The Calgary Flames are owner’s of the League’s best current winning streak, a positive goal differential, and the third spot in the Pacific Division after a 5-1 drubbing of the NHL’s best team last night, the Tampa Bay Lightning. In his fourth consecutive game, Micheal Ferland opened the scoring. He struck just 29 seconds into the game to give the Flames a 1-0 lead which they would hold until the second period. The Lightning were the much better team in the first, throwing 16 shots at Mike Smith who was forced to make several key saves. Brayden Point evened the game with a wicked wrister into the top corner of Smith’s net early into the second period, but the Flames regained the lead and added another marker on the powerplay (!!) before the close of the second. They headed to the second intermission up by two goals despite being outshot 26-18. Unfortunately for the Lightning, they lost Victor Hedman to a lower body injury after he looked to twist his knee on a routine check by Garnet Hathaway. He didn’t return to the game. The third period was much of the same: another goal from the Flames buried the Lightning who essentially gave up at that point. Final shots were 34-24 in favour of the Lightning.

Statistical Breakdown

Team Stats

All Situations 5v5 SVA 5v5
CF 38.9% 40.2% 48.6%
SCF 31.3% 29.4% 34.6%
HDCF 31.3% 30.0% 35.9%

5v5 Player Stats

  • Dougie Hamilton led the Flames with 54.6% CF, followed by TJ Brodie at 50.0% CF. They were the only two Flames players who posted above 50% CF.
  • Michael Stone posted a team worst 19.2% CF.
  • The third line of Sam Bennett, Mark Jankowski, and Hathaway was the team’s best offensive line in the contest with a combined 41.9% SCF and with 60% OZS.
  • Only three Lightning players posted below 50% CF, Alex Killorn leading the way at 72.7% CF.
  • Mikhail Sergachev was an offensive dynamo for the Lightning with 11 SCF to just 2 SCA for 84.6% SCF.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick

Player of the Game

Despite the Flames getting multi-point performances from Johnny Gaudreau, Jankowski, and Ferland, POTG honours easily go to Smith. Without Smith’s league leading .946 road SV%, the Flames would have lost this game handedly. They were outplayed by the Lightning in almost every situation and Smith’s exceptional ability in net was the reason they were able to earn two points against the League’s best team. He might not be going to the All Star Game in a couple weeks, but he’s been an all star for this team since day one and he’ll always be one in our hearts.

Thoughts on the Game

Karim: As soon as Point tied the game early in the second period, I thought the Flames were doomed. They were lucky to have even held a lead for an entire period against a Lightning team that showed everyone why they were the best. They controlled play, dominated offensive zone time, generated several high danger chances, and were so deep up and down their roster. Thankfully, the Flames proved me wrong.

This game reminded me of a game I watched in Edmonton a few years ago. Ben Scrivens had just been traded to the Oilers and posted a 59 save shutout against the San Jose Sharks. The Oilers happened to capitalize on every opportunity they got and the Sharks just didn’t. The Flames, though not generating many high danger chances, seemed to score on every single one they got. I’m not complaining about the win (it was fantastic) but on another night, the Flames probably don’t win that one. It’s okay though, it’s games like these that make up for all those recent games where they’ve outplayed their opponent and were not rewarded for it.

The Lightning are a really good team. That much was evident last night. They were fantastic for the entire game save for the final ~12 minutes when they checked out. It incredible to watch the Tampa powerplay operate. Their puck movement was sensational. They flung it around with such ease and such precision patiently waiting for a one-timer to open up that I think the Flames should just watch hours of footage of that powerplay during their bye week. Maybe that’ll fix it.

Jankowski’s goal was beautiful. How this kid went from being cut at training camp to being one of the team’s secondary go-to guys is a true accomplishment.

With two of the best players in the NHL in Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, I was most impressed with Sergachev last night. The Montreal Canadiens must be kicking themselves for giving this kid up; he has amazing poise and patience with the puck and displayed his impressive skill set on multiple occasions last night. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in the Norris Trophy conversation in a few years.

The Flames have started to play well as of late, and maybe they’ll prove me wrong in the spring, but they definitely couldn’t beat the Lightning in a seven game series. They still have work to do, especially on the powerplay, but it’s nice to see things finally clicking.

Moving Forward

What needs to be fixed? Still the powerplay.

They did technically score a powerplay goal last night, but a Bennett pass that was deflected by Braydon Coburn‘s stick doesn’t really count. They need to get things going and hopefully last night’s breakthrough will be a step in the right direction.

What needs to continue? Micheal Ferland. 

It’s been said that he matters just as much to the top line as Gaudreau and Monahan. When Ferland is on his game, it opens up another lethal goal scorer for Gaudreau to dish the puck to and draws opponents off Monahan. It’s no coincidence that the Flames’ winning streak comes at the same time that Ferland is playing the best hockey of his career.

Next Game

The Flames finish the Florida portion of their roadtrip tonight against the Florida Panthers. David Rittich likely gets the start on the second half of the back-to-back and the Flames look to extend their season long winning streak to six games. The Panthers haven’t had a great season so far, but boast one of the league’s best duos in Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau. The Flames can’t take this one for granted. The Sharks have two games in hand over the Flames, so every win this week matters.

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