The last two games haven’t been the Calgary Flames’ best, but luckily the same can be said for the rest of the Pacific division. Therefore, the Flames still control their own destiny in terms of clinching home ice throughout the playoffs, but a win against the lowly Anaheim Ducks would surely help right the ship.
With it being Retro Night, the Flames turned back the clocks to last season when Mike Smith was the starting goaltender. The Ducks opted for a similar approach, going with veteran Ryan Miller in between the posts.
Both teams got off to less than stellar starts, with a bit of sloppy neutral zone play leading to little offensive zone time. Things would eventually improve, and the Ducks would be the ones to strike first.
After the puck messed around in front of the net, Smith’s poke check ended up on the stick of Andy Welinski. His one timer was never in doubt, and he earned himself his first NHL goal in the process. The Ducks’ lead would only last a few minutes, as Mark Giordano hammered a short side slapshot past Miller to tie the game at one. With the goal, Giordano passes Gary Suter for second all time in goals among Flames defencemen.
The Flames scoring would continue in the second period, from two players that needed them more than others. The first came from Sean Monahan, who cleaned up the rebound off a rocket of a Rasmus Andersson shot. Andersson was elevated to the top pairing for the game.
The goal ended a five game goalless drought, in addition to giving Monahan a new career high with 32. The second of the period came on the power play, with James Neal benefiting on a last second tip. Although credit would be flipped between Monahan and Neal, it eventually was confirmed as Neal’s first goal since January 18th (*checks the game log one more time just in case*).
The final frame was more of the same as the second, with it being all Flames for 20 minutes. With goals from Derek Ryan, Garnet Hathaway, and Monahan the Flames’ ran the score up to 6-1, and they wouldn’t look back. The team ends their two game losing streak, and now hold an eight point cushion on the Western conference.
|All Situations||5v5||SVA 5v5|
5v5 Player Stats
- Neal led the team, and game, in CF% with 76.9%
- Not a single Flame skater posted a negative possession rating, with three posting an even CF% of 50.0%
- Andersson was on the ice for 6 HDCF and 0 HDCA
- Troy Terry posted a CF% of 50.0%, the only player not with a negative rating
- Rickard Rakell and Derek Grant had game worst CF%’s of 28.6%
- Corey Perry had two of his team’s total five high-danger CF
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Czarik – Jankowski – Neal
Hathaway – Ryan – Mangiapane
Giordano – Andersson
Hanifin – Hamonic
Prout – Brodie
Rakell – Shore – Silfverberg
Sprong – Henrique – Perry
Sherwood – Steel – Terry
Jones – Grant – Rowney
Lindholm – Manson
Fowler – Welinski
Megna – Holzer
Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff
Thoughts on the Game
And some of you were worried about the Flames….
Quite the game by the entire team, but also, two key players were able to exorcise some demons. Monahan had a statement game, while Neal’s goal was huge for him as well, not to mention it was one of his best games as a Flame.
Gotta give credit to Smith. Stopping 21 of 22 shots he faced, Smith has allowed two goals or less in his last six games. He still has been somewhat inconsistent, but have to acknowledge he has played better recently.
Another key note from last night was how amazing the fourth line has been as of late. As noted earlier in the day, is it time to label them as the third line? Andrew Mangiapane, Ryan, and Hathaway have been outstanding together. Playing with Tanner Glass, Troy Brouwer, and others on that fourth line in past years really make you appreciate what the current unit is doing this season.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Good: Monahan’s four point night was a huge sigh of relief for both the player and the fans.
Bad: The only bad part about last night’s game was the Sportsnet coverage. From the technical issues to the hot takes, it may have been better to follow the game on radio.
Beautiful: With Ryan’s third period goal, the Flames now have 11 double digit scorers this season. The top players have come to play, but the depth on this team is the best it’s been in years.
Opponent: San Jose Sharks
Standings: 2nd in Pacific
Season Series: 1-2-0
Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images