The Calgary Flames ended 2017 on a high note, beating the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime 4-3. The Flames were terrific in the first half of the game, establishing a 3-0 lead early in the second period. Matthew Tkachuk scored his eighth and ninth goals both on the powerplay, and Sean Monahan broke out of a scoring slump with his 18th of the year. Due to several unfortunate bounces, the Blackhawks managed to score the next three goals and send the game to overtime. With a three goal lead and playing well, the Flames did not do a good enough job shutting the game down defensively and found themselves in yet another three point outing with a conference foe. Fortunately, Mark Giordano potted the overtime winner just 52 seconds into the extra frame to give the Flames a much needed home ice victory. His shot was the final one taken in 2017, and hopefully this marks the start of an improved Flames club. Andrew Mangiapane made his NHL debut in last night’s game and was awarded the Calgary Police hat for his impressive efforts.
|All Situations||5v5||SVA 5v5|
5v5 Player Stats
- Mangiapane was the Flames’ Corsi leader at 66.7% CF with 50% OZS.
- Mark Jankowski was the team’s worst Corsi player at 30.8% CF.
- Dougie Hamilton had an individual HDCF% of 87.5%, accounting for seven HDCF and just one HDCA.
- Jonathan Toews led the Blackhawks at 64.9% CF with 68.8% OZS.
- Patrick Kane was the second lowest Corsi player for the Blackhawks at 41.7% CF.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Player of the Game
Tkachuk earns POTG honours once again. He really looks to be finding another gear in his game lately. With two powerplay goals last night, perhaps he is the spark the Flames have been looking for on the man advantage. He does not appear to have missed a beat with Michael Frolik out of the lineup and keeps adding to an already convincing case for giving him more offensive ice time.
Thoughts on the Game
Karim: It was nice to see the Flames earn a win in their final game of 2017. The year will probably be remembered for the playoff collapse to the Ducks, and then for a lackluster start to this season, but maybe the Flames can use a positive New Year’s Eve to kick start a more successful 2018.
The top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Monahan, and Micheal Ferland looked rejuvenated last night which was an encouraging site. After a downright awful past few weeks, the Flames desperately need this trio to return to their early season form if they want to climb back into a playoff spot. Last night’s effort was a huge step in the right direction. I’m still not sold on Ferland as a top line winger largely due to his inconsistency; I’d really like to see Tkachuk on that line for an extended period of time simply because he has that consistency, and boasts a much more complete offensive skill set that, given the chance, would probably do more damage on the other side of Gaudreau. I honestly think it’s just a matter of time before Tkachuk finds himself in more offensively tilted situations, and helping grow his two way game next to Mikael Backlund right now is definitely not a bad thing long term.
The best example of Tkachuk’s offensive gifts is his work on the powerplay lately. With two PP goals last night, there is no way he’ll be taken off the first unit anytime soon. He looks to be the weapon the Flames have been looking for and even last night, his unit looked more energized than they have in a long time. It feels like the powerplay now has the ability to score goals which has been a luxury for this team since Kris Versteeg hit the IR.
Major kudos to Blackhawks goaltender Jeff Glass who made his second NHL start last night at the ripe age of 32. Originally from Calgary, it was nice to see him start in his hometown with close to 30 friends and family members in attendance. I’m sure he enjoyed beating the Oilers the other night, too.
Thanks to all of you for supporting The Win Column in 2017. We all hope to bring you more original and exciting content in 2018. Happy New Year, Flames fans.
What needs to be fixed? Shutting it down.
Getting a three goal lead is nice, but you need to be able to shut down a game defensively to win in this league. It’s hard to complain because goals have been hard to come by lately, but the Flames do need to work on their defensive play going forward.
What needs to continue? Matthew Tkachuk.
He needs to keep doing exactly what he’s doing. It’s amazing to think he’s just 20 years old.
The Flames have two important division clashes this week, the first coming Thursday as they play host to the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings have been excellent all year and currently sit fifth overall in the NHL. They will, as always, be a tough out for the Flames who need to start putting up some wins against their fellow Pacific division teams.