Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames extend streak to five games with comeback win over Penguins

Photo credit:Brett Holmes-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
4 months ago
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The Calgary Flames weren’t great on Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Maybe it was three days between games. Maybe it was the late start. Maybe it was the extended ceremony retiring Miikka Kiprusoff’s number. But they were pretty flat early on and were largely held in by their goaltender.
But the Flames built their game and, primarily on the back of a very good final 12 minutes, they rallied back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Penguins by a 4-3 score.

The rundown

The opening period was pretty flat for the home team. Case in point: the red team didn’t register a shot for the final 16:23 of the period. Jacob Markstrom was superb for much of the period.
However, a rare lapse by the Flames’ star netminder led to the first goal for the Penguins. Rookie Jonathan Gruden intercepted a pass in the Flames’ zone and threw the puck on net from a sharp angle. Markstrom didn’t quite seal off the post and Gruden’s shot squeaked through short-side to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead.
Late in the period, with Jakob Pelletier in the penalty box, the Penguins added to their lead. A puck was thrown into the net-front area and bounced around a bunch, and Lars Eller swatted it out of the air and past Markstrom to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead.
First period shots were 14-3 Penguins (10-2 Penguins at five-on-five) and, via Natural Stat Trick, five-on-five scoring chances were 8-2 Penguins (high-dangers were 5-1 Penguins).
The second period was fairly sleepy for both sides, but the Flames managed to get on the board. Yegor Sharangovich chased down an errant pass, poked it past Kris Letang in the Penguins zone, then grabbed the puck behind Letang and beat Tristan Jarry five-hole to cut the Penguins’ lead to 2-1.
Second period shots were 10-7 Penguins (10-5 Penguins at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 10-9 Penguins (high-dangers were 4-2 Flames).
The Penguins scored early to extend their lead. A puck went around the boards to Ryan Graves. He fired a shot on the Flames’ net with a bunch of bodies in front. The puck went off somebody – the scorers gave the goal to Jeff Carter – and beat Markstrom to extend the visitors’ lead to 3-1.
Midway through the period, the Flames tied things up with a pair of quick goals.
First, on a power play, Nazem Kadri entered the zone and called his own number, cutting to the slot and beating Jarry to cut the Penguins’ lead to 3-2.
32 seconds later, the Flames tied it up. Mikael Backlund’s line cycled and battled down low, ending when Andrew Mangiapane threw the puck into the slot for Blake Coleman, who fired it past Jarry to make it a 3-3 game.
The Flames kept pressing. Backlund caused a turnover in the Penguins’ zone and fed the puck to Sharangovich, who beat Jarry to give the Flames a 4-3 lead with 50 seconds left in regulation.
That was enough for the home side and they held on for the victory.
Third period shots were 10-6 Flames (9-4 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 10-4 Flames (high-dangers were 1-0 Flames).

Why the Flames won

The Flames were pretty flat for the opening 20 minutes. They gradually figured their game out, showing signs of life in the second period and really kicking things into gear in the back half of the third period.
If you want to point to something the Flames did poorly, their defensive zone play was generally pretty shaky. If you want to point to something the Flames did well, their forecheck – especially in the offensive and neutral zones – became more and more noticeable as the game unfolded.
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Red Warrior

Let’s give it to Markstrom. You can criticize him for not sealing the post on the Gruden goal, but he was easily the best player in red.

Turning point

This game seemed done and dusted in favour of the road team before the Flames scored those two quick goals in the third period.

This and that

Joining captain Mikael Backlund as alternates for this game were MacKenzie Weegar and Blake Coleman.
With Andrei Kuzmenko back in the lineup, he rejoined the top power play unit. He started on the fourth line with Kevin Rooney and Jakob Pelletier before ending up on the third line with Jonathan Huberdeau and Sharangovich.

Up next

The Flames (30-25-5) finish off their homestand on Monday night when they welcome the Seattle Kraken to town.

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