The five best Calgary Flames games of the 2021-22 season
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike1 year ago
On Tuesday night, the Calgary Flames beat the Nashville Predators by a 5-4 score in overtime. The game was awesome, with atmosphere, tension, fights, goals, and drama. In a season where the Flames have been really, really good overall, it was one of many entertaining games played by the club.
With two games left to go, here are what we feel are the five best Flames games of the season. (We’re excluding the Nashville game since it’s way too recent, and we’re focusing on games that were entertaining and represented an important milestone against an important opponent.) And yeah, they’re all wins.
Dec. 2, 2021: Calgary 3, Los Angeles 2
The earliest game on the list, the Flames headed to Los Angeles to kick off a western road swing. The Flames had a good record, but had played most of their games against the Eastern Conference. They went into a tough building against a divisional opponent. They were out-shot 42-32, but the Flames battled well and defended well, eking out a 13-11 edge in high danger chances.
The difference overall, was a 40 save performance from Jacob Markstrom and a pair of first period power play goals. Matthew Tkachuk’s early second period goal, which made it 3-1 at the time, held up as the game-winner. The win provided the template for many of the club’s wins for the rest of the season.
Jan. 29, 2022: Calgary 1, Vancouver 0 (overtime)
The last game in the Hockey Day in Canada slate, the Canucks came to town still riding the momentum of Bruce Boudreau’s hiring. The Flames were riding the momentum of a strong January. What followed was a game of chess, with both teams jockeying for position and defending well. Johnny Gaudreau’s overtime marker off the rush ended the strategic battle.
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The Flames maintained their pressure, their attention to detail, and their patience, as they avoided the temptation to open up their checking system to facilitate high-octane offensive chances. Instead, they stuck with their systems and were eventually rewarded.
Feb. 1, 2022: Calgary 4, Dallas 3
LL Cool J once wrote: “Don’t call it a comeback.” This was not just a comeback, but arguably the defining comeback for the Flames this season.
The Flames played fairly well for two periods, but some iffy execution and bad bounces had them trailing 3-1 after two periods. Darryl Sutter put backup Dan Vladar in net and kept rolling his lines, and his players in turn amped up their forechecking pressure and chipped away at the Stars’ defenses by out-shooting them 18-5 in the final frame. The dam finally burst late in the third period, with the Flames scoring three times in just under four minutes to snatch away the lead.
Feb. 10, 2022: Calgary 5, Toronto 2
The powerhouse Toronto Maple Leafs came to town. What followed was a game that prompted Leafs internet personality Steve “Dangle” Glynn to opine, in misery, regarding the Leafs’ inability to hang with the Flames: “Calgary, I’m telling you… right now it’s not a guarantee that they’re going to make the playoffs, but looking at the Pacific Division, I think they’re going to be a problem.”
The Flames got down early, but they put a physical grind on the Leafs, strung together a few quick goals, and came from behind to win 5-2. Five days later, the Flames surpassed Vegas and took over first place in the Pacific Division, a spot they would hold down for the remainder of the season.
Mar. 5, 2022: Calgary 4, Colorado 3 (overtime)
Oh yeah, this was that game.
On a Saturday night, the Flames headed into Denver to face the best team in the conference. The Flames had been on a heater since the All-Star Break but the hockey world seemed fairly skeptical of how they would match up against a deep, structured and flat-out good Avalanche squad.
These two teams just went for it, trading the lead back and forth in an incredibly entertaining, structured, physical and intense game. After three even periods – shots were 35-35 through regulation – Gaudreau scored the overtime winner to give the Flames a W and bragging rights over the West’s top club.
What are your favourite Flames game of the season? Are there any games that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
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