The unsung Calgary Flames heroes of round one
Photo credit:Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
10 months ago
Johnny Gaudreau was superb and delivered the knockout blow. Elias Lindholm was his steady and effective self. Jacob Markstrom was the less busy of the two goaltenders but was still spectacular. But as the Flames are punched their ticket to a round two Battle of Alberta, here are four other names that helped seal the deal.
All metrics below are five-on-five and are courtesy Natural Stat Trick.
Just because it’s glaringly obvious doesn’t mean it’s unworthy of mentioning. Stone entered the series in game four and did nothing but give Calgary good minutes. For three games it was as the seventh defenceman in an 11/7 setup. In the seventh and deciding game, minus Chris Tanev, Stone played more than 21 minutes and picked up another point.
Aside from leading the team in every single one of the above categories, Stone finished with a goal and three points in four games. Not bad for a guy who played 11 games during the regular season and entered the series midway through.
It felt like if the Flames were going to swing their first round series with Dallas, Backlund was going to be a big part of it. And he was. Noticeably quiet for the first three games, Backlund was a beast from that point on and was a huge reason for wins in games four, five, and seven.
Overall, Backlund finished with three goals and four points in seven games and was the driver on a reunited line with Blake Coleman and Andrew Mangiapane. When Backlund is hard to play against at both ends of the ice, like he was in the back half of the series, Calgary is a significantly harder team to beat. They’ll need him at his two-way best vs. Edmonton.
Dube went without a point in seven games vs. the Stars, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t an impact maker. In fact, the eye test suggested that Dube was one of the team’s most consistent middle six forwards. Most impressively, Dube led all players with 6.95 high danger chances per 60 minutes and, much like the entire team, was in need of a little more puck luck to hit the scoresheet.
Prior to the playoffs, head coach Darryl Sutter talked about Dube’s history of raising his game when the spotlight is brightest. Whether it be with the Kelowna Rockets, at the World Juniors, or in the 2020 bubble, Dube has always performed on big stages. Add round one of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs to the resume.
The Flames started using Lewis as their fourth centre with about a month left in the season and that trend continued into the playoffs. Playing primarily with Milan Lucic and Brett Ritchie when he dressed, Lewis was effective in his role and contributed as much as a player in his position could have been asked.
Lewis finished the series with three points, including a huge empty netter to seal Calgary’s game five comeback victory. Brought up a lot when the subject of “playoff experience” is discussed, Lewis showed he can still fill a valuable depth role at this time of year.
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