Post-Game Wrap-Up: Swedes drive Flames to victory

On Wednesday in Los Angeles, the Calgary Flames didn’t have great luck with their puck management. They weren’t at their best on Thursday evening in Anaheim, but they were decidedly better than in Los Angeles – and decidedly better than the Ducks. They skated to a rock solid 6-0 victory over the Ducks at the Honda Center.

The Rundown

The Flames were a bit sloppy defensively early on, fighting the puck a bit in their own end. An errant pass by Oliver Kylington led to a nice Anaheim scoring chance.

But the Flames managed to score first. They couldn’t do a lot with an early power play, but as it expired Michael Stone’s initial shot was stopped but Elias Lindholm took advantage of some confusion and jammed the loose puck in to make it 1-0 Flames.

The Flames doubled their lead a little later. Rasmus Andersson dumped the puck in and headed to the bench. The Ducks had trouble handling the puck and the Calgary forecheck kept the loose puck inside their zone. A couple quick passes later – including Andrew Mangiapane making a quick spin-and-dish to Mikael Backlund for the tap-in – and the Flames had a 2-0 lead.

Calgary got another goal a little bit after that, as Andersson dished the puck off to Oliver Kylington and headed for a line change. Kylington waited for the other defender to arrive, then decided to sneak in from the point for a shot with a Milan Lucic screen. That beat John Gibson to make it 3-0 Flames.

The Flames made it 4-0 before the intermission on a goal that Gibson probably wants back. Mark Jankowski skated into the high slot on the rush and unleashed a rising wrist shot that seemed to catch Gibson off-guard.

Shots were 16-12 Flames and scoring chances 8-8 in the opening period.

Ryan Miller came into the game for the second period. The Ducks pressed. The teams exchanged power plays. Neither team scored on the man advantage, but Backlund jumped all over a loose puck, fended off Rickard Rakell and chipped a backhander over top of Miller to make it 5-0 by way of a shorthanded marker.

Shots were 18-10 Ducks and scoring chances 14-9 Ducks in the second period.

The Flames made it 6-0 midway through the third period. His initial shot was blocked, but Jankowski jumped on his own rebound and beat Miller for his second of the game.

The Ducks had several good chances in the third period, but the Flames did their best to disrupt.

Shots were 14-5 Ducks and scoring chances 9-6 Ducks in the third period.

Why the Flames Won

When the Flames were rusty early, Cam Talbot was sharp. And when the Ducks weren’t sharp, the Flames were. Good fore-checking and being opportunistic offensively really helped the Flames have a solid evening.

Red Warrior

Let’s go with Backlund, who scored twice and looked excellent.

But several Flames had solid games. Andersson was instrumental early on. Brodie was sharp. Talbot was very good, making 44 saves for his first shutout as a Flame.

The Turning Point

Let’s go with Kylington’s goal in the first period. If there was a canary in the coalmine to tell the Ducks that this game wasn’t going to go their way, it’s a third pairing defender on a team that played (and lost) the night before scoring.

The Numbers

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

Monahan 53.1 42.9 0.550
Lindholm 51.6 42.9 1.100
Gaudreau 50.0 42.9 0.600
Rinaldo 48.3 57.1 0.150
Stone 47.4 36.4 0.850
Bennett 46.7 66.7 0.060
Hanifin 45.4 54.6 0.375
Andersson 45.2 54.6 1.025
Brodie 44.7 37.5 1.500
Jankowski 41.9 66.7 1.845
Ryan 36.0 20.0 0.010
Lucic 33.3 20.0 -0.150
Mangiapane 31.8 44.4 1.275
Davidson 26.1 33.3 -0.425
Dube 25.0 0.0 -0.200
Tkachuk 25.0 37.5 0.275
Kylington 24.2 25.0 0.200
Backlund 22.7 37.5 1.480
Talbot 4.400

This and That

Both teams began the game on the bluelines for a tribute to Jay Bouwmeester, who had a cardiac episode in Anaheim’s game on Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues.

Dillon Dube left the game briefly in the second period after a Ryan Getzlaf hit but returned.

This was the first time the Flames have ever scored six goals in a game at the Honda Center.

The Drive to 95 (Points)

The Flames have 66 points. A 95 point playoff pace through 59 games prorates to 68.3 points, so they’re 2.3 points off a likely playoff pace with 23 games to go.

Up Next

The Flames (30-23-6) are headed home. They travel on Friday and are back in action on Saturday night when they host the Chicago Blackhawks.