57Flames celebrate
Photo Credit: Neville E. Guard/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames beat Sharks, clinch everything

The Calgary Flames took care of their own business on Sunday evening at the SAP Center. Needing a win to clinch first in the Pacific Division and Western Conference, the Flames were full marks in a thorough 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks.

The Rundown

The Flames were fairly flat early, bobbling the puck here and there in all three zones. That tendency led to a Dalton Prout turnover midway through the first period and a Sharks goal, as the home side recovered Prout’s gaffe and a few passes later Timo Meier beat Mike Smith with a quick shot to make it 1-0 Sharks.

But just as it looked like this game might become a bit of a grinding affair, the Flames did Flames things and scored three goals in the span of 75 seconds.

The Sharks tried to clear out a Flames dump-in, but Mark Giordano halted the puck. The Sharks tried to go around the side of the zone, but Johnny Gaudreau stole the puck (after Rasmus Andersson induced a turnover) and fed it between a defenders legs to Sean Monahan for the tap-in to tie the game at 1-1.

Roughly 30 seconds later, off the rush James Neal and Mark Jankowski combined on a bit of a scrambley give-and-go play in the slot. Jankowski finished it off with a low shot that beat Aaron Dell inside the post to make it 2-1 Flames.

And roughly 40 seconds after that goal, Andrew Mangiapane drove the net but couldn’t get a shot off. So he fed a pinching Dalton Prout, who tucked the puck past Dell to make it 3-1 Flames.

Shots were 11-6 Flames and scoring chances 12-10 Flames in the first period.

The Flames added to their lead in the second period, with a bit of a weird one: Noah Hanifin put a puck on net for Mikael Backlund – screening Dell and going for the tip – and Backlund’s tip redirected the puck to the top of the crease, where it deflected off Joakim Ryan’s stick and into the net. That gave the Flames a 4-1 edge.

Shots were 14-3 Flames and scoring chances 10-2 Flames in the second period.

Logan Couture finished off a really nice passing play early in the third period to cut the Flames’ lead to 4-2, but Michael Frolik scored a couple minutes later to extend Calgary’s edge to 5-2.

Kevin Labanc deflected a puck off Prout’s pants and past Smith to make it a 5-3 game late in the third, but that was as close as the Sharks got.

Shots were 6-3 Sharks and chances 5-2 Sharks in the third period.

Why the Flames Won

The Flames were a bit tentative for the first 10 or so minutes of this game. But following Meier’s goal, the Flames were just flat-out better than the Sharks. You could criticize their power plays for not generating more scoring chances, but this was a game in which every single forward line scored a goal. In a situation where the Flames could seal their own fate, they stepped up and they did so.

Red Warrior

Let’s go with Backlund. In a tough game in another team’s rink, Backlund consistently won faceoffs, generated pressure and scoring chances, and added a goal.

But lots of Flames played well, including Prout getting his first goal with the team and Neal crashing and banging for much of the game.

The Turning Point

The Flames were down 1-0, then scored three goals in 75 seconds. The game was not close from that point onward, as the flurry of offense overwhelmed the Sharks and left them adrift for the remainder of the evening.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
For%
OZone
Start%
Game
Score
Hathaway 72.7 0.0 0.865
Lindholm 66.7 22.2 0.500
Mangiapane 64.3 0.0 1.250
Brodie 61.9 75.0 0.100
Ryan 60.0 0.0 0.360
Prout 57.9 60.0 0.750
Andersson 54.1 22.2 1.400
Tkachuk 51.5 37.5 0.825
Backlund 51.4 33.3 1.475
Frolik 48.7 50.0 1.200
Giordano 46.2 22.2 1.050
Monahan 42.9 22.2 0.690
Gaudreau 42.1 22.2 1.675
Hanifin 42.1 22.2 0.750
Jankowski 36.4 100 0.985
Hamonic 34.8 25.0 -0.050
Czarnik 33.3 100 0.585
Neal 29.4 100 0.550
Smith -1.050
Rittich

This and That

The victory is the Flames’ 23rd road win of the year, setting a new single season franchise record.

