ALN_34_Boxscore.jpg

Bouncing back admirably from a 2-0 deficit the night before, the Flames dominated the Canucks en route to a commanding 6-1 road victory. The Flames were clearly the better team the entire night. They outshot the Canucks 38-17 and chased Jacob Markstrom from the crease. Sam Bennett had a four point outing with one goal and three assists, Mark Jankowski had three points with one goal and two assists, Johnny Gaudreau picked up his 40th point of the season, and Mark Giordano scored twice including the game winner. Micheal Ferland scored a powerplay goal, which really sums up how this game went for Vancouver.  David Rittich registered his third win in as many starts and looked calm and collected in the Flames net. He wasn’t tested much in the game, but did make several big saves when called upon. Unfortunately for the Canucks, rookie sensation Brock Boeser was injured at the start of the second period after blocking a shot from Giordano. He struggled to get to the bench and went straight to the dressing room. He didn’t return and was seen in crutches after the game. It didn’t look good, but hopefully he’ll be back soon.

Statistical Breakdown

Team Stats

All Situations 5v5 SVA 5v5
CF 57.0% 57.1% 63.4%
SCF 62.5% 65.0% 70.6%
HDCF 61.5% 62.5% 68.9%

5v5 Player Stats

Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick

Player of the Game

It’s a lot more fun when there are so many options for this award. Despite Giordano’s two goal performance, Rittich’s great game in the crease, and Jankowski’s three point night, POTG honours go to Bennett. With four points tonight, he’s on a 64 point pace not including the first 15 games where he was downright awful and failed to register a single point. Since then though, he’s really found his game on Jankowski’s wing and has generated offensive chances almost every night. I was firmly in the “trade Bennett” camp for a long time, but it’s nice that he’s been proving me wrong the past few weeks. If he can keep up his play, the Flames will boast a top nine that rivals the best in the NHL.

Thoughts on the Game

Karim: Finally. After playing well for so many games and not getting rewarded for it, the Flames finally filled the net in this one. It was an added bonus that this offensive outburst came against Vancouver, a team that just won’t go away. Losing Boeser is a massive loss to both the Canucks and the league as a whole; his offensive ability was truly a joy to watch. Hopefully he’ll be back sooner rather than later.

I was extremely happy to see the third line featured on the boxscore so many times. Bennett has really impressed me as of late and looks like the player we all hoped he could be. It’s a bit concerning that he seems to be a player who only plays well when he’s confident, but he’s still extremely young and hasn’t had to face a ton of adversity in his hockey career yet. If he can keep improving and keep growing the chemistry with Jankowski, that line could be a dangerous weapon for the Flames.

Rittich was great last night. I was disappointed when Eddie Lack wasn’t able to find his game again this year, and his time in the NHL is likely over. Rittich on the other hand, has done nothing but impress me since he was brought over from Europe last year. He’s answered every test put in front of him and seems to have an endless supply of absolutely golden quotes. I’ve liked how calm he’s been in the Flames net and how the defense corps plays in front of him. He may not have had too many quality starts this year, but if he can play on back-to-backs and fill in here and there for Mike Smith, he’ll be exactly what the Flames need in a backup.

I’m curious to see how the fourth line does. Adding Jaromir Jagr to that line with Troy Brouwer and Matt Stajan really seemed to work. It’s still a fourth line that won’t have a huge impact on the game on any given night, but at least it’s not a complete disaster anymore. Selfishly I want to see Jagr higher in the lineup but at this point in his career he’s realistically a bottom-six player. If he can make the fourth line serviceable I’m all for it.

This is a weird stretch in the schedule for the Flames as they head back home for a two game stand against the St. Louis Blues and Montreal Canadiens.

Moving Forward

What needs to be fixed? The Powerplay.

They may have scored on the powerplay but it still needs some serious work. The Flames went 1/5 in this contest.

What needs to continue? Tkachuk on the top line.

Tkachuk skating with Gaudreau and Sean Monahan was a treat to watch. Tkachuk is too skilled a player to remain on the 3M line forever; he needs to be given a chance to make a real offensive impact and he looked great on the top line. It would be nice to see him in that role a bit more often going forward.

Next Game

ALN_34_NextGame

The Flames play host to the Blues on Wednesday night. The Blues have been usurped by the Predators atop the Western Conference and despite losing Jaden Schwartz, are still one of the best and most complete teams in the league. It will be a tough bout for the Flames who will try to start a winning streak and climb back into the playoff picture.

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