The Calgary Flames played a pretty good game on Saturday night when they hosted the Seattle Kraken. They weren’t perfect, mind you, but they never trailed and defended their zone reasonably well. They ended up beating Seattle by a 2-1 score to extend their winning streak to nine games.
The Flames opened the scoring a few minutes into the opening period. An initial rush chance by Elias Lindholm was blocked by the Kraken and went into the corner. Lindholm retrieved the puck and sent a pass into the slot area, where Matthew Tkachuk was arriving after entering the zone. Tkachuk beat Grubauer to give the Flames a 1-0 edge.
Unfortunately, that goal wouldn’t hold up and Seattle would get a bit of a gift later in the period. Rasmus Andersson, in his own end, sent a lateral pass to Noah Hanifin below the Flames goal line. Hanifin, under duress, had the puck go off his stick and right out front into the slot. Calle Jarnkrok took the puck and beat Jacob Markstrom to tie the game up at 1-1.
Shots were 11-6 Flames (all at five-on-five) and scoring chances 8-5 Flames in the first period.
Neither team scored in the second period. The Flames had the puck more and had more good chances, but you could argue that Seattle had more amazing scoring chances.
Case in point? The Flames got caught up ice and Seattle got an almost three-on-one rush (Chris Tanev just came back to make it slightly less of a three-on-one), leading to this masterpiece by Markstrom.
Shots were 18-8 Flames (all at five-on-five) and scoring chances 11-3 Flames in the second period.
The Flames kept pushing in the third period and finally got that proverbial “next” goal. After cycling the puck in the Seattle zone, Chris Tanev’s point shot was blocked in the slot. Lindholm grabbed the loose puck in the slot, spun and fired, beating Grubauer to give the Flames a 2-1 lead.
Seattle pulled their goalie but couldn’t tie it up, and the Flames held on for the victory. Shots were 9-8 Kraken (8-5 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 9-3 Flames in the third period.
Why the Flames won
The Flames had the puck a lot in this game. They generally made good plays, but they had puck management challenges at key times – particularly exiting their zone – that made their evening a bit more challenging than it really needed to be.
But despite these challenges, and a slight tendency this evening on making a fancy offensive play rather than a more direct one, they managed to play a lot in Seattle’s zone, avoid penalty trouble, and get enough good chances to capture their ninth straight victory. (And admittedly they had some pretty wacky luck with scoring chances, with breakaways getting dismantled by broken sticks, or shots taking unfortunate bounces in Seattle’s zone.)
Lindholm made a really nice play on their first goal and scored their second goal, so he gets the nod here. But his entire line with Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau was quite good, as per usual.
The turning point
The go-ahead goal in the third period seems a pretty obvious choice here.
Percentage stats are 5v5 and via Natural Stat Trick. Game score via Hockey Stat Cards.
This and that
This was former captain Mark Giordano’s first game back in Calgary. The Flames put together a pretty nice tribute video and fans gave him a standing ovation.
Mikael Backlund played his 792nd game with the Flames, passing Theo Fleury for fifth place on the club’s all-time leaderboard.
Blake Coleman fought Ryan Donato to begin the third period.
The Flames (29-13-6) play the seventh and final game of their lengthy homestand with a holiday Monday matinee against the Winnipeg Jets. It’s a 2 p.m. MT puck drop at the ‘Dome.
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