Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames bounce back, roast Ducks on the road
Photo credit:Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike8 months ago
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On Monday, the Calgary Flames had a lousy evening in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, they headed down the highway to Orange County to play the Anaheim Ducks and had a much better outing.
The Flames scored early and led for basically the entire game en route to a really solid 5-1 victory over the Ducks.
The Flames grabbed the lead just 37 seconds into the first period. The Flames headed into the Ducks’ zone. Noah Hanifin fired a shot from the left point. John Gibson made the initial stop, but Nick Ritchie was parked on the doorstep and deposited in the rebound to make it 1-0 Flames.
Late in the first period, the Flames doubled their lead. After an initial zone entry, Jonathan Huberdeau threw a back-pass to Mikael Backlund. Backlund let the puck drift between his skates out to the point, where Troy Stecher collected it and drove down towards the net. Stecher’s high shot beat Gibson to make it 2-0 Flames. (Backlund letting the puck drift past him allowed Stecher a lot of space to operate.)
The Flames added to their lead in the second period. On a power play, the Flames cycled the puck a bit. Tyler Toffoli threw the puck to the point for Rasmus Andersson, and Andersson’s shot beat Gibson to make it 3-0 Flames.
The Ducks answered back, though, on a power play of their own. The Ducks managed the puck really well, and the Flames’ penalty killers were basically stuck on the ice for the entire man advantage. With 20 seconds left in the PP, Frank Vatrano’s shot beat Dan Vladar to cut the Calgary lead to 3-1.
The Flames padded their lead a bit more early in the third period. On a power play that carried over from the end of the second period, the Flames executed a nice rush play, with Toffoli and Elias Lindholm connecting on a nice give-and-go sequence, ending with Lindholm firing a shot from the slot area past Gibson to make it 4-1 Calgary.
Toffoli sent Andrew Mangiapane in on a breakaway in the waning minutes of the third period and Mangiapane beat Gibson top shelf to make it 5-1 Flames.
The Flames held on for the victory.
Why the Flames won
To put it bluntly: the Flames won because they were what we thought they could be.
Last time out against Anaheim, the Flames lacked much spark, finesse or desperation to their game. This time, they didn’t blow the doors off of Anaheim, but they were full marks. They battled. They executed. They largely stayed out of trouble in their own zone. Their five-on-five play was better than Anaheim’s, as were their special teams.
It was as calm, cool and collected as we’ve seen the red team all season. Even factoring in the quality of the opposition, it was a really solid effort.
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Toffoli was excellent in this game, with the primary assists on the Flames’ third, fourth and fifth goals.
The Flames had a really strong opening period, but Stecher’s goal to make it 2-0 in the late stages of the first period had to have done a lot for a group that hadn’t gotten rewarded a ton offensively despite really out-playing the Ducks.
This and that
Chris Tanev missed this game an upper body injury.
Through nine sets of back-to-back games this season, the Flames are 2-5-2 in the first games and 5-2-2 in the second games.
The Flames’ elimination number is 8.5 – any combination of Flames losses or Winnipeg wins adding up to 8.5 eliminates them from the playoffs. Similarly, their magic number is 12.5 (on Winnipeg) and 13 (on Nashville) – the combination of Flames wins and losses by those respective teams that ensures that the Flames finish ahead of them in the standings.
The Flames (32-25-15) are headed home. They’ll host the Vegas Golden Knights at the Saddledome on Thursday night.
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