63Flames celebrate
Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames ease past Devils

The Calgary Flames out-played, out-shot and out-chanced the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night. The Devils tried to make a game of it, but the Flames hustled their way to a 2-1 victory in Newark to finish off their road trip.

The Rundown

The Flames deluged the Devils in the opening 20 minutes. They didn’t score, but only because of some strong goaltending by Mackenzie Blackwood. Shots were 15-5 Flames and chances were 9-4 Flames.

The visitors opened the scoring early in the second period on a power play carried over from the end of the first period. The Flames failed to score on a five-on-three, but Elias Lindholm’s attempted pass to Sean Monahan careened off a defender and beat Blackwood to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.

The Flames doubled their lead off a heck of an individual effort from their 35-year-old captain. Mark Giordano accepted a pass from Johnny Gaudreau and faked-out Blackwood, then tucked it behind him to make it 2-0 Calgary.

But the Devils got one back late on a Flames power play. Gaudreau was a bit too casual in his own end and got muscled off the puck by Kevin Rooney. Rooney’s shot eluded David Rittich to cut the Flames’ lead to 2-1. Shots were 15-5 Flames and chances 6-2 Flames.

The Flames were in cruise control in the third period. They didn’t over-exert themselves. They didn’t give up too many good chances. In the final period of a three games in four night stretch, they seemed content just to run out the clock. Shots were 10-5 Devils and chances 4-2 Devils.

Why the Flames Won

What’s that old saying? “They are who we thought they were.” Missing a ton of regulars and starting their backup, the Devils were back on their heels for much of this game. The Flames? Well, they were all over the Devils and while they probably weren’t as dominant as many had hoped they would be, they were thoroughly the better team.

Red Warrior

Rasmus Andersson didn’t get on the scoresheet, but he played a ton (alongside new Flames defender Oscar Fantenberg) and led the team in shots.

The Turning Point

Giordano’s swanky goal gave the Flames a cushion. The Devils got one back at the end of the period, but couldn’t claw all the way back.

The Numbers

(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Natural Stat Trick)

Player Corsi
For%
OZone
Start%
Game
Score
Ryan 100 100 0.530
Hathaway 81.3 100 0.800
Mangiapane 76.5 80.0 0.675
Fantenberg 76.5 87.5 0.375
Andersson 70.6 83.3 0.800
Bennett 68.4 71.4 0.600
Tkachuk 61.1 63.6 1.125
Backlund 60.9 60.0 0.485
Hanifin 59.1 50.0 0.275
Gaudreau 57.1 80.0 1.775
Brodie 54.6 68.8 0.475
Giordano 54.3 64.3 1.200
Monahan 52.6 72.7 0.785
Hamonic 52.6 50.0 0.375
Jankowski 47.4 40.0 0.100
Czarnik 47.1 40.0 -0.100
Frolik 43.5 37.5 0.190
Lindholm 42.9 70.0 1.080
Rittich 1.150
Smith

This and That

The Flames are 23-1-0 when leading after two periods.

Devils defenseman Mirco Mueller crashed into the boards early in the third period after losing an edge in the Flames zone. He stayed down and was stretchered off. We’re not going to seek out a replay, but he was moving his arms and legs and gave the crowd a thumbs-up as he was stretchered off the ice. Best wishes to him for a quick recovery.

Up Next

The Flames (41-16-7) fly home tonight. Next up? Jarome Iginla Night on Saturday when they host the Minnesota Wild.

  • Toma41

    I was impressed with Fantenberg. If this is all we get from him then fine but Im sure it will take him a few games to settle in. He isnt afraid to throw his body around. Might be a sneaky good pick up….

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Tonight’s Takeaways:

    Let’s begin with some trivia. Neither the Flames nor Devils had black in their original uniforms. Which team was the first to “Paint it black?”

    Still don’t know why none of the clever Trevors on FN hasn’t come up with a parody of “Mack the Knife” with Johnny as Mack to be sung gleefully whenever Gaudreau plays in New Jersey, New York, Philly and Boston.

    Was anybody surprised that the Devils scored that shorty? I wasn’t. Flames PP all game looked tired, unfocused and predictable.

    And then there were two. I have narrowed my choices to Flames’ MVP to Gio and Lindholm as both continue to everything that is asked of them and more.

    Fantenberg certainly wasn’t Fantasticberg in his debut, but he did what was asked of him and that’s enough.

    I know the struggling Devils have been out of the playoffs for a long time, and the Flames are not a great draw there, but I was disturbed to see so many empty seats in the arena tonight because I’m only enough to remember the bad NJ clubs from the 1980s that couldn’t give away tickets to their games.

