The Calgary Flames had to embrace their inner BTO and take care of business themselves against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night. After the Sharks came back to win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night, the Flames needed a victory in any matter to clinch both the Pacific Division and Western Conference. Spoiler alert if you live under rocks or already read the title.
The Sharks struck first on the score sheet with Timo Meier scoring his 30th goal of the season. The Sharks completely controlled play during the opening half of the period, and were finally able to break through to score. The Flames would not let that lead last long, as Johnny Gaudreau connected with Sean Monahan for his 34th goal of the season to tie the game at one.
This was where the Flames took over. Only 31 seconds later, Mark Jankowski netted his 12th goal of the season from a James Neal assist. 44 seconds after that, Dalton Prout would put on his Mark Giordano hat and emulate the captain, finishing off an absolute beauty to give the Flames a 3-1 lead. All of a sudden it was all Flames heading into the second period.
In that frame, Mikael Backlund got a lucky bounce off of a Sharks defender to net his 21st goal of the season. Outside of that, the second period wasn’t quite as eventful. The Flames held the 4-1 lead, twenty minutes away from clinching.
The third would provide a few more goals from both teams. The Sharks got goals from Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc, offset by a Michael Frolik marker in between. With a few key Sharks penalties coming in the final frame, the Flames had this contest wrapped up.
With the final sound of the horn, the Flames officially clinched the Western Conference and the Pacific Division with a 5-3 win over the Sharks.
|All Situations||5v5||SVA 5v5|
5v5 Player Stats
- Garnet Hathaway posted a team high CF% of 72.7%
- Although he had a physical presence and earned a point streak, Neal posted a game-worst CF% of 29.4%
- Monahan accounted for 3 individual HDCF
San Jose Sharks
- Discount Gaudreau, aka Barclay Goodrow, posted a game high CF% of 81.8%
- Joakim Ryan had a tough game. Costly penalties, a goal deflecting off his skate, and a team-worst CF% of 31.0%
- Joonas Donskoi was on the ice for 5 HDCA, but 0 HDCF
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Czarik – Jankowski – Neal
Hathaway – Ryan – Mangiapane
Giordano – Andersson
Hanifin – Hamonic
Prout – Brodie
San Jose Sharks
Meier – Couture – Nyquist
Kane – Hertl – Donskoi
Sorensen – Thornton – Labanc
Gambrell – Goodrow – Haley
Vlasic – Burns
Dillon – Braun
Ryan – Heed
Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff
Thoughts on the Game
What a game, what a season.
Although we knew it was inevitable after the Sharks’ losing streak, it is still amazing to officially see the Flames finish at the top of their division and conference. It’s been a wild season, and they deserve to celebrate, but now the real work starts.
There wasn’t really a weak spot in the Flames’ game last night, besides perhaps the power play. All four lines played extremely well, with all of them having their moments to shine.
A special shoutout to Neal, who had a very impressive game. He played extremely physical, and that was something that threw off the Sharks. In the final frame, the Sharks were going after Neal constantly, while Neal just stuck to his game plan. Adding in an assist, Neal could be finally returning to form.
Have to touch on Prout’s game last night. Let’s start off by saying how amazing his goal was. Like out-of-this-world amazing. That being said, two Sharks goals came off of his mistakes. One being a bad turnover, the other being a bit of a defensive miscommunication.
Sure it’s fun to see him get the highlight reel goal, but he was a defensive liability that can’t be there during the playoffs. Oscar Fantenberg, Oliver Kylington, and the recently recalled Juuso Valimaki would be superior options. But it’s worth repeating, Prout’s first goal as a Flame was a thing of beauty.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Good: Three goals in 1:15 in the first period really put this game out of reach for the Sharks.
Bad: The Flames got a ton of help from the referees last night, but went 0/6 on the man-advantage. The old power play units came out, but there was no success. They need to figure this out soon.
Beautiful: The Flames got goals from all four lines last night. If that isn’t teamwork, I don’t know what is.
OH YEAH AND THE FLAMES CLINCHED THE DIVISION AND CONFERENCE
Opponent: Lo Angeles Kings
Standings: 8th in Pacific
Season Series: 2-1-0
Photo by Brandon Magnus/NHLI via Getty Images