The Calgary Flames were back in action, in a rare matinee back-to-back against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday afternoon. After squeaking by the Wild, due in large part to David Rittich, the Flames would go right back to the Czech netminder. The Blues have been struggling all season, and although they crushed the Flames earlier in the season, that would not be the case this time around.
The Flames jumped out to the early lead, off of a power play goal from Matthew Tkachuk. The goal would mark the first of his career in his hometown. The goals would continue, as second into a St. Louis power play, Elias Linholm created the turnover in the defensive zone and finished off the breakaway shorthanded. This would be the third straight game with the Flames scoring a short handed marker.
Minutes later, a Mark Giordano point shot would find it’s way past Jake Allen, increasing the lead to 3-0. Of course, the Flames still weren’t done in the first period as Alan Quine would successfully finish a rebound off. The Flames would hold the 4-0 lead after the first period of play, and from there it was simply a formality.
The Blues would strike twice in the second period, with goals from Oskar Sundqvist and Tyler Bozak, but a goal from Johnny Gaudreau would still leave the Flames with a 5-2 lead entering the final frame.
From there, another set of goals from Gaudreau and Quine would put this game completely out of reach. The Flames finished off the Blues 7-2, have now won three straight, and sit tied atop the Western Conference
|All Situations||5v5||SVA 5v5|
5v5 Player Stats
- In his first game back from injury, Mikael Backlund led the team, and game, in CF% with a strong 75.0%
- Making the jump up to the second line, James Neal was second best on his team with 72.2%
- The Stockton trio of Kerby Rychel, Quine, and Garnet Hathaway did not have a good game in terms of possession. They posted CF%’s of 26.7%, 25.0%, and 23.5% respectively
St. Louis Blues
- Vince Dunn led the Blues in CF% with 65.4%
- Only four players posted a CF% below 50%, with six posting an even 50.0%
- Ivan Barbashev posted a team worst 42.9%, which was still better than eight Flames skaters
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Neal
Quine– Jankowski– Czarnik
Rychel – Ryan – Hathaway
Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson
St. Louis Blues
Steen – O’Reilly – Tarasenko
Schwartz – Schenn – Perron
Maroon – Bozak – Thomas
Nolan – Barbashev – Sundqvist
Edmunsson – Parayko
Bouwmeester – Bortuzzo
Dunn – Butler
Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff
Thoughts on the Game
Though minor, one of my biggest concerns with this Flames team was that it was relying too heavily on third period wins and grinding out one goal games. If they play bad teams, you want to see them score early and score often and put inferior teams to bed quickly.
Well, that’s exactly what happened last night. The Blues are not a good team and the Flames treated them like it. They put on an absolute clinic and really didn’t let up that much. It’s expected that they wouldn’t take as many risks with pinches and stretch passes later in the game but score above water in the Corsi battle overall and with score effects, won all three categories at 5v5. It was a great win for the Flames and hopefully this roll continues.
I have to be honest, I didn’t notice that Sam Bennett was missing until a few minutes before writing this sentence. He’s been average at best this year and Rychel and Quine stuck out more than Bennett has outside of a handful of games this year. Neal had an rough time on the second line but that’s not unexpected at this point.
The Flames are lucky that all their pieces are rolling right now and they don’t have to rely on a Bennett or a Neal to get wins. That’s not something that has been the case in the past and it’s a nice treat to have so many weapons up front.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Gaud: Rittich continues to look rock solid in the crease. Last night was his second start in as many nights and he didn’t miss a beat.
Bad: Neal. Rinse and repeat for this guy. I have no idea what the issue is but would it ever be nice if he could get on a roll.
Beautiful: Finally the power play clicked! Three goals and a ton of great looks.
Opponent: Dallas Stars
Standings: 5th in Central
Season Series: 0-0-1