About Last Night #64: Flames’ solid all around effort closes out a perfect road trip

The Calgary Flames finished off their three game road trip with a stop in the Garden State. Coming off two solid yet unspectacular games against the Ottawa Senators and the New York Islanders, it was much of the same last night. The Flames looked to David Rittich for the second time on the trip as this was a back-to-back situation; Mike Smith getting the win the night before.

The first period was a fairly uneventful one with the only real positive was Calgary’s ability to control the play and out-shoot the Devils 15-5. The closing minute of the period saw the Flames get a lengthy 5 on 3 power play, which would carry forward into the 2nd.

Starting the second stanza with the power play carrying over, the Flames continued to press on and were rewarded for it. At the 1:07 mark of the second and almost immediately after the first Devils penalty expired, Elias Lindholm banked an attempted pass through the slot off of Sami Vatanen‘s skate and past Mackenzie Blackwood.

Later in the second, the Flames would extend their lead to two. Captain Mark Giordano walked in from the point, froze Blackwood with a shot fake and displayed some silky smooth hands with a deke to the backhand before sliding the puck home.

The Devils would pull back within one at the 16:47 mark of the second, with centre Kevin Rooney stripping Johnny Gaudreau of the puck while Calgary was enjoying a man advantage. Rooney proceeded to carry the puck through the slot and blasted an unassisted goal past Rittich. The Flames finished the second out-shooting the Devils 30-10.

There was a scary incident near the start of the third that saw the Devils’ defenceman Mirco Mueller break in on a 2-on-1 with speed. While attempting to check Mueller, Michael Frolik got tied up with Mueller which resulted in both players crashing into the end boards. The cause looked to be due to Mueller’s skate getting caught awkwardly in the ice, which prevented him from making a proper stop. Mueller stayed down for an extended period of time, but gave a thumbs up as he was stretchered off the ice.

Resuming play, the Devils made a hard push in the third, however they failed to capitalize on any of their chances. The victory extended Calgary’s season-high win streak to seven games. Rittich was solid in net for the Flames once again, and he moved his win total on the season to 22.

Calgary’s next game will be at home against the Minnesota Wild. This will be a very special affair as it’s Jarome Iginla night at the Dome. The Flames organization will honour Iginla with a ceremony and by raising his iconic number twelve to the rafters.

Statistical Breakdown

Team Stats

All Situations5v5SVA 5v5
CF59.2%59.7%63.5%
SCF59.0%63.0%67.2%
HDCF64.3%80.0%82.9%

5v5 Player Stats

Calgary Flames
  • Derek Ryan led the team with an incredible 100 CF%
  • Andrew Mangiapane led the team with three individual high-danger CF
  • Oscar Fantenberg had his very first game as a Flame with a 76.5 CF%, which tied him for third on the team with Mangiapane
New Jersey Devils
  • Nathan Bastian led the Devils with a 58.8 CF%
  • Mueller had a team best 62.5 SCF% before leaving the game due to injury
  • Mueller and Bastian were the only Devils with an individual high-danger CF, and they both only had one a piece
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick

Line Combinations

Calgary Flames

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Bennett
Frolik – Jankowski – Czarnik
Mangiapane – Ryan – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Fantenberg – Andersson

Rittich
Smith

New Jersey Devils

Coleman – Hischier – Lappin
Agostino – Zajac – Stafford
Pietila – Mcleod – Bastian
Yakovlev – Rooney – Gabriel

Greene – Severson
Mueller – Vatanen
Butcher – Carrick

Blackwood
Schneider

Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff

Thoughts on the Game

This third game of the Flames’ North Eastern swing was a perfect microcosm of the trip as a whole. While finding ways to win and dominating large portions of the play against all three opponents, none of the games were particularly memorable.

There was nothing that stood out, either good or bad, about the team’s play. The only real highlights of any of the trio of games would have to be the Tkachuk brothers match-up.

Coming into New Jersey, the real danger was being complacent and taking this Devils team too lightly. The Flames were by no mean guilty of this and they played a very solid road game. They did what they had to do to win.

Rittich made the key saves when he needed to, and the Flames’ offence gave him the support that he needed. Calgary is getting very solid goaltending from both members of their tandem. This bodes well for the team as they head down the stretch drive.

All in all, it was a good road effort to end off a good road trip. The team will be looking forward to getting back to the Saddledome for some good old home cooking.

The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful

Good: Calgary’s Fantastic Five all got on the board last night. With the depth scoring doing most of the heavy lifting as of late, it was a welcome sight to see the Flames’ stars take a turn carrying the load. Gaudreau led the way with two points while Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk, Giordano, and Lindholm all had one point.

Bad: Mueller’s injury made for a sombre tone in the Prudential Center. Our thoughts are with him for a speedy recovery.

Beautiful: Calgary finished the game with an extremely impressive 80 CF% at 5v5.

Next Game

Opponent: Minnesota Wild
Record: 31-27-6
Standings: 4th in the Central
Season Series: 2-0-0


Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images

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