After a thrilling overtime win against Nashville, the Flames continued their season-long five game road trip in Columbus. The visitors struck first after Joonas Korpisalo misplayed the puck right to Johnny Gaudreau. Two passes later, Sean Monahan put the puck into the roof of the net to put the Flames up by one. Then in the second, Noah Hanifin found Derek Ryan streaking up the ice. He forced two Blue Jackets to cover him, then passed the puck to Sam Bennett who put the puck into an empty cage. Matthew Tkachuk added an empty netter to cap off the shutout win for the Flames.
5v5 Player Stats
- Just a couple games after being a healthy scratch, Mark Jankowski led the Flames with 80.0% CF tonight.
- He played difficult minutes, but Michael Frolik posted a team low 33.3% CF.
- Only Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington started more than 50% of their shifts in the offensive zone.
Columbus Blue Jackets
- Oliver Bjorkstrand led the Blue Jackets with 71.4% CF.
- Cam Atkinson posted a team low 41.9% CF. Only eight Columbus players were under 50% CF.
- Rookie Vladislav Gavrikov led the team with an 86.1 xGF%.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Thoughts on the Game
This was a good gritty game for the Flames. They weren’t perfect nor did they dominate the Blue Jackets, but they did all the little things right and capitalized on their chances.
In what sounds like a broken record, David Rittich once again was incredible. The Flames did an excellent job keeping the Blue Jackets to the outside, the chances that they did get inside, Rittich was sensational. Stopping all 43 shots he faced, he really was on fire.
This was a game where all four lines held their own. Since the Flames went back to their original line combinations, with Elias Lindholm on the wing and 3M reunited, the top line has looked incredibly dangerous. Not only did Monahan get a goal, his first in 13 games, the whole line was effective. Per Elliotte Friedman, Gaudreau leads the league in zone entries, but he’s struggled to turn those entries into goals. In last night’s contest, he was as dangerous as ever in the offensive zone, forcing the Jackets into making defensive errors. It’s nice to see the top line back to their dangerous ways.
The second line was not perfect, posting a team low 38.9% CF. However, they started only 33.3% of their shifts in the offensive zone. As usual, they were matched up against the top line of the opposition, and managed to effectively shut them down on the scoreboard. They also scored the third goal for the Flames, which is always nice even if it was into the empty net.
Once again the third and fourth lines both looked good in limited minutes. Ryan had a number of great chances, including the one that led to Bennett’s goal. Last game, the line of Ryan, Bennett, and Andrew Mangiapane posted an abysmal 0% CF, so it was nice to see the third line looking better. Bennett had a team leading two iHDCF.
Milan Lucic, Mangiapane, and Alan Quine on the fourth line looked dangerous as well. Not only did they make great plays, they also got involved physically and ensured the Jackets could not get anything going. Although Lucic’s physicality has resulted in a call from the Department of Player Safety, the line on a whole posted an incredible 100% CF, although that was in just over three and a half minutes. Hopefully, Lucic will be able to play the game against the Capitals.
It wasn’t perfect game for the Flames. Not by a long shot. They’ll need to work on minimizing shots against and getting more dangerous chances on net if they want to have sustained success this season. That being said, after the first two periods against Nashville in which the Flames looked completely asleep, it feels like the team has turned a corner. They looked alert, dangerous, and had a will to win. Although it is only one game, it will be interesting to see if they can keep it going in Washington tonight.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Good: The third pairing of Kylington and Andersson were excellent tonight.
Bad: 43 shots against, regardless of where they came from, is too many shots against. The Flames need to tighten up.
Beautiful: Bennett and his mustache with his second goal of the season. Always good to see a struggling player find the back of the net .
Opponent: Washington Capitals
Standings: 1st in the Metropolitan
Season Series: 0-1-0
Photo from: sportsinteraction.com