Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames fend off Fancy Cats

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
5 months ago
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The Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers have a lot of ties to each other these days, with Jonathan Huberdeau and Matthew Tkachuk discourse all over the place over the past couple of days. But another former Panther, Jacob Markstrom, was the star of the show on Monday night.
The Flames beat the Panthers by a 3-1 score, powered by two shorthanded goals and a heck of a goaltending performance.

The rundown

The first period was fairly tight-checking, with the Flames pressing early before the Panthers seemingly knocked their rust off and got their game going.
Midway through the opening period, the Flames opened the scoring. Martin Pospisil was sprang into the neutral zone by a nice Nazem Kadri play. With Brandon Montour chasing him down, Pospisil skated down the right side of the ice and opted to put a puck on net with a back-hand shot. His shot eluded Anthony Stolarz stick-side and hit the net to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
The Panthers took the game over for a chunk of the remainder of the period, registering seven consecutive shots but being unable to solve Jacob Markstrom.
That changed late in the period, however. A pair of overlapping minor penalties gave the Panthers a short power play and they cashed in. Matthew Tkachuk deflected an Aleksander Barkov shot on net, and the rebound bounced into the net-front area, where Sam Reinhart shovelled it into the net to tie the game at 1-1.
First period shots were 15-9 Panthers (11-8 Panthers at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances (via Natural Stat Trick) were 6-6 (high-dangers were 1-1).
Neither team scored in the second period. Florida did a nice job hemming the Flames in their own zone and disrupting their attempts at exiting their own zone. The Flames, for their part, did a pretty effective job at limiting the grade-A chances they gave up while they were hemmed in, though.
Second period shots were 9-7 Panthers (all five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 13-6 Panthers (high-dangers were 3-3).
Early in the third period, special teams swung the game towards the home side… but not in the way you would expect. The Flames drew an early power play that didn’t really ever get going. Soon after it expired, Nick DeSimone took a minor penalty. Early in that power play, Noah Hanifin intercepted a Panthers pass and fed the puck to Mikael Backlund in the neutral zone. Backlund skated in on Stolarz and backhanded a puck past him to give the Flames a 2-1 lead (via a shorthanded tally).
Backlund took a puck-over-glass minor with just over two minutes left in regulation. But Markstrom made a couple big stops and Blake Coleman scored an empty-netter – he was fouled while shooting so the goal was awarded – to cement a 3-1 Flames victory.
Third period shots were 11-8 Panthers (4-2 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 4-3 Flames (3-1 Flames at five-on-five)

Why the Flames won

Well, the Flames had some challenges at even strength. The Panthers used their forecheck and positioning well to disrupt the Flames’ progression through all three zones. The Flames had some decent spurts, but the visitors were the better team at five-on-five.
But the Flames’ goaltender held them in the game and they managed to execute one more offensive play than Florida did when the game was up for grabs.
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Red Warrior

It’s gotta be Markstrom. He was a difference-maker when the Flames needed one, and his defenders did a good job scrambling and clearing things out after he made initial saves.

Turning point

In a 1-1 game, Backlund’s shorthanded goal was a gigantic difference-maker.

This and that

This was the second trip back to the Saddledome for long-time former Flame Matthew Tkachuk. (It was just the third trip back for his teammates Sam Bennett and Ryan Lomberg, also former Flames.)

Up next

The Flames (13-14-5) are hitting the road to close out their pre-Christmas schedule. They head to Anaheim to visit the Ducks at Honda Center on Thursday night.

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