The Darryl Sutter era in Calgary began afresh, yet with a familiar look. Sutter behind the Flames bench filled with Blasty jerseys—what year is it!? Even if that visual feels like a dream, the happenings on the ice were very much real. The first go of the Sutter brand hockey was a successful one for the 2021 Flames. They looked reenergised, played at a better pace, and were rewarded.
The first period contained some pretty solid hockey. It was fast and it was structured. All around, about as good a period as the Flames could have hoped for with a new coach. The game remained scoreless after one though, which for a season like the one Calgary has been having, feels like genuine progress. Regardless of who’s coaching, not trailing after twenty minutes is always a welcomed sight.
The Flames opened up the second period with an early goal from Josh Leivo. Credit to Leivo and his linemates, as he alongside Derek Ryan and Sam Bennett were buzzing in the second. Leivo went on and nearly scored another, but he hit the post on a shot attempt. Fortunately, he was later the beneficiary of a Canadiens defensive zone turnover and actually scored his second of the night. Both goals were assisted by Ryan and Bennett to boot. Calgary put together an all around very impressive second period and were heading into the third with a two goal lead.
The third started off a bit slower, but with a multi-goal lead, Calgary wouldn’t be one to complain about that. However, Milan Lucic and Josh Anderson found themselves in a tilt to give life to both teams; the major to Lucic marked his second fight in three games. Just past the midway point of the period, Montreal pulled within one after Corey Perry tipped a Shea Weber shot past Jacob Markstrom.
Not long after the Canadiens’ goal, the Flames became a lot more serious about shutting down the game. Montreal’s last 5v5 shot attempt came with just under nine minutes left in the period. Everything after that came at either one their single power play of the period or with the net empty. Textbook hockey from the Flames in not giving their opponent many chances to tie it up. The Flames take the game, 2-1 final score.
Indeed, Montreal came into the game tired, but the Flames were highly opportunistic and executed their game plan. They did exactly what they needed to do to secure the two critical points, and it could not have come at a better time. So far for Sutter, so good.
Check out the visualisations from the game below:
All situations corsi
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