The Calgary Flames were slotted to close out their final game of 2021 in the Scotiabank Saddledome, facing off against the Vancouver Canucks in the highly exclusive, single non-playoffs series hockey had to offer in the postseason. The biggest news heading into the game was that it’d be Matthew Phillips long-awaited NHL debut.
With a bit of player shuffling, the Flames most notably sat Josh Leivo, Glenn Gawdin, Oliver Kylington, and Nikita Nesterov to make room for Phillips, Adam Ruzicka, Juuso Valimaki, and Connor Mackey.
The Flames got off to a great first period, as Matthew Tkachuk, Dillon Dube, and Andrew Mangiapane each scored to give Calgary a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. The teams both had fairly even shot attempts for the course of the whole game, but looking at locations, Calgary was just significantly more effective at getting into the high-danger locations.
Early in the second, Brett Ritchie added to the Flames’ lead, followed by the Canucks answering with a pair from Bo Horvat on the power play and J.T. Miller all before the period was half over. However, just as the midway point passed, Tkachuk scored his second of the game to restore the three goal lead. Mikael Backlund seemingly extended the Flames’ lead back to four but the goal was challenged for offside and the call on the ice was reversed.
Three and a half minutes into the third, Connor Mackey scored his first NHL goal on a play where he showed great awareness and activated himself to get right in front of the crease to receive a pass for the easy tip-in. That’d be the last goal scored in the game as the Flames ultimately won 6-2 and close out the season series with Vancouver going 7-3-0.
The two points earned in the standings moved Calgary ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes, so they finish their season 20th overall in the league, giving them the highest odds of picking 13th overall at the upcoming 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
Leading up to the draft, The Win Column will be providing comprehensive player profiles slotted to be taken in the first round based on our consolidated NHL Draft Rankings, with the duo of William Eklund and Dylan Guenther already featured.
Check out the final Flames game visualisations of the 2021 season below!
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Check out our tutorial on how to plot an NHL rink using R with the full code and customisation options included!
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