The Calgary Flames returned home on Tuesday after seven games on the road. They hosted the Chicago Blackhawks at the Saddledome and in what was a tight-checking, occasionally sloppy affair, the Flames never trailed and managed to battle their way to a 5-2 victory.

The rundown

The Flames spent the first minute of this game hemmed into their own zone. On their first sojourn across the offensive blueline, and their first shot on goal, they scored. Dillon Dube carried the puck in and fired off a shot that eluded Marc-Andre Fleury on his glove side to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
The Blackhawks got that one back off a bit of a broken play in the Flames zone caused by some nice puck battling. Tyler Pitlick won a loose puck battle, but before he could unleash the outlet pass Ryan Carpenter swatted the puck to Brandon Hagel. Hagel’s quick shot beat Jacob Markström to make it a 1-1 hockey game
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But the Flames restored their lead before the end of the period off some nice battling by the fourth line. Brad Richardson flatted a Hawks defender, then fed Milan Lucic the puck. With time and space to make a nice shot, Lucic didn’t waste his chance and beat Fleury to give the Flames a 2-1 lead.
Shots were 13-7 Flames (13-6 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 12-5 Flames in the first period.
The Blackhawks tied things up in the second period off an errant pass. Markström went behind the net to play the puck. His pass took a weird bounce, and went right to Reese Johnson. Johnson went glove-side on Markström as he slid back into the crease and that tied the game at 2-2.
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Shots were 14-8 Flames (all at five-on-five) and scoring chances 11-8 Flames in the second period.
The third period was fairly chippy both ways, but the Flames got the go-ahead goal late in the period. Matthew Tkachuk was behind the Chicago net and tried to pass to Johnny Gaudreau in the slot. It didn’t make it to Gaudreau, because it bonked off Seth Jones’ skate and past Fleury to give the Flames a 3-2 lead.
Trevor Lewis and Gaudreau each added empty-netters with Fleury on the bench to give the Flames a 5-2 victory. Shots were 12-6 Flames (all at five-on-five) and scoring chances 11-5 Flames in the third period.

Why the Flames won

The Flames weren’t great in this game. But they generally out-played Chicago, with the possible exception of some iffy puck management from time-to-time in their own zone. It was a closer game than it should’ve been because of Chicago’s goaltending, but the Flames managed to stick to their program and get two points.
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Red Warrior

The Flames didn’t really execute as well as they had hoped, but Markström was every bit as good as he’s been all season – with the exception of that errant pass.
(Stick-taps to the Rasmus Andersson/Noah Hanifin pairing, too; they were superb.)

The turning point

This game felt like a greasy goal or a weird bounce would decide it. Tkachuk’s goal was arguably a little of both, and it decided the game.

The numbers

Percentage stats are 5v5 and via Natural Stat Trick. Game score via Hockey Stat Cards.
Expected
Goals For%
O-Zone
Face-Off%
Game
Score
Andersson
83.2
53.3
4.87
Lindholm
80.2
88.9
2.36
Dube
78.5
28.6
1.42
Tkachuk
77.1
90.0
1.81
Gaudreau
76.5
88.9
2.36
Hanifin
75.7
53.3
3.60
Pitlick
74.0
16.7
0.55
Monahan
71.4
28.6
0.42
Mangiapane
68.8
55.6
0.49
Zadorov
67.8
50.0
0.13
Coleman
66.8
55.6
0.46
Backlund
65.2
55.6
0.49
Kylington
57.8
80.0
0.12
Tanev
56.8
80.0
-0.06
Gudbranson
50.2
50.0
-0.28
Richardson
49.4
75.0
1.19
Lewis
49.2
75.0
1.44
Lucic
43.7
75.0
1.31
Markström
-0.72
Vladar

This and that

Blake Coleman fought Kirby Dach in the first period after body-checking Alex Debrincat in the Flames zone.
The Flames never trailed and scored first for the 16th time in 20 games this season.

Up next

The Flames (12-3-5) are back in action on Saturday night when they host the Winnipeg Jets.
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