After suffering their first shutout loss against the Vegas Golden Knights, the Calgary Flames looked to bounce back against the struggling Arizona Coyotes yesterday afternoon in Glendale.
Mike Smith returned to the Flames’ crease after David Rittich had started the previous four games, and it was a critical game for him to show the Flames brass that he still has what it takes to be a starter in the NHL. Juuso Valimaki was not in the lineup due to an injury, so Oliver Kylington made his season debut.
Fortunately for Smith, the Flames played a dominant game right from the opening faceoff. Sean Monahan opened the scoring just over seven minutes into the game off a nice feed from Johnny Gaudreau behind the net. Gaudreau and Mark Giordano picked up their 19th assists on the goal. Noah Hanifin followed up with a goal of his own, a shorthanded marker towards the end of the first frame. It was his first goal as a Flame and his 10th point of the season. Smith looked pretty good in net, despite not facing a ton of shots.
The second period was more of the same. The Flames scored twice more, Hanifin getting his second on the powerplay and Mark Jankowski adding another.
The third period was, well, more of the same! The Flames put up two more goals, BOTH shorthanded from TJ Brodie and Jankowski. Unfortunately for Smith, an uncharacteristic turnover from Travis Hamonic sprung Clayton Keller on a partial break, and he ruing Smith’s shutout bid with just under seven minutes left in the game.
The Flames responded well and returned to their perch atop the Pacific Division. They’re off until Wednesday.
|All Situations||5v5||SVA 5v5|
5v5 Player Stats
- Brodie posted a team high 63.0 CF%.
- Despite scoring two goals, Jankowski had a team worst 29.4 CF%.
- In his first game of the year, Kylington led the team with 80.0 HDCF%.
- Brad Richardson led the Coyotes with 75.0 CF%.
- Derek Stepan posted the worst Corsi numbers on the team with 44.0%.
- Dylan Strome had the best SCF% on the team with 66.7%, and was traded just hours after the game.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Bennett
Czarnik – Ryan – Neal
Dube – Jankowski – Hathaway
Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Andersson
Kylington – Hamonic
Panik – Stepan – Keller
Cousins – Galchenyuk – Fischer
Grabner – Richardson – Hinistroza
Crouse – Strome – Perlini
Ekman-Larsson – Goligoski
Chychrun – Hjalmarsson
Connauton – Lyubushkin
Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff
Thoughts on the Game
Now that’s what you call a dominant win. The Flames came out flying and really didn’t let up too much the whole game. Score effects definitely turned the Corsi ratio, but the Flames were completely in control in terms of scoring chances and high danger chances. They Coyotes got hammered in their own building and there really isn’t much else to it.
It was very nice to see Hanifin get rewarded for a recent stretch of strong play. With his two goals in yesterday’s game, he now has 2-9-11 on the year, outscoring Dougie Hamilton. Who wouldn’t guessed?
I know Smith almost posted a shutout, but let’s not jump to conclusions here. Even if he had posted his season SV% entering the game, the Flames still would have won by a whopping margin. I’m not saying he didn’t look good, because he definitely did, but it’s much too early to say he’s back. It was a low adversity game with a low number of shots faced and very few from dangerous areas. This is not the game that allows Smith to jump Rittich in the depth chart.
It was a great day for Calgary sports with the Flames winning big in Arizona, the Inferno fighting back to win a great game against the Canadiennes in the CWHL, and of course, the Calgary Stampeders finally lifting the Grey Cup. Highlight of the day? Bo Levi Mitchell screaming at the top of his lungs on the stage of Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, “I LOVE CALGARY”. That or their ridiculous champagne party in the Eskimo’s dressing room after their big win.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Gaud: Smitty had a good game! He held the fort, but again, too early to say he’s back just yet.
Bad: Bill Peters getting absolutely smoked by a puck that deflected into the Flames’ bench. He came back, but has a nasty scar and a few stitches.
Beautiful: Scoring three shorthanded goals in the same game against the team that leads the league in shorthanded goals scored. How’s that for a taste of their own medicine?
Opponent: Dallas Stars
Standings: 5th in the Central
Season Series: 0-0-0