Michael Stone has played a grand total of seven games in 2021–22. He entered the season with 493 games played and it seemed fairly certain that he’d reach the 500-game milestone early in the year. However, it took until the Calgary Flames’ 70th game of the season before Stone reached that mark, and he did it in emphatic fashion against the Anaheim Ducks.
The two teams were fairly even to open the game—both teams had a fair amount of shot attempts in the first period, but the Flames were the only team to get on the scoreboard.
Johnny Gaudreau was fed the puck behind the net, and with complete on-ice vision, he spotted Elias Lindholm streaking towards the net and got off a highlight-reel backhand pass to the centreman, who got off a quick shot to beat Anthony Stolarz to open the scoring. Stone picked up the secondary assist on the play.
Despite the Flames netting the only goal of the period, they weren’t exactly dominating their opponents. Anaheim had more chances but Jacob Markstrom was sharp when he needed to be.
Midway through the middle period, the Flames extended their lead. The Ducks had an offensive zone turnover that led to the Flames’ second line maintaining possession skating out of their own zone. As the Flames skated out of their own zone, they had a bit of a broken play where the puck just went between the legs of a Ducks defender right to Tyler Toffoli in all alone in front of the net. A nifty move across the crease was followed by a backhand shot going top shelf.
Another highlight-reel goal courtesy of Toffoli’s tenth goal as a Calgary Flame. He’d be the ninth skater this season to score ten goals with Calgary, and he’s one goal away from 20 goals on the season in total between the Flames and Montreal Canadiens.
With less than two minutes remaining in the second period, the Flames had just finished killing off a penalty, but with three defenders and two forwards on the ice after the penalty expired, they remained hemmed in their zone. Trevor Zegras received a pass and did a quick spin-o-rama to shoot. The pck went between Nikita Zadorov‘s legs and right over Markstrom’s shoulder to cut into the Flames’ lead.
The Flames had a much better second period and continued their momentum into the third. Past the midway mark of the final frame, the Flames restored their two-goal lead. With offensive zone possession, Andrew Mangiapane found Stone open at the blue line. Stone being Stone, he immediately did the one thing he knows how to do best: shoot. A massive slap shot with no one on him lasered bar-down and in.
What a way to put the exclamation point on his 500th career NHL game.
Less than two minutes later, the Ducks were on the power play and Adam Henrique‘s shot snuck past the smallest of gaps between Markstrom and the post. Just like that it was a one-goal game all over again.
With time winding down, the Flames were highly effective at limiting the Ducks’ ability to pull Stolarz, let alone setup their 6v5 strategy. The clock wounded down and the Flames added an insurance goal courtesy of Matthew Tkachuk to seal the win. The game-winning goal went to Stone; 4–2 Flames, final score.
Data visualisations of the game are below!
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