Flames Post-Game: Flames defeat flightless birds

Photo credit:Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
2 years ago
The Calgary Flames entered Pittsburgh on Thursday night seeking a sweep of their five game road trip. And despite their traditional second period slump, where they had to defend a lead primarily hemmed in their own zone, they managed to do just that. The Flames scored early, got great goaltending in the second period, and added insurance goals in the third period to pull away.
The Flames beat the Pittsburgh Penguins by a 4-0 score.

The rundown

As has become tradition on this road trip, the Flames scored first. Midway through the period, after being hemmed into their own zone for a little bit, the Flames managed to break out. Matthew Tkachuk set up Johnny Gaudreau for a partial breakaway and Gaudreau picked the top corner (glove-side) on Casey DeSmith to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
The Flames took a pair of high-sticking penalties back to back, putting two men in the penalty box for 1:41. They managed to kill off the five-on-three, then the second half of Erik Gudbranson’s double-minor.
Shots were 15-11 Penguins (10-8 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 7-5 Penguins in the first period.
The Penguins made a big push in the second period to try to even the game up. The Flames were scrambly and defended fairly well, but Jacob Markström had to be sharp. He was very sharp.
Shots were 15-11 Penguins (14-11 Penguins at five-on-five) and scoring chances 12-10 Flames in the second period. (Yes, somehow.)
The Flames gave themselves some breathing room early in the third period off a set play. Mikael Backlund won a face-off and drew the puck back to the point to Oliver Kylington, who fed Blake Coleman, who had snuck back to the point. With some traffic in front of DeSmith, Coleman’s shot fluttered into the Penguin net to make it 2-0 Flames.
The visitors pulled away a bit from there. Off the rush, Johnny Gaudreau fed Dillon Dube and Dube’s wrister from the wing beat DeSmith to make it 3-0 Flames.
On an odd-man rush, Milan Lucic opted to shoot and went five-hole on DeSmith to make it 4-0.
Shots were 15-13 Penguins (14-9 Penguins at five-on-five) and scoring chances 12-7 Penguins in the third period.

Why the Flames won

The Flames did a nice job of dictating the game early, and then doing what they could to support their goaltender. In the fifth and final game of their road trip, the Flames looked like they had played a ton of hockey lately. But Markström was excellent and the Flames did a decent job of clearing out screens, tips and second chances.
And in the third period, the Penguins seemingly ran out of gas and the Flames took advantage to pad their lead.

Red Warrior

Markström. There’s no other possible answer.

The turning point

There’s two: first, that first period five-on-three penalty kill. The Flames were up by a goal and in a position to give the Penguins a ton of momentum or take it away. They took it away.
And then, of course, Markström’s diving paddle save in the second period to maintain the lead.

The numbers

Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
Goals For%

This and that

The alternate captains were Mikael Backlund, Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk.
Noah Hanifin was a late scratch with an upper body injury. Per the club, he’s day-to-day. Michael Stone, making his first appearance of the season, took his place in the lineup.
Backlund’s assist on Coleman’s goal was his 400th NHL point (in his 751st NHL game).

Up next

The Flames (5-1-1) are headed home. They’re back in action on Saturday night – in the late game at 8 p.m. MT – when they host the Philadelphia Flyers at the Saddledome.

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