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Recap: Calgary Flames (4) @ Washington Capitals (1): Special Teams Were Huge Tonight

The Flames got 2 PPGs and killed all 3 penalties they took in their 4-1 win over Washington.

NHL: Calgary Flames at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Calgary Flames 4 Washington Capitals 1

The Flames PP was riding high coming into tonight’s contest and they were in no mood to slow down. The Flames got PPGs from Sean Monahan (his 4th straight) and Mikael Backlund as Calgary would dominate the Caps for almost the entire game. Mike Smith was huge when he was called upon, stopping 29 of the 30 shots he saw on his way to his 11th victory on the season.

1st Period: Calgary Flames 1 Washington Capitals 1

If nothing more, this was an incredibly entertaining period. Calgary had multiple PP chances, but came up empty and they survived a furious Washington PP where Mike Smith bailed the Flames out with 2 huge saves and T.J. Oshie hit a post. The 2 goals of the period came rather quickly. The Brodie/Hamonic pairing continued to struggle as they were on the ice for Washington’s first of the game. Lars Eller camped out front with no one on him and put home a Vrana pass for his 4th of the season, 1:02 into the game. Hamonic tried to play the stick and Brodie was staring off into space, not good hockey.

Not to be outdone, Sean Monahan sprung Johnny Gaudreau on a breakaway and the Flames hottest player didn’t miss. Gaudreau came flying down the right side and fired a wrister over Braden Holtby’s right shoulder tying the game at 1-1. That’s 10 straight games with a point for Gaudreau.

1st Period Stats

Team Goals SOG PP
Team Goals SOG PP
Flames 1 11 0/2
Capitals 1 12 0/1

2nd Period: Calgary Flames 2 Washington Capitals 1

The Flames didn’t relent for the entire period and they walked away with a 2-1 advantage after 40 minutes because of that kind of play. Johnny Gaudreau once again was the straw that stirred the Flames drink in the second frame. Gaudreau and the Flames top PP line worked extremely hard with their only 5 on 4 of the period and hit pay dirt. Gaudreau would fire a shot on Holtby, Matthew Tkachuk would get the puck free and who else but Sean Monahan would be sitting on the door step to get his 4th straight PPG, giving the Flames a 2-1 lead. Calgary really controlled the pace of the play in the second, out shooting Washington 13-6 and giving Mike Smith a fairly easy 20 minutes. The beleaguered Flames PK once again kept the Caps off the board by killing Kris Versteeg’s hooking penalty.

2nd Period Stats

Team Goals SOG PP
Team Goals SOG PP
Flames 1 13 1/1
Capitals 0 6 0/1

3rd Period: Calgary Flames 4 Washington Capitals 1

The Flames continued their assault on Washington in the third. The Flames would score twice, once on the PP and Mike Smith would hold up his end of the bargain. Mikael Backlund would get the Flames on the board with their second power play goal of the night. Dougie Hamilton would fire a shot in on Holtby that he would kick out right in Backlund’s direction and he would win the scramble and put home his 5th of the season.

Mark Giordano would snap his goal scoring drought with a goal that just missed being another power play marker for the Flames. Calgary’s captain would top off a fantastic game with a wrist shot through traffic that found iron and the back of the net just as the PP expired. The marker was Giordano’s first in 6 games. Mike Smith would get Calgary through the rest of the period, stopping all 12 shots he faced.

3rd Period Stats

Team Goals SOG PP
Team Goals SOG PP
Flames 2 16 1/2
Capitals 0 12 0/1

Final Thoughts

Calgary let Washington take control of the pace early on, but after giving up the opening goal, Calgary shut down the Capitals. The Flames top line really got Calgary moving and the excelled when playing with the man advantage. The Flames PK had been brutal over the past month, but they rose to the occasion, killing all 3 penalties the Flames took. A surprising addition to the lineup tonight was Freddie Hamilton who played very well. He used his big frame in the corners and he wasn’t afraid to throw his body around as he lead Calgary with 6 hits. All in all this was a very solid performance by Calgary as they improved to 12-8-0 on the season and 2-1-0 on their 6 game road trip.

Flame(s) of The Game

NHL: Calgary Flames at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Instead of a player, we’re giving it to the Flames special teams. Between the PP going 2 for 5 (they were 1 second from being 3 for 5) and the PK going 3 for 3, Calgary got a major boost from their special teams. Sean Monahan was noticeably effective on the PK, even getting 2 shots on net while short handed. Whether this is a sign of all the special teams turning in the right direction (the PP has been outstanding lately) or not it was good to see Calgary take advantage of their man up and man down situations.

What’s Next?

11/22: Calgary Flames @ Columbus Blue Jackets 5 PM MT