Another game, another huge 6-2 victory. The Flames started quickly with three goals in the first ten minutes, from Milan Lucic, Tobias Rieder, and Zac Rinaldo. San Jose would add one before the end of the period from Erik Karlsson.
The teams traded goals in the second, with Mark Jankowski getting the goal for the visiting Flames. The real highlight of the night came when Matthew Tkachuk put a goal through the legs top shelf in the third to really put this one out of reach for the Sharks. The cherry on top was Mikael Backlund ending his 14 game goalless streak late in the third, as it was a complete team effort with the Flames winning this one 6-2.
5v5 Player Stats
- Sean Monahan led the way for the Flames with a 62.1% CF. He also led the way with nine individual scoring chances for
- Brandon Davidson did not have a great game, posting a team low 21.1% CF
- Johnny Gaudreau created three individual high danger chances, and finished with one assist
- Marcus Sorensen posted a game high 68.9% CF
- Although Radim Simek posted a team low 29.4% CF, he was one of only two Sharks skaters below 50% CF at 5v5
- Brent Burns and his beard had seven individual corsi events and two individual high danger chances.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Thoughts on the Game
The immortal words of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody come to mind when thinking of the Flames last two games: “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” The team has been very streaky this season, but now that Coach Geoff Ward has reunited the original top two lines from last year, the team has been on an absolute tear. Which begs the question, is the team finally getting into a groove? Or is this just another streak?
In this game, the Flames came out swinging, and initially it was not the guys you might expect. The bottom six absolutely stole the show early, and carried play all night long. Every member of the bottom line got a goal in this one – yes even Jankowski who had his bounce in off his chest. When your top line is struggling to get the puck to go in and your top defencemen are injured, you need depth scoring. That is exactly what the Flames got in this one from a number of unlikely heroes.
This was another strong outing from the Flames’ top players. Gaudreau and Monahan especially were strong on the puck. Both players had a number of prime opportunities to put the puck in the back of the net, and while it did not happen in this one, the fact that they are getting to high danger areas and getting chances is a welcome change of pace. On top of that, it is nice to see Gaudreau stripping other players of the puck. The team is at its best when Johnny Hockey is feeling good about himself. It was a vintage Johnny game last night.
The team was especially successful on the powerplay. The boys in red went 3/6 on the man advantage, and this was a huge difference maker for them. Both their top and second units were able to get goals, with Lucic, Tkachuk, and Backlund all lighting the lamp. Lucic’s goal was a nice redirect from in front of the net and Backlund’s goal came off of a beautiful feed from Mangiapane. The most beautiful of all came from Tkachuk, who was bumped a couple times, but picked up a perfect pass, and put his stick through his legs to roof the puck bar-down. Another highlight reel goal from him to add to his collection.
The Flames have two more games left on this road trip, and time is running out before the trade deadline. The team needs to make a decision as to whether they want to be a playoff team, or whether they would rather trade in their hockey sticks for golf clubs. And as much as we would all love to see them go for glory on the ice rather than on the green, the team needs to put in the requisite effort to get to that point. Are they capable as a team of doing so? Absolutely, but they need to play more games like this to get there. If they keep up this pace, it could be a rewarding post-season.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Good: David Rittich stopped all five high danger chances he faced, alongside 34/36 shots against. Not a bad night for him. Plus, Milan Lucic recorded a three point night (1G 2A) which gives him five points in his past two games. There were lots of good things to come out of last night’s contest.
Bad: Oliver Kylington was the only Flames player not to record a shot on target in this one
Beautiful: Another highlight reel goal for Tkachuk who drew two penalties and played with lots of heart. A great game for him
Opponent: Los Angeles Kings
Standings: 8th in the Pacific
Season Series: 1-1-0
Photo by: Thearon W Henderson/ NHLI via Getty Images