Well, it sure took the Flames long enough, but the used almost every minute of the final period and came away with a 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Flames 3rd line carried the team through this contest and it was that trio’s hard work and determination that would get the Flames the game winning goal with under 2 minutes left.
1st Period: Calgary Flames 1 Vancouver Canucks 1
For one half of the period the Flames were bad, for the second half they turned it on. Per usual, the Flames would finish the first period without a lead and gave up the opening goal, but they would crank up the speed and shots and really take control of the first stanza. Jake Virtanen would get behind the Flames defensive pair of Brett Kulak and Michael Stone and tap home his own rebound giving the Canucks an early 1-0 lead. The Flames would respond with 3 quality scoring chances, but Mikael Backlud would hit the post and Anders Nilsson would stop Michael Frolik and Mark Jankowski on quasi breakaways.
In an act of redemption, Calgary’s much criticized 4th line would even the game up at 18:28. Curtis Lazar would make a great play to steal the puck and he was off to the races, feeding a slick pass to Troy Brouwer who buried a one timer to tie the game at 1-1. Yes, you read that correctly. Outside of the slow start, Calgary needs a stronger PP effort in the remaining 40 minutes. The Flames had the puck twice with the man advantage and didn’t generate a shot. Bonus? They killed off the one penalty they took.
1st Period Stats
2nd Period: Calgary Flames 1 Vancouver Canucks 2
The Flames played a fantastic period, but still found themselves down by a goal as the second 20 came to a close. Calgary had some serious jump, really taking control of the game, but they couldn’t find the back of the net. The Flames passed a little too much in the first, the second was a different story, even though their shot numbers were down. Johnny Gaudreau started to heat up, getting some pucks on the net and Mark Jankowski carried the Flames and the third line as well. The Flames thought they were getting a PP when Mark Giordano appeared to be held by Brock Boeser, but the back official saw things differently and correctly and send Giordano to the box for a hold. As usually happens with penalties like that, Boeser stayed on the ice and put the Canucks up 2-1, scoring his 15th of the season.
2nd Period Stats
3rd Period: Calgary Flames 4 Vancouver Canucks 2
It’s like a pattern with the Flames, coast and struggle for the first half of a period and then turn in on in the final 10. What was a dump and chase fest got a little more exciting when Garnet Hathaway chased down a loose puck and fed Matthew Tkachuk who didn’t miss with an absolute snipe off his backhand to tie the game at 2-2. That was Tkachuk’s first goal in 12 games. The Flame from there on out would take control on this contest. The third line would fire shot after shot towards Nilsson, none finding the net until Sam Bennett would dig out a puck, skate cross crease and throw a back hander on net to put the Flames ahead for good, 3-2. The final marker of the night would come from the stick of Matthew Tkachuk as he would deposit one into the empty net to seal the deal, 4-2.
3rd Period Stats
This was a big and much needed win for the Flames. They came in with a chance to get a solid hold on the last WC spot and they did by collecting two valuable points. The Flames got solid efforts from all of their lines, including some long and well played shifts by their 4th line. The stars had to be that 3rd though. Hathaway, Bennett and Jankowski as a unit were probably the Flames best trio tonight. Hathaway in particular played extremely well and his hard work got the Flames the tying goal tonight. The Gaudreau, Monahan and Ferland line struggled tonight, at times trying to do too much and looking to make a spectacular play as opposed to the right play. In the end the Flames took control of the game and got much needed win in the division.
Flame Of The Game
Matthew Tkachuk (F). In Tkachuk’s first game back from suspension, all he did was score the game tying goal and an empty netter to put the Canucks down for the count. Tkachuk had been on a scoring drought, but he was clearly fired up tonight and he was rewarded with 2 goals, his first since the Flames beat the Red Wings in early November.
Calgary Flames @ Minnesota Wild, 12/12 6 PM MT