Calgary Flames Post-Game: Call it a comeback, Flames beat Canucks to keep pace with Winnipeg
Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
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The Calgary Flames never had a lead during Friday night’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. They trailed 2-0, 3-2 and 4-3 at various points. But the Flames overcame some defensive leakiness, got a key late goal from their power play, and they found a way to win in overtime.
The Flames won 5-4 in overtime over the Canucks to keep pace with the Winnipeg Jets in the playoff race.
Midway through a fairly even first period, the Canucks took the lead off a rare puck-handling miscue by Mikael Backlund. Covering at the right point for Troy Stecher, Backlund was attempting to corral a loose puck on his backhand when Conor Garland pressured him and poked the puck away. Garland chased the puck down, went in on a breakaway, and beat Jacob Markstrom to give the Canucks a 1-0 edge.
The Flames had some chances to tie the game up, including a four minute power play, but they couldn’t take advantage.
The Canucks added to their lead early in the second period. An Andrew Mangiapane minor penalty carried over from the end of the first period. On that advantage, Elias Pettersson powered a Quinn Hughes one-timer feed past Markstrom, beating him short-side to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead.
But the Flames answered back fairly shortly after that goal. Tyler Toffoli chased down a loose puck in the neutral zone and he and Mangiapane executed a nice two-on-two give and go play. They crossed over, which caused both Canucks defenders to go after Mangiapane, leaving Toffoli wide-open. He beat Thatcher Demko with a quick move to cut the lead to 2-1.
A little after that, a nice puck cycling sequence by the Flames in the offensive zone led to the tying goal. Troy Stecher’s point shot was stopped by Demko, but Mikael Backlund battled for the puck, pushed it to Blake Coleman, and Coleman fired it past Demko to tie the game at 2-2.
But the Canucks answered back a few minutes later. A bit of pressure caused a fourth line turnover in the Flames’ end. The Canucks got a couple chances at scoring, ending when rookie Aidan McDonough jammed in a rebound after Markstrom made the initial stop on Sheldon Dries. That gave the Canucks a 3-2 lead.
Jonathan Huberdeau had a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot, but his attempt at waiting out Demko and then going for a deke never materialized because Demko out-waited him.
But the Flames ended up tying the game (again) anyway, as Stecher jumped into an offensive zone rush late and, as a result, was wide open. He accepted a pass from Nazem Kadri and beat Demko with a wrist shot to tie things up at 3-3.
But on the very next shift, the Canucks broke into the Flames’ zone on an odd-man rush and Anthony Beauvillier buried a one-timer feed from Nils Aman to give the Canucks a 4-3 lead.
The Flames got a power play with less than five minutes left in regulation after Pettersson high-sticked Walker Duehr. On the ensuing power play, after struggling to get much pressure for a little bit, they cashed in. Noah Hanifin’s shot missed the net, but it bounced off the end boards and went right to Huberdeau, who chipped the puck past Demko from a sharp angle to tie the game at 2-2.
This game required extra time to decide. And at the end of a back-and-forth overtime, Markstrom made a couple big saves at one end and the Flames headed up ice on a two-on-one breakout. Backlund found Toffoli with a nice pass and Toffoli shelved the puck past Demko to give the Flames a 5-4 overtime win.
Why the Flames won
This was a typical Flames game, folks. They out-shot the Canucks by a ton. They had a lot of chances, but couldn’t bear down. They made a few key defensive lapses that ended up behind their goalie – Markstrom gave up a power play goal, but also gave up three goals off serious defensive lapses that led to a two-on-one, a breakaway and a fourth line scramble immediately in front of the blue paint.
But despite all of these challenges, the Flames managed to keep scrapping and scraping and battling, and they eventually got rewarded. They live to fight another day, despite the win not being pretty in any way, shape or form.
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Toffoli had two goals, including the all-important game-winner. He gets the nod.
But give some props to Markstrom (big saves at key times), Backlund (two assists) and Stecher (a goal and a helper).
The last few minutes of regulation (and overtime) were huge. They found a way to score on the power play to tie it. They found a way to win in overtime. They were in a position where they easily could have lost in regulation. But they hunkered down and managed to find enough in the tank to get two gigantic points.
This and that
This was the Flames’ league-leading 22nd trip to overtime this season. It was also the first time this season they’ve won a game when trailing after two periods; they’re now 1-18-3.
The Flames (35-26-15) are headed back home. They host the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night.
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