ALN_29_Boxscore

On the second half of an Eastern Canadian back to back road trip, the Flames found themselves in familiar territory heading to overtime. Robbed by Maple LeafsFrederik Andersen the night before and falling in a shootout, the Flames worked their way back into the win column off a signature overtime goal by Sean Monahan. A physical game on both sides, the Flames managed to outlast the Canadiens and earn the extra point despite being without Kris Versteeg, Jaromir Jagr, and Matthew Tkachuk who was missed the game due to a suspension. Garnet Hathaway‘s game tying score in the third period was initially ruled no-goal because of goaltender interference. A timely challenge by Glen Gulutzan overturned the call on the ice, and paved the way to an exciting Flames win. The Flames had lost three straight coming into this game, and played well against a rejuvenated Canadiens team buoyed by a healthy Carey Price.

Statistical Breakdown

Team Stats

All Situations 5v5 SVA 5v5
CF  51.0%  47.6% 48.3%
SCF 48.3%  39.1%  41.0%
HDCF  52.4%  52.9%  56.1%

5v5 Player Stats

Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick

Player of the Game

We’ll give the POTG honours to Hathaway. Scoring his first NHL goal of the season, he played with energy the whole game and looked comfortable on the third line once again. He was second on the team in CF% and was responsible for the fourth most positive Corsi events. He did exactly what he was supposed to do, was rewarded with a goal for his hard work, and gets a gold star from TWC.

Thoughts on the Game

John: On a back to back night after losing the previous three games, a win was desperately needed by the Flames. After the second period though, that thought seemed to be distant, as the Flames looked absolutely dismal. Clearing attempts failed, successful ones ended up being icing calls, and the majority of chances were in favor of Montreal. But a switch seemed to click during the second intermission. The Flames turned found another gear and came to play. You could tell after the successful coach’s challenge that this team was not going to lose the game.

The challenge was an interesting development in this game for a number of reasons. First being that the reaction to the goal was mixed. Most thought it was in, but a large proportion of fans assumed the no-goal call would stand (*cough* Karim *cough*). Goalie interference can be an interesting subject as most of the time even the referees don’t appear to know the complete definition. With someone like Price in net, the call would not easily be overturned. Secondly, that has to have been Gulutzan’s first successful challenge during his coaching tenure. I can’t think of an instance where the same result occurred. Good for him to finally get rewarded after being the ire of fans for the last few weeks.

Finally, Hathaway deserves the POTG nod, but we would be remiss not to mention the OT King himself. Monahan has been absolutely clutch this season, and in the past during key moments of games. Another OT goal gives him nine in his career, extending his franchise record. That number will surely double when it is all said and done. Two goals tonight gives him 17 on the season, which puts him in tie for third overall and only four behind Nikita Kucherov. It will be interesting to see how high he can get this season.

Karim: My dad moved to Canada during the era of Canadien dominance. He’s been a pretty big Montreal fan for a long time and always enjoys it when they come to town. Since making Calgary his permanent home years ago, the Flames are definitely his number one team, but he still has a soft spot for the Habs. Montreal is always a fun city to see your team play in. Their energy and passion for the sport and their team is phenomenal. There isn’t a team in the league whose fans will openly boo them after the smallest of errors. Personally, the first ever Flames game I attended live was against Montreal. My childhood hero, Jarome Iginla (duh), scored two goals, Darren McCarty pounded Sheldon Souray in one of the best fights I’ve ever seen, and the Flames walked away with a win. It was a fun night.

I didn’t think the Flames would win this game. With so many games squeezed into such a short amount of time, not to mention starting David Rittich against Price, not to mention being without Tkachuk and Jagr, I just didn’t think it was in the cards. It was very impressive that the Flames were able to persevere through a good effort by a good Canadiens team and earn the win in style.

John is correct: I was not betting on the success of Gulutzan’s challenge. And I don’t think I was wrong to do that. The league is so inconsistent in so many different areas that it’s tough to predict what their decision will be with, well, anything. Suspensions, goalie interference and circumventing the salary cap when you’re the Chicago Blackhawks are just a few areas where the league has come down with questionable decisions. The successful challenge did seem to give the team a boost and hopefully it will serve as a turning point going forward. Games in Montreal tend to have that effect.

It’s interesting to note that the Flames didn’t outplay the Canadiens. They didn’t dominate them all over the ice. They didn’t fire 50 shots on goal. What they did do is own the high danger areas. If they consistently get to these areas as the season progresses, they will definitely come out on top more often than not.

Kudos to Monahan for scoring again. I regret dropping him in my keeper league last year more than ever.

Moving Forward

What needs to be fixed? Powerplay.

The Flames failed to score on four powerplay opportunities, including a lengthy 5on3 with the game tied late in the third period. For some reason, they chose to start five left-shot players on the two man advantage, opting to keep Dougie Hamilton and Stone on the bench. That probably wasn’t the best decision seeing as they didn’t score. Special teams seems to appear in this section more often than not, and it’s about time the powerplay was remedied.

What needs to continue? Getting to the high danger areas. 

The Flames may not have won the Corsi battle, shot battle (tied), or the scoring chance battle, but they did generate more chances from high danger areas than the Canadiens. It’s never good to allow more shots at your net than your opponent, but if the Flames can continue to create offense from dangerous areas of the ice, they should win more games than not.

Next Game

ALN_29_NextGame.jpg

The Flames fly back to the West for a tilt against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. With lots of games packed into just a few days, the Flames are in for a tough outing against a surprisingly good Vancouver team. The Flames will get Tkachuk back into the lineup after serving his suspension, and the Canucks will be without top center Bo Horvat. Mike Smith should return to the Flames crease. It is an important game against a strong division rival; hopefully the Flames can continue their winning ways.

One thought on “About Last Night #29: More Monahan Magic in OT

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