Playing in their second game of a back-to-back set, the Calgary Flames made the short trip down the interstate from the Madison Square Garden to the Prudential Center to face off against the New Jersey Devils. Looking to continue their winning ways on the road trip, Calgary had a chance to extend their winning streak to four games, something they haven’t done since January 2020.
The Flames came out full-tilt in the first period. Though they had just played a game last night, no one in the crowd would be the wiser, as Calgary didn’t look fatigued whatsoever. Milan Lucic picked up his first goal of the season opened the scoring for Calgary less than seven minutes into the period. A pass by Erik Gudbranson missed the target but was conveniently tipped right to Lucic, who was sprung on a breakaway. Going five-hole on Nico Daws, Lucic got the Flames up 1–0 early.
Just seconds past the midpoint mark of the period, Andrew Mangiapane doubled the Flames’ lead on an unforgettable individual effort. Jonas Siegenthaler fumbled the puck right into Mangiapane’s stick by the Devils’ blueline, where he skated in while protecting the puck. Making it in between the hashmarks, Mangiapane got a shot off as he was falling, going top shelf above Daws’ blocker side.
Two minutes later, the Flames added to their lead again, this time on the power play. Calgary had good puck movement and shot attempts on the power play, and as the cycle continued, Johnny Gaudreau passed it back to Rasmus Andersson at the blue line. A one-timer slapshot found its way to the front of the net, where Elias Lindholm was positioned for a perfect tip-in goal.
This would be Lindholm’s seventh goal of the season, bringing him into a tie with Alex Ovechkin for the current league lead. The goal also chased Nico Daws from the game, Scott Wedgewood taking over in relief.
The goaltender in net didn’t matter though, as just 46 seconds after the change, Mangiapane scored on a breakaway. Receiving the puck from Dillon Dube, Mangiapane made brilliant moves from in close and deked out Wedgewood one-on-one for a highlight reel goal. This would be Mangiapane’s seventh goal of the season, bringing him into a tie with Oveckhin and Lindholm for the current league lead. Deja vu.
The second period was much less eventful. A miscue by Daniel Vladar saw him play the puck directly to Pavel Zacha, who had an open net to shoot at from a sharp angle. The Devils’ goal would be the only one of the period.
Over the past few games, the second period was not great for Calgary, often letting their opponent back into the game or at the very least building significant moment against Calgary. However, they were unfazed by the gaffe goal and ended up still being the much better team. All this on the second game of a back-to-back.
Come the third period, the Flames looked more than willing to focus on killing the clock instead of on their offence. The Devils came out in the final frame in a flurry and were heavily pressuring the Flames. Maybe the second period pushback was delayed in New Jersey, but it’s a bit easier to handle as a team and as fans watching when the game creeps closer to its final buzzer.
It was all Devils until Erik Gudbranson took an interference penalty. Then out came Calgary’s penalty killers and that was the first pressure the Flames had in the period. The Flames’ special teams took over for a couple of minutes, taking the momentum gained from an excellent penalty kill into scoring their fifth goal of the game on the power play.
Matthew Tkachuk scored to restore the four-goal lead, and perhaps more imporantly, Sean Monahan got his first point of the season—a primary assist. With all four Devils penalty killers converging on three Flames and the puck on the far boards, Monahan found a wide open Tkachuk who had all the time in the world to beat Wedgewood for his second goal of the season.
About thirty seconds later, Dawson Mercer scored for the Devils but not without minor controversy. Moments prior to the goal, Vladar’s mask had come loose. Despite his pleas to the referee to stop play, the whistle wasn’t blown until the puck went past Vladar.
Later on, chaos was afoot as Juuso Valimaki and Andreas Johnsson dropped the gloves to fight but the referees stopped anything from happening. However, Valimaki was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, putting the Devils on the power play. Zacha scored on the resultant man-advantage, and it’d be the first power play goal against the Flames would cede on this road trip. Their penalty kill had been perfect on the road up until this point.
The Devils tried to pull the game back to even with their net empty, but it’d be to no avail. Calgary wins, 5–3 final score. Flames win their fourth straight game. Check out the game visualisations below!
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