The Flames continued the recent trend of starting the first period strong, which led to Andrew Mangiapane’s goal to open the scoring. Seconds later though, Denis Gurianov had a spectacular individual effort to tie the game at one. The story from there was the Flames Powerplay which scored three times and looked dangerous all night. In order, those goals came from Matthew Tkachuk, Sean Monahan, and Mikael Backlund. A Derek Ryan empty netter sealed the game late for the visitors.
5v5 Player Stats
- Travis Hamonic had the highest CF% with 64.71% (16.55 TOI).
- Rasmus Andersson had the lowest CF% with 30.43% (11:16 TOI)
- Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund led the team with two iHDCF each.
- Jamie Oleksiak led the team in CF% with 65.52% (16:21 TOI).
- Justin Dowling got smoked, with a team low 12.50% CF% (7:39 TOI)
- Corey Perry and John Klingberg had the highest HDCF% with each posting five HDCF and two HDCA for a 71.43% HDCF%.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Thoughts on the Game
This was a very even game at five on five, as evidenced by the possession stats for each team. The big story was the Flames Power Play. The unit contributed three goals tonight, and the puck movement was something Flames fans have not seen in a long while. There was a specific emphasis tonight on moving the puck quickly with the extra man, often one timing passes and zipping the puck around the zone. This kept the defence on their heels on the PK, and it allowed lanes to open up.
On Matthew Tkachuck’s goal, at least four flames touched the puck in the seconds before Tkachuk received the pass. Following a quick one time pass from Elias Lindholm, Tkachuk buried the puck from the top of the circle, continuing the success he has had recently shooting from distance. The next goal was similar, with quick puck movement leading to a centering pass for Monahan who quickly deposited the puck.
The last of the three power play goals came on an excellent rush by Backlund who took it end to end himself. It was the first goal in over a month for the swede, and the Flames will be hoping his production continues. He was put on the wing by Geoff Ward to try and free him up to play more offensive, and it has led to six points in his last ten games. He has also traditionally not a good player on the power play, so it was especially nice to see him score one there.
Another guy who is starting to find his game again is Andrew Mangiapane. When Geoff Ward shuffled the lines a few weeks back, many expected the Mangiapane – Lindholm – Tkachuk line to be dominant from the start. It did not happen over night, but give Ward credit for sticking with the trio. His patience is starting to pay off as the line was Calgary’s best on Sunday night. They scored a beautiful goal on some tick tack toe passing early in the first period. Mangiapane specifically was excellent all night, with really good energy in the neutral and offensive zones that led to some great chances. If Mangiapane could go on a run for the Flames and push his line into gear, the offence could be dangerous.
One of the more talked about players recently has been Zack Rinaldo. Despite being a regular scratch and having to wonder if he might get sent down, Rinaldo was really good against the Stars. He was fast on the forecheck, and unsurprisingly willing to. be physical. He also drew a penalty through some hard work on the forecheck, and his line had sustained zone time all night. Mark Jankowski and Tobias Rieder were good too, but Rinaldo was the engine for an effective fourth line.
One final thought from the game was Travis Hamonic’s strong play. He led the team in CF%, and actually led the team in five on five shots as well with four. He was up in the play all night trying to produce offence and he did so without sacrificing his defensive game. I particularly liked how he has been one timing so many pucks recently. If he has the chance he is getting ready and blasting it. It doesn’t lead to chances every time, but it keeps the defence on their toes and gets hard shots going to the net.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful(win)
Good: Five goals from five different scorers. The club continues to rediscover their offence.
Bad: Noah Hanifin got walked around by Denis Gurianov for the Stars only goal.
Beautiful: The power play was excellent, using quick puck movement to score three goals on the night.
Opponent: Minnesota Wild
Standings: 6th in the Central
Season Series: 0-0-0
Photo by: Getty Images