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Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames win battle against Habs

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
30 days ago
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It certainly wasn’t the smoothest 60 minutes of hockey the Calgary Flames have played this season, but the Flames scored first and never trailed on Saturday night when they hosted the Montreal Canadiens. Some timely saves, timely power play goals and overall solid team play contributed to a 5-2 victory over Montreal.

The rundown

The first period was pretty back and forth, with both teams getting good chances. Dustin Wolf was impressive early, including making a sprawling diving save with his arm on Cole Caufield.
The Flames opened the scoring late in the period on a power play. A MacKenzie Weegar point shot was deflected by Mikael Backlund in front of the net and the puck beat Cayden Primeau to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
First period shots were 15-9 Canadiens (13-6 Canadiens at five-on-five) and, via Natural Stat Trick, five-on-five scoring chances were 11-5 Canadiens (high-dangers were 4-2 Canadiens).
On the first shift of the second period, the Flames added to their lead. An initial shot on net was steered away by Primeau, bouncing below the goal line. But Blake Coleman beat out a Habs defender to the puck and threw it into the slot area for Backlund, who fired it into the open net to extend the lead to 2-0.
The Habs hemmed the Flames into their own end for a bit, but the Flames scored on a breakout play. Nazem Kadri fended off a defender and threw the puck to Jonathan Huberdeau in front of the net. He fed Martin Pospisil a back-door pass and he put it past Primeau to make it 3-0 Flames.
But the Habs answered back. Off a defensive breakdown that led to a two-on-one rush, Nick Suzuki fed Caufield and his one-timer beat Wolf to cut the Flames’ lead to 3-1.
Pospisil took an ill-advised double-minor for roughing after getting into it with Suzuki and Josh Anderson – and much of the rest of the Habs roster – which led to a Montreal power play. The Habs didn’t score on their advantage, but on the following shift David Savard’s point shot found a way through traffic and beat Wolf to cut the Flames’ lead down to 3-2.
Second period shots were 13-10 Canadiens (11-9 Canadiens at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 10-4 Canadiens (high-dangers were 3-2 Flames).
But the Flames pulled away early in the third period. After Montreal took a goalie interference penalty, Kadri buried a great pass by Huberdeau past Primeau to give the Flames a 4-2 lead.
Daniil Miromanov buried a rebound off a long Flames cycle play to give the Flames a 5-2 lead.
The Flames held on for a 5-2 victory.
Third period shots were 11-9 Canadiens (11-8 Canadiens at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 12-8 Canadiens (high-dangers were 6-3 Canadiens).

Why the Flames won

The Flames weren’t perfect in this game. They were leaky defensively and they took a few ill-advised penalties. But when they were rough defensively, they got great goaltending. And when they were playing a decent 200-foot game, they managed to cash in on their offensive opportunities.
When you get goaltending and timely goals, you tend to win games.
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Red Warrior

It’s a joint award, split between Backlund and Wolf. Backlund had three points and Wolf was excellent.

Turning point

The Habs had clawed within one by the beginning of the third period, but Kadri’s power play goal to reinstate a two-goal Flames lead was massive for the red team and a back-breaker for the bleu, blanc et rouge.

This and that

Backlund’s second goal was his 200th career goal. His assist on Miromanov’s goal was his 529th career point, tying him with Guy Chouinard for eighth on the Flames franchise leaderboard.
Flames legend Lanny McDonald was in attendance after suffering cardiac event on Feb. 4. He received a standing ovation from the Saddledome when shown during the first TV timeout.
A.J. Greer was back in the line up after missing 18 games with a lower body injury.

Up next

The Flames (33-29-5) complete their homestand on Monday night when they host the Washington Capitals.

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