Monday: St. Louis Blues @ CGY
Dominating the Blues in all situations, the Flames capped their seven game home stand with a 7-4 win last night. With a 5-2 record over this stretch, the Flames finally appear to be living up to their potential and are starting to get scoring from the bottom six. Mike Smith left the game early on with an unplayable injury, forcing Eddie Lack into the net for the first time since Smith was pulled in the Flames’ last game against the Blues on October 25th. We should know more about the injury later today. Johnny Gaudreau extended his point streak to seven games in which he has tallied 12 points. Sam Bennett finally scored his first goal of the year off an impressive offensive effort, and Kris Versteeg netted his first goal since October 21st. It was a a strong night for the team as a whole; Sean Monahan was surprisingly the only forward left off the score sheet. Despite excellent performances from a number of players, the most impressive was definitely…
Flames Player of the Game
Mark Jankowski. Easily the best game of his young NHL career, Jankowski scored two goals, added an assist for three points, fired five shots on net, and was successful on over 70% of his faceoffs. Talk about a monster performance from the rookie. It really is a shame that Gaudreau hasn’t earned POTG honours in such a long time despite piling up points in every game he plays. Jankowski was just the most dominant player for the Flames last night and if he continues to play the way he has over the last few games, Bennett will definitely become a permanent winger. Jay Feaster will never be fully forgiven due to the Ryan O’Reilly fiasco (which was truly horrendous and I can’t stress it enough) but at least there is some redemption in the rise of Jankowski. It sure looks like he’ll be part of the team for a long, long time.
Bill: Still on the IR. Will be reevaluated tomorrow. Send him good wishes for his upcoming assignments!
John: Due to logistical complications my thoughts will be shorter than normal form last night, even though I was able to watch the game in its entirety. The see saw contest was blown open during the third period, which saw each line contribute a goal. Less than a week ago everyone was in crisis mode that the Flames couldn’t score and that the bottom six was rendered useless. That means it was extra rewarding to see individuals like Jankowski, Bennett, and Versteeg throw in strong offensive performances. While touched upon earlier, Jankowski was impressive last night. His line, which consisted of Bennett and Jaromir Jagr, was by far the best looking line. Able to generate lots of scoring chances separates them from the pack. Ironically this trio was one of the worse in relative CF% at 5v5. Ranging from 34% to 47% with Jankowski being the lowest, the line kept their offensive pressure short as they found themselves unable to retain possession. That being said they all sported a ZS% above 73%, which means they were given plenty of opportunity to score, but couldn’t sustain offensive zone pressure. Of course, Jankowski went 10/14 in the faceoff circle, so some nights you just don’t have the stats to back up a strong offensive night. Safe to say this was the perfect way to cap a seven game home stand, now the real challenge begins.
Karim: What a beautiful game that was. A lot has been made of the quality of competition the Flames have had over their home stand but last night proved that they mean business. The Blues are easily one of the best teams in the league and have proved that all season not only in the standings but also with solid play in all three zones. That didn’t stop the Flames last night though; they came in like a wrecking ball and stomped on the Blues all night long. The Smith injury scare is a serious area of concern for the team, but he wasn’t really playing his best hockey the last week or so and Lack did manage to hold the fort quite well in relief. Hopefully he can return to the crease soon because I’m not entirely sold on Lack yet and it would be a shame for all of Smith’s hard work at the beginning of the year to go to waste due to a poor showing by Lack.
Let’s quickly run down the numbers for Calgary in all situations:
- Corsi For: 55%
- Shot Differential: +13
- Scoring Chances: 56%
- High Danger Chances: 57%
The Flames deserved to win big, and did. Looking past some special teams improvements that can be made, it was one of their most complete games of the season. We talk about this a lot, but the 3M line was elite again registering a combined 60% CF with ZERO offensive zone starts. I have no idea how they keep doing that but I’m not complaining. I’d be genuinely shocked if Mikael Backlund wasn’t a finalist for the Selke Trophy this year.
All in all a great game for the Flames who now sit at 10-7-0 and occupy the first wild card spot in the West. They head out on the road for a six game trip which will be a good test for the forward group.
Game data courtesy:
Wednesday: Detroit Red Wings vs. CGY