34David Rittich
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames out-class Rangers

The Calgary Flames came into Friday night’s game with the New York Rangers needing a win to jump into first place. They looked equal parts composed and hungry in a 5-1 victory over the Rangers at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

The Rundown

The Flames opened the scoring midway through the first period. After a successful penalty kill, the Flames had their lines jumbled up a bit. Matthew Tkachuk collected the puck in the defensive end, skated around the back of the net, and lobbed the puck across the neutral zone. It landed in the Rangers zone, Johnny Gaudreau out-skated a defender and deked out Alexandar Georgiev to make it 1-0 Flames.

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But the Rangers tied things up just 70 seconds later during a stretch of four-on-four play. The Rangers entered the zone with numbers and blueliner Neal Pionk entered as the trailer, accepted a pass, and had oodles of time to uncork a slap shot that beat David Rittich low on the blocker side to make it 1-1.

Shots were 13-6 Flames and chances 8-4 Flames in the first period.

The Flames took control of the game in the second period with a pair of goals within the first five minutes.

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Following a brief four-on-four sequence, the Flames’ second line went to work with a nice bit of puck movement in the Rangers’ zone. Mark Giordano’s shot from the point was redirected by Tkachuk past Georgiev to make it 2-1 Flames.

A little bit later, a nice passing sequence for the fourth line – plus Tkachuk, subbing in on the trio – led to another goal. Derek Ryan cycled the puck from behind the net to Tkachuk in the corner, and he whipped the puck right to Garnet Hathaway for a quick redirect that made the game 3-1 Flames.

Shots were 9-5 Rangers and scoring chances 5-4 Flames in the second.

The Flames added some insurance in the third period off another nice cycling play by the second line. They won some board battles and funneled the puck to the point. Noah Hanifin’s initial shot was stopped, but Tkachuk fed Michael Frolik for a tap-in to give them a 4-1 advantage.

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They got additional insurance off another hungry shift from the second line, as Mikael Backlund’s initial chance was stopped but Tkachuk jumped all over the rebound to make it a 5-1 Flames lead.

The Flames held on for the victory. Shots were 14-10 Flames in the third and scoring chances 11-6 Flames.

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Why the Flames Won

They were the better team and they out-worked the Rangers. They created scoring chances, minimized the number and quality of the opportunities the Rangers got, and just managed the game quite well.

Red Warrior

Tkachuk was in on every goal the Flames scored. He was emotionally engaged and did a good job managing the puck and using his teammates.

The Turning Point

The Flames really grabbed hold of this game early in the second period. Rather than waiting for the game to come to them, as has been one of their tendencies at home, they really used their forecheck and maneuvered the puck well. They generated several good scoring chances, buried two of them, and put it in cruise control from then on.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Frolik 80.0 50.0 2.550
Bennett 73.3 75.0 0.340
Backlund 72.0 42.9 2.045
Ryan 68.2 50.0 1.410
Giordano 68.2 40.0 1.475
Brodie 66.7 40.0 0.550
Tkachuk 65.2 37.5 5.075
Gaudreau 65.0 83.3 1.350
Hamonic 64.0 66.7 0.875
Fantenberg 63.2 60.0 0.700
Lindholm 61.9 71.4 0.240
Monahan 60.0 100 0.210
Hanifin 55.6 66.7 0.925
Andersson 55.0 60.0 0.750
Czarnik 50.0 50.0 0.125
Hathaway 50.0 60.0 0.975
Mangiapane 47.1 57.1 0.075
Jankowski 35.7 62.5 -0.290
Rittich 1.650

This and That

With Tkachuk’s five point outing, the Flames now have four 70+ point players. You have to go back seven seasons to capture a period when the Flames had their previous four 70+ seasons.

This was the 12th of the Flames’ 13 scheduled games in their retro jerseys. They’re 7-4-1 in them this season.

Up Next

The Flames (44-20-7) hop on a plane and fly east. They play the Winnipeg Jets tomorrow night in the early game on Hockey Night in Canada. With a point in that game, the Flames can clinch a playoff berth.

