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Best Team In The League? Flames Ain’t Got Time For That As They Roll Over Tampa 5-1

Calgary got goals from 5 different players as they slowed down the league’s best offence Thursday night.

NHL: Calgary Flames at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Calgary Flames 5 Tampa Bay Lightning 1

The Flames are ROLLING! Calgary won their 5th straight Thursday night as they walked in to Tampa and dispatched the Lightning 5-1. Calgary got goals from Micheal Ferland, Johnny Gaudreau, Sam Bennett, Mark Jankowski and Matthew Tkachuk, while Mike Smith held his own in net stopping 32 of the 33 shots he faced.

First Period: Flames 1 Lightning 0

If you have to take on the best team in the league, the Flames came out swinging and did it the right way. Calgary would get the only marker of the period 29 seconds into the period. Calgary’s top line stayed hot when Johnny Gaudreau did a fantastic job keeping the puck in the Tampa end, while keeping the Flames onside. He would feed Sean Monahan who would connect with a streaking Micheal Ferland who would not miss the mark, scoring his 19th goal of the season, putting the Flames up 1-0.

Shortly after that goal Troy Brouwer would offend Alex Killorn after a huge hit and those two would throw down. Brouwer would get Killorn’s helmet off and pummel him to the ground, another show that the Flames weren’t afraid of the NHL’s most explosive team.

The rest of the period would belong to Mike Smith. The Flames netminder was extra sharp stopping all 15 shots that came his way and looked strong playing the puck. The Flames defence, despite surrendering 15 SOG played very well against Tampa’s explosive offence. All in all the first 20 minutes was extremely entertaining.

1st Period Stats

Team Goals SOG PP
Team Goals SOG PP
Flames 1 7 0/0
Lightning 0 15 0/0

Second Period: Flames 3 Lightning 1

Another period and another early goal set the tone as Tampa really took control of the pace of the game, putting 10 shots on Mike Smith and getting the first marker of the period. A mere 31 seconds into the 2nd, Brayden Point would take a pass from Tyler Johnson and bury the puck past Mike Smith to tie this game at 1-1. Tampa would get another chance to score as Mark Giordano would haul down Cedric Pauquette and he would be awarded a penalty shot. Mike Smith would stand strong as the “less than confident” Pauquette would cruise in and be denied the chance for his 2nd tally of the season.

For all that hard work early and how they controlled the pace of play, Tampa couldn’t have seen the rest of this period coming. Calgary would take control late in the period, with 2 goals in under minutes to put some distance between themselves and the Lightning. Micheal Ferland would enter the Tampa zone and “pass” the puck to Johnny Gaudreau who would cruise in and absolutely undress Andrei Vasilevskiy for his 14th of the season giving Calgary a 2-1 lead. Anything you can do I can do better? Sam Bennett would close out the scoring for the period with a rare PPG, beating Vasilevskiy on an odd shot that would give the Flames a 3-1 lead after 2.

Notable from this period is that Tampa’s top defenceman and All Star Victor Hedman would check Garnet Hathaway and their legs would collide, sending the Norris Trophy candidate to the locker room. He would not return.

2nd Period Stats

Team Goals SOG PP
Team Goals SOG PP
Flames 2 11 1/1
Lightning 1 10 0/2

Third Period: Flames 5 Lightning 1

Someone forgot to tell the Flames they weren’t supposed to win this game. Calgary took it to the Lightning in the 3rd with 2 more goals, putting this contest away early. Mark Jankowski would cap off a very well played game by getting his 8th goal just a little over 2 minutes into the period. Garnet Hathaway would drive the play into the Tampa zone and dish to Janko who would do the rest, getting his 8th of the season and giving the Flames an insurmountable 4-1 lead.

The Flames wouldn’t make it easy on themselves by taking a penalty shortly after that goal and Tampa would open fire on the Flames net. The league’s 3rd best PP unit would hit a cross bar, hit a post and then Mike Smith would make a timely save as Calgary would kill off another penalty and hold on to a 3 goal lead. Third period leads are a precarious thing for the Flames as of late, but tonight they would hold on and pad their lead as Matthew Tkachuk would put the Flames’ 5th and final goal of the night in through Andrei Vasilevskiy’s 5 hole, putting the Flames up 5-1.

3rd Period Stats

Team Goals SOG PP
Team Goals SOG PP
Flames 2 6 0/0
Lightning 0 8 0/1

Final Thoughts

Well, that was something else. The Flames came into one of the hardest buildings to win in this season and slapped the Lightning around, sending them into their 5 day break with a 5-1 loss. Tampa’s high powered offence fired 33 shots at Mike Smith and he turned away all but one, including a penalty shot. Calgary’s special teams also showed up tonight as Calgary got a PPG and they killed all 3 penalties they took. That’s now 5 in a row for the Flames as they head into much “easier” game with the Panthers and Hurricanes. All in all, this was a fantastic showing by the Flames on all levels.

Flame Of The Game

NHL: Calgary Flames at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Smith (G). While the Flames churned out 5 goals tonight, Mike Smith was a HUGE reason the Flames were able to take down the league’s top team in Tampa. Smith stopped 32 of the 33 shots he faced and against a team that scores at will, that’s Flame of the Game worthy.

What’s Next?

1/12/18: Calgary @ Florida 5:30 PM MT