The Calgary Flames have a narrow path to manoeuvre to make the Stanley Cup playoffs. They continued a nice run of strong, structured play when they faced Montreal on Wednesday night. They grinded out a 4-1 victory over the Canadiens at Bell Centre.

The rundown

Once again, the Flames had a great opening period and they managed to capitalize on scoring chances to get a lead. Montreal kept losing face-offs in their own zone. On their third loss in a row, Mikael Backlund drew the puck back to Noah Hanifin at the point, and Hanifin’s shot beat Jake Allen to give Calgary a 1-0 advantage.
Shots were 12-8 Flames and scoring chances 13-5 Flames in the first period.
The Flames added to their lead early in the second period. After some nice passing at the point, Mark Giordano put a low shot past Allen to make it a 2-0 game.
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The Canadiens answered back a little later, though, as Jonathan Drouin and Brett Kulak broke out off a broken play at the Montreal blueline. Drouin’s pass found Kulak and he beat Jacob Markstrom high to cut Calgary’s lead to 2-1.
Shots were 13-10 Flames and scoring chances 7-7 in the second period.
The third period was fairly tight-checking in all three zones. The Flames got some insurance late in the period. Shea Weber couldn’t quite control a pass out of the corner, allowing Josh Leivo to steal the puck and chip it past Allen to give the visitors a 3-1 lead.
Sean Monahan added an empty net goal to cement a 4-1 victory for the Flames. Shots were 9-9 and scoring chances 9-8 Canadiens in the third period.
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Why the Flames won

This game felt like a continuation of the Edmonton and Toronto wins. The Flames played smart, structured two-way hockey and they didn’t get too panicky when Montreal made their push.
As a result, they got their third straight win.

Red Warrior

Giordano had the game-winner, but he also played a lot and looked energetic and poised.

The turning point

Giordano’s goal made it 2-0 and gave the team breathing room.

The numbers

Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Face-Off%
Game
Score
Leivo
74.1
62.5
2.560
Ritchie
70.4
62.5
1.860
Valimaki
70.3
81.8
2.230
Ryan
64.5
62.5
1.350
Lindholm
62.5
54.6
2.080
Stone
61.5
66.7
1.330
Tkachuk
61.3
54.6
1.660
Gaudreau
59.0
54.6
1.720
Backlund
50.0
44.4
1.270
Andersson
50.0
52.9
1.770
Nordstrom
47.8
44.4
0.460
Hanifin
45.8
44.4
2.860
Lucic
45.0
44.4
0.240
Tanev
41.2
36.4
3.490
Giordano
40.6
36.4
2.690
Mangiapane
33.3
50.0
0.810
Monahan
31.3
50.0
1.560
Dube
31.0
50.0
0.220
Markstrom
0.180
Domingue

This and that

Mikael Backlund played his 731st game with the Flames, moving into sixth spot on the franchise leaderboard. The five guys with more games in red? Jarome Iginla, Mark Giordano, Robyn Regehr, Al MacInnis and Theo Fleury.
The Flames are now 16-1-0 when leading after two periods.

Up next

The Flames (19-21-3) are back at it on Friday night when they have a rematch against Montreal.
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