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Post-Game: Flames find their swagger against the Ducks

The Calgary Flames came into Friday night’s game with the Anaheim Ducks in a position to make their playoff lives much easier with a win. Well, mission accomplished: the Flames got better as the game went along en route to a decisive 6-1 victory.

The Rundown

The Flames were fighting the puck in all three zones early in the first period, and their turnovers ended up coming home to roost… in their net. A loose puck wasn’t corralled in their zone, and it trickled to Andy Welinski at the point for a mean slapshot that beat Mike Smith through traffic to make it 1-0 Ducks.

The home side had a power play but couldn’t bury their chances. Max Jones was sprung on a breakaway just after the Ducks penalty expired but Smith made a big pad save. Play went the other way and Ryan Miller stopped Johnny Gaudreau’s scoring chance, but James Neal knocked the puck loose with a hit on Hampus Lindholm, allowing Sean Monahan to feed Mark Giordano for a wrist shot that beat Miller to tie the game at 1-1.

Shots were 10-8 Ducks and scoring chances 9-7 Ducks in the first period.

The Flames woke up early in the second period and took over the game for much of the period. A few shifts in, Rasmus Andersson corked a slap shot on net. Miller made the save, but booted the puck right out into the slot for Monahan, who chipped it past Miller to give the Flames a 2-1 lead.

Midway through the period Austin Czarnik drew a penalty. On the ensuing advantage, his slap shot from the off wing rebounded out into the slot for Monahan (again), who bonked in the rebound (which deflected off Neal) to give the Flames a 3-1 edge. The goal was credited to Neal, then Monahan, then Neal. Let’s say Neal got it, ‘kay?

Shots were 18-9 Flames and chances 13-6 Flames in the second period.

The Flames buzzed around more to open the third period. About midway through, they were rewarded, as Derek Ryan tipped a TJ Brodie point shot past Miller to give the Flames a 4-1 lead.

Garnet Hathaway and Monahan added late goals to make it 6-1 Flames and ice this one.

Why the Flames Won

To be blunt? They were better than the Ducks in virtually every area of the ice, aside from a stretch early in the first period where they were unable to clear their own end.

Red Warrior

Let’s go with Monahan, who had four points to end his slump.

The Turning Point

The third goal was huge for the Flames, as they finally got a power play goal and were rewarded once again for going to the net – something they hardly did in previous games.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
For%
OZone
Start%
Game
Score
Neal 76.9 0.0 1.550
Jankowski 75.0 0.0 0.310
Czarnik 73.3 0.0 1.210
Tkachuk 72.4 75.0 0.800
Backlund 70.4 75.0 0.485
Frolik 69.2 77.8 0.490
Prout 67.9 37.5 0.875
Hanifin 65.8 20.0 1.775
Ryan 61.9 20.0 1.985
Hathaway 60.0 20.0 1.500
Hamonic 60.0 20.0 1.375
Giordano 58.6 83.3 1.450
Brodie 58.6 37.5 1.375
Andersson 58.1 83.3 1.375
Mangiapane 57.1 20.0 0.525
Lindholm 50.0 85.7 1.000
Gaudreau 50.0 87.5 1.375
Monahan 50.0 87.5 3.670
Smith 1.350
Rittich

This and That

This game was the annual Retro Night game, complete with retro jerseys, retro graphics and several members of the 1989 Stanley Cup team being in attendance. (They also had dueling pianos during the intermissions, which is something they should try doing more often because it was very entertaining.)

Up Next

The Flames (48-23-7) are headed on the road. They visit the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night in a game that could actually be meaningless depending on if the Sharks lose to Vegas on Saturday.

  • Richie

    I don’t understand why they credited Monahan’s second goal to Neal. I watched the replay and I don’t think he touched it. Am I wrong or does anybody else feel this way?

  • Atomic Clown

    Neal didnt deserve that goal, dude cant even take three strides to get to a puck. Possibly worst player to don the flaming C in the last 9 years considering his salary, as well as the expectations. “Perennial 20 goal scorer”. “Two straight cup finals”. On his clear shot from the wing, he literally pushed the puck towards Miller. Monahan got a hattie for all intents and purposes. On a side note, shoutout to Smith for having an excellent game.

