96Monahan and Giordano
Photo Credit: Perry Nelson/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames have a nice time in Edmonton

The Calgary Flames visited the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night in the third edition of 2018-19’s Battle of Alberta. In a game punctuated by a ton of minor penalties, the Flames scored three second period goals and held on for a 5-2 win over the Oilers.

The Rundown

The first period was the hockey equivalent of ping-pong. There weren’t a ton of great chances, but the teams skated well and it had some decent pace. Shots were 14-6 Flames and scoring chances were 2-2.

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After not being able to bury anything in the opening frame, the Flames grabbed hold of the game in the second period. Connor McDavid couldn’t bury a chance on David Rittich on the rush and the play went the other way, with Johnny Gaudreau beating Mikko Koskinen between the legs to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.

Much of the rest of the period featured a bunch of penalties. With Mark Giordano in the box for a double-minor, Mikael Backlund drew a penalty. When Giordano’s penalty expired he joined the Flames’ power play. Sean Monahan’s initial shot on Koskinen was stopped and the Oilers netminder flopped onto his belly to grab the puck. He couldn’t freeze it, though, and Giordano jammed it in out front to give the Flames a 2-0 lead.

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Late in the period Flames made it 3-0. Off a face-off win, Mikael Backlund made a dandy tape-to-tape cross-zone pass to a pinching Oliver Kylington, who beat Koskinen five-hole to extend the Flames’ lead.

But the Oilers broke David Rittich’s shutout bid with just 17.8 seconds remaining in the second period during a stretch of four on four. Jesse Puljujarvi and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins broke into the Flames zone on a two-on-two rush and Nugent-Hopkins beat Rittich high to make it a 3-1 game.

Shots were 10-10 Oilers and chances were 7-1 Oilers.

The Oilers drew closer early in the third period. TJ Brodie took a minor penalty and Derek Ryan was stopped on a shorthanded breakaway. Before Brodie’s penalty expired, Milan Lucic tipped a point shot past Rittich to make it a 3-2 game.

But that’s as close as the Oilers got. Mikael Backlund snatched an errant pass from Caleb Jones just inside the Oilers blueline, beating Koskinen with a wrister to give the Flames a 4-2 lead.

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Monahan made it 5-2 on a late power play, flipping his own rebound over Koskinen.

Shots were 10-8 Flames in the third period, with scoring chances 4-3 Flames.

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Why the Flames Won

For a team playing their second game in as many nights, the Flames had some good jump all game long. They battled well. They didn’t get suckered into anything physical, and they took advantage of what was given to them. And 24 hours after their special teams had to bail them out, they got strong contributions from pretty much ever line at even strength.

Red Warrior

Among prospect honks, Gaudreau developed the nickname “Big Game Johnny” during his college years because he just found a way to factor into big games. When he’s emotionally engaged, Gaudreau is one of the very best in the game. He was noticeable every time he hit the ice.

The Turning Point

Kylington’s goal held up as the game-winner, but it was the goal the Oilers couldn’t afford to give up. Already down a pair to a strong offensive team, they let a rookie defender sneak down from the point and get wide open for a pass from Backlund.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Mangiapane 75.0 50.0 0.100
Ryan 66.7 33.3 0.495
Hathaway 60.0 50.0 0.200
Andersson 58.3 83.3 0.250
Jankowski 55.6 25.0 0.040
Kylington 54.6 83.3 1.075
Bennett 54.6 25.0 0.300
Gaudreau 47.6 40.0 1.925
Giordano 47.6 41.7 1.450
Tkachuk 42.9 25.0 0.850
Brodie 42.9 41.7 -0.175
Lindholm 42.1 36.4 0.990
Monahan 39.1 40.0 2.095
Hamonic 39.1 20.0 0.300
Frolik 38.9 83.3 0.925
Neal 37.5 83.3 0.750
Hanifin 37.5 20.0 0.550
Backlund 36.4 71.4 1.850
Rittich 0.700

This and That

Gaudreau’s second period goal extended his points streak to a career-high 11 games. His assist on Monahan’s goal was his 362nd point in his 362nd NHL game.

Giordano’s assist on Gaudreau’s goal put him at the 50-point mark, giving the Flames five players with 50+ points. No other team has more than three.

Backlund’s goal was his 300th career point.

Up Next

The Flames (32-13-5) head back to Calgary tonight. They’re off on Sunday, then prepare to host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday evening in their final game prior to the extended All-Star (and CBA) break.

They have 69 points and are presently first in the Pacific Division and Western Conference. Nice.