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Johnny Hockey is still good at hockey: Flames @ Canucks recap

Johnny G. has an excellent night, mostly at the expense of Matt Bartkowski

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Well that's more like it! The Flames bounced back after a terrible outing in Calgary to get one back against the rival Canucks. Johnny Gaudreau was the GOAT of the game, in contrast to Matt Bartkowski, the goat of the game. Winning is fun, and beating the Canucks is double fun.

The Flames, true to form, didn't start so well. There were icings aplenty, failed zone entries, and a team that looked like they didn't remember what had happened three days ago. It was concerning.

The team got their first break after a strong showing from the first line. Johnny Gaudreau buzzing around the net proved too much to handle for "former" Flame Matt Bartkowski, who tripped up the young lad. A big mistake for #44, who had to sit and watch former teammate Dougie Hamilton blast a puck past Ryan Miller. 1-0 Flames

When's the last time you saw the Flames leading in the first period? I can't quite remember myself.

On the other end, Jonas Hiller was doing amazing things to keep the Flames ahead, including one particularly pretty save on face-of-the-franchise Brandon Sutter.

It's sad that there's actually a goaltending controversy going on right now. Hiller's amazing save pretty much closed out the period. Flames led 1-0 in goals, 15-9 in shots, and 23-21 in corsi.

On to the second we go! Unfortunately. Dennis Wideman was penalized early for a trip, and the Canucks made quick work of the penalty killers. Bo Horvat played garbageman for an easy equalizer. 1-1

Wideman's bad night wasn't just over yet. A few minutes after Horvat's goal, #6 was sent to the box again for holding. The penalty kill was scrambling and flailing all over the ice, yet somehow didn't concede to the Canucks, who had three shots during the two minutes.

Just because the penalty was over didn't mean the tire fire stopped smouldering. The Flames allowed a Canucks jailbreak and Jared McCann potted his first of his NHL career with a sweet shot. 2-1 Canucks. Check out how many Flames players have completely checked out in the GIF below:

After this, animosity flared up. Brandon Bollig and Deryk Engelland tried to mix it up with the Sedin twins, and penalties ensued. Bollig received an extra minor for being the third man involved in the scrum, and the Flames went back to the PK.

Thankfully, these teams just really hate each other. Just seconds after the first few penalties expired, Jiri Hudler and Derek Dorsett started jawing at each other, and both received unsportsmanlike penalties. Matt Bartkowski took a penalty nearly a minute later, and we got to see some 4-on-3 hockey for about 40 seconds. Nothing happened, unfortunately.

The Flames had their work cut out for them in the third, something very familiar to them. Vancouver lead 2-1 on the scoresheet, 11-10 in shots, but Calgary won the corsi battle 23-21.

Knowing that losing to Vancouver in back to back games is step one in the NHL's relegation process, the Flames came out fiery in the third period. Thanks in part to a resurgent first line, the Flames kept shooting and pressuring the Canucks. It wasn't long until they broke through, with Sean Monahan scoring his first of the season in typical Monahan style: simple and in the third period.

Of course, he couldn't do it without some help from this article's favourite punching bag:

They didn't slow down after that either, with intense pressure up until the last second of regulation, but couldn't get that final breakthrough. The Flames dominated in shots 12-8 and corsi 20-10.

On to our first ever 3-on-3 OT. Bob Hartley used some curious deployment, sending out two defencemen to begin the period. They were Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton, which was probably just to taunt the rest of the league, but still questionable. Things were even more concerning when he placed Wideman and Russell out in the defensive end. I don't think Bob Hartley gets 3-on-3 hockey.

But Johnny Gaudreau does. The Flames held possession in Vancouver's end for about a minute, trying to find a lane to set up a play. Eventually, Vancouver broke, and Johnny Hockey was given an unabated lane to the net:

And that did it for the game. 3-2 Calgary, their first win of the season, and Hartley's 100th as a Flames coach. Good job, Bob!  The Flames finally dominated in the possession game, winning 38-30 in shots and 67-52 in corsi.


  • The first line is amazing, especially when they're going at full speed. They made mincemeat out of the Vancouver defence.
  • Johnny Gaudreau has a point on every Flames goal this season. Isn't that neat?
  • Sam Bennett didn't get on the scoresheet, but he was the possession hero of the game, owning a 76.67% CF with 1/3rd of his starts happening in the offensive zone. The kid is good.
  • Speaking of the younger kids, the Stockton Heat won 7-0 today in their first AHL game. Bill Arnold, Markus Granlund, Oliver Kylington, and Turner Elson all scored. The future is looking bright! Stay tuned for a writeup of this game.
  • Matt Bartkowski had an awful game today, sometimes his fault, sometimes not. I would feel bad for him, but I don't because he's a Canuck. Should've stayed in Boston, kid.
  • Mason Raymond was particularly inspired by his stint on the waiver wire, and looked more committed to owning a spot tonight. Dude had four shots on goal in the first period. If he can play at that level, I wouldn't mind him chewing up third line minutes for the remaining 80 regular season games.


  • Kris Russell and Dennis Wideman were bad again. Deryk Engelland and Brett Kulak looked better than they did, yet Hartley still went to the two every time.
  • Hartley's coaching decisions sometimes trouble me a lot. While Engelland and Kulak aren't guys you should trust on a regular basis, they played well enough to deserve at least more than ten minutes tonight. They kept the puck in the offensive zone, and made things easy for when the big guns were rested up. Isn't that what you want in a third pairing? Isn't that the basis of the "earned, never given" philosophy this team supposedly operates on?
  • He also placed Backlund on the fourth line and gave him ten minutes of ice time.
  • Bob Hartley certainly did not earn 100 wins as a coach. I don't know how those happened, but they weren't on his shoulders.

Up next:

The Flames get another big break, and have to wait until Tuesday to play again. Next game will be against the Blues at home. We'll have you covered!