Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA Today Sports

Post-Game Wrap-Up: Flames grind out win over Flyers

The Calgary Flames returned home after a pretty uneven road trip on Tuesday night. They commemorated their return to the Saddledome with another fairly uneven effort. However, it was good enough to edge the visiting Philadelphia Flyers by a 3-1 score.

The Rundown

For just the second time this season, the Flames opened the scoring. Michael Frolik nabbed an errant dump-out by the Flyers inside the offensive blueline, walked into the slot and beat Elliott stick-side to make it 1-0 Flames.

The rest of the period was an awkward jumble of penalties, at one point overlapping to produce 4-on-4, 4-on-3 and 5-on-4 in rapid succession. The Flames nearly added to their lead with six seconds left in the period, but a potential Sean Monahan goal was tossed out due to him directing it into the net with a distinct kicking motion.

Shots were 13-10 Flames and scoring chances 4-2 Flames in the opening frame.

The second period was quite a dull 20 minutes of ice hockey with nary an exciting scoring chance to be found. But midway through the period the Flames added to their lead. Off a face-off win (by Milan Lucic!) Mark Giordano fed Andrew Mangiapane in the high slot for a shot that ramped off a defender’s stick and beat Elliott to give the home side a 2-0 edge.

Shots were 13-6 Flames in the second, scoring chances 7-5 Flames.

Early in the third period, Lucic over-skated the puck and Noah Hanifin took a penalty on the ensuing rush up the ice. On the delayed call the Flames stopped skating (or keeping track of Flyers in their zone), which allowed Matt Niskanen to take advantage of the confusion and bury a loose puck past David Rittich to cut the Flames’ lead to 2-1.

But that was as close as the Flyers got, despite pulling Elliott for the extra attacker, and the Flames managed to hold on for the victory. (Rittich tried to score an empty netter, but he missed wide left by about a dozen feet. Good try, though.) Elias Lindholm scored into an empty net to cement the Flames victory by a 3-1 score.

Shots were 12-6 Flames and chances 7-3 Flames in the third period.

Why the Flames Won

The Flames were, quite simply, superior to the Flyers at even strength. When they could avoid the penalty box, the Flames did a good job driving play – all this despite being in a big hole in terms of their face-off wins. They weren’t great defensively, but David Rittich did a rock-solid job calming things down when he needed to.

But the game was closer than it needed to be because the Flames didn’t play as a cohesive five-man unit the whole game and their face-off woes meant they really had to work to get puck possession.

The power play didn’t do much because it didn’t have the puck very often. Two shots on goal seemed to go hand-in-glove with a 1-for-7 performance at the dot.

Red Warrior

In honour of scoring the first bottom six goal of the campaign, we’re going with Mangiapane. His trio with Lucic and Derek Ryan were pretty effective all evening.

The Turning Point

Mangiapane’s goal, the eventual game-winner, gave the Flames a cushion and ensured that a few lapses wouldn’t completely topple them from their lofty perch.

The Numbers

Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.

Jankowski 88.9 80.0 0.555
Czarnik 75.0 80.0 0.275
Kylington 75.0 85.7 0.675
Andersson 75.0 85.7 0.875
Lindholm 69.6 78.6 1.765
Hamonic 66.7 80.0 1.100
Gaudreau 63.0 73.3 0.425
Monahan 63.0 70.6 0.490
Tkachuk 62.5 71.4 0.450
Hanifin 61.5 72.7 0.450
Bennett 60.0 80.0 -0.070
Mangiapane 58.8 83.3 1.125
Lucic 58.8 83.3 0.300
Backlund 56.5 66.7 0.280
Frolik 56.0 71.4 1.200
Giordano 52.4 73.3 1.175
Ryan 50.0 83.3 0.600
Brodie 45.8 68.8 0.250
Rittich 1.350

This and That

Mikael Backlund blocked a shot off his leg foot midway though the third period. He couldn’t put weight on his left leg and had to be helped off the ice and down the tunnel. He returned to the bench after about seven minutes of in-game time.

This was Frolik’s 800th regular season NHL game.

Up Next

The Flames (3-3-1) practice tomorrow, then prepare to host the Detroit Red Wings at the ‘Dome on Thursday night.

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