The Calgary Flames set their template for success in second period against Tampa Bay

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
6 months ago
If you’re a Calgary Flames skeptic, it was probably fairly easy to be pessimistic about their chances against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night. Coming home from a three game road swing that saw them play three good games but get zero wins, the Flames were facing a Lightning team that put up seven goals on the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday evening.
Instead, a Flames team that entered the game leading the NHL in time spent trailing bucked the trend and never trailed en route to a solid 4-2 win against a strong opponent. The secret to their success? An absolutely sparkling second period.
The Flames slightly out-chanced and out-shot the Lightning in the first period, but weren’t able to build a lot of momentum in the offensive zone. That changed a bit in the second period, as they managed to stack strong shifts on top of each other for much of the period and take over the hockey game.
Sure, the Lightning had occasional sojourns into the Flames’ end, but they were often one-and-done propositions, and followed by the Flames spending a lot of time in their end.
And the Flames were rewarded, frequently. And so, too, were a pair of fans.
Fourth-liner A.J. Greer scored 2:30 into the period, taking a pass from Rasmus Andersson and sniping a glove-side shot past Andrei Vasilevskiy.
3:47 later, it was MacKenzie Weegar’s turn. After Blake Coleman’s initial rush chance was stymied, the puck was fed back to the point and Weegar fired a shot past Coleman’s drive-by screen in the slot, beating Tampa’s goaltender inside the far post.
And just 43 seconds later, during an in-arena “Minute to Win It” promotion, Yegor Sharangovich fired a pass from Jordan Oesterle from the top of the circles past Vasilevskiy – again, high glove-side – to give the Flames a 3-0 cushion. The goal extended Sharangovich’s goal-scoring streak to five games, gave Oesterle his first point as a Flame, and sent a pair of fans on a trip to Las Vegas.
By the time seven minutes had elapsed in the second period, the Flames (the NHL’s league-leaders in time spent trailing in games) had spotted themselves a lead that they never relinquished.
“I liked our first two periods,” assessed Flames head coach Ryan Huska following the game. “The second period I think was maybe our best period of the year. I thought we controlled the play, we were smart with the puck, and we had a lot of zone time in that period. It was a good night for us.”
Weegar, speaking to the media in the locker room, offered an opinion of the second period that aligned with his coach’s when asked if that period was how the team should be playing.
“Absolutely. That was probably our best period of the year,” said Weegar. “I thought we were moving the puck quick, they were grinding the D, D were jumping up, we were breaking the puck out well, I thought we checked hard. We were on, y’know, the good side of the puck. You know that was great to see from us. Hopefully we can keep building on that. I’m sure we’ll go over and it and we’ll show some great clips, some things that we need to improve on, but I thought that was a great, great period by our team.”
Rookie forward Connor Zary added his seventh goal of the season for some third period insurance, deflating Tampa Bay’s momentum after they had scored twice to eat in the home side’s lead. He added his observations of the second period push.
“I think were just kinda rolling four lines and going at them in the offensive zone,” said Zary. “We had a lot of movement. We had a lot of puck movement, a lot of feet movement, and i think that’s what makes teams successful, when you can hem teams in and roll your lines over and keep them tired, and I think that’s what worked for us in that second period and that’s why we were so successful.”
When the Flames keep things to five-on-five and are able to roll their lines and get their whole team involved in the fray, they can be a very tough team to play against. We saw it during stretches of their road trip, and we saw it on Saturday against Tampa Bay. Ultimately, the Flames got three goals in the period from three different players – and nine different players hit the scoresheet.
We’ve heard frequently from players, coaches and management figures alike about how the Flames have to play to be successful – and what the team could be capable of if they can find that form. In the second period against the Lightning, fans were shown Exhibit A regarding the group’s potential when they play the right way.
The template has been established. Now they just need to find ways to replicate it over their final 51 games of the regular season.
The Flames are back in action on Monday night when they host the Florida Panthers.
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