Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames creep past the Kraken
Photo credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike1 year ago
The Calgary Flames headed to Seattle on Thursday night, playing the Kraken for the very first time and playing their first game in 19 days. They looked energetic, but rusty. But despite their rust, the Flames managed to hold on to win a very spirited, back-and-forth hockey game with the Seattle Kraken by a 6-4 score.
The Flames looked like a team that hadn’t played in nearly three weeks early on, with a few puck-handling gaffes and some defensive zone challenges that led to penalties and scoring chances. On one shift, the third defensive pairing and fourth line got hemmed in a bit, giving stranger Mark Giordano a chance to wander in from the point and beat Jacob Markström to give the Kraken a 1-0 lead.
But the Flames tied it up midway through the period, with Nikita Zadorov getting the puck in the high slot but having the foresight to realize that Seattle netminder Chris Driedger was way out of his crease. So he shuffled the puck to Johnny Gaudreau by the face-off dot, allowing him to beat Driedger to make it a 1-1 game.
Shots were 15-10 Flames (11-7 Flames five-on-five) and scoring chances 4-3 Flames in the first period.
Seattle had a late power play from the first period carry over into the second period, and they cashed in. Erik Gudbranson was toppled off the opening draw, leading to a five-on-three rush for Seattle. Jared McCann’s initial shot was stopped by Markström, but the rebound bounced into the net-front area and Calle Jarnkrok jammed it into the net to give Seattle a 2-1 lead.
But the Flames answered back on a power play of their own. Off a draw, Gaudreau had the puck in the corner. He began to skate out of the corner towards the slot. Driedger, perhaps anticipating a pass across the slot, cheated off the post a little bit, so Gaudreau clanged a shot off the post and in to make it a 2-2 game.
A little bit later, the Flames had a really nice shift from the Andrew Mangiapane, Dillon Dube and Milan Lucic line. Some nice passing and puck movement eventually led to Lucic getting a clear lane and going high on Driedger (rather than his traditional five-hole shot) and giving the Flames a 3-2 lead.
Shots were 14-7 Flames (6-5 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 7-7 in the second period.
The Flames had a nice push to begin the third period, but Seattle took advantage of some gaps in defensive coverage and cashed in off the rush. A passing sequence from Jarnkrok to Colin Blackwell ended with Yanni Gourde chipping a pass past Markström to tie the game up at 3-3.
The Flames drew a late power play and cashed in. Oliver Kylington’s initial shot was stopped by Driedger but the rebound was booted right out to Mangiapane, who buried the loose puck to give the Flames a 4-3 lead.
But on the very next shift, McCann tipped a Giordano wrist shot past Markström to tie the game up at 4-4. (This goal was 30 seconds after Calgary’s goal.)
But on the very next shift after that one, Matthew Tkachuk buried a feed from Gaudreau and beat Driedger off the rush to give the Flames a 5-4 lead. (This goal was 13 seconds after Seattle’s goal and 43 seconds after Calgary’s fourth goal.)
Noah Hanifin added an empty net goal late to ice this one as a 6-4 victory for the Flames.
Shots were 11-5 Flames (7-3 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 6-3 Flames in the third period.
Why the Flames won
The Flames were generally good, but they had some defensive zone shakiness that made this game closer than it probably deserved to be. But they kept the game close, played fairly well in the offensive and neutral zones, and were able to cash in twice on their power plays to tilt this game in their favour. (The game was a 3-3 tie at five-on-five, but special teams tilted it ultimately.)
Gaudreau was superb all game and was the Flames’ most engaged, dangerous player all evening.
The turning point
It’s hard to argue with the flurry of goals over a 43-second span that saw the Flames take the lead, lose the lead, and then retake the lead.
Percentage stats are 5v5 and via Natural Stat Trick. Game score via Hockey Stat Cards.
This and that
Dustin Wolf dressed as backup with Dan Vladar unavailable due to immigration issues.
Nikita Zadorov had a breakaway late in the first period. He missed the net entirely.
Gaudreau’s three points give him 527 points with the Flames, just two behind Guy Chouinard for 7th on the franchise leaderboard.
The Flames (16-7-6) are headed home. Then they head back on the road for a four game road trip, beginning on Tuesday night in Chicago.
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