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Calgary Flames Post-Game: The house goes bust, Flames finally win a game in Vegas

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Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
11 months ago
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In the first eight visits to T-Mobile Arena, the Calgary Flames couldn’t find a break. They played well at times, but they found ways to lose. Heck, they rarely had a lead. But on Thursday evening, the Flames faced the Vegas Golden Knights really needing a couple points in the standings.
The Flames got the bounces and were also the better team en route to a 7-2 victory over the Golden Knights in their first win ever in Vegas.

The rundown

The opening 20 minutes was a bit of a grind, fairly sloppy and low-event for both clubs. But the Flames managed a late goal off a face-off win. Elias Lindholm won a draw and after a bit of a shuffling around, Rasmus Andersson found MacKenzie Weegar at the point. Weegar’s shot, with a puck on edge, wobbled past Jonathan Quick to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
The Flames doubled their lead early in the second period. Fourth liner Dillon Dube carried the puck into the Vegas zone, allowing a full line change and then heading off. The Flames couldn’t get a shot on net initially, but pressure from Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli created a turnover by the Golden Knights. Toffoli drove the net and tucked the puck past a sprawling Quick to give the Flames a 2-0 lead.
The Golden Knights got a power play, but the Flames generated two great chances, with Quick standing tall against Dube (on a two-on-none) and Mikael Backlund (on a breakaway).
Vegas pushed back and got on the board. The Golden Knights cycled the puck in the Flames’ zone, ending with Zach Whitecloud sneaking down from the point, changing the angle of his shot with a toe-drag, and beating Jacob Markstrom with a wrister from the high slot to cut the Calgary lead to 2-1.
A little later, Vegas tied things up. Weegar whiffed on a puck in the Flames’ slot and Reilly Smith narrowly missed a nice backhander that just missed the net. The puck was cleared out and Vegas missed a pass into the zone, but it was not called an icing by the linesmen. Play continued and the Flames’ defensive coverage lost track of Smith. William Karlsson fired a pass from the far corner of the zone (to Markstrom’s far right) to Smith at the side of the crease to Markstrom’s left, and Smith buried the one-timer feed to tie the game at 2-2.
But 1:23 after Vegas tied the game, the Flames retook the lead late in the second period. The Flames pushed back and cycled the puck in the Vegas zone. Lindholm, from the far left side of the faceoff circle, fired a shot on net and Blake Coleman redirected it past Quick to give the Flames a 3-2 lead.
Midway through the third period, the Flames got their first power play and they cashed in off a weird one. Mikael Backlund was moving behind the net and preparing to send a pass to Toffoli, camped out in the slot. Alex Pietrangelo attempted to get his stick in the passing lane. His attempt worked, but Backlund’s pass ramped off Pietrangelo’s stick, off Quick’s mask, and into the net to give the Flames a 4-2 lead.
The Flames added a bit more insurance later in the third period. A defensive zone dump-out bounced off the linesman and sprung Andrew Mangiapane for a partial breakaway. Quick stopped Mangiapane, but Toffoli came in as the trailer and jammed in the loose rebound to give the visitors a 5-2 lead.
Blake Coleman added an empty-netter to make it 6-2, as he stepped out of the penalty box after serving a minor, chased down a Noah Hanifin dump-in and scored.
Dube added a late goal in garbage time to give the Flames a 7-2 lead.
The Flames held on for the victory.

Why the Flames won

The Flames were not perfect, but a lot of elements of their game were good. Their special teams were much better than Vegas’ special teams. They generated more than Vegas at even strength, and executed slightly better than Vegas did, too.
Did the Flames get the bounces? You bet! But they also out-worked and out-executed Vegas when the game when the game was in the balance.
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Red Warrior

This was a Team Win, so we’re spreading the credit around. Markstrom was sharp in goal. Lindholm had two assists and won key face-offs. Andersson and Weegar had multi-point games.
If we’re gonna tip our caps to one guy, it’ll be Toffoli, but a lot of players did smart things on this occasion.

Turning point

How many games have we see the Flames fade, or play too passively, in the third period? They entered the final frame with a one goal lead, and seemed to take on a more aggressive stance than they have in previous outings – especially more than they did in their previous visit to Vegas this season. It paid off with some additional goals – four of ’em.

This and that

The Flames unveiled four different forward lines:
  • Mangiapane-Lindholm-Toffoli
  • Huberdeau-Backlund-Coleman
  • Lucic-Kadri-Lewis
  • Ritchie-Ruzicka-Dube
Jakob Pelletier and Walker Duehr joined Dennis Gilbert as scratches.
The Golden Knights donated the proceeds from their in-arena 51/49 raffle to ALS research in honour of Flames assistant general manager Chris Snow.

Up next

The Flames (31-24-14) are headed home. They host the Dallas Stars at the ‘Dome on Saturday night.

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