The Calgary Flames thumped St. Louis on Monday night in Calgary. On Wednesday, they headed to Columbus hoping to replicate that performance against the Blue Jackets. And as a matter of fact, that’s basically what they ended up doing.
The Flames were full marks in a one-sided 6-0 shellacking of the Blue Jackets.
Both teams brought their legs in the first period, and it was a fast paced 20 minutes of hockey. The Flames opened the scoring off the rush. Patrik Laine turned over the puck to Blake Coleman, who sent Mikael Backlund in on the rush. Backlund’s shot beat Elvis Merzlikins glove-side to give Calgary a 1-0 edge.
Shots were 16-9 Flames (13-5 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 14-4 Flames in the first period.
The Flames utterly deluged Merzlikins in the second period, with Columbus not registering their first shot on goal until 11 minutes into the frame.
The Flames doubled their lead a little after that happened. Nikita Zadorov’s point shot was tipped in slot area by Andrew Mangiapane and fluttered past Merzlikins to make it 2-0. The goal was reviewed to make sure Mangiapane’s stick wasn’t too high, but it held up.
In the dying seconds of the second period, a heads up play by Johnny Gaudreau extended Calgary’s lead. With the clock winding down, Gaudreau fired a nice pass from the neutral zone to send Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm in on an offensive rush. Tkachuk held onto the puck, avoided a sliding block from Jake Bean, then fired the puck past Merzlikins to make it 3-0 Calgary.
Shots were 23-8 Flames (15-8 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 7-6 Blue Jackets in the second period.
The Flames basically stuck a dagger into the Jackets early in the third period. Gaudreau whizzed past a few Columbus defenders, then set up Lindholm in the slot for an absolute gimme to extend the visitors’ lead to 4-0.
Erik Gudbranson scored off an Adam Ruzicka face-off win midway through the period, fluttering a shot from the point through traffic past Merzlikins to make it 5-0.
Gaudreau set up Tkachuk with a really nice redirect play at the side of the Columbus crease a little later to make it 6-0 Flames, and that’s how it ended.
Shots were 23-6 Flames (all five-on-five) and scoring chances 14-2 Flames in the third period.
Why the Flames won
The Blue Jackets brought their legs early, but the Flames were right there with them and out-worked and out-hustled them early on. And once the Flames used that edge to generate scoring chances, they basically just kept coming at Columbus until the home side faded.
The Flames were better than Columbus in all three zones and very much deserved to win this game by a lopsided score.
It’s gotta be Gaudreau, as he set up three goals all by himself.
But just like in the game against the Blues, the Flames didn’t have any passengers.
The turning point
Goals very late and very early in periods are back-breakers. Well, Columbus gave up a goal with five seconds left in the second period and then one 30 seconds into the third period. That doubled the Flames’ lead to four and took away any hope the Jackets had of tying this one up.
Percentage stats are 5v5 and via Natural Stat Trick. Game score via Hockey Stat Cards.
This and that
This game set the franchise’s single game record for shots on goal. They beat the prior record of 59, set twice: on Mar. 15, 1977 in a 7-3 Atlanta win over Pittsburgh and on Feb. 23, 1991 in a 10-8 Calgary win over Quebec.
Mangiapane’s goal was his 100th NHL point and 19th goal of the season, setting a new single season high for him.
Lindholm’s goal was his 400th NHL point.
The Flames (20-12-6) are back in action on Thursday night when they face the St. Louis Blues in a rematch from Monday’s 7-1 Flames victory.
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