Calgary Flames Post-Game: Dramatic third period comeback lifts Flames over Ducks
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike7 months ago
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For the second consecutive game, the Calgary Flames generally out-played a team below them in the standings. For the second consecutive game, the Flames entered the third period down on the scoreboard. For the second consecutive game, the Flames rode a dramatic comeback to a crucial victory.
The Flames beat the visiting Anaheim Ducks by a 5-4 score to keep pace with the Winnipeg Jets in the playoff race.
This game got off to a less than ideal start for the locals. Less than five minutes into the contest, Anaheim opened the scoring on their first shot on net. It was a coverage goal, as the Ducks entered the Flames zone in an even-man situation. Trevor Zegras found Frank Vatrano in the high slot with a nice pass, and Vatrano’s shot beat Jacob Markstrom glove-side to make it 1-0 Ducks.
The Ducks added another goal later in the period. Blake Coleman was sent to the box of punishment for a retaliation slash on Max Jones. The Flames killed off the penalty, but Max Comtois jumped on a rebound off an initial Vatrano shot. The Comtois shot squeaked through Markstrom’s pads to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead.
Dan Vladar entered the game for the second period in relief of Markstrom.
The Flames got on the board shortly thereafter on a power play that carried over from the end of the first period. Andrew Mangiapane took a feed from Tyler Toffoli and beat Lukas Dostal high with a wrister that went over a sliding Ducks defender and beat Dostal’s glove to cut the lead to 2-1.
A little later, the Flames tied it up. The Ducks cleared their zone after a Flames rush, but the Flames changed up their skaters and headed back in. Jonathan Huberdeau took a pass from Toffoli, waited for reinforcements and fed Nikita Zadorov. Zadorov went bar-down at the top corner of the net, beating Dostal glove-side to tie the game at 2-2.
The Flames then took the lead, albeit briefly. A rush zone entry was broken up by the Ducks, but the Flames made a nice second effort to battle and retrieve the puck. They cycled it to Troy Stecher at the point and his shot, in a bunch of traffic, was tipped by Nick Ritchie past Dostal to give the Flames a 3-2 edge.
But 58 seconds later, the Ducks answered back. A bit of defensive zone confusion led to a Ducks shot by Sam Carrick that Vladar booted out into the slot. Vatrano beat the Flames defenders to the loose puck and put it behind Vladar to make it 3-3 Ducks.
A little later, the Ducks regained the lead. The Flames were able to keep the Ducks to the outside off a zone entry (that’s good) but Scott Harrington just decided to throw the puck on net. His shot got past a sliding Coleman block attempt and beat Vladar (who may have been screened by Michael Stone battling with a Ducks player out front) to give the Ducks a 4-3 lead.
The Flames put a ton of pressure on the Ducks to open the third period and eventually were rewarded six and a half minutes into the frame. Milan Lucic fired a top-corner wrister that beat Dostal glove-side to tie the game at 4-4.
With 2:38 remaining, the Flames finally retook the lead. They won an offensive zone face-off and Ritchie slid the puck back to the point. Michael Stone received the pass and leaned into a slapper that beat Dostal just inside the post on his stick-side to give the Flames a 5-4 lead.
The Flames held on for the victory.
Why the Flames won
Here’s what I wrote in today’s game preview: “There are no more moral victories or style points. They just need actual victories and points, by hook or by crook.”
They got this win by hook or crook. They required a dramatic third period comeback to beat the NHL’s 31st-ranked team after a pretty sloppy first couple periods of this hockey game. Is that ideal? Nope. Do they particularly care how they get it done at this point? Nope. Wins are wins and points are points, at this point.
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Let’s give this to Stecher. He’s been really strong lately, and he was very poised and energetic in this game.
Stick-taps to Toffoli and Noah Hanifin, as well.
The Flames out-shot the Ducks by a lot in the third period (13-4), but Lucic’s game-tying goal seemed to really deflate the visitors and gave the Flames a ton of momentum.
This and that
Michael Stone returned to action, playing for the first time since Feb. 18.
The Flames out-shot the Ducks 32-13 in the last two periods.
The Flames shuffled their forward lines late in the second period:
- Lindholm and Toffoli played with Dillon Dube (rather than Andrew Mangiapane)
- Backlund and Huberdeau played with Walker Duehr (rather than Blake Coleman)
- Kadri and Ritchie played with Mangiapane (rather than Dube)
- Lewis and Lucic played with Coleman (rather than Duehr)
The Flames (36-26-15) host the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.
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