Flames Game Recaps

Flames Visual Recap 37: Tkachuk picks up five points in “comeback” win over St. Louis

The Calgary Flames were hungry to get back into the win column. After losing a game they didn’t deserve to lose against the Edmonton Oilers, the Flames returned back to the Saddledome to hose the St. Louis Blues. The visitors were coming in on their second night of a back-to-back, and the Flames were as opportunistic as ever.

First period

The first period opened with the Blues getting up ahead early. Just five minutes into the game, the Blues opened the scoring on their first shot of the game. After the Flames had most of the offensive zone time to start, it took just one quick sequence for the Flames cede the first goal to Tyler Bozak.

However, less than a minute later, Nikita Zadorov‘s wrist shot went far post and in, tying the game up at 1–1. The goal started a relentless onslaught from Calgary—the Blues were unable to generate anything thereafter.

The next two goals in the period both included primary assists to Johnny Gaudreau. The first saw Gaureau intercept a neutral zone pass, enter the zone, and patiently setup a trailing Chris Tanev for an easy tap-in. The second, while on the power play, the Flames transitioned into the offensive zone and Jordan Binnington was taken out by his own defender Robert Bertuzzo. Gaudreau found Elias Lindholm for a wide open shot.

Closing out the first up 3–1 was a welcomed sight, but the Flames controled the play entirely, putting up 17 shots to the Blues’ seven.

Second period

Whatever the Flames did well in the first period, they doubled down on in the second. They opened the middle frame with another power play goal, this time from Sean Monahan. It’d be his third goal in as many games, and his latest put the Flames up 4–1.

As the period went on, the Flames gave the Blues no room whatsoever, and were instead generated chance after chance for themselves. They’d actually finish the period with 18 shots, while holding the Blues to an even worse than the first total of just two shots on goal.

Among the Flames’ 18 second period shots, four turned into goals. While Monahan’s was early in the period, the next three came in quick succession to close out the frame. First, Blake Coleman simply outworked Blues defenceman Niko Mikkola to earn room in the crease to slip the puck past Binnington.

Then two minutes later, Adam Ruzicka was the beneficiary of an incredible tic-tac-toe passing play alongside the Flames’ best Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. Ruzicka did the hard work of keeping the play alive by stripping the puck away from Klim Kostin at the blue line. Finding Gaudreau, the puck was quickly passed to Tkachuk who one-timed it to Ruzicka for another near-empty net tap-in.

To finish off the period, with just 24 seconds remaining, Gaudreau potted his first goal of the game with a laser of a shot that went crossbar and in. Just like that, the Flames were up 7–1 after 40 minutes.

Third period

The Blues turned to Ville Husso in the third to relieve Binnington of his goaltending duties. Typically a team would start shutting down their offence if they’re up six goals in the third period, but the Flames actually kept pressing. St. Louis was playing an all-time awful game, and the Flames weren’t exactly easing up. Though the Blues did end up generating more shots in the final period than they did the first two combined, the Flames still held an edge in third period shots with 13–12; not exactly characteristic of a team holding a 7–1 lead, but the Blues were giving the Flames the space to generate offence yet, so they did.

Though the Blues were tired, the Flames deserve all the credit. They played the most complete game and made the Central’s second best team look like a shadow of themselves. Calgary’s power play scored twice, their penalty kill was perfect, and their even strength game was world-class.

Per NaturalStatTrick.com, the Flames had 82.2% of the 5v5 score-and-venue-adjusted expected goals for. That’s putting on a clinic on the ice and their skaters were rewarded for it every step of the way. Twelve different Flames got on the scoresheet—Tkachuk led the way with five assists (four primary) while Gaudreau wasn’t far behind with a goal and three assists (two primary).

Flames finish the game with 83 shot attempts, 48 shots, and seven goals; winning big over St. Louis and get back into the win column with one of the biggest comeback victories of the season. Check out the game visuals below!

Game events

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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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