
Giordano 53.9 36.9 1.200
Brodie 51.6 36.9 1.325
Ryan 46.2 33.3 0.655
Tkachuk 46.2 37.5 1.125
Hanifin 41.9 46.2 -0.275
Backlund 41.7 37.5 0.255
Bennett 40.0 60.0 -0.515
Hamonic 40.0 46.2 -0.200
Jankowski 38.9 62.5 0.070
Neal 26.2 50.0 -0.725
Hathaway 22.2 28.6 -0.115
Dube 0.0 28.6 -0.310
Smith 0.650

This and That

Sam Bennett, Dillon Dube and Garnet Hathaway were victims of Bill Peters’ short bench in the third period.

Up Next

The Flames (25-12-4) are off to New England. They face the Boston Bruins tomorrow night in Beantown.

    • Cfan in Van

      Coming into the season, I never would have thought we would be +31 at the half-way. Not that they were misplaced, but I remember a lot of “where will the goals come from this season??” type of analysis over summer. Swapping GG hockey for goal-scoring hockey is good times.

      • Spider you muda&@#ker

        That trade just keeps looking better and better but whats even sweeter is the contract that Tre signed Lindholm to that is looking like an unreal bargain this gm if he would just stay away from FA he would be best in the league

        • Spider you muda&@#ker

          And in hindsight I love the deal for Hamonic this guy is a work horse that compliments Gio with his leadership role. The guy is built for playoff hockey and I cant wait to see him in the second season.

        • BlueMoonNigel

          Do you really think Lindholm had a strong case to earn more? I don’t. His Carolina numbers were nothing special. Nobody could have guessed when the trade was made that Lindholm would click with Johnny and Mony as he has done. It’s like LeClair. Do you think that Clarke knew at the time he traded for LeClair that big John would soon become a member of one of the most dominant lines of the 90s?

      • Chucky

        Funny how there was all kinds of talk about how Brodie needed Giordano and it turns out that Hamilton was the guy who needed the elite partner. Giordano actually does very well with Brodie as a partner.

    • Derzie

      Ex-Carolina players have been the home run moves this year led by Lindholm & Skinner. Couldn’t have been Peters as the problem as he’s been a home run here as well.

  • Alberta Ice

    Kicking on all cylinders! Unlike last year, this year’s team knows how to come back from a poor start! Gonna be a barn burner in Boston tomorrow night. Round 2 of the neo-China games continued! KIGF. (Keep it going Flames!)

  • Flamesforever

    On a totally unrelated topic. I just watched the Van/OTT highlights. Jebus Murphy that Pettersson kid basically walks on water, how can I guy that size rip it like that?

    • Alberta Ice

      Yep, one has to drool over having that Petersson talent on your team. A lot of Canuck drafts really look good at the World Juniors too. Maybe Benning is Houdini?

      • Alberta Ice

        And, yep. One has to drool over having that J Gaudreau talent on your team. (Along with a very good host of teammates that make this Flames team a very good NHL hockey team.) KIGF.

        • Cfan in Van

          Gaudreau was a way bigger reach in the 4th round. At least Petterson went high in the draft, and the teams were considering taking him (but passed) with the 3rd and 4th picks.

          But yeah, I see a lot of that kid with all the Vancouver coverage here. He’s pretty amazing, and really driven to improve in all aspects. Swedish Gretz…

  • RKD

    I still have no clue how BT got an elite guy like Gadreau for the type of dough he is making. He’s better value for the money than McDavid. Lindholm continues to impress he can go from the right side of the ice to the left side of the ice and vice versa in a flash. He’s got a deceptive shot, he’s absolutely relentless and is an amazing penalty killer. Back to #1 in the West!

        • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

          Honestly that Alexander Petrovic Trade was such a stinker. It just gets worse and worse in Edmonton. How does Peter still have a job?!?!

          I remember watching Alexander Petrovic back when he was with Red Deer and thinking… What in the world did Florida think drafting this guy 36th overall!!! Then when Florida finally realizes that he sucks after four years too long, they get a better defender and an early third rounder in a good draft year?!?!

          If that’s what awful third pairing defenders are going for… BT just keep playing Kylington and save the assets. Who by the way like fantastic again tonight.

  • Hockeyfan

    I know i might be jumping the gun here, BUT, does anyone feel if and or could Flames pried Duchene or Stone from Ottawa before deadline, that would be the cheery to send this club over the top and an elite fixture for the next 4 years? How friggin awesome is watching JG play right now?