    I didn’t care for the Flames’ 3rd period as too much of the game was played in their end. Thankfully, Rittich was sharp when he had to be. They also played better in the final 3 or 4 minutes of the 3rd as they didn’t allow the Devils any glorious scoring chances.

    First time I have seen the highly-touted Billy Butcher play. His offensive game looks pretty good. His defensive game still needs more baking.

    Is Nico Hischier the most fearless player in the NHL? He wears #13 and plays for the Devils. Tempting fate or what, Nico?

    Was that silly old fool in the stands who was wearing Richer’s 44 trying to pick a fight with Backlund during the skirmish near the boards at the end of the game? Real New Jersey gangsta or a Paulie Walnuts wannabe?

    As much as I want to gripe that the Flames are just barely beating clubs that are well below them in the standings, they are winning—7 in a row. Most of these wins have been dull games, but consider if they had lost all these 1 goal games against inferior opponents. I’ll take actual wins rather than shoulda won every time.

    Iginla’s number 12 to be retired prior to the next game. Wild! Who’s number should be next? How about Fleury’s 14? He’s controversial to be sure, but he was a helluva Flame. Put butts in seats and was the only reason to watch the Flames during its lean years in the ’90s. Love him or hate him, Fleury’s #14 belongs in the rafters of the Dome.

  • Garry T

    The neighbour was over watching the game tonight. He does’t get time to watch much hockey with a young family. He asked what was wrong with the team with a 2-1 final. He asked me what has happened to the first line production. I said Lindholm has 10 points in the last 10 games and Johnny and Monny are just plain tired with their line being so heavily used so far this year. Then he asked what would you do to get them all going. My answer was that for the most part Johnny is trying to push into the zone, mostly on his own. I think the answer to the question is that all three players need to leave their zone together and approach the center ice and blue line with a plan for a three pass maximum play and put the puck in the net as opposed to missing left, right , high or just plain bad misses period. In either case entry as a unit is imperative and a bang, bang passing and a focused shot scenario is imperative. Why do they not do that? I don’t know but I think they would create more as a three man push entering the offensive zone.

  • Manginasal

    Okay. So its frustrating to see our top Centreman struggle to score in the latter half of the season but really…can we complain?
    We just won 7 in a row.
    Were 2nd in the league.
    Defence is winning us games
    Goaltending is winning us games.

    I’m grateful. Monahan could have scored his 39th goal tonight but our team might be waay out of the po race…ahem (Edmonton)

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Hated how the TV feed kept showing Frolik as if he were responsible for Mueller’s collision with the boards. Very tasteless and extremely unjustified. Someone should be severely reprimanded for unfairly pointing the finger at Frolik.

      • T&A4Flames

        That’s really just how you choose to interpret the situation. The reality is Frolík ended up falling when Mueller tripped and followed him into the boards adding extra weight to the board collision. He wasn’t at fault but I bet he may have felt partially to blame until he is able to see the replay. It was interesting seeing his reactions. I think he felt a bit responsible. I hope he looks at the replay. No player needs to feel that guilty for something that wasn’t their fault.

        • BlueMoonNigel

          Not sure what your point is. I hated the decision that the video kept showing Frolik with the implication that he was at fault, which was clearly not the case. The first replay of the collision exonerated Frolik of any fault and his falling on Mueller after the Devil had hit the boards was unintentional, so why was the decision made to continue broadcasting images of Frolik while Mueller was being attended to? It was a terrible decision to focus on Frolik in the aftermath as the implication was that he was responsible for it when clearly he was not. Somebody needs to make a formal and public apology to Frolik for the decision to stalk him and broadcast his image.

          • Mickey O'Reaves

            BlueMoonNigel, CTFlame and others. Maybe go to the Sporstnet feed for the replay. Before hitting play, the still picture is of Frolik on top of Mueller like in a wrestling move, and the headline is about a player being injured. For anyone who didn’t see the game last night, or had no context, then you would assume the guy in white injured the guy in red.

            …Went looking for the video, and can’t find it. That is literally yesterday’s news I guess, and the feed now at 7 PM as all about the Leafs and Tavares. Point being absolutely gutless, and combative reporting by SN. It potentially puts a target on Frolik’s back. There are enough enraged, unhinged people in the world that SN doesn’t need to add to the freakin’ pile.

            The written article was from AP. The video (that I didn’t watch) was from SN.

      • CTFlame

        I live in New Jersey, so I had to watch the game on the local network MSG, which is it’s own special form of misery (although not as bad as listening to Butch Goring drone on for the Islanders). So I’m surprised that the SN coverage kept showing Frolik so much when there were only one or two shots shown by MSG. Even when they did show him, the Devils broadcast team went out of their way to say how it wasn’t his fault and how it was just an unfortunate accident.

