Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames out-battle Canucks, close out 2022 with a victory
Photo credit:Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
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The Calgary Flames welcomed a divisional rival to town on New Year’s Eve as they played the Vancouver Canucks. The Flames got out to a 3-0 lead at one point in the second period, then battled the Canucks as they chipped away at the lead for the remainder of the game.
But the Flames managed to hold off the Canucks and posted a 3-2 victory to close out the 2022 portion of their schedule.
There was no scoring in the first period, but the game had some decent action. The Flames really carried play early on, but after the midway mark the Canucks seemed to find their legs and did a lot to disrupt the Flames’ attacks and counter-attack with their own chances.
First period shots were 13-9 Flames (9-8 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 6-4 Flames (high-dangers were 3-1 Flames).
The Flames opened the scoring early in the second period. Tyler Toffoli noticed a gap in the defensive coverage in the neutral zone and fired a shot to Elias Lindholm, sending Lindholm and Dillon Dube in on a two-on-one rush. Lindholm elected to shoot, and beat Spencer Martin to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
The Flames extended their lead shorthanded. Blake Coleman went in on the forecheck, battling one-on-two, and saw a Canuck break a stick on him (and he also lost his own stick in all the chaos). He battled to the front of the net but couldn’t score. But after the Canucks cleared their zone – on the power play, mind you – Rasmus Andersson and Coleman entered the zone on a two-on-one rush. This time Coleman left no doubt, burying a nice feed from Andersson past Martin to give the Flames a 2-0 lead.
A little bit later, the Flames scored yet again. After a successful penalty kill, the Flames grabbed the puck, headed into Vancouver’s zone, and just started cycling the puck. After winning a few puck battles and making some quick plays, they had the Canucks worn out in their own end, allowing a clear shooting lane for a blast from MacKenzie Weegar that beat Martin stick-side to give them a 3-0 lead.
But Vancouver answered back before the period ended, as a bouncing puck around the net-front region was bunted into the open net by Sheldon Dries to cut the Flames’ lead to 3-1.
Second period shots were 11-8 Flames (7-6 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 6-3 Canucks (high-dangers were 4-0 Canucks).
The Canucks came into the third period with a bit of desperation, and took advantage of a bit of defensive zone looseness from the Flames to inch a little closer. The Canucks beat the Flames in a couple puck battles and flung the puck to the point. Ethan Bear’s shot was stopped out front, but the rebound bounced around a bit, ending up on Elias Pettersson’s stick, and he fired it into the open net to cut Calgary’s edge to 3-2.
The Canucks pressed from that point on, and the Flames did their level best to hold their ground and defend. Markstrom made a bunch of very strong saves, including a few sliding and/or diving stops to clear out rebounds from his net-front area.
Vancouver pulled their goaltender late for the extra attacker, but the Flames held on for the 3-2 victory.
Third period shots were 7-6 Canucks (6-6 at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 11-7 Flames (high-dangers were 8-4 Flames).
Why the Flames won
The Flames were the better team for the balance of this game, having most of the shots, puck possession and strong scoring chances. The only reason why this game was so close was because of Martin’s strong play in the Vancouver net.
But give the Canucks credit: the Flames were the better team, but the Canucks were the more desperate team in the latter stages of this game and the home side had to defend intelligently in order to capture the victory on this occasion.
This might have been the best game Coleman has played since joining the Flames. He was engaged, boisterous, and in the thick of the action on basically every single shift.
Weegar’s first goal as a Flame stood as the game-winner, but it was also the capper to a bunch of really smart, effective, structured shifts from the Flames in the second period.
This and that
Brett Ritchie left the game early in the second period, after rushing off the ice clutching his arm. He did not return.
The Flames had some special guests in attendance for Saturday’s game.
This was Elias Lindholm’s 700th NHL game.
The Flames (18-13-7) are going to Winnipeg. They’re back in action on Tuesday night when they visit the Jets.
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