Wow what a Halloween match. After a spooky first period where the Flames were outshot and outchanced completely, they went into the intermission down 2-1 despite playing abysmal hockey. There was more of the same through the second with the Flames allowing two shorthanded goals from Calle Jarnkrok . In the third the Flames came back to tie it off goals from Rasmus Andersson, Elias Lindholm, and Alan Quine.
Austin Watson pulled the Preds ahead with a minute and a half left in the game but Matthew Tkachuk scored with the extra attacker to send the game to extra time. With a second left in overtime, it was Tkachuk again who stole the honours for Goal of the Year, putting his stick through his legs and putting the puck past Pekka Rinne for the win.
5v5 Player Stats
- Tkachuk led the way last night with a 68.8% CF
- Milan Lucic, Mark Jankowski and Andrew Mangiapane were at the bottom for the Flames statistically last night hovering around the 22.0% CF mark. Not good
- Oliver Kylington and Rasmus Andersson posted a team high 66.67% HDCF. Nice to see young players doing well
- After missing the last few games with injury, Filip Forsberg led the way for the Preds with a 70.6% CF
- Although he had two goals, Watson was underwater in terms of shot attempts with a 32% CF
- Defenceman Matt Irwin was also excellent for the Preds with a 66.7%CF and a 79% xGF
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Thoughts on the Game
After a string of games where the Flames have looked generally out of it, including the start of this one, it was nice to see the Flames show some fight and get a much needed win in the final 25 minutes.
That compete level from all four lines night and all three defence pairings in the third was something we have yet to see this season. Couple that with a few lucky bounces and David Rittich being David Rittich, it was good to see the Flames finally look good.
Make no mistake however, this was not a game the Flames deserved to win, let alone even be in. They were outshot and completely outplayed through the first period, and were incredibly lucky to get out of the period down by only one goal.
They surrendered not one but two shorthanded goals against, allowed a number of odd-man rushes, and let the Predators walk all over them through the first forty minutes. Everything we have seen of the Flames through the first part of the season was on full display this game. They really did not look good.
I don’t know what happened between the horn for the end of the second and the drop of the puck in the third, but the momentum swung. Between a lucky bounce for Lindholm and three beauties from Andersson, Quine, and Tkachuk, the Flames pushed hard to get back in it.
Having not shown much of a fight when playing while trailing all season, it was nice to see that side of them. Although it was just one period, it feels like something has shifted for this group.
And on top of that, Rittich just keeps getting better. It’s hard to blame him for any of the goals against. Three goals came off of odd-man rushes, and two were rebounds after great chances.
It’s never good to allow five goals against, but Rittich was a principle reason that the Flames stayed in it, especially through the first 20 minutes, and made some great saves right at the end to keep the game close.
Bill Peters put his lines back together after two games with Lindholm playing centre and Jankowski watching from the press box. This was definitely a mixed bag. The top line of Gaudreau, Monahan, and Lindholm looked much much better, ending the night with 56.5% CF in almost 14 minutes of icetime.
What really looked excellent tonight was the 3M line. In about 7 and a half minutes of ice time, that line had an impressive 72.75% CF and looked quite good where many Flames struggled.
While the top-six looked quite strong, the bottom-six really, really struggled . The line of Lucic, Jankwoski and Quine may have scored a goal but they posted an abysmal 12.5%CF in just over four minutes together. Jankowski really had a night to forget after spending the last two games watching from the sidelines.
Coach Peters put his bottom six in a blender with mixed results. Mangiapane was put on the second line with Tkachuk and Backlund for about four minutes, and that line ended with a 50%CF.
Tkachuk also played with Derek Ryan and Sam Bennett and that line looked quite good, posting a 75% CF in two minutes of icetime. Bennett and Ryan also took shifts with Mangiapane, but that could not have gone worse with the line posting a zero percent CF (this is not a typo) in three minutes of ice time.
While the top line seems intact, Bill Peters is quite clearly not impressed with his bottom-nine, and will likely keep tinkering with it as the season continues. The Flames will be thanking their lucky stars that they managed to pull out a win. Hopefully we see the Flames we saw in the third period a lot more going forward, and we never see the Flames of that first period again.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Good: The Flames pulled off a win when they didn’t really deserve it
Bad: They looked bad for most of the game. There was very little going for them right until the third period
Beautiful: Tkachuk going between the legs on a one-timer to seal the win for the Flames in overtime. One of the most beautiful goals this season (or decade)
Opponent: Columbus Blue Jackets
Standings: 5th in the Metropolitan
Season Series: 0-0-0
Photo by: Mark Zaleski/AP Photo