On Saturday night in Montreal’s Bell Centre, the Calgary Flames spotted themselves a 1-0 lead. Then, they hung on for dear life as goaltender Jacob Markstrom stood on his head to maintain that lead. The Flames were extremely fortunate to escape Quebec with two points after Markstrom made 37  saves in a 2-0 shutout victory.

The rundown

For the first time in a few games, the Flames scored first! After Sam Bennett drew a penalty hustling from the puck, Johnny Gaudreau score a really pretty power play goal. He corralled a deflected pass, waited for Jake Allen to commit, then shelved a shot past the Habs netminder to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
Shots were 16-12 Flames and scoring chances 15-10 Canadiens in the first period.
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Nobody scored in second period, but the two teams combined for six power plays and just 7:09 of five-on-five time. The Habs were all over the Flames for long stretches, including looking very dangerous on special teams.
The Flames highlights were a pair of painful-looking shot blocks on Shea Weber blasts – Juuso Valimaki off his hand/wrist area and Joakim Nordstrom off his skate – and a high Dillon Dube hit that’ll get some attention from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
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Shots were 15-5 Canadiens and scoring chances 8-0 Canadiens in the second period.
The Habs pressed in the third period, but the Flames hung in there. Mikael Backlund added an empty-netter late in the period to cement a 2-0 win.
Shots were 12-10 Flames and scoring chances 13-9 Canadiens in the third period.

Why the Flames won

They had a better start than they did on Thursday, and then their goaltending was great as they clung on for dear life. When they’re allowed to go places and do things again, every player in a red and white sweater owes Markstrom a meal.
They were more crisp and engaged than they were on Thursday, for sure, but this was a Goalie Win.

Red Warrior

Markstrom. Replace him with any other goaltender and the scoreboard would’ve looked a lot different.
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The turning point

Take your pick from any number of calm Markstrom saves in a very one-sided second period.

The numbers

Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Face-Off%
Game
Score
Lucic
66.7
83.3
-0.495
Nordstrom
64.3
75.0
-0.395
Ryan
61.1
75.0
-0.693
Tanev
53.3
47.1
0.304
Backlund
52.0
27.3
0.273
Hanifin
48.2
38.5
0.931
Leivo
45.5
14.3
-1.203
Valimaki
41.7
100
-0.720
Bennett
41.7
12.5
0.307
Mangiapane
41.2
87.5
-1.057
Giordano
36.4
22.2
-1.440
Andersson
34.4
20.0
-1.256
Gaudreau
32.4
62.5
-0.116
Nesterov
32.3
100
-1.395
Monahan
32.1
62.5
-0.206
Dube
23.1
16.7
-0.915
Tkachuk
17.7
14.3
0.888
Lindholm
14.3
14.3
1.096
Markstrom
3.500
Rittich

This and that

Three Flames experienced big milestones:
  • Matthew Tkachuk’s 300th NHL game
  • Mark Giordano’s 900th NHL game
  • Assistant equipment manager Corey Osmak’s 1,500th pro game

Up next

The Flames (3-3-1) are off to Winnipeg! They play three games in four nights in the ‘Peg starting Monday evening.