The Coyotes opened this one up quickly. Taylor Hall opened the scoring just 1.11 into the first on the Coyotes’ first shot on net. However just a few minutes after that, the Flames got two quick goals. The first one was on the power play, where Johnny Gaudreau got his 18th of the season top shelf, and the second was from T.J. Brodie who scored on a rocket from the point. Both goals were scored just 41 seconds apart.
Early in the second, Mikael Backlund added to the Flames’ lead off a nice feed from Andrew Mangiapane. Carl Soderberg got the Coyotes got to within one with a power play marker. Although the Coyotes pressed, that was as close as they would come. The Flames won this one 3-2.
5v5 Player Stats
- Mark Giordano led the way for the Flames with a solid 63.9% CF. He also had four individual shot attempts
- On the other side, Mark Jankowski posted a 31.8% CF in just around ten minutes of icetime
- Gaudreau finished the game with a goal and three individual scoring chances for, two of which were high danger chances.
- Alex Goligoski posted a game high 72.5% CF
- Former Captain Canada Barrett Hayton posted a team low 33.3% CF
- Calgary native and upcoming UFA Hall was absolutely buzzing. He had ten (10) individual shot attempts to go along with his goal and assist.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Thoughts on the Game
The Flames played a strong game, and had chances all the way through to stretch their goal total beyond three. They also gave up a number of shots and scoring chances particularly in the middle frame, but were able to lock it down and pick up a much needed two points in this playoff race.
Aside from the early Coyotes goal, the Flames were very good in the first 25 or so minutes of this one. They had excellent chances both at 5v5 and on the power play, and they capitalized on a number of them. Were it not for a couple of posts and the active stick of Darcy Kuemper, the Flames could have seen themselves up by four or five goals. They really looked good.
The Coyotes were not going to go away, and Hall seemed keen to spoil this one for his hometown team. The Yotes had 21 shots on net in the second frame, and Cam Talbot managed to stop 20 of them. He looked quite good in this one, stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced, he did not look as sharp as he has in previous games. His rebound control was not as strong as expected, and he seemed to be reacting to shots rather than being in the right position.
Unlike the game against Nashville, in which the Flames allowed a goal with less than a second remaining in regulation, the team defended the lead very well. They limited the Coyotes’ chances, and made it difficult for them to set up in the offensive zone. They even had a number of quality scoring chances in the dying minutes, including a Sean Monahan shot from right in front of the net that was miraculously stopped by Kuemper.
The Flames top players were their best in this one. Gaudreau, Monahan and Elias Lindholm had a number of odd man rushes, scoring chances and all around great plays in this one. They led the Flames in scoring chances created and high danger chances created, and looked threatening all night.
On top of that, with just seconds remaining in the game, Coach Geoff Ward trusted this line to bring home the win. This speaks volumes, as this line struggled defensively for the first half of the year. It felt as though this line would need to be sheltered heavily in order to get their confidence back, but since the calendar flipped to 2020, they have been incredible.
The other group that was excellent in this one was the Flames first power play unit. Erik Gustafsson has slotted in very well there, and is making a strong case for the Flames to re-sign him this summer. He cycles the puck well, and seems to make the smart play every time when they have the man advantage. The passing between this unit is seamless, and they just keep getting stronger. Although the power play only went 1/4, they looked very dangerous in this game.
With 13 games left in the season, every one counts. Going into this game, the Flames were up on the Coyotes by just three points, but having a five point cushion now gives the team a bit of breathing room. They still are one point back of the Oilers and three back of Vegas, their next opponent. With how tight the Pacific Division is, the Flames could finish as high as first, and as low as outside the playoff picture. Time will tell
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Good: Matthew Tkachuk quietly had three assists in this one. He did not dazzle as loudly as he has in previous games, but he made a lot of little plays to secure the win
Bad: Although the second line scored the two Flames goals at even strength, they were on the ice for both goals against. They were also completely underwater in scoring chances and high danger chances against.
Beautiful: Brodie has been the scapegoat for the Flames when things go wrong, but he is on a three game goal streak, the longest of his career!
Opponent: Vegas Golden Knights
Standings: 1st in the Pacific
Season Series: 0-2-0
Photo by: Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images