        • Mickey O'Reaves

          Thanks, CTFlame. Much appreciated. The same gutless, sensationalized reporting when a reporter sticks a mic in your face when you are running to pick up your kid after a school shooting let’s say, or after a bus accident. Getting off on the pain of others in many ways. Some very twisted stuff.

      • Mickey O'Reaves

        Some Oilers fan(s) maybe, you know just clicking away at the trash button being petty. Whatever.
        But I’ll tell you this for a game of soldiers: they have no concept of the word – Respect.
        RESPECT = 7377328

  • THE WW Bandwagon

    Great victory!

    Now just dont come out flat on Iggy night.
    Most importantly game in my mind because the best way to honor our former superstar is to WIN!

  • MontanaMan

    Good win for the Flames especially with the time on the road and 3 in 4. The secondary scoring issue has really resolved itself, the young D are playing well and both tenders appear to have settled in. So all good? Not so fast. Lindholm continues to produce but Monahan looks suspect (not even getting good shots off even though he’s in an excellent scoring position) and Gaudreau who is looking nothing short of terrible, making awful passes, poor choices and over handling the puck. And he’s showing his frustration more every game. He will likely work his way out of it but I’m getting concerned.

    • THE WW Bandwagon

      JG had 2 big assists tonight.

      Monahan is a giant marshmallow. I cant stand him as our #1 centre.
      He’s soft and his strength is only scoring and every year at this time he disappears.
      If hes not scoring then he is useless.

      • Derzie

        This is a really dumb statement. What’s the stat for ‘soft’ again? Looking at the top 10 points producing centers, where Sean is, not a lot of rough and tumble in there. Let’s leave the tough for the 4th liners where it belongs.

        • THE WW Bandwagon

          Most of Monahans points have come from the first half of the season.
          Sorry but it’s TRUE. SM doesn’t put up 1rst line centerman points on the stretch run.
          Tally em up…

          Its really telling.

      • smatic10

        I can’t lie, it can be frustrating watching Monny drift around this time of year, but when he gets going again, it’ll be lethal and just in time for the playoffs. Reminder: he was one of, if not the best Flame against the Ducks in the 2017 playoffs. So motivation is not the issue. He’ll come around. Luckily, we finally have depth to carry the team until he finds his way again.
        Same thing with Johnny, he hasn’t been himself since the all star break really, constantly fighting the puck. But the kid is elite and nothing will stop him from putting up points on a regular basis (another two points tonight). He’ll find his way too, just needs some luck to go his way.
        Lindy is our savior, bring a solid consistent effort every night which is why the top line is still lethal even when they’re going through a rough patch.

    • TheDallyLama

      Last i recall didn’t Monny lead the team in goals and Points in our last playoff appearance? Scored every game vs the ducks despite being swept…I wouldn’t worry about him being too soft or not showing up he will get it going in perfect timing for playoffs.

  • smatic10

    It’s funny, the only thing that has held Backlund back his whole career is lack of confidence in his own skillset. Dude has great speed, good strength, high hockey IQ, and a monster shot. The last few games has shown everyone what he can do when he plays with confidence. He’s been driving the puck up the ice, whipping shots at the net and even throwing his weight around. He’s too good to be a third line center and is just now showing that he slots in really well as a 2nd line center by being able to to put up numbers.

  • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

    Sports Club Stats now has us with a 95% Chance of winning the Pacific. Realistically unless we collapse worst we can finish is second in the Pacific because we’re now 18 Points up on Vegas with only 36 Points possible remaining. So as long as we at least go .500 and Vegas doesn’t win the schedule outright we have home ice in the first round. *Knocks on wood*

    • freethe flames

      The Flames have 18 games left 10 against nonplayoff teams or long shot bubble teams; win all of them and go 50% in the other games and they likely finish first in the west. SJ has a much harder schedule and Vegas has a similar schedule to us but it is unlikely they run the table.

      • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

        Yeah, if we finish two games above .500 in the final stretch we have close to a 80% chance of winning the Pacific. Finishing three games above .500 puts us up to like a 90+%, which as you mentioned cosindering SJ strength of schedule is essentially like a 100%.

  • Thesaun

    Do we need to be worried about the lack of scoring against lesser opposition? Flames were flirting with OT in both Ottawa and New Jersey despite a wide margin in shots. Need to start burying chances and putting away these weak teams early. We can’t ask BSD and Smitty to keep everyone to one goal.