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Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames overcome slow start, slay Sharks with special teams

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Photo credit:David Gonzales-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
16 days ago
The Calgary Flames didn’t have a great first period on Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks. But man, if you toss out the first 10 minutes or so, they were really good against a Sharks team that entered the game with the 32nd-best record out of the NHL’s 32 teams.
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The Flames rallied back from a 2-0 deficit and beat the Sharks by a 3-2 score in overtime, bolstered by a pair of power play goals.

The rundown

The Flames were pretty flat in the first half of the first period, as they had some lapses in defensive coverage and it led to a few good Sharks scoring chances. One of them opened the scoring.
A bit of soft defensive coverage in the neutral zone caused Rasmus Andersson to cheat over to cover the puck-carrier (Mikael Granlund), leaving William Eklund open (as he got behind Martin Pospisil in the neutral zone). Granlund made a smart pass to Eklund, who beat Dustin Wolf with a nice backhand shot to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead.
First period shots were 9-8 Sharks (all five-on-five) and, via Natural Stat Trick, five-on-five scoring chances were 6-5 Flames (high-dangers were 2-2).
Early in the second period, a turnover inside the Flames blueline led to a second Sharks goal. On an attempted zone exit play, Mike Hoffman swatted the puck off Yegor Sharangovich’s stick and that led to a great scoring chance for Jacob MacDonald. MacDonald fired the puck past Wolf to make it 2-0 Sharks.
But the Flames answered back off a really nice puck management sequence in the Sharks zone. The Flames got into the zone and went to work on the cycle. Matt Coronato, from the point, found a pinching Rasmus Andersson down low with a great pass. Andersson cut to the slot and scored on his own rebound to cut San Jose’s lead to 2-1.
Later on, the Flames tied the game on the power play. They cycled the puck and tried one of their below the goal line passing sequences, but the puck blooped out from the side of the net to the far side of the slot for Nazem Kadri. Kadri simply put the puck on net and got it past Mackenzie Blackwood to tie the game up at 2-2.
Second period shots were 15-9 Flames (10-8 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 13-7 Flames (high-dangers were 7-3 Flames).
Both teams had their looks and pressed at times during the third period, but neither team was able to bury their chances. The Flames had the puck a lot more than the Sharks and carried play.
Third period shots were 13-3 Flames (12-1 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 16-3 Flames (high-dangers were 6-2 Flames).
The Flames killed off a late third period penalty that carried over into overtime, then drew a penalty of their own. On the resulting power play, with the Flames using four forwards – Andrei Kuzmenko, Sharangovich, Jonathan Huberdeau and Kadri – Kuzmenko scored on a goal-mouth scramble to give the Flames a 3-2 victory.

Why the Flames won

The Flames were not all that good in the first 10-12 minutes of this game. They were shaky and didn’t seem to play as a connected group. But after being down in shots 7-2 at one point, they really started figuring themselves out. They were pretty strong for the last 40-48 minutes of the game. (They out-shot the Sharks 38-15 after that initial slow start.)
The power play was also quite good, scoring twice, and the penalty kill was good, too, allowing zero goals.
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Red Warrior

Let’s give this jointly to Andersson and MacKenzie Weegar. Each guy played north of 26 minutes and were consistently noticeable in all three zones.

Turning point

Blake Coleman took a cross-checking minor with 1:16 left in regulation. The Flames did a really nice job killing that man advantage to get to extra time.

This and that

Andrew Mangiapane returned after missing five games due to injury. Oliver Kylington missed the game after suffering an upper-body injury late in Saturday’s game. Dustin Wolf started in his hometown – he was born in nearby Gilroy, California – and former Sharks defender Nikita Okhotiuk played against his former team. Ilya Solovyov also dressed after being called up on Monday from the AHL.
Martin Pospisil squished Calen Addison into the glass in the first period (and received a boarding minor for it).

Up next

The Flames (35-37-5) are off to Southern California. They’ll face the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.

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