The Calgary Flames made their final trip to the Emerald City of the season when they faced the Seattle Kraken. The Kraken played generally pretty well and, at times, the Flames looked like a team playing their third game in four nights… and their fourth game in six nights… and their fifth game in eight nights.
But the Flames defended well, got good goaltending, and timely goals en route to a 4-1 victory over the Kraken. They ended up sweeping their four game Pacific coast road trip.
The Flames opened the scoring early on in the first period. The Flames won a puck battle in the Seattle end and Rasmus Andersson sent the puck to the far point for Noah Hanifin. Hanifin’s shot was deflected by Blake Coleman past Philipp Grubauer to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
But just 65 seconds later, the Kraken tied things up. The Flames’ fourth line had trouble dealing with the Seattle forecheck and their quick passing. That gave Karson Kuhlman time and space to receive a pass from the corner and fire it past Jacob Markstrom to tie the game up at 1-1.
But in the dying moments of the first period, the Flames grabbed the lead. The third line went deep into Seattle’s end and started cycling. Heck, the Flames even drew a delayed penalty. But the cycle continued. Hanifin pinched from the point to keep the puck moving, then found Lewis at the net-front area with his stick on the ice. One quick redirect later and the Flames had a 2-1 lead.
Shots were 10-8 Flames (9-8 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 7-6 Kraken in the first period.
Some nice work in the Seattle zone led to Andrew Mangiapane drawing a penalty. On the resulting power play, the Flames’ top unit couldn’t really generate anything dangerous. But the second unit moved the puck well, leading to Michael Stone burying a one-timer feed from Hanifin just as the penalty expired to give the Flames a 3-1 lead.
Shots were 9-9 (8-3 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 6-2 Flames in the second period.
The Kraken pushed in the third period, but were occasionally stymied by a few penalties they took. The Kraken had some good looks, particularly on a couple of power plays, but Markstrom was rock solid.
Tyler Toffoli scored an empty net goal late to make this a 4-1 Flames lead and ice this result for the road team. (Stick-taps to Dillon Dube, who had a wide-open net but dished to Toffoli so his new teammate could score his 20th goal of the season.)
Shots were 11-10 Kraken (5-5 at five-on-five) and scoring chances 6-4 Kraken in the third period.
Why the Flames won
The Flames looked fatigued at times and had some issues with how aggressive Seattle’s forecheck was on five-on-five and on the power play. Heck, they probably took more penalties than the coaching staff would prefer, too. But they defended well generally, got strong goaltending, and scored timely goals.
It was a close game, except on the scoreboard. But the visitors had a slight edge and deserved to get the two points.
Hanifin had three primary assists (and a secondary assist on Toffoli’s empty-netter), handled the puck well and generally made everybody else on the ice with him look more dangerous. Honourable mention to Markstrom, who had to be sharp at times but was up to the challenge.
The turning point
Let’s give it to the Lewis goal. Coming with just 16.5 seconds left in the first period, it sent the Flames to the locker room with the lead.
Percentage stats are 5v5 and via Natural Stat Trick. Game score via Hockey Stat Cards.
This and that
This game was Darryl Sutter’s 1,387th regular season game coached, passing Mike Keenan for 11th on the NHL’s all-time leaderboard. Thursday’s win against San Jose was his 692nd regular season win, passing Dick Irvin for 11th all-time in that category, as well.
The Flames were without Sean Monahan, Oliver Kylington, Calle Jarnkrok and Erik Gudbranson for this game. Emergency recalls Adam Ruzicka and Juuso Valimaki weren’t needed for the game, and were papered back to the AHL’s Stockton Heat before the game ended.
The Flames (44-19-9) are headed home. They’re back in action on Tuesday at the Saddledome when they host the Kraken to close out their season series.
Via Pat Steinberg’s math: As of this writing, the Flames’ magic number to clinch a playoff berth is now 3 – any combination of 3 Flames wins or Vegas losses clinches a post-season spot for Calgary. (It’s 6.5 Flames wins and/or Edmonton losses to clinch the Pacific Division crown.)
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