Right back in action after a blowout victory over the Vegas Golden Knights, the Calgary Flames got right back in action against another the Toronto Maple Leafs. In the second game of a home back-to-back set, the Flames were tired facing the Leafs with both teams putting winning streaks on the line—the Leafs have won six in a row while the Flames have won four.
The Flames were not playing their best hockey to open the game. There was a loose structure not representative of the Flames’ usual system. Perhaps it was a result of playing the night prior, or the Leafs were able to exploit the Flames. In either case, the first period was dominated by the visitors.
Calgary had several power play power opportunities in the first but the Leafs’ penalty kill stifled much if not all of the Flames’ offence on the man-advantage.
Toward the end of the period, Nikita Zadorov had a massive hit on Ondrej Kase, resulting in a short tilt between Zadorov and Morgan Rielly. Coincidental roughing penalties were given, while Rielly was given an extra penalty for cross checking.
Yet, on their fourth power play of the first period, the Flames were still unable to score. The Leafs held a 18–11 shot advantage after the first.
In the second, the Leafs were the first team to strike. The Leafs had a a flurry of chances in the Flames’ zone in quick succession. An initial save on John Tavares by Jacob Markstrom was followed by a goal-saving shot block on William Nylander by Rasmus Andersson. The puck ricocheted to Rasmus Sandin well far away from the chaos, and his quick shot found its way past Markstrom for the first goal of the game.
Just 24 seconds after, the Flames tied it up. Mikael Backlund entered the zone and had a nifty backhand spin-o-rama pass to a trailing Andrew Mangiapane who got his shot off in a hurry, placing it over Jack Campbell‘s blocker. The Leafs’ lead was shortlived, and the game was at evens once again.
Past the midway mark of the second period, the Flames found the back of the net three times in a row in glorious fashion. Off an offensive faceoff win, Andersson connected with Noah Hanifin on a set play that was too quick for the Leafs to react to.
Right after the Flames got their first lead of the game, Nylander was called for a penalty. On the ensuing faceoff, another offensive zone saw the puck go from Backlund to Hanifin, then immediately to Oliver Kylington for a slapshot. Just three seconds elapsed on the power play as Kylington scored his second goal against the Leafs in as many games.
Two minutes after that, the Flames’ first line got into the scoring fray. A blueline-to-blueline pass from Chris Tanev to Johnny Gaudreau made for a perfect entry, and Elias Lindholm was wide open to receive a backhand pass with all the time in the world to snipe his 17th goal of the season.
Just like that, the Flames had a 4–1 lead after two periods while being outshot with a total of 32–20.
Just over a minute into the third, the Flames added to their lead again. Andersson picked up his second goal of the season. Keeping the puck alive at the blueline, Andersson skated to the middle of the ice and took a shot into traffic. The shot went high above Campbell’s glove to make it a 5–1 game.
The Leafs finally answered after allowing five straight goals. Michael Bunting scored on a transition play with a shot that went off the post and in.
Calgary had a sizeable lead but against a team like the Leafs, a pushback was a certainty. The Flames didn’t immediately peel off on offence as they had their chances too for the first bit of the third, but the Leafs were more desperate and more tenacious. The momentum shifted back to the visitors as the Flames became weary.
With time winding down, Toronto ran amok on offence in search of their next goal. However, Markstrom was sharp in his 11th straight start, having also played yesterday too.
For a back-to-back set against the Golden Knights and Leafs, the Flames could not have had a better outcome. Outscoring their opponents 11–2, Calgary extended their winning streak to five games and are riding a high with two statement wins in a row.
Check out the data visualisations from the game below!
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