Up Next

The Flames (49-23-7) head south tonight. They visit the Los Angeles Kings tomorrow evening.

  • 31 Thoughts With Morgan Freeman

    A solid and satisfying win to clinch the Pacific and Western Conference! Great job Flames! This is a moment to be proud! Just remember, nothing is accomplished till you’re raising Lord Stanley’s Grail. I’m finally starting to feel optimistic about James Neal’s game. He was engaged, played heavy, and made some great passes tonight! Who knew James Neal could be a playmaker? I can hardly recall a single passing play from him all season. Way to change up your game to make a positive impact on the team! Time now to rest the banged up players and get your black aces some reps! GFG!

    • His Dudeness

      I have not given Neal any credit all year and he did not deserve any until tonight. He played his first impactful game in a Flames sweater. Too bad it took 80 games. I loved his physical play and his gas tank should still be pretty full since he basically took an entire season off…

    • KeepitReal

      Prout’s skill set got exposed 2nite. 2 goals against were his giveaways. He was there for #3 but it wasn’t his giveaway that led to the SJ goal. But I still like the guy and what he brings to the table. Uncle Bill was giving him some juicy minutes to build his confidence. Good on him.

      Enjoy this nite gents. You deserve it.

      • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

        I’d rather see Kylington than Prout, but I’m honestly starting to think something soured between the two sides when the Jason Zucker deal fell through. On all of the broadcast no one even mentions him at all anymore as an option for a call-up. It’s like they have all been told by Treliving that he’s gone in the off-season now.

        Prout was bad defensively tonight. Plus that goal was basically a standard set play that most pros know about (taking the puck cross ice from where it came our front to cross up the goalie is taught by most decent skills coaches). Mangiapane actually deserves a ton of the credit for that goal, which he isn’t getting. He hit the man blind out of the corner of his eye, after drawing the defensive coverage out of the middle.

        • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

          Oscar Fantenberg is definitely going to be the sixth defenseman come playoff time. I would like to see more of Kylington, but again calling up Valimaki today really makes me think Kylingtons days as a Flame are numbered.

  • Craftmatic4.0

    4 seasons ago, I remember comments here, stating it was better 4 Flames to miss the playoffs in order 2 pick better! I just want to point out, Johnny/Monny have 3 rounds of playoff experience going into the Dance! Better pick, Debunked! Read’em and Weep!

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Tonight’s Takeaways:

    If the Sharks and Flames meet in the playoffs, the one battle I won’t look forward to is the battle of the bad anthem singers. Jessica Johnson doing a Breathless Mahoney take on the anthems flopped. Might be the only singer I have heard this season worse than Canyon.

    Flames really played fast and loose with the puck in their own zone in the first, but they looked like a model of order and efficiency compared to how the Sharks tried to defend their end in the last 5 minutes of the first and most of the 2nd period.

    Hey, Peters, how come you don’t let Prout take shootouts?

    I maintain that Smitty is a sly old fox who intentionally wears his mask loose so that he can “lose” it at a time in the game where a whistle is to the Flames advantage.

    Liked the strategy of targeting Kane and hitting him as often as possible. Only way to slow him up is to hit him and stay on his case.

    If Neal can play in the playoffs with the kind of physicality he showed tonight, the Flames will be that much tougher an opponent.

    PP remains el stinko! That said, I think they were content to just control the puck rather than try and score on their final two PPs.

    Don’t know how much the game against Vegas last night knocked the poop out of the Sharks or if they had conceded the Pac before the puck dropped tonight, but I have seen a lot better from this club this season and I expect a lot more from them next month.

    What kind of pre-season game lineup do we see tomorrow and for the remained of the regular season? I expect to see some Heaters dressed as Flames this week.

    Sharks are still doing that Jaws’ theme before PPs. At the home of the KC Royals, when there are 2 outs and 2 strikes on the enemy batter, a demonic voice chirps, “Punch him!” followed by a menacing laugh. Flames need to do stuff like that to add some flavour to the Dome experience.

