Well, that was fun.
After a successful quick two game road trip, with a dominant win against the Toronto Maple Leafs and comeback magic against the Buffalo Sabres, the Calgary Flames returned to the Saddledome to face the Colorado Avalanche. The Flames took the first meeting between the two teams, with a thrilling overtime victory in Denver.
The biggest change between these two meetings, is the fact that Calgary decided to go with Mike Smith in net this time around. A somewhat surprising move, as David Rittich got the last win against the Avalanche, as well as him coming off a strong performance against Buffalo. Alas, roster decisions are not our forte.
The Flames got off to the better start in the first period, completely dominating the Avs on both ends of the ice. With a CF% of 76.5% in the first period, in addition to controlling scoring chances and shots, the Flames controlled the pace. In a very 2017-18 fashion, the Flames were not able to capitalize on this strong play, and entered the first intermission tied at zero-zero.
The score would not stay that way for long, as the goals would come fast and furious in the second period. Colorado started the party off with a short handed goal from Ladislav Kamenev, his first career NHL goal. That trend would continue, as Sheldon Dries would score his first NHL goal moments later. The Flames wouldn’t let the Avalanche have all the fun, as Mikael Backlund would score his second of the season shortly after the second goal. Unfortunately, the Avs would add two more goals before the end of the period from Colin Wilson and Carl Soderberg.
Things did not look good for the Flames, so it seemed.
The script was flipped in the third period. Down 4-1 to start the third period, the Flames must have had the pep talk of the century during the intermission. A quick powerplay goal from Elias Lindholm would change the momentum completely. Sean Monahan would pull the Flames within one, with James Neal tying the game midway through the frame.
They weren’t done there.
Mark Giordano would net the go-ahead goal shortly after, with Michael Frolik adding a fifth unanswered goal only a minute later. The Flames came all the way back in the third period to take the commanding lead.
The drama wouldn’t stop there, unfortunately, as the Avalanche would add a goal with just over a minute left in the third to make things even more interesting then possibly imagined. Luckily, that was as close as they would get.
The Flames would will themselves to another comeback victory, this time in magnificent fashion. With the win, Calgary now sits atop the Pacific Division with 17 points.
|All Situations||5v5||SVA 5v5|
5v5 Player Stats
- Mark Jankowski led the way in terms of CF% at 5v5 with a 78.6%, albeit with only 6:27 of ice time.
- Juuso Valimaki was the only player that did not post a positive possession rating, but was close with a 45.5% CF%.
- Giordano and Neal dominated in terms of HDCF with 17among the duo.
- Not a single player on the Avs posted a positive possession rating, with Alexander Kerfoot coming the closest at 47.1%.
- Marko Dano posted an embarrassingly low CF% of 14.3%.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Neal
Hathaway – Ryan – Dube
Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Valimaki – Andersson
Landeskog – MacKinnon – Rantanen
Nieto – Soderberg – Calvert
Kerfoot – Kamanev – Wilson
Greer – Dries – Dano
Girard – Johnson
Cole – Barrie
Zadorov – Barberio
Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff
Thoughts on the Game
I need to sit down.
There are no amount of words that can describe last night’s game. The Flames were easily the better team all night, but simply had poor goaltending and were unlucky with some bad bounces. Giordano said it right after the game, they didn’t feel like they deserved to be down 4-1.
Look to the response by Sam Bennett, after that dangerous hit by Ian Cole, as the turning point in this game. After that point, the Flames completely took over. Bennett has been an unsung hero for the team this season, and it clearly sparked a fire under the team.
But how about that starting goaltending?
There really isn’t much to say about it at this point, except for the fact that Smith’s good will has easily ran out. The Flames simply cannot continue to claw their way back from deficits caused by Smith’s poor outings. Even with the comeback victory, it should be noted that the Flames would have had a blowout if Smith was able to limit his leaky goals. This is becoming too much of an issue, and although I want to celebrate the win, it is still a glaring issue.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Gaud: Giordano finished with one goal and two assists, getting him up to 14 points through 14 games.
Bad: He came away with the win, but Smith still posted an 0.808 SV% last night, stopping 21 of 26 shots he faced.
Beautiful: The Calgary Flames now lead the NHL in goals scored with 47. Yes, The Calgary Flames are the highest scoring team in hockey.
Opponent: Chicago Blackhawks
Standings: 5th in the Central
Season Series: 0-0-0
Photo from nhl.com/flames