About Last Night 17: First line’s bad night spoils solid effort for the Flames.

The Flames started fast in this game, taking the lead with an Andrew Mangiapane goal five minutes in. The Capitals came roaring back with two quick goals by Jakub Vrana, the first on an odd man rush and the second off a turnover in the Flames zone. Elias Lindholm scored in the dying seconds of the first period on a great individual effort to bring the Flames even. Despite controlling the shots at five on five for the rest of the night, another goal by Vrana on a breakaway, and a late power play goal by Lars Eller sealed the game for the Capitals.

Statistical Breakdown

5v5 SVACF%SCF%HDCF%xGF%
56.1%55.3%57.9%53.1%
43.9%44.7%42.1%46.9%

Team Stats

5v5 Player Stats

Calgary Flames
  • Mark Jankowski had the best CF% on the team with 78.95% in 10:09 minutes of ice time.
  • Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan were tied for the worst CF% with 42.86%. Gaudreau had 13:46 TOI at 5v5, and Monahan had 13:09.
  • Gaudreau and Monahan also had a horrible night with High Danger Chances. They each were on the ice for just one HDCF, while they gave up five HDCA.
Washington Capitals
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick

Thoughts on the Game

Despite two straight wins, the Flames have been getting crushed in shot differential lately and have really struggled at five on five. That was not the case against the Capitals on Sunday night as they posted 56.1% of the Corsi in the game and 57.9% of the High Danger Chances. A couple bad bounces and some hot shooting by Jakub Vrana left the flames in a hole that they ultimately could not break out of.

A real positive theme of the night was that the Flames depth forwards actually played pretty well. Bill Peters rolled four lines for most of the night, and it led to some solid ice time for the Flames bottom six. Somewhat surprisingly, the Jankowski – Tobias RiederMichael Frolik line was excellent in this game, dominating the shots on goal, and creating more chances than the opposition.

While less impressive statistically, the third line of Derek Ryan, Sam Bennett, and Alan Quine was also excellent. Bennett was at his best forcing turnovers and carrying the puck aggressively to the net. When his game is simple and he is spending time around the net he is an effective player for this club.

The second line was solid too, including a beauty of a goal by Andrew Mangiapane early in the game that came off a forced turnover behind the Capitals net by Matthew Tkachuk and a slick feed to Mangiapane who made a great move around Capitals goalie Ilya Samsonov. Tkachuk has deservedly stolen the headlines for his strong play recently and his highlight reel goal against Nashville, but his ability to make short three or four feet passes in the offensive and defensive zones remains one of his best assets. He made it look easy, but the pass to Mangiapane was a beauty.

If it seems like everyone played well, how did the Flames lose? To start, their best players were simply not very good in this one. In particular, Gaudreau and Monahan up front were really mediocre in this one and it showed in them being on the ice for two of the Capitals goals. In a rare off night, Mark Giordano was also average in this one, making a pair of bad pinches that led to goals. Gaudreau and Monahan both missed assignments on the back check on those goals as well, but Giordano has to make better decisions than he did Sunday night.

Lindholm was unremarkable for most of the night with Gaudreau and Monahan, but his effort at the end of the first period was special. The play started with him ringing a slap shot off the post, and ended with him tipping an Oliver Kylington point shot past Samsonov. His ability to score from distance, or at least be a threat from distance as he was with the shot off the post has been something the Flames have really missed this season.

On defence, Kylington played pretty sheltered minutes (he started 75% of his shifts in the offensive zone) but played well, moving the puck well and getting rewarded with his first point of the season. Kylington has work to do on his shot and his ability to create chances in the offensive zone, but his skating was notable, and along with Rasmus Andersson, the third pair had a solid night.

The Gaud, the Bad, and the UGLY

Good: The Flames got solid pressure from their bottom nine forwards and dominated the possession for much of the game.

Bad: None of the goals were really his fault, but the Flames needed Cam Talbot to make a few of those saves to keep them in the game. Unfortunately, Talbot’s rocky start to the season continues.

Ugly: Gaudreau has not scored since October 12th, and his line was badly outshot, and more importantly outscored in this one.

Next Game

Opponent: Arizona Coyotes
Record: 8-4-1
Standings: 6th in the Pacific
Season Series: 0-0-0


Photo by: Randy Litzinger

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