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About Last Night #40: Flames finish 2018 atop the Pacific with big win over Sharks


It was probably one of the biggest games of the year. The Calgary Flames’ final game of 2018 was a fierce battle against the San Jose Sharks, with the winner going home in first place in the Pacific Division to close out the calendar year. In a game with high stakes, it did not disappoint.

The contest last night at the Saddledome featured 13 goals, 80 penalty minutes, and several career nights for star players. Here’s how all the goal broke down:

First Period: Mikael Backlund, Matthew Tkachuk, and Backlund again for the Flames; Lukas Radil for the Sharks; 3-1 Flames after one period.

Second Period: Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm for the Flames; Brent Burns and Joonas Donskoi for the Sharks; 5-3 Flames after two periods.

Third Period: James Neal, Johnny Gaudreau, and Gaudreau again for the Flames; Donskoi and Joe Thornton for the Sharks; 8-5 Flames at the end of regulation.

As the game went on and the Flames broke down the doors in the third, sparks started to fly from both ends of the ice. The nasty stuff was highlighted by a borderline high hit from Sam Bennett in the dying minute of the third, which forced Bennett to drop the gloves as well. It doesn’t look like he’ll face any supplemental discipline from the hit but it wasn’t a fun way to end that game.

Regardless, the Flames came away with a huge win and finished off 2018 in first place. It’s a nice feeling.

Statistical Breakdown

Team Stats

All Situations 5v5 SVA 5v5
CF 47.5% 44.7% 47.9%
SCF 51.7% 50.0% 51.2%
HDCF 58.6% 54.2% 54.4%

5v5 Player Stats

Calgary Flames

  • Despite finishing with a combined nine points in the game, Sean Monahan was the worst Corsi player on the team with 34.8% CF, and Gaudreau was second worst at 37.5% CF.
  • Derek Ryan led with 55.0% CF.
  • Mark Jankowski led with 78.6% SCF (11-3) and 100.0% HDCF (7-0).

San Jose Sharks

  • Brendan Dillon led the Sharks with 69.2% CF.
  • Erik Karlsson finished second with 67.5% CF.
  • Melker Karlsson was last on the team with 38.9% CF.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick

Line Combinations

Calgary Flames

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski –  Neal
Dube – Ryan – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson


San Jose Sharks

Radil – Couture – Meier
Sorensen – Thornton – Pavelski
Kane – Hertl – Labanc
Donskoi – Goodrow – M.Karlsson

Vlasic – Braun
Simek – Burns
E.Karlsson – Dillon


Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff

Thoughts on the Game

What an amazing way to close out the year. The Flames’ offense was on full display and all the top dogs really showed up in this one. Gaudreau went off for four points, Tkachuk had four points, Monahan had five points, Lindholm had two points, Backlund scored twice, and even Michael Frolik picked up two assists in his return to the lineup.

But the biggest milestone hit last night was for none other than Neal. His goal, a purposely deflected shot off his foot, snapped a 24 game goalless drought and out of all the great moments from last night, the ‘Dome wasn’t even remotely as loud as it was when they announced Neal’s name as the goal scorer.

He may have struggled so far this season, but the city and the team have not given up on Neal. Hopefully his goal last night is a sign of good things to come. If he can get going, it’s hard to even comprehend how lethal this Flames offense will be.

It wasn’t a great night for David Rittich on the scoresheet, but he made several unbelievable saves last night to keep the Flames’ lead. The Sharks were pressing the whole game and it was a lot closer than the score would suggest. Rittich was a huge part of the big team win, despite allowing five goals on 33 shots. He did a fantastic job in net yet again, and Mike Smith will have to string together a few excellent games if he wasn’t to take back some of that starting time. The only problem is, how can Smith even get that opportunity when Rittich is playing so well? I, for one, am excited to see much more of Big Save Dave in 2019.

Thank you to every single one of you for sticking with us through 2018. It was a great year for TWC and the Flames and we’re so happy that you chose to support us. We hope to raise the bar even higher in 2019 and we’re so proud to be part of the C of Red.

The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful

Good: 15 combined points for the Flames’ big four of Gaudreau, Monahan, Lindholm, and Tkachuk.

Bad: The Flames allowed two powerplay goals against on just four opportunities for the Sharks. Not a great night for the killers.

Ugly: The Bennett hit at the end. It was an unnecessary hit at the end of the game and that kind of stuff doesn’t need to happen.

Next Game

Opponent: Detroit Red Wings
Record: 15-19-7
Standings: 7th in Atlantic
Season Series: 0-0-0


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