    • Atomic Clown

      C’mon guys, our expectations of him are so incredibly low, that whatever he did tonight was deemed “hustle”. I’d like to hear feedback as to why otherwise

      • Tkachuk'sLisp

        There’s really no use in complaining about Neal anymore. He is what he is: a super overpaid former scoring winger past his prime. He’s going to play and hopefully he can get a greasy goal every now and then. Everyone keeps hoping for him to turn it on come playoff time but I think we’ve seen what Neal has become.

        I hope that I eat my words and he becomes a playoff stud but he just hasn’t showed anything close to that this season. I like to keep my expectations low when it comes to him.

        • HOCKEY83

          Considering he’s never been a playoff stud. Playoff studs look like Crosby malkin kessel guentzel…guys that are a point a game or better through the playoffs…not Neal ever in his career.

  • Lazarus

    The headlines will say The Flames feasted on Duck but I propose a menu option tonight a lot should try. Crow.
    Smith, Monahan, Neal with excellent games. Playoffs are almost here

  • Jobu

    Never knew Monahan was up for his highest goal total.

    That would probably explain it. Gripping the stick too tight. Blows it wide open immediately after.

    Good game!

      • Avalain

        Loser points may be lame, but they also aren’t making much of a difference. If OT loss gave no points and was simply a tie breaker stat, the only change in the standings is that Arizona would be up by a single win on Colorado and Columbus would switch places with Carolina. That’s not a huge difference.

        • Kzak

          So basically there’d be one team in the playoffs and one team out of the playoffs; that’s sounds like a pretty huge difference to me. If the Flames were Arizona in this scenario, I bet you’d be singing a different tune.

        • His Dudeness

          Yeah because Lindholm has played so much center. Remember when Monahan was hurt and Lindholm stepped right into the 1C spot? Oh wait. That was Derek Ryan. Remember when Lindholm played center for Carolina and sucked? Remember when he came here and played RIGHT WING and is having a career year. You really should change ur handle. Walter White was a smart dude, you are an idiot.

          • His Dudeness

            No Lindholm is a center ice man who has played lots of center in the past. Not particularly well. Sam Bennett is a center as well. So was Claude Giroux. It’s hard to play center in the NHL. Lindholm has thrived playing the wing.

    • Albertabeef

      Points by flames players after age 24 season
      Fleury 358 163 214 377
      Iginla 470 174 189 363
      Monahan 469 171 190 361
      Nieuwendyk 319 197 163 360
      Reichel 425 153 201 354

      • His Dudeness

        Monny only 3 goals and 2 points off the pace of the greatest player the flames have ever had. Doesnt matter though, he struggles for a couple weeks and must be traded….

      • Tkachuk'sLisp

        It’s crazy to think that Johnny has more points than that in 100 less games than Monahan. I know he’s 25 but he’s got a season less than Mony does under his belt. If he sticks around after this contract, he’ll go down as the best offensive player ever for the Flames.

        • HOCKEY83

          Gaudreau sits 12th right now on the flames all time points per game list. Don’t think he’s make that best offensive flames ever but he’ll get close. Iggy rates 16th best offensive player and fleury is 7th

  • KeepitReal

    It appears the reports of Mony’s demise were greatly exaggerated.

    The boys got the memo; Shoot from the blue line. One time it from the circles.

    Prout did very well with TJ. He will be a necessity when we bump up some teams that have junk yard dogs who get off their leash.

    Next up on the menu – shark bisque.

    GFG

  • Calgarycandle

    The last two periods were one of the most complete efforts from the Flames recently. Ryan, Mangi and Hath continue to shine. Glad Neal got the goal–it should help his confidence and he made a key play behind the net on the first goal too. One of his more engaged games and gives me hope for the playoffs. With Bennett back for the playoffs we have four scary lines and a solid D. Smith still scares me with his forays, but he did play solidly. Great that both Colo and Ariz got points tonight. I’d rather not face hack and whack Minnesota in round one.

  • Baceda

    Neal was sure given a lot of credit for “shaking the puck loose” on that first goal when really the pass was already made well before he actually hit the guy. At least he still bothered to follow through on it though, and he had a good game by his current standards