Photo credit:Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames muzzle the Bruins to begin stretch drive
By Ryan Pike16 days ago
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The Calgary Flames began the stretch drive of the season following the All-Star break on Tuesday on the road against the Boston Bruins. The Bruins entered the game tied for the top spot in the league’s overall standings, and the Flames were thoroughly the better team en route to a 4-1 victory.
The Flames had some energy early, and ended up using their pep to draw a penalty and score an early power play goal.
After Nazem Kadri drew a holding penalty in the offensive zone, the Flames had an advantage. Boston’s Charlie Coyle had a shorthanded chance that Jacob Markstrom stopped, leading to a rush the other way, where Jonathan Huberdeau fed a pass to Andrei Kuzmenko in the slot, and the new guy fired it past Jeremy Swayman to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
A little while later, the Flames added to their lead. The Bruins’ defenders were caught flat-footed coming on after a line change and the Flames took advantage, with Nazem Kadri leading the rush. He passed to Connor Zary, who had snuck behind a defender. Zary deked and beat Swayman with a backhand shot that gave the Flames a 2-0 lead.
Martin Pospisil was ejected with four minutes remaining in the first period. Brad Marchand gave Markstrom a poke after the goalie froze the puck, drawing a crowd, and Pospisil clocked Marchand and knocked him to the ice. There was a lengthy review of the sequence, and Pospisil was given a cross-checking major and a game misconduct.
First period shots were 12-10 Flames (9-6 Flames at five-on-five) and, via Natural Stat Trick, five-on-five scoring chances were 8-3 Flames (high-dangers were 3-2 Flames)
The middle period was back and forth. Neither team scored a goal, but both teams had their looks.
Second period shots were 9-5 Flames (all five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 8-5 Flames (high-dangers were 2-2).
The Flames took a pair of defensive-zone minors back-to-back, with Brayden Pachal taking a tripping minor and MacKenzie Weegar earning a high-sticking double-minor during the ensuing kill.
The Bruins snapped Markstrom’s shutout bid on the ensuing five-on-five, with a Pavel Zacha one-timer shot deflecting off Noah Hanifin’s stick and cutting the Flames’ lead to 2-1.
But the Bruins took a too-many-men bench minor that wiped out the remainder of their power play and gave the teams some four-on-four time. On a sequence in the Bruins’ end, Kadri caused a turnover in a battle sequence and Huberdeau grabbed the puck and fired a shot that beat Swayman high glove-side to give the Flames a 3-1 lead.
Awhile later, on another power play, the Flames padded their lead. Noah Hanifin enter the Bruins’ zone on the rush and Derek Forbort seemed to lose his footing. Hanifin took advantage of the space, driving to the net and chipping a shot on goal that trickled through Swayman’s legs somehow to give the Flames a 4-1 lead.
The Flames managed the puck well the rest of the way and held on for a 4-1 road victory.
Third period shots were 8-7 Flames.
Why the Flames won
Did the Flames play a perfect hockey game? Well, no. They lacked a bit of poise and discipline early in the third period when the Bruins pushed back. But let’s look at the positives: they scored first, they defended well, they played a pretty cohesive five-man-units game, their power play scored twice, and the only goal their penalty kill allowed was on a five-on-three.
The Bruins were definitely playing below their usual capabilities, to the point where the TD Garden crowd booed them on a few occasions, but give the Flames credit: the Bruins put this game on a platter for the Flames, and the road team grabbed hold of it and never gave it back.
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Let’s give this jointly to what Barn Burner’s Ryan Pinder has termed the “All gas, no brakes” line: Sharangovich, Kuzmenko and Huberdeau. These guys were full of pep and energy and did a lot of positive things overall.
And give a hearty stick-tap to Kadri; he drew the penalty that led to the first Flames goal, and had assists on their first three goals.
It came pretty early, but the Flames had to kill off a three minute penalty kill on Pospisil’s first period major penalty. Not only did they kill it off, but the Bruins didn’t register a single shot on goal on their man advantage. As a result, the Flames hit the dressing room on the road with a multi-goal lead.
This and that
There were some new faces in this game! Brayden Pachal (wearing #94) and Andrei Kuzmenko (#96) made their Flames debuts, while Jakob Pelletier (#22) and Kevin Rooney (#21) made their season debuts with the club.
Pospisil is the fourth different Flames player to get ejected from a game this season, following Rasmus Andersson, Andrew Mangiapane and Jonathan Huberdeau.
The Flames (23-22-5) are headed to the New York metropolitan area for awhile. They face the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
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