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.

  • Sploooosh

    Monahan is now 3 points shy of his career best at game 50 of the season. Johnny hockey is 11 back of his career best with 32 games to go. Lindholm and Tkuchuk already at career years and Gio is 4 back of his career best.

    Wowee. what a team!

  • Flint

    Flames played pretty well tonight through all the lines. But that was a game that almost got away from us due to bad luck/not finishing. First, the Koskinen ‘save’ by the rules is a save, but that was a goal and everyone knows it…. especially cause he slumped down and back later in the sequence when Johnny was pointing and his glove was fully in the net. Ryan… hitting the post on the breakaway…. that game could’ve got ugly.

    Felt like we let the foot off the gas a little after 3-0 and really needed to clamp down at the end of the 2nd there…. just get it deep and get out of the period up 3-0. Instead…. we let them back in, and at 3-2 it could’ve gone sideways.

    Nice to see our big guys all show up Gaudreau, Gio, Monahan, Tkachuk, …. Lindholm quietly had a super solid game and Backlund and Frolik were solid like always. They made is pretty easy for Dave, and he made the saves he needed to make….. a little scary with the puck, but… we won. Also nice when their ‘other star’ Draisaitl is a ghost. You know that Gio only has 4 pts less than Draisaitl in the same GP? And he’s our fifth highest scorer… and he’s a defenseman… and he makes 2 million AAV less.

  • Albertabeef

    Okay so I was just browsing stats since Xmas and found something interesting. Flames lead all teams with 225 giveaways 43 more than the next team Florida. Flames are tops with 160 takeaways SJ is second with 131. Monster numbers in both directions sounds like playing a lot of hot potato lol. Detroit has more than 100 more giveaways than takeaways since Xmas compared to Calgary’s 65 difference. We really need to tighten this up.

    • cberg

      I had written back in the summer some thoughts on how the Flames could be and needed to be more effective… via a Chaos Offence. Although the giveaways/takeaways ratio is negative and I agree with you on that, this style of interruptive, quick passing, chaotic “hot potato” play is extremely effective and a big reason why the Flames are doing so well this year. If you think back to last season the Flames had virtually nobody that would shoot a one-timer (e.g. Kylington goal), rather getting possession than trying to beat the goalie. This year the one-timer is starting to become a prime weapon in their arsenal and the results speak for themselves.

      • Albertabeef

        Sorry I meant playing hot potato with opponents more than team mates lol. It’s an insane amount of giveaways for a conference leader. At least it shows we fight to get it back which is a good thing. I am quite sure it comes from the simple fact that the Flames try to generate more offence than other teams. Last year Flames had a lot of guys who would “one-time”. In fact that is all we did last year which made us extremely easy to defend against. We traded two of those players away. Johnny has been setting up Mony’s one timer for years now. I’ve seen Backs and Fro score on one timers. In fact the guys(Johnny) who were passing looking for the one timer last year are shooting more instead now which messes with the opposing D and goalies who expect the pass.

    • Cfan in Van

      These are all good points. Buffalo was really good at capitalizing on those freebies, and that’s why they were able to frustrate the Flames and come away with the two points. Chaos may play toward the flames advantage in most situations, but against really good teams in the playoffs, over 4-7 games when they can hone in on weaknesses, Flames will need to be able to adjust and tighten up when necessary. I think that’s the coaching focus from now till game 82.

    • Derzie

      Turnover leaders (teams & players) are generally the top performers. Can’t turn it over if you don’t have it. On its own, pretty meaningless stat. Perhaps ‘what % of possessions become turnovers’ could be more meaningful. Again, only if there is a meaningful league average.

    • The Red Knight

      Looks like Adam fox is having a stellar year so far ! Time will tell if Flames won that trade , but so far , and to add to buddies post Hanifin is also on pace for a career season as he is closing in on his as well .

      • freethe flames

        The only way that Carolina wins that trade is if Fox is better than Hanifin, I guess they could win the trade if they move Hamilton or Ferland for more parts.

          • The Red Knight

            Especially how much you get and higher ceiling , Lindholm should be getting Selke votes big time! , Hanifin is a way better defenceman than Hamilton , Ferlund could try the open market but he also kinda has Carolina in a position where he could squeeze abit more of a contract out of them ,if he walks that trade could look like a landslide, trade Frolik and replace him with Ferlund for the same 4.3 mill per . That would be funny .