The Calgary Flames, on a four game losing streak, looked to snap their slide last night against the Vegas Golden Knights.
For just the second day since mid-November, the Flames woke up yesterday morning not in first place in the West. But, with a division matchup against Vegas, they had a chance to start this week back on top. Yesterday’s game paled in comparison to their offensively deficient past few weeks, and the Flames really came to play.
They exploded in the first period, scoring three goals from Andrew Mangiapane, Mikael Backlund, and Matthew Tkachuk. Vegas added one from Brandon Pirri, but the Flames had a solid two goal lead after 20.
Unfortunately, things unraveled in the second period. The Golden Knights scored two quick goals in the firs 1:20 from Reilly Smith and Mark Stone and all of a sudden the game was tied. Backlund scored the go-ahead goal in the last minute of the period, giving the Flames some breathing room entering the third.
Vegas pressed, but it wasn’t enough. The Flames scored two more times, both off the stick of Tkachuk who registered his first NHL hat-trick. The Flames are back in first place with an extra game played; the pressure now shifts to the San Jose Sharks to convert on their game in hand.
|All Situations||5v5||SVA 5v5|
5v5 Player Stats
- Michael Frolik led the Flames with 60.0% CF
- Rasmus Andersson was a team low 37.5% CF
- Andersson and partner Oscar Fantenberg finished with 100% HDCF
Vegas Golden Knights
- Ryan Carpenter had a game high 63.2% CF
- Cody Eakin was a team low 33.3% CF
- Nate Schmidt registered a game high 14 SCF
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett– Jankowski – Czarnik
Mangiapane – Ryan – Hathaway
Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Fantenberg – Andersson
Vegas Golden Knights
Marchessault – Karlsson – Smith
Pacioretty – Stastny – Stone
Nosek – Eakin – Tuch
Carpenter – Bellemare – Reaves
Schmidt – Engelland
McNabb – Theodore
Merrill – Miller
Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff
Thoughts on the Game
What a way to snap a losing streak. The Flames played a great game, complete from both ends of the ice, and Rittich was solid in net. This was a very good measuring stick game for the Flames. After losing in Vegas earlier in the week, it was nice to see them bounce back for a big win at home. It’s been that way for these two teams this season; home ice advantage has really mattered. As it stands right now, even if the Flames don’t finish in first place in the Pacific, they’ll still have home ice advantage in a series against Vegas. That’s good news.
The two obvious knocks on the game last night are that the Golden Knights were on a back-to-back and that Subban was in net. I don’t think the goaltender really gave the Flames an advantage. He still made several incredible saves and I don’t think Fleury would have had a better chance at saving the pucks that did go in. Same with the back-to-back. The Flames definitely came out flying and put up three in the first, but after the first 22:20 of the game, it looked like both teams were playing well. The Flames just played better.
I hope this game can calm some nerves about facing Vegas in the playoffs. I still think they’re a terrifyingly good team, but let’s not sleep on the Flames either. They are where they are for a good reason, and after what was Tkachuk’s best game since the new year, things seem to be trending in the right direction.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Good: Solid, solid win against a very hot Vegas team. 6-3 is a big deal.
Bad: The Flames showed up late to the second period. That has been a trend all year and it needs to stop.
Beautiful: Tkachuk getting his first hatty, and at a younger age than his dad did. How can you not love Matthew?
Opponent: New Jersey Devils
Standings: 8th in Metropolitan
Season Series: 1-0-0