Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames score a bunch, then barely hold on in Dallas
Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike4 months ago
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Well, that escalated quickly. (Twice.) On Saturday in Dallas, the Calgary Flames at one point had a 6-1 lead. They ended up escaping Dallas with a white-knuckle 6-5 victory after the Stars’ big guns nearly powered the home side to a dramatic comeback.
Regardless of how comfortable the victory was, the Flames have captured six of a possible eight points through four games of their current road trip (2-0-2).
The Flames came out with a strong first shift that resulted in a goal 25 seconds into the game. Mikael Backlund’s line got the puck below Dallas’ goal line and won some battles to move the puck around. Blake Coleman attempted a pass to the net-front area that went off a Stars’ skate, off Backlund’s skate and right to Andrew Mangiapane in the slot. Mangiapane waited out Scott Wedgewood and tucked the puck into the net to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
The Flames made it 2-0 later in the period late on a power play. With Stars forward Ty Dellandrea in the box for holding, the Flames cycled through their two units and then placed their bump-up line on for the waning moments on the advantage. The Flames’ blueliners made some nice passes at the top of the zone, then a rebound from MacKenzie Weegar’s point shot was jammed in by Trevor Lewis, camped at the front of the net, to extend the lead.
Dallas answered back before the end of the first period, though. On another Flames’ power play, Dellandrea forechecked hard down low. The puck blooped past Nikita Zadorov a couple times and Dellandrea swept the puck towards the front of the net. The puck was going towards Jamie Benn in front and Rasmus Andersson tried to get his stick in the way. Benn’s stick hit Andersson’s and put the puck in the net. Benn got credit for the shorthanded goal and cut the lead to 2-1 Calgary.
The game remained close for a good chunk of the second period before the Flames pulled away via a quartet of goals in a span of 7:03.
With the Flames on the power play, Tyler Toffoli had the puck to Wedgewood’s right. He made a smart play, feigning with his body positioning that he would pass the puck to the slot. While he did that, Elias Lindholm cut across Wedgewood’s sightline just as Toffoli opted the shoot, allowing Toffoli to beat him five-hole to give the Flames a 3-1 lead.
The Flames made it 4-1 shortly after on a nice bit of passing. Michael Stone chipped the puck up the wall towards Jonathan Huberdeau. Huberdeau swatted the puck down as he entered the Dallas zone, then found Nadem Kadri coming into the zone with a nice pass. Kadri beat Wedgewood to make it 4-1. The play was challenged by the Stars for being off-side, but there was no conclusive camera angle that showed the zone entry being off-side, so the goal stood.
A little after that, the Flames scored again off a lengthy shift of puck cycling in the Dallas zone. Eventually, Rasmus Andersson leaned into a slap shot from the point that beat Wedgewood to make it 5-1 Flames.
A little after that, after a much shorter cycling sequence, Chris Tanev blasted a shot past Wedgewood to make it 6-1 Flames.
Dallas cut into the lead a bit late in the second period, with Tyler Seguin beating Vladar from the slot after a nice bit of cycling and passing by the Stars down low in the Calgary end. That cut the Flames’ lead to 6-2.
Joe Pavelski made the game 6-3 midway through the third period off another nice passing sequence, ending with Pavelski redirecting a pass from Jason Robertson past Vladar. (The net was knocked loose by Vladar’s skate before the goal, but since the goalie dislodged the net and the goal was definitively where the net should’ve been, it counted.)
Later in the period, Pavelski found some quiet space in the slot and redirected a Miro Heiskanen point shot – itself a product of a nice bit of puck movement in the Calgary zone – and the redirect beat Vladar to make it a 6-4 game.
The Stars cut the lead further a little after that. Lewis attempted a rim-around pass to a teammate in his own zone. Unfortunately, nobody was on the boards to receive his pass, so Dallas grabbed the puck. Heiskanen fed Colin Miller at the right point and his blast found way through traffic and past Vladar to make it a 6-5 hockey game.
But the Flames held on for the 6-5 victory.
Why the Flames won
This game was, in almost every way, the 2022-23 Flames on full display.
They generated chances through a nice bit of attention to detail in the offensive zone – both at even strength and on special teams – but cashed in far more often than they have in recent games (which spotted them a 6-1 lead at one point). Their defensive game was largely good, but the mistakes they made – particularly on instances where they left Dallas’ big guns like Benn, Seguin and Pavelski alone in the slot area – came back to haunt them.
In the first two periods, Vladar was excellent and was able to make saves when the guys in front of him made miscues. In the third period, with the Stars pressing, it didn’t happen quite as often – and if you look back at things, essentially all of the goals Dallas scored were off turnovers or defensive lapses by the Flames. The Flames bottled up Dallas for two periods, out-scoring, out-shooting and out-chancing them, until the Stars roared back and took over the third period.
If the Flames can be a little bit better defensively and make their goalies’ lives easier, they could be a tremendous team. As it stands, they were just good enough to escape Texas with two points.
I really liked the Tanev/Weegar pairing. On an occasion where the Andersson/Hanifin duo had a tough time at five-on-five, the Tanev/Weegar duo was very sharp.
Let’s go with the four consecutive goals the Flames scored in the second period. They spotted themselves just enough of a lead to get two points.
This and that
It was the NASA Day theme game at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The ceremonial puck drop featured a puck that had been in space recently on the International Space Station.
Tanev’s goal in the second period was his first of the season.
The Flames (21-14-9) are off to scenic Nashville. They face the Predators on Monday night to close out their road trip.
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