The Calgary Flames needed big night that Tyler Toffoli delivered in Vegas
Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
2 months ago
The playoff race in the Western Conference is not over yet, and the Calgary Flames’ most recent matchup with the Vegas Golden Knights had some large playoff implications.
The Golden Knights, who are leading the Pacific Division, have had a tough time with the Flames this season. Their one win was in overtime after a bad Mikael Backlund line change leading to a 3-on-2 rush that Jack Eichel and Alex Pietrangelo took advantage of. Other than that, though, Calgary leads the season series two to one, and they have another match-up coming up soon on Mar. 23.
This 7-2 win (combined with a 3-0 Winnipeg Jets shutout loss to the Boston Bruins) put them three points out of a playoff spot with no games in hand. Even with the number of games the Nashville Predators have in hand behind them, their schedule is not as favourable, which gives the Flames an inherent advantage (even though beating bad teams has been unusually hard for Calgary this season).
The win wasn’t only big because the Flames took down a team that is viewed as a contender to make it out of the Western Conference come playoff time, but it was also a big night on an individual level for Tyler Toffoli, who has had an excellent season up to this point.
Toffoli scored two goals and two assists to lead the Flames in the box score and help him get to the 60-point plateau for the first time in his career. His second-highest career mark in points was 58, which he passed in the game.
This kind of night from an individual player was what the Flames have been wanting for a long time. Jacob Markstrom has done his job of stepping up, and it was about time that the offence did the same if the team is serious about making the postseason.
Toffoli has been arguably the best forward for the Flames this season, so it’s not surprising that he was the guy to lead the charge. Not only has he reached a career-high in points, but if he continues to play like this, he could very well pass his career-high in goals (31), as he currently sits at 28.
The Flames still have players that need to step things up. I wrote about Andrew Mangiapane and how, even though he won’t touch the kind of production he had last season, it’s important that he gets it going just a little bit. Contributions from players like Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund also need to be a consistent trend. Otherwise, the Flames will fall short of their goals as a team.
Beating a team like the Golden Knights is always something to gain confidence from, but to do it in the fashion that the Flames did means something. Even though the loss to the Dallas Stars in overtime was a tough pill to swallow, the offence made an appearance yet again. The best anyone rooting for a playoff berth can hope for is that the Flames continue to score goals, and Markstrom does what he has been doing for a solid sample size now.
If Calgary does make the post-season (they still have a decent way to go), we may be able to look back at this night from Toffoli as a big step in the right direction and say without a doubt that it was one that the Flames desperately needed.
Recent articles from Jeff Middleton