Sometimes, a pair of traditional rivals will meet and have an epic clash, a knockdown, drag-out battle for the ages. And sometimes, it’ll be a defensive battle of wills with few scoring chances and even fewer sweet goals.
Saturday night’s game between the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks was the second type of game. The Flames held on and won 1-0 in overtime over the Canucks.
The opening 20 minutes were punctuated by some rough hockey where neither team looked particularly potent offensively: the Flames had a five minute power play that generated two shots on goal and neither team registered a high-danger scoring chance.
Also, Trevor Lewis got crunched by Tyler Myers in the corner of the Canucks end. Myers was given a match penalty.
Shots were 7-1 Flames (4-0 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 4-3 Canucks in the first period.
Neither team scored in the second period, though both teams had a few decent chances. Elias Lindholm had two strong chances on his own – one in the slot and another on a one-timer – and Johnny Gaudreau had a penalty shot. But Thatcher Demko was very sharp in net for Vancouver.
Shots were 13-8 Flames (11-8 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 10-8 Flames in the second period.
Neither team scored in the third period, and there weren’t any ejections or penalty shots to speak of.
Shots were 11-6 Flames (7-6 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 7-4 Flames in the third period.
This barnburner headed to overtime! Gaudreau beat Demko on a three-on-two rush to give the home side a 1-0 victory.
Why the Flames won
The Flames controlled play for a big chunk of this game, but give the Canucks credit: they did a nice job keeping the Flames to the outside. While the Flames had a lot of shots, the Canucks kept Demko’s crease clear and he faced few shots with traffic or deflections.
But the Flames stayed patient and eventually eked out the victory. It was a triumph of patience more than anything else.
Gaudreau had the only goal, so he gets this.
Markstrom was also pretty sharp in net.
The turning point
The one goal.
Percentage stats are 5v5 and via Natural Stat Trick. Game score via Hockey Stat Cards.
This and that
The Flames generated seven shots on goal in 11 minutes of power play time. Notably, they won just three of 11 face-offs on the man advantage. Natural Stat Trick had them with just two high-danger scoring chances on their power plays.
15 of the Flames’ 18 skaters registered shots in this game. (Not hitting the net: Trevor Lewis, Dillon Dube and Adam Ruzicka.)
This was Markstrom’s seventh shutout of the season.
The Flames (21-13-6) are headed back on the road to close out their schedule before the All-Star Break. They face Dallas on Tuesday and Arizona on Wednesday.
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