    1st in the Pac and 1st in the West, I did not see that coming while I was playing with my pumpkins in October. Will the Flames still be hard at it in June while I am relishing my first radish crop?

  • Avalain

    We brought Valimaki up and only have 1 more call up this season. So, shouldn’t that be Dube? He’s gotta be the best player we have left in the AHL, right?

  • Alberta Ice

    Line 1, Line 3, Line 4, Line 2 score the 1st 4 goals for the Flames. Proof of the depth of this TEAM. I like our depth. TEAM scoring and TEAM defense for a TEAM win! How nice this is for Captain Gio who is leading the charge into the playoffs. I like this TEAM coming on. Best game yet by Neal especially as a physical presence which will be really needed for the second season. When everyone is pulling together, this is a tough TEAM to defeat! So hats off to the boys for getting the job done on this part of the journey and congratulations for procuring top spot in the West and Pacific. KIGF- KEEP IT GOING FLAMES!

  • aye

    Just can’t see the Sharks getting by VGK with their questionable defensive play and goaltending. Central division is a bit of a mess right now, so the Flames really have a great chance for a deep run. Now, rest up.

  • Derzie

    Could not be more proud of the team after this game. Clinched the Division & Conference in the barn of the team chasing them. And every player looked worthy of being there. Sent a message to the Sharks, that is they get past Vegas, trouble is waiting. Fantastic.

  • Stockton's Finest

    The Flames turned the tables on the Sharks from that February game where the fin scored 3 times in 85 seconds. Mrs. Finest is bummed, but tips her hat to the Flames. She hopes to get them in the 2nd round if the Sharks can get past the Knights.

  • Calgarycandle

    Tonight we saw playoff Neal and why even without scoring (he did have an assist) he could be of huge value as a big body on a Flames team that has skill and speed rather than size. Also, I think him Janko and Bennett could be a real handful to play against in the playoffs and give the 3rd line as distinct an identity as the other three lines.

    Like Prout for his physical deterrence, but he without question had a rough night on the D side. Let’s hope that if we are matching up against size as we will undoubtedly have to do if we meet Vegas or S.J. in round 2 that we don’t have to outscore mistakes.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      More importantly, Janko can’t play soft when Bennett and Neal are running over bodies….this is going to be a great playoff line. I feel bad for Czarnik he will be the odd man out.

      • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

        Czarnik wouldn’t be an odd man out for me personally as his speed has really rejuvenated the bottom six and his shot is a major weapon that the PP2 has been missing all year, but he seems like the logical one, considering what’s happened earlier this season.

        I’m sure he’ll get a chance at some point if we have a deep run. Bennett and Jankowski can kind of go stale at times for me and those three together are a really slow line. If that happens I would like to see Czarnik back in.

    • His Dudeness

      You must be planning for a lot of injuries in the first round if you think Prout will be sniffing a playoff game. Stone, Fantenberg, Valimaki are all ahead of him on the depth chart. Not too mention he was AWFUL tonight. Forget the goal he scored, go watch all the sharks goals!

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Say what you want about Smith…he controls the game better than any keeper. I don’t know what happened on the third goal but the rest of his game was good. I say he deserves to start the playoffs because of the way he keeps teams off balance.

    • Pizzaman

      Seeing Smith live at the SAP center he was aggressive but controlled. Unlike other games. Maybe he has got his playoff game face going even if he cant keep his mask on!

  • Rookie Veteran

    Dalton Prout scored a nice goal, congratulations to him. But after the last three regular season games, he should never dress in a flames jersey again. His two gaffes led directed to two goals against tonight, we can’t afford that in the playoffs.

    • Budgie

      He is 39, his biggest attribute last night was yapping at Tkachuk. Told him “You never fight anyone” “You are a wosey” kept yapin at everyone. Calgary was more composed and avoided penalty traps. They skated away, no sense getting hurt before the playoffs fighting

    • Pizzaman

      Uhh..Neal is better but he needs another gear still. Janko still mostly a ghost and I have been cheering for him all season. Lets not forget we are picking Fly**** out of pepper here given the Flames outstanding season.