87TJ Brodie
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames skip first period, win anyway

The Calgary Flames were not great in the first period against the Florida Panthers on Friday night. But despite trailing 2-0 against a scrappy Panthers squad, the Flames ramped up their intensity and skated away with a 4-3 victory.

The Rundown

The home team looked rough early, as several passes hit feet, ankles or missed their intended recipient entirely. Their lack of jump and execution came back to bite them, as Noah Hanifin was spooked by Denis Malgin and Mike Hoffman’s forechecking. He whiffed on an attempted pass, leaving the puck with Hoffman, whose wrist shot beat David Rittich to make it 1-0 Panthers.

The Flames took a couple penalties in the latter half of the first period that really hampered their attempts to get back into the game, though Johnny Gaudreau and Sam Bennett each had nice scoring chances that couldn’t solve Roberto Luongo.

Shots were 10-4 Panthers in the first, while scoring chances were 7-5 Flames.

The Panthers added to their lead 23 seconds into the second period, as they took advantage of a late first period Flames penalty to Travis Hamonic. Keith Yandle sprung Jonathan Huberdeau into the Flames zone with a dandy saucer pass and he beat Rittich to make it a 2-0 Florida lead.

Being down a pair seemed like enough to wake the Flames up, though. The Flames pressed and had the next seven shots in the game. They hit the scoresheet on a nice play, as Mikael Backlund’s low shot towards the slot was tipped by Michael Frolik and beat Luongo just inside the far post to make it a 2-1 Panthers lead.

The Flames kept pressing and eventually tied things up off another smart play by Frolik. He skated the puck into the Panthers zone, waited for Mark Giordano to hop off the bench on a line change and skate into the zone, and then fed Giordano for a slap shot. Giordano’s shot ramped off Troy Brouwer’s skate and beat Luongo to make it a 2-2 game. The Panthers challenged on the basis of goaltender interference, but the goal stood.

Shots were 10-5 Flames in the second and chances were 8-4 Flames.

The Flames took the lead midway through the third period on a goal the Panthers will definitely want back. The 3M line had a long shift in the Panthers zone, but Florida gained control and tried to clear. Huberdeau made a no-look backhanded pass inside his blueline that was intercepted by Frolik, who fed Tkachuk in the slot. Left all alone, as the Panthers defenders had began to head towards the blueline, Tkachuk’s wrister beat Luongo to make it 3-2 Flames.

Sean Monahan added an empty netter on a late power play to make it 4-2. Evgenii Dadonov jammed in a loose puck with 19 seconds left to cut the lead to 4-3, but that’s as close as Florida got.

Shots were 12-10 Panthers, while chances were 9-3 Flames.

Why the Flames Won

The locals seemed out of sync and somewhat disinterested in the first period. But – spoilers – the Flames are a deep, talented team that can play with anybody if they’re emotionally engaged in the game. Once they flipped the switch early in the second period, it was tough for the Panthers to keep up.

Red Warrior

Frolik was superb in this game. He made smart reads. He made smart plays. Once he was slotted back on the second line early in the second period, things just started to click for the Flames.

Backlund, Tkachuk, Giordano and Rittich were all also pretty effective in this one, but Frolik definitely led the way for the home team.

The Turning Point

The Giordano tying goal really took the wind out of the Panthers’ sails. Maybe, just maybe, they could’ve regrouped if they had a slim lead after 40 minutes. But Giordano’s clapper ensured the game would be tied after 40 and the Flames are a confident group when they’re heading into the third period tied or leading.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Giordano 87.1 53.3 2.450
Hamonic 78.4 40.0 1.725
Frolik 77.3 57.1 3.135
Neal 75.0 75.0 1.225
Bennett 73.1 75.0 0.600
Jankowski 72.0 69.2 0.715
Tkachuk 71.4 50.0 2.165
Backlund 71.4 50.0 2.085
Brodie 60.0 58.3 0.650
Gaudreau 59.3 45.5 1.250
Monahan 59.3 45.5 1.670
Lindholm 57.7 41.7 1.200
Hanifin 54.8 41.7 0.150
Kylington 54.2 71.4 0.800
Andersson 54.2 71.4 0.375
Ryan 50.0 0.0 -0.150
Mangiapane 40.0 0.0 -0.200
Czarnik 40.0 0.0 0.015
Rittich 0.150

This and That

The Flames dressed 10 homegrown draft picks: Rasmus Andersson, TJ Brodie, Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Sean Monahan, Oliver Kylington, Mark Jankowski, Andrew Mangiapane and Sam Bennett.

This was Giordano’s 799th career NHL game and Backlund’s 585th, which tied him with Gary Roberts for 10th all-time in franchise history.

Up Next

The Flames (29-13-4) practice tomorrow. They’re back in action on Sunday night when they host the Arizona Coyotes.

  • Flames Fan in Edmonchuck

    Did anyone feel like weren’t going to come back? Honestly, it’s our year guys….. add a 2c at the deadline and we are on our way…..how about Mr.Staal if Minne drops?

  • Flaymin Frank

    For those advocating to break up the 3M line – I give you Exhibit ‘A’. And they were in some juicy situations that could have resulted in several more goals. Razzy & Klinger are the future superstars of the Western Conference blue line corps. I’m calling it right now.

  • TKO

    OK, team is winning games, that is a good thing, but it is taking the team a period to get the gears going and feet moving, and to start clicking. this needs to change, and no doubt Peters is going to focus on the system play.
    the last couple of years, under GG, it was games like these that the Flames dropped which infuriated us, at it seemed to be, by body language and comments, that they felt they “didn’t need” to win them all so didn’t show up. This team is showing up, even if it takes a period.
    This tam believes in themselves.
    This team is a legit contender,not just post season fodder.
    Still need a tough winger for depth, a Dman for depth, and a backup goalie, and this team can take it all

  • Vertigo

    We were lucky Florida was in the second half of their back-to-back have played the night previously.
    We will get the same tomorrow against Arizona and can’t come out sleeping again. Not playing the greatest game right now against cellar dwellars in their 2nd in two nights is not a great sign.