Wow, what a game! Both teams came out a bit flat to start the game. With tons of stoppages, neither team was able to really get anything going in the first. The ice tilted heavily in favor of the Flyers in the second. Out-shooting the Flames 18-3 and out-chancing them 22-7, the Flyers finished the period up by a goal off the stick of Jakub Voracek.
The Flames found their feet in the third. With Andrew Mangiapane back on the second line, he scored a pretty goal from the slot off a pass from Mikael Backlund. A bad giveaway late in the period by David Rittich game Kevin Hayes an easy goal to put the Flyers up, but Elias Lindholm pulled the Flames back even with the empty net. Overtime solved nothing, but a shootout goal from Matthew Tkachuk sealed this one for the Flames
5v5 Player Stats
- Mark Jankowski and Zac Rinaldo both posted 60% CF tonight, and were two of the five Flames above 50.0% CF
- Michael Stone posted a team-low 31.6% CF and was on the ice for six high-danger chances against and zero for
- The fourth line of Jankowski, Frolik and Michael Frolik along with Rasmus Andersson and Mark Giordano were on the ice for a team-high four high-danger chances for. Jankowski and Rinaldo were not on the ice for any high-danger chances against.
- Former Toronto Maple Leaf James van Riemsdyk led the way for the Flyers with an incredible 77.8% CF
- Only two flyers posted sub 50.0% CF: Philippe Myers and Robert Hagg
- Travis Sanheim was on the ice for six high-danger chances for and only one against.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Thoughts on the Game
Today’s matinee game was topsy-turvy. The Flames looked unsettled in the first, abysmal in the second, but somehow found a way to claw back in the third, and walked away with the much needed win.
The team had stretches in the third where they looked excellent, especially right at the end with the goalie pulled, but they had longer stretches where they struggled to get anything going. While it was nice to see the Flames fight back to tie and eventually win the game, it is clear the Flames are lacking something in their game.
This afternoon’s win would not have been possible without Rittich’s outstanding performance. He stopped 36 of the 38 shots he faced, including a number of chances in tight where he had to scramble with his glove and blocker to keep the puck out.
It’s nice to have a goalie you can rely on for the first time since Miikka Kiprusoff, but allowing 38 shots on net along with 14 high-danger chances is not a recipe for success. Rittich also took a skate to the back of the head midway through the game, but looked to be no worse for wear.
The Flames have been juggling their lines and power play groups through this losing streak, but it seemed that going back to what was working was most effective. Replacing Milan Lucic with Lindholm on the first power play unit in the third period looked much better. While Lucic has had a lot of jump over the last couple of games playing alongside Dillon Dube and Derek Ryan, his hands are not what they used to be, and having a capable scorer in Lindholm on the top powerplay is a more effective use of players.
The Flames also reunited Mangiapane with Tkachuk and Backlund in the third. Mangiapane had a ton of jump tonight, even with a broken nose caused by a huge hit from Vince Dunn in the loss against St Louis. He scored the first goal for the Flames, and made a nifty move around Carter Hart and was stopped only by the goalpost. After the second period, Matthew Tkachuk was the worst Flames player in terms of Corsi For %, but he looked much more engaged in the third with Mangiapane on his line.
While not a perfect game for the Flames by any stretch of the imagination, it was so nice to see them fight back in the third and finally snap the losing streak. It felt in the second like the Flames were down and out, and that this was going to be loss number seven, but they found a way to win this one late in the third. Hopefully they take the lessons away from today’s game, and carry on the winning ways in Pittsburgh on Monday.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Good: AHL callup Brandon Davidson looked quite good on the ice today. While he definitely still has room to grow, he was stable and capable both offensively and defensively
Bad: Giordano pinching at the blueline is causing too many turnovers. The reigning Norris Trophy winner needs to be more careful when holding the line
Beautiful: Finally snapping the losing streak is as beautiful as it can be
Opponent: Pittsburgh Penguins
Standings: 3rd in the Metropolitan
Season Series: 0-0-0
Photo by: Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images