Heading into their series finale against the Seattle Kraken, the Flames had their sights set on a few separate goals: a chance to sweep the series, two points closer to clinching the playoffs, and 100 points on the season for Johnny Gaudreau.
Whether there was pressure to accomplish any of the above tasks, the Flames didn’t start the game off right. They were often in their own zone. There was a string in the middle of the period where the Kraken had nine straight shot attempts. The Flames were seemingly caught off guard by Seattle and started the game off on the wrong foot.
The Kraken took advantage of this, as they were able to open the scoring with just under six minutes remaining. Matty Beniers—making his NHL debut—picked up his first NHL point as a primary assist on a slick pass to Ryan Donato.
The Flames responded a couple of minutes later, as a shot from Noah Hanifin was tipped in by Matthew Tkachuk. Nearly a high-stick, Tkachuk kept his stick under the crossbar to make the goal count for his 35th of the season.
Early in the second period, the Kraken restored their one-goal lead. The Flames were sloppy in their own zone and Victor Rask was passed the puck with minimal coverage on him for a quick shot. Throughout the whole frame, the Flames were seriously outplayed. It was perhaps one of their worst periods of the season.
With under three minutes to go in the middle frame, the Kraken extended their lead. A weak shot towards the net by Adam Larsson trickled past Jacob Markstrom into the back of the net to make the score 3–1 for the visitors.
Daniel Vladar took the reins to start the third period to relieve Markstrom in what was a bit of a wakeup call for Calgary. Connor Mackey was called for an interference early in the period, but then two straight penalties to the Kraken sent the game to an extended 4v3 situation.
The Flames capitalised on their opportunity, as their top unit sans Tyler Toffoli was sent out on the open ice.
Cycling in the offensive zone, it led to a power play pass from Gaudreau to Tkachuk. The rest was history:
Getting the primary assist on Tkachuk’s second of the night, Gaudreau reached 100 points on the season with his 66th assist (which was his 48th primary assist).
Congratulations to Gaudreau on reaching the incredible milestone. What a feat.
Reaching a milestone like that should ignite any team—and it absolutely did ignite the Flames. With the lines shuffled, an initial shot from Elias Lindholm fell into the crease where Andrew Mangiapane was left alone for a quick tap-in. Tie game.
Later in the period, the Flames were back on the power play and Noah Hanifin sent in a laser for the Flames’ first lead of the game. Funnily enough, the primary assist on the goal came from Michael Stone. Who would have thought Stone would pass the puck instead of shooting his patented slapshot, but he clearly licensed usage rights to Hanifin and it paid off for the Flames.
With the clock winding down and the Kraken net empty, Gaudreau picked up another primary assist as he set Tkachuk up for the hat trick goal. It’d be Tkachuk’s second career hat trick—his first came over three years ago on March 10, 2019 against the Vegas Golden Knights. The assist would bring Gaudreau into a tie with Jonathan Huberdeau for first in the league with 49 primary assists in all situations,
Four unanswered third period goals would seal the deal and the Flames would secure two big points in a game they only played 20 minutes’ worth of good hockey in. But good teams know how to comeback in a game (see: the Florida Panthers), and good teams don’t get rattled by such games.
A night of frustration quickly turned to a night of celebrations for Calgary. A milestone was reached, a hat trick was scored, a season series was swept, and two more points in the standings to bring the Flames up to 99 points on the season.
Data visualisations of the game are below!
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