The Flames’ second meeting with the Chicago Blackhawks in a week could not have started more differently. The teams were scoreless right until just about the end of the first period when Dominik Kubalik put one past Cam Talbot. The Flames answered back just seconds into the second when Elias Lindholm put a quick one past Corey Crawford to tie it at one. Then, with minutes left in the middle period, Matthew Tkachuk set up Lindholm for his second of the game to put the Flames up by a goal. Both teams had chances in the third, but excellent goaltending on both ends of the ice gave the Flames the victory.
5v5 Player Stats
- Milan Lucic led the way for the Flames, posting a 66.7% CF. He was on the ice for both Flames goals for.
- A rough night for Andrew Mangiapane who posted a team low 28.6% CF. He was demoted to the fourth line midway through the game.
- T.J. Brodie and the “young and fresh” Mark Giordano were on the ice for six high danger chances for.
- David Kampf posted a game high 81.8% CF..
- Alex DeBrincat posted a team low 29.0% CF and was on the ice for nine scoring chances against
- Only seven Blackhawks skaters were over 50% CF.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Thoughts on the Game
The Flames did a lot of things right in this game. They did not give up a large early lead, they played smart defence, they limited their time on the penalty kill, and generally handled their business. It was a game in which the Flames outlasted their opponent, and did the little things right to pick up points and stay competitive in an ever tightening Pacific Division.
Talbot was outstanding against the Blackhawks. Stopping 25 of the 26 shots he faced including four rush chances and three of the four high danger chances he faced, he was a huge difference for the Flames. Goaltenders go through ups and downs, and right now David Rittich has not looked as good as he did at the beginning of the season. Having Talbot playing this well is a great asset for the Flames to have, while Big Save Dave works to get his form back. Expect Talbot to appear a little more frequently in the coming few weeks.
Coach Geoff Ward saw something midway through the game and threw his lines into a blender. They came out like this:
These lines worked wonders. The line of Tkachuk, Lindholm, and Mangiapane was on the ice for the Flames’ first goal against, but when Lucic slid into Mangiapane’s role, this line scored both Flames goals. The initial line with Mangiapane had a CF of 30.0%, but when they swapped Lucic in, the line posted an 80% CF. While one game is a small sample size, it will be interesting to see if this line gets a look at practice.
On the other side, Mangiapane had the second lowest ice time, ahead of just Zac Rinaldo in all situations, with 7:43. This is the second game in a row where his ice time has been very low; something to keep an eye on.
The other line that was very interesting was Dillon Dube with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. They posted a 55.6% CF in just over six minutes of ice time, and looked dynamic. Dube plays a strong two-way game, just like Backlund, but also has a nose for the net and a wicked release. This might be the right fit for Monahan and Gaudreau going forward as it provides the defensive structure while also giving them a dynamic offensive winger. Dube is also able to play both centre and the wing, giving the line two faceoff taking options like they did with Lindholm or Backlund. The only caveat is that all three forwards are left handed shots. While Coach Ward has tended to revert back to his initial lines at practice, this may be something we see more of going forward.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Good: Great to see the boys pick up a win in front of their fathers and father figures
Bad: The Flames had two five-on-three powerplay opportunities, both for over a minute, and did essentially nothing with both. Special teams are important, and those kinds of chances don’t come around too often. It’s important to take advantage.
Beautiful: Lindholm getting career goal number 300 in career game number 500. Beautiful milestones for our Swedish Beauty
Opponent: Minnesota Wild
Standings: 5th in the Central
Season Series: 1-1-0
Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/ NHLI via Getty Images