Just 2 nights removed from a game in which they threw everything at a goaltender and got very few rewards, the Calgary Flames played a much different game on Wednesday night. The team capitalized with 4 goals on just 15 shots on Avalanche net minder Semyon Varlamov.
Mikael Backlund put home a James Neal rebound just over 5 minutes into the game. With Neal playing with Monahan and Gaudreau after a penalty kill, Backlund replaced Monahan and skated into the zone, putting home his 10th of the year.
Giordano sprang Sam Bennett entering the Avalanche zone, who set Mark Jankowski up for a one time goal at the halfway mark of the period.
The Avalanche, who had dominated most of the first period, got goals from Nathan MacKinnon and Erik Johnson in just over 3 minutes to send the game tied into intermission. The Flames only recorded 5 shots to Colorado’s 12. They would also record 5 in the third, and 6 in the second.
On just the Flames’ third shot of the period, Elias Lindholm buried a powerplay goal from the top of the right circle, to give the Flames a 3-2 edge going into the third.
A Mark Giordano shot bounced off Michael Frolik’s pants into the top corner to give the Flames some breathing room. Mikko Rantanen made it interesting with his 20th with just 38 seconds remaining, but Matthew Tkachuk also buried his 20th into the empty net to seal the game.
Johnny Gaudreau recorded 2 assists bringing his point total to 66 (tied for 3rd in the league) and 40 assists in 45 games. Backlund and Frolik both recorded their 10th goals of the season, and Matthew Tkachuk became the 4th Flame to already have 20 goals this year. Mark Giordano is back to a point per game pace, with 3 assists.
Colorado has now dropped 8 of their last 9.
1st: 5:34- Mikael Backlund (10) (Neal, Gaudreau), 10:29- Mark Jankowski (7) (Bennett, Giordano)
2nd: 12:57 PPG- Elias Lindholm (21) (Giordano, Gaudreau)
3rd: 9:14- Michael Frolik (10) (Giordano, Brodie), 19:50 EN- Matthew Tkachuk (20) (Brodie, Ryan)
1st: 16:32- MacKinnon (26) (Landeskog, Rantanen), 19:41- Erik Johnson (3) (Calvert, Jost)
3rd: 19:42- Mikko Rantanen (20) (Landeskog)
Back to back games where the Flames won, but know they played far from their best. 16 shots usually doesn’t win you games, but the Flames certainly took advantage of some opportune bounces. The powperplay scored a crucial go-ahead goal, which is exactly what the Flames need it to do to be succesful.
The Flames new second powerplay of Czarnik-Neal-Jankowski and Brodie-Andersson, got little playing time with just 2 opportunities, but generated decent zone time.
Big Save Dave lived up to his name again tonight, stoppping 32 shots, but gave up a soft last minute goal for the second game in a row.
The Flames are just the second team to reach 60 points in the NHL this season, and lead the Western Conference in goals scored, with 162.
Flame Of The Game
Mark Giordano (D): David Rittich deserves more than an honourable mention for his performance in this game, but the captain showed exactly why there is so much praise for him this season. 3 assists brings his total to 43 points in 43 games. Broke his stick blocking a shot, and then blocked a cross crease pass with his hands flattened on the ice. Incredible all around game.
1/11: Calgary Flames vs Florida Panthers, 7 PM MT