After their loss to the Nashville Predators, Geoff Ward publicly called out the Calgary Flames to show more compete and desperation. It appeared that their game last night against the Vancouver Canucks was going to be more of the the same after Tanner Pearson scored 34 seconds in.
It makes sense as far as hockey games go then that the Flames would go on to outscore the Canucks 6-1 over the rest of the game, as something finally awakened in them that we haven’t seen yet in 2020. Calgary looked hungrier, played with more of an edge, and put on a convincing 6-2 win in Vancouver.
5V5 PLAYER STATS
- Dillon Dube, Derek Ryan, and Johnny Gaudreau all had multipoint games at 5v5. When you factor in specialty teams, Mikael Backlund and Milan Lucic join them with at least two points. That’s a great showcase for the depth.
- Sam Bennett loves to play against the Canucks and that showed, as he posted a team-high 83.3% CF. He was followed by Tobias Rieder (78.6%) and Mark Jankowski (68.8%) who looked strong before padding their stats at the end of the game with four shot attempts at the empty net.
- The reunion of Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm, and Gaudreau could have gone a little smoother. They were victimized for nearly all the high-danger chances against, and were on the ice for 10 of 16 scoring chances against. On the plus side, they did score a beautiful goal!
- Troy Stetcher carried the play for the Canucks, posting a 64.7% CF.
- Most Canucks were over 50.0% CF, but that cannot be said for Jake Virtanen (46.4%). He was also on the ice for three of the four 5v5 goals scored against the Canucks, inadvertently providing the screen on one of them.
- Not a great night for Calder hopeful Quinn Hughes, as he posted a 40.0% CF and was on the ice for a team-high seven high-danger scoring chances against.
STATS COURTESY: NATURAL STAT TRICK
THOUGHTS ON THE GAME
Thank goodness the Calgary Flames were able to get a multi-goal win in 2020.
It really didn’t feel like it was going to go that way, especially with Pearson’s early goal. Credit to the Flames though, they didn’t give up, and got an incredibly lucky bounce with Ryan’s goal going in on an uncharacteristically weak goal given up by Jacob Markstrom. Follow that up with Matthew Tkachuk hustling to get his own rebound and giving the Flames a lead! On a goal that other nights felt like it could have been called off!
They also didn’t let the emotional dam break when Adam Gaudette got gifted the pick thanks to the obviously biased boards of Rogers Arena. They instead upped their focus, and were finally rewarded for it. It was good for the Flames to take advantage of a team that had also been struggling. They’d been whiffing on the games they should be winning lately.
One thing that particularly stood out was just how awfully the Flames treated Elias Pettersson. Not trying to advocate for the Canuck, but they went out of their way to make him feel miserable after Pettersson missed the last game due to injury. The wild part is that the Canucks let the Flames go after him like that? It clearly played a factor.
It also felt like a great recovery game for David Rittich personally, whose best efforts lately came for the Pacific All-Star Team, which is neat and all except that it doesn’t benefit the Flames whatsoever (and he was robbed for All-Star MVP, but whatever it’s fine I don’t think about this at all).
Will that kind of effort stack up against a top team? Hard to say, but it’s definitely a relief just to see that kind of effort.
This has already been touched on, but this was the kind of scoring-by-committee that needs to happen for Calgary right now. The absence of Mark Giordano is clearly being felt, and it’s good to see everyone try and step up in his absence.
It’s not as though Giordano was out there scoring multiple goals every game, but if the Flames can keep putting up 3+ per game, it makes it a lot easier to manage without the backbone of the team.
This newest batch of tinkering seemed to work for Ward, so it’ll be interesting to see how long of a leash he’ll give the current lineup. He still keeps plugging away at the power play, but his mad brilliance of putting Lucic-Mangiapane-Dube together paid off. That’s definitely a line though that can only exist on-the-fly, so there’s more tampering to be had.
Also, Rieder scored, meaning he only needs to score seven more until guaranteed playoffs! Definitely possible, and something worth holding your breath for.
THE GAUD, THE BAD, AND THE BEAUTIFUL
Good: Dube looked great with whoever he was paired with, and that’s the player Calgary needs him to be every night if they want to survive this stretch of depleted defence. Speaking of…
Hamonic went to the room with an injury midway through the game, but thankfully was able to return to action. The team cannot afford to lose another defenceman to illness or injury. Oh wait, that’s what was said after the Nashville game. Against the Canucks, Hamonic went to the room with an injury midway through the game, but was able to return for just a single shift. He did not finish the game. The team may have lost another defender to illness or injury.
Beautiful: Through the first two periods, none of the goals were particularly beautiful (and some were downright garbage). Then, Milan Lucic had a beautiful tip and the Monahan finished off a gorgeous passing play to rub some beautiful, beautiful salt in the wound. Great stuff.
Opponent: San Jose Sharks
Standings: 6th in the Pacific
Season Series: 0-2-0
Photo by: Rich Lam/Getty Images