    • Mort

      It was low stress in the sense that we were pretty sure to win, especially after Hathaway’s goal, but I won’t lie, there was some stress when Andersson took that slash to the thumb.

  • RKD

    Chucky absolutely killed it tonight last game it was Johnny with 6 points and tonight it was Matthew with 5. Wonder which Flame will kill it against the inconsistent Jets.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Tonight’s Takeaways:

    Missed the pregame against the Devils. Was their a tribute to Harry Howell? If not, should have been one tonight with his old team in town.

    Who are those guys? Man, that Ranger roster reminds me of a spring training roster where you don’t know most of the players without a program.

    How come Johnny can score on breakaways now?

    Keep chalking up, Chucky, and the Flames won’t be able to afford Jason Zucker.

    I’d like to see Francis and Jason York get locked in a room and yak each other to death.

    Where is Rasmus Andersson’s accent? He almost sounds North American, which is absolutely not the case for Lindholm. I sometimes think Lindholm is speaking Tikkanen rather than Swenglish.

    Anybody remember what the Rangers’ notorious Lias Andersson did to get tagged NotoLias?

    How come no club has hired Alain Vigneault yet? I’ll bet he’ll be an NHL head coach when the season starts next year.

    That Bulgarian goalie for the Rangers reminded me that in Bulgaria, nodding your head means no and shaking your head means yes. Not knowing the difference could get a fella from here in big troube should he find himself in sunny Sofia.

    No way would Gretzky in his third year as a pro have scored a goal like Chucky’s second goal as 99 would have remained prostrate on the ice with only his mouth working nineteen to the dozen. Chucky’s a pip.

    With football season inching ever closer, FUMBLE! And the ball is picked up on the 20. He’s down to 15, 10, 5, TOUCHDOWN! Sharks fumbled and the Flames capitalized.

    Overall, a pretty solid effort by the Flames against a Ranger club that has seen better days. The Flames kept their own end trouble free and pretty much dictated the game from start to finish. They played a clean game. Now let’s clean up the dirty Jets.

    • L.Kolkind

      How would a Rittich and Gilles sound next year? Parsons and either Mac or Schneider can split the A. I wouldn’t give up on having Mac as a decent backup option when he is around 26, not quite starter but maybe next McBackup

  • Gus Fring

    I watched the game on my box so I watched it on the MSG network and the broadcasters had nothing but praise for our team. Called the Flames one of the elite teams in the West. Also said that other teams are envious that we have almost 4 thirty goal scorers and a stable of young defenders. It was nice to hear that other teams view us as elite and complete. We should be proud fans!

    • Captain Ron

      We really need to embrace what we have here. Not perfect but it’s but it’s a pretty friggin shiny bauble none the less.
      Final four is not a stretch. It could happen.

        • Ari Yanover

          It shouldn’t be in the team’s vocabulary, no.

          It can be in our vocabulary, though. We have no outcome on the games. We can be plenty happy with that we’ve got – this is maybe the best season I’ve seen and the future still looks plenty bright from here.

          • Albertabeef

            For fans I’m all about the “enjoy the ride” attitude, but I still have my expectations on the team. I’ve been spoiled, I’ve seen all three times the Flames made the finals, and the presidents trophy seasons. This is close but not quite the best Flames year I’ve seen. Top 4-8 of all regular seasons maybe. Flames were pretty freakin awesome from 1986-94. 2003-09 were not too bad either as far as regular seasons go. Flames had barely made the playoffs and then had that run. With a year of lock outs the future was foggy. But when hockey resumed Flames looked really dominant in 2005-06 and the future was looking really good for the team. I feel similar to the 05-06 feeling of the future looking really good.

  • Albertabeef

    Jankowski with the only negative game score. He’s been kind of invisible lately. Maybe we should reunite the Heat line with Mange, Janks and Hath. Or just for fun Gaudreau-Lindholm-Hathaway, Hath can play a “Ferland” role till Mony returns. Although I’d rather see them use Ryan instead.