About Last Night #73: Flames extend conference lead with win over Blue Jackets

The Calgary Flames were back in the Saddledome after a quick trip to Winnipeg. They looked to capture a valuable two points over San Jose as their closest competition are in a slump. The Columbus Blue Jackets were in town hoping to get revenge on the Flames’ 9-6 routing the last time the two teams met.

Columbus was the better team out of the gates, but there was action up both sides of the ice. However, midway through the first period, Zach Werenski opened up the scoring on a 2-on-1, opting to take the shot rather than the pass.

Just over two minutes later, the Flames entered the offensive zone, and a few short passes later, the puck landed right on Johnny Gaudreau‘s stick in the slot, and he made no mistake tying the game up.

The Blue Jackets beat David Rittich a couple of times throughout the period, but the post would bail the goaltender out to keep the game tied. In the dying seconds of the first, the Flames’ third line of Austin Czarnik, Mark Jankowski, and Andrew Mangiapane connected on a series of passes, and Mangiapane backhanded the puck in to put the Flames up 2-1 heading into the intermission.

The Flames picked up right where they left off, as less than a minute into the third, Michael Frolik skated the puck into the zone, and with several Blue Jackets closing in on him, he deked his way right up to Sergei Bobrovsky and pulled a quick backhand-to-forehand move and potted a goal to extend the Flames’ lead.

The Blue Jackets pressed back, trying to close the lead. Their closest chance came on a flurry of shots in which Rittich made save after save, finally able to freeze the puck thanks to Mark Giordano‘s quick thinking. The captain found himself playing goaltender from inside the net, but he and Rittich did what they had to do to keep the puck out.

In third third, a tripping penalty from Mangiapane allowed the Blue Jackets to convert and get back the game. Oliver Bjorkstrand reigned the puck in and shot a laser than went off the crossbar and in. Columbus kept the pressure going, but Rittich was up to the task.

Late in the third, the Flames sealed the deal by scoring on the empty net; the goal coming off of a selfless pass from Mikael Backlund to Matthew Tkachuk, who scored his 33rd goal of the season.

Statistical Breakdown

Team Stats

All Situations5v5SVA 5v5
CF 44.5%47.0%48.7%
SCF 43.9% 48.2% 48.2%
HDCF 44.4% 50.0% 48.8%

5v5 Player Stats

Calgary Flames
  • Gaudreau led the Flames with seven individual CF
  • Rasmus Andersson and Oscar Fantenberg led the defence with 60.0% and 57.1% CF, respectively
  • Giordano and T.J. Brodie struggled, posting 29.2% and 27.6% CF, respectively
Columbus Blue Jackets
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick

Line Combinations

Calgary Flames

Gaudreau – Ryan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Mangiapane – Jankowski – Czarnik
Quine – Lazar – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Fantenberg – Andersson

Rittich
Smith

Columbus Blue Jackets

Panarin – Dubois – Atkinson
Dzingel – Duchene – Anderson
Sedlak – Nash – Jenner
Dubinsky – Wennberg – Bjorkstrand

Werenski – Jones
Nutivaara – Savard
Harrington – McQuaid

Bobrovsky
Korpisalo

Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff

Thoughts on the Game

As unlucky the Flames were to not get two points against Winnipeg, they were lucky to get two points against the Blue Jackets. If not for a fortuitous amount of posts hit, Columbus could have easily ran away with the game.

The Blue Jackets were a lot more desperate, as they are vying for a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, whereas the injury-ridden Flames were hoping to ride out the stretch without key players while not causing any further damage.

It felt like one of those games were goaltending will be the difference, and Rittich was exactly that. He made timely saves and kept his team in it. Hug your goaltender tonight, he deserves it all.

The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful

Good: Despite missing Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett, and James Neal, the Flames forwards were up to task and played out a grinding game. Their skill was obvious and they beat a talented team.

Bad: Noah Hanifin had a scare after taking a shot to the head and was off the ice for a while, but he returned and still logged 17:21 of ice time.

Beautiful: Rittich was great during the game, he was also great after the game too.

Next Game

Opponent: Ottawa Senators
Record: 21-41-6
Standings: 8th in Atlantic
Season Series: 1-0-0


Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

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