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Tonight’s Takeaways:

    Man, that anthem singer really makes Canyon look bad. Sign her up, Tre.

    Those light graphics on the ice during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner were first rate! Do we have to wait for a new barn before we can get the same?

    What the bloody ‘ell was Hanifin doing on the Helm goal? Did Hanifin not realize he was playing NHL? I know old wrecks who play rec hockey who would not have been stymied by Hanifin’s “Son of Flubber” pitiful attempt at stopping Helm.

    Flames showed as much passion and energy in the 1st as Celine Dion in concert. Glad they were more like Cyndi Lauper in concert in the 2nd and 3rd.

    That penalty shot call was utterly ridiculous and showed exactly why the blind mouse who called it wears his MICK proudly.

    Let’s say the game went to a shootout. If you were Peters would you have given Johnny one of the first 3 attempts considering he was snake bitten all night on breakaways.? Not sure I would.

    Dube was absolutely invisible tonight. When is the next Stockton switcheroo?

    I liked Ryan’s game again tonight. The better he plays, the more noticeable he is.

    Apart from drawing a penalty, Neal was back to his bad old ways. He was a non-entity.

    It likely won’t be before next season before Chucky gets a high-end linemate to complement him. It’s sad watching him saddled with the stone-handed mates he has. That’s why he looks like a caged bird released when he gets PP time with the big kids.

    Every time Ball and Hrudey said Athanasiou I thought they were saying “happy to see you.” No way were they close to nailing the poor guy’s name.

    Apart from Slava Fetisov, how come there haven’t been any other HOF caliber Russian defencemen in the NHL since the Russians were permitted to play in North America? No, Bobo Mironov, like me, will have to buy a ticket if he wants to enter the HOF.

    Gonna cook me a big ol’ pot of Boston baked beans for tomorrow night’s game, so fear not to as that big, bad stank from the south that you’ll smell will just be me.

  • Skylardog

    Starting to get the feeling that Monahan and Lindhom are just passengers on the Johnny train. He is unbelievable right now. Not that Mony and Lind aren’t important, but Johnny is just driving the play, creating havoc, and running around all of the defenders teams can put out against him. He has hit a new level, and it has got to have coaches pulling their hair out as they try to figure out how to shut him down. He is playing better than McD right now, more dominant. Even when he doesn’t have the puck on his stick, he has it is on a string. The Wizzard…

    • cberg

      Had to both cheer and trash the comment. Monahan and Lindholm are clearly NOT passengers, both are playing lights out too. On the other had, JG IS on another level… The thing about Lindholm that makes the 1st line so great is his speed, which is able to keep up with JG, while Monahan is somewhat slower and comes in as a second layer of attack. They mesh well, and when you include either Gio or Brodie in that mix, deadly.

      • KootenayFlamesFan

        Johnny is definitely the motor on that line but Monahan and Lindholm have lethal shots. Lindholm has an awesome one-timer but I’m particularly impressed by how many of his shots go in when I think the goalie should have it.

  • smatic10

    Gaudreau has definitely taken a step this season. He’s clearly faster and stronger.

    I’ve always been impressed with his skillset and his ability to drive offense at an elite level, but I have never seen him absolutely dominate a game singlehandedly. Today he did just that. After that penalty call on him, he was not happy at all, he came out with a burr under his saddle. Skated circles around their team, breakaway after breakaway, scoring chance after scoring chance and he ended the night with 4 points. McDavid is the only other guy I’ve seen do something like that. Makes me very happy that the Flames took a chance on a 5’6″ 135lbs forward way back in 2011.

    • Jourflamesfan

      I’m excited to see how he performs down the stretch and IN the playoffs.
      JH was decent in the playoffs vs Anaheim but he wasnt dominate and didnt make a difference.
      Its exciting to see. I think were in for a grand finale.

      • The Real SlimBrodie

        Anyone remember when he was in college? Gaudreau has made a career of increasing other players value. Where are most of his teammates now? He just gets better and better until he wins the prize. We are very lucky to have him especially at this cap hit.

        • Cfan in Van

          Keven Hayes is still pretty good, but he doesn’t touch JH. We were making a stink about trying to bring him here in the early years, but I’m glad we didn’t try too hard.