The Flames were right back in action on Hockey Night in Canada going toe-to-toe with their provincial rivals for the third time this season. The Battle of Alberta has been split so far this season with both teams earning a victory. The Edmonton Oilers came in looking for their third straight win, while the Flames looked to extend their point streak to eight games.
The game got off to a slower start, with not much happening in the opening period. Outside of a near close call save by Mikko Koskinen, and a few minor penalties, the teams didn’t have much going in terms of the score-sheet.
The second period was the complete opposite. The Flames would score three times in the second frame, with goals from Johnny Gaudreau, Mark Giordano, and Oliver Kylington. Looking for their first win at Rodgers Place since it’s opening, the Flames looked to be in excellent position. A late goal from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would shave that lead down to two, but with the Flames being the best third period team in the league, surely there was no panic right?
Just over four minutes into the third period, Milan Lucic would tip a shot in front of the goal to cut the Flames lead to a single goal. What seemed like a surefire victory, now became more of a nervous sprint to the finish. The Flames had been the better team throughout the majority of the game, but the Oilers had clawed their way back into this one.
Luckily, with just over five minutes remaining in the game, Mikael Backlund would intercept a pass out of midair, streak into the Oilers zone, and score his 300th NHL point to regain the Flames’ two goal cushion. Another late goal by Sean Monahan a few minutes later would put this one to bed finally.
The Flames win in back-to-back nights and improve to 69 points on the season.
|All Situations||5v5||SVA 5v5|
5v5 Player Stats
- Andrew Mangiapane lead the Flames with 75.0% CF.
- Mikael Backlund was a team-low 36.4% CF.
- Kylington, Rasmus Andersson, Sam Bennett, and Mark Jankowski all finished with 100.0% HDCF.
- Darnell Nurse lead the Oilers with 73.9% CF.
- Colby Cave was the lowest Corsi player on the Oilers with 37.5% CF.
- Connor McDavid finished with 57.7% CF on the night.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Neal
Mangiapane – Ryan – Hathaway
Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson
Draisaitl – McDavid – Chiasson
Khaira – Nugent-Hopkins – Yamamoto
Lucic – Cave – Kassian
Rieder – Brodziak – Puljujarvi
Nurse – Russell
Jones – Larsson
Manning – Benning
Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff
Thoughts on the Game
Nothing beats a Battle of Alberta on a Saturday night. This one didn’t quite have the same fireworks as the first match-up of the season, but still had tensions running high. The physicality in which the Flames were playing with against Connor McDavid seemed to work well. The same style of play was given back my McDavid, but that is how you have to counter the best player in the world. He was still a threat, but keeping him off the score-sheet is a huge victory in itself.
The main story from last night had nothing to do with either teams, rather looking at the officiating. 19 minor penalties were called last night, with the teams just playing over half the game at 5v5. At a certain point, you have to let the teams play. Yes it’s possible that there were that many infractions, but some calls went unnoticed. The inconsistency is very frustrating for both players and fans.
All in all the Flames played a very strong game last night and were able to finally win at Rodgers Place. With the team only having one more game before the All-Star break, the back-to-back wins are essential to keep their lead atop the Western Conference.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Good: The Flames were aggressive offensively and were able to draw seven powerplays in the game.
Bad: On the flip side, they allowed the Oilers six powerplay opportunities. More discipline is required going forward
Beautiful: Gaudreau outplaying McDavid last night and with his two points is officially a point-per-game player in his career.
Opponent: Carolina Hurricanes
Standings: 5th in Metropolitan
Season Series: 0-0-0