The Calgary Flames were a good hockey team on Saturday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, avoiding the traditional post road trip letdown game. But the Flyers were quite solid, too. But the Flames were equal parts structured and relentless, sticking to their system and eventually relying on timely scoring to give themselves another victory.
The Flames beat the Flyers by a 4-0 score to extend their winning streak to six in a row.
Neither team scored in the first period. The Flames had some zone time, but the Flyers did a fine job keeping them contained to the outside of the zone. Shots were 8-4 Flames (7-4 Flames five-on-five) and scoring chances 14-4 Flames in the first period.
The Flames kept pressing in the second period and did a nice job finding holes in the Flyers’ defensive structure and translating zone time into scoring chances. The Flames had the first 13 shots of the period and the Flyers ended up going 14:31 between shots on goal.
But the Flames finally broke through midway through the period. Rasmus Andersson wandered in from the point and found Sean Monahan’s stick at the side of the crease with a sneaky slap-pass that Monahan redirected past Carter Hart to give Calgary a 1-0 lead.
Stick on the ice, puck in the net. pic.twitter.com/RsffuaZuy4
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) October 31, 2021
Shots were 16-5 Flames (10-4 Flames five-on-five) and scoring chances 9-2 Flames in the second period.
The Flames added to their lead in the third period. On another power play, Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk exchanged rapid-fire passes down low and Tkachuk ended up burying a shot past Hart to give the Flames a 2-0 lead.
Mikael Backlund added an empty netter to make it 3-0 Flames late to cement the victory.
And Johnny Gaudreau added insult to injury late in the game. He entered the Flyers zone on a two-on-one with Lindholm. He used Lindholm as a decoy and the Flyers defender as a screen, picking the near corner on Hart to make it a 4-0 Flames lead.
Shots were 12-11 Flames (9-8 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 6-6 in the third period.
Why the Flames won
Credit where it’s due: playing their third game in four nights (with travel), the Flyers played a really smart, structured road game. They didn’t look tired either. But the Flames matched their structure with some structure and consistency of their own. The Flames seem confident in the style of game they’re playing, and they were downright stubborn and didn’t break formation all evening.
Let’s go with Tkachuk. He was all over the game in positive ways. He drew penalties. He created chances. He scored a goal.
Stick-taps to Jacob Markström. He wasn’t busy, necessarily, but he was sharp and engaged when called upon.
The turning point
Let’s go with… the second period as a whole. The Flames imposed their will on that period and the Flyers were extremely fortunate to escape the period only down by one goal.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and that
The alternate captains were Mikael Backlund, Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk. (Aside from the season-opener in Edmonton, these have been the consistent lettermen thus far.)
Elias Lindholm picked up an assist on Monahan’s goal for his 188th point with the Flames. That tied his output from his time with the Carolina Hurricanes. He hit that total in 374 games with the ‘Canes and just 215 games with Calgary. (His second assist exceeded his Carolina output.)
The Flames (6-1-1) are back in action on Tuesday when they host the Nashville Predators.