The Calgary Flames were really good in the first two periods of Sunday’s game in Vancouver against the Canucks. After spotting themselves a hefty 5-1 lead, they were in survival mode in the third period. They blew their lead, but won 6-5 in overtime.
The Flames carried play for big chunks of the opening period. They opened the scoring off a nice shift from the fourth line. Dominik Simon and rookie Adam Ruzicka forechecked hard and crunched Vancouver’s defenders with hits. This led to some careless passing, allowing Josh Leivo to enter the zone, steal an errant pass, and beat Braden Holtby to make it 1-0 Flames.
Shots were 11-6 Flames and scoring chances 6-2 Flames in the first period.
The Flames completely took the game over with three goals on three straight shots in a span of 2:17:
- Josh Leivo made a nice pass to Milan Lucic and the puck went off his skate and in to make it 2-0.
- Matthew Tkachuk missed the net off a pass from Elias Lindholm, then buried his own rebound off the end boards to make it 3-0.
- Andrew Mangiapane and Mikeal Backlund won some board battles and Dillon Dube’s pass to Mangiapane was chipped into the top corner. That made it 4-0.
Travis Hamonic got Vancouver on the board with a shot through traffic to make it 4-1, but Mangiapane scored off a face-off win to extend Calgary’s lead to 5-1.
Fire up the oven, it's 🍞 time. pic.twitter.com/n7zPhjOqw8
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) May 17, 2021
Shots were 16-8 Flames and scoring chances 9-7 Flames in the second period.
Tyler Graovac cut the Flames’ lead to 5-2 off a nice redirect of a power play pass from J.T. Miller early in the third period. Brock Boeser made it 5-3 on another power play midway through the period. Miller cut to the lead to 5-4 shorthanded later in the period, beating Markstrom (and Mark Giordano) on a two-on-one rush. Late in the period, Boeser deflected an Alex Edler point shot to tie the game at 5-5 and force overtime.
Shots were 17-7 Canucks and scoring chances 8-3 Canucks in the third period.
A Lindholm shot deflected off Edler and past Holtby in overtime to give Calgary the win.
Why the Flames won (in OT)
Well, they were much better in the first two periods than Vancouver. The Canucks looked like a tired, depleted group – which they are – and the Flames were all over them throughout the first two periods. But the Flames threw it into cruise control in the third period and the Canucks woke up and took the game over. The Flames were fortunate to win in OT.
It’s either a gutsy effort from Vancouver or a gigantic collapse by the Flames. Heck, why not both?
Mangiapane had two goals, so let’s give him the nod.
The turning point
On one hand, with three goals on three shots in 2:17 in the second period the Flames gave themselves breathing room. On the other hand, the third period was a slow motion car crash of ice hockey where the Flames found ways to give the lead away.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and that
Adam Ruzicka made his NHL debut!
Connor Mackey fought Jonah Gadjovich in the second period.
The Flames (25-26-3) play the Canucks again in Vancouver on Tuesday afternoon. It’s a 2 p.m. MT puck drop.