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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports

Flames 4, Canadiens 2: Get that bread

The Flames played well and won an important game. That’s refreshing. Sure, they have played some decent hockey as of late but the urgency, pace, and translation into results has been variable. The boys in the monstrous black C, vertical stripe laden jerseys came out a dictated play for the majority of the hockey game. Tenacious performances by guys like Mangiapane and Dube kept the slim playoff hopes alive for at least 24 hours.

On the ice

A dominant game from the Flames in terms of possession. They owned the puck and quality shot share throughout the game and were quite dominant until the Habs pushed back a bit following the Monahan goal.

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Habs 5v5 Flames
31 Shot Attempts 50
13 Scoring Chances 28
5 High Danger Chances 15
31.59% Expected Goal Share 68.41%

(Natural Stat Trick)

Calgary stuck to their game, made smart puck decisions, and pushed the pace. Even if Darryl wasn’t impressed (or wouldn’t admit to being impressed), I was happy to see such a structured game with tons of chances generated for the good guys in red.

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The Flames were relentless in getting to the slot in the offensive zone while also protecting the house in the defensive end. Chances galore! 

(Moneypuck)

Perhaps more impressive, if I’m putting on my Darryl Sutter cowboy hat, was the Flames play behind their own blueline. Not only did they limit the Habs to five high danger scoring chances at 5v5, they stifled them in the third period allowing zero in the final frame (despite a couple of sweaty palm inducing posts).

The breakouts were clean and the puck was well supported in the D-zone as the team limited their defensive zone giveaways to four (Nesterov was the lone defender with a single in zone giveaway).

(Moneypuck)

Markstrom was fighting it. After the Toffoli snipe (in which most everyone in black and red wasn’t paying attention) I had a feeling it was going to be one of those nights. When Joel Armia bulged the twine from distance I was all but certain it was curtains.

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Enter Andrew Mangiapane.

Bread rising

Andrew Mangiapane is the Flames best skater right now. He touches the game in almost every aspect and was easily the most impactful player on the ice in the biggest game of the year.

In all situations, Eat Bread created:

  • 1 goal
  • 1 primary assist
  • 5 shot attempts
  • 4 scoring chances

On ice at 5v5 (his bread and butter) Mangiapane owned the expected goal share (80.22%) and possession (70.83 CF%). The dude is a buzzsaw and that bar-down tip was perfection.

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Next guy up

Rolling 11 forwards and seven defenders was an interesting look. I sometimes felt as though I was in 2010 and Brent Sutter was behind the bench.

Not a ton to read into but a few things I did like from the blended group:

  • Vintage Monahan & Gaudreau connection off a nice little cycle play for the GWG.
  • Derek Ryan between Mangiapane and Tkachuk. The trio created a flurry of chances in the second period (if only Matt Tkachuk could finish these days…it HAS to be that Sherwood twig).

As for the back end, I’m having a hard time seeing what Nesterov brings over Oliver Kylington. I’m self admittedly not high on Mike Stone but he’s been pretty solid in his role but if Darryl wants the D playing ‘faster’ why not give Kylington a look.

(Data from Moneypuck)

If the Flames play another structured game tonight where they own the puck, push the pace, limit mistakes, and get a bounce back game from Markstrom perhaps they will make things a little more interesting (or frustrating, depending on your stance on the inverse standings) down the stretch here.