Photo credit:Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Calgary Flames Post-Game: The Flames grind out two points in Minnesota
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
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The Calgary Flames began the 2024 portion of their regular season schedule, and a four game road swing, against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night. The Flames were superb for chunks of this game. When they weren’t superb, they got strong goaltending.
That was a recipe for success on this evening, as they grinded out a 3-1 victory over the Wild to return to the .500 mark.
The Flames got out to an odd start; they had the game’s first handful of shots, but were soon back on their heels as the Wild pressed. Jacob Markstrom made a few very good stops early on.
Eventually, the Flames counter-punched and managed to open the scoring. Playing at four-on-four, Mikael Backlund drove into the Wild zone for a scoring chance. His chance didn’t find the back of the net, but he swept the puck back to the point. That led to a Rasmus Andersson point shot that was redirected by Andrew Mangiapane and beat Marc-Andre Fleury to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The Flames kept pressing after that point, and a couple really effective late period shifts led to another goal. Right after a fourth line shift nearly resulted in a goal, the Elias Lindholm line cycled the puck in the Wild zone. Lindholm found Jonathan Huberdeau in front of the net with a crisp pass through coverage, and Huberdeau tucked the puck past Fleury to give the Flames a 2-0 lead.
First period shots were 13-7 Flames (11-4 Flames at five-on-five) and, via Natural Stat Trick, five-on-five scoring chances were 12-9 Flames (high-dangers were 4-4).
The second period was pretty even, with the Flames getting the better side of the shot clock but the Wild chipping away a bit at their lead.
Midway through the period, Jordan Oesterle got caught up on the boards on a pinch and the play swung the other way, leaving MacKenzie Weegar behind to defend a three-on-one rush. Whoops. The initial shot by Nic Petan was stopped by Jacob Markstrom, but the rebound went right to Patrick Maroon for the back-door tap-in to cut Calgary’s lead to 2-1.
Second period shots were 10-5 Flames (9-5 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 11-8 Flames (high-dangers were 3-2 Wild).
The Wild were all over the Flames for much of the third period, but Markstrom made several big stops and the Flames’ skaters were diving in front of many, many Wild shooters.
Minnesota pulled Fleury late for the extra attacker, but Blake Coleman added an empty-netter with just under a minute remaining in regulation to give the Flames a 3-1 lead that cemented the win.
Third period shots were 17-10 Wild (12-8 Wild at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 9-7 Wild (high-dangers were 6-1 Wild).
Why the Flames won
In the first two periods, the Flames were really effective in the neutral and offensive zones and just fine in the defensive zone. That spotted them their lead. In the third period they were constantly hemmed in their own end, but their goaltender was excellent and their defenders blocked all sorts of shots.
It wasn’t quite a complete game, in the sense that all parts of their game weren’t working at the same time. But enough parts were working at various points that they had a chance to win. All things considered, it was a very effective road game.
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It’s gotta be Jacob Markstrom. He faced just a dozen shots in the first 40 minutes, but he was flat-out excellent in the final 20.
And an honourable mention to the fourth line: A.J. Greer, Adam Ruzicka and Dillon Dube provided a ton of energy at key moments throughout this contest. But if we’re being fair here, a lot of players in white and red had positive elements to their game.
We’re gonna cheat a bit here and just say “the third period.” Playing against a team that’s had their number this season, the Flames went into the third period, on the road, nursing a one-goal lead. They found a way to weather the storm and grind out a win.
This and that
The Flames (16-16-5) are continuing their road trip. They’re off to Nashville, where they face the Predators on Thursday evening.
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