The Detroit Red Wings visited Calgary on Saturday night to play the Flames. The Flames were, as expected, the better team. The Red Wings got a strong goaltending performance from Thomas Greiss, but the Flames managed to cash in on special teams en route to a 3-0 victory over Detroit.
The Flames were all over the Red Wings throughout the first period. Eventually, the Flames’ hustle drew a penalty, as Trevor Lewis was cross-checked battling for a puck in the Red Wings’ zone. Late in the ensuing power play, Elias Lindholm carried the puck into the offensive zone and unleashed a wrist shot from the high slot. It beat Thomas Greiss to give the locals a 1-0 lead.
Shots were 19-1 Flames (18-1 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 12-4 Flames in the first period.
Neither team scored in the second, though the Flames kept pressing and carried the play for the vast majority of the period.
Shots were 12-4 Flames (all at five-on-five) and scoring chances 15-4 Flames in the second period.
The Red Wings pushed in the third period, but the Flames drew a penalty and cashed in again. The Flames won an offensive zone draw midway through the Detroit penalty and Matthew Tkachuk found Tyler Toffoli at the side of the net for a nicely executed pass across the slot that Toffoli buried to make it 2-0 Flames.
Late in the period, Blake Coleman redirected a Chris Tanev feed from the slot. The puck went off Coleman, off Greiss’ leg and into the net to make it 3-0. (The goal was challenged for goalie interference because Coleman got shoved into the actual net, but since he was behind the goalie and didn’t impede him the goal counted.)
Shots were 14-12 Red Wings (9-8 Red Wings at five-on-five) and scoring chances 7-5 Red Wings in the third period.
Why the Flames won
The Flames had a ton of shots and a ton of chances in this game. Sure, their execution could’ve been a bit sharper in the offensive zone, but they were easily the better team in every game situation. This was a game where the shot clock accurately reflected the course of the game.
Tkachuk had two assists, had a ton of scoring chances and drew a penalty that resulted in a power play goal. He was quite good and perpetually noticeable.
The turning point
The Flames held serve for the entire game, but Toffoli’s goal to make it 2-0 likely made the Flames breathe easier, as a bad bounce wouldn’t even things up after that point.
Percentage stats are 5v5 and via Natural Stat Trick. Game score via Hockey Stat Cards.
This and that
Michael Stone played in place of Oliver Kylington on the second defensive pairing, with Kylington dubbed day-to-day by the club with a lower body injury. It was Stone’s first appearance since December 5. He earned an assist on Coleman’s goal.
This was Detroit defender Marc Staal’s 1,000th NHL game.
This was the final game for referee Dean Morton. His one and only NHL game as a player was for Detroit in 1989-90 against the Flames in the Saddledome, so it was rather fitting that his final NHL game as an official was there, too.
Milan Lucic fought Givani Smith in the third period.
The Flames (36-15-7) are back in action on Sunday night when they head to Denver for a rematch with the Colorado Avalanche. Puck drop is at 6 p.m. MT.
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