The Calgary Flames needed a win.....like REALLY needed a win tonight and boy did they ever get one. The Flames came home with a season long four game losing streak in tow, they were no longer in first place and the Vegas Golden Knights were making some hay in the Pacific Division. When the 60 minutes were done, the Flames streak was over and they were back in first place in the Pacific Division and Western Conference thanks to a 6-3 win.
This game looks, statistically, like it was a Calgary cakewalk, but it was nothing of the sorts. Calgary would blow a 3-1 lead and a 3-2 lead and find themselves tied with Vegas a mere 1:20 into the second period. Reilly Smith would score 21 seconds into the period and the Flames lead would be cut to 3-2. One minute later a Johnny Gaudreau turnover would lead to Mark Stone scoring his career high 30th goal and out of nowhere this game was tied 3-3.
The 3M Line would turn things around for the Flames and between that threesome and some BIG David Rittich saves, Calgary was able to grind out three more goals and get the win. Mikael Backlund’s second goal of the the game (PPG) was a major turning point in this game as it slowed down a ton of momentum that Vegas had going for themselves.
Matthew Tkachuk would then chip in with two more goals, leading to a hat trick for #19 and the Flames buried Vegas and would end their six game winning streak.
1st: 2:40- Mangiapane (4) (Hathaway/Hamonic), 7:37- Backlund (18) (Frolik/Tkachuk), 18:58- Tkachuk (27) (Frolik/Giordano)
2nd: 19:38- (PPG) Backlund (19) (Andersson/Czarnik)
3rd: 15:43- Tkachuk (28) (Backlund/Frolik), 17:28- (Empty Net) Tkachuk (29) (Frolik)
1st: 14:40- Pirri (11) (Tuch/Eakin)
2nd: 00:21- Smith (Karlsson/Theodore), 1:20- Stone (30) (Stastny/Pacioretty)
-The Flames 3M Line was the difference in this game tonight. Matthew Tkachuk, who had been bounced around a bit in the lineup, was HUGE in this game and the rest of that line carried Calgary tonight. The Flames needed to get their offence in gear and this group certainly got them going.
And it’s a good thing they did because the Flames top line really struggled in this game. They were without a point and a certain member of that line was a turnover machine. One of Johnny Gaudreau’s turnovers lead to a goal and two others should have if not for David Rittich making some big time saves. Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm combined for two shots on net and they each missed a half open net.
David Rittich was solid tonight in a game where Vegas scored quickly and in bunches, but he was able to get back into the game and he had a very good third period stopping all 12 shots the Golden Knights sent his way. He finished his night stopping 25 of the 28 shots that came his way, earning his 23rd victory of the season.
Flame Of The Game
3M Line: The Flames 3M Line was a machine tonight. Matthew Tkachuk had a hat trick and an assist. Mikael Backlund had two goals and an assist. Michael Frolik had four assists. Add it all up and the Flames second line had 11 points on the night when the Flames absolutely needed someone to step up.
3/12: Calgary Flames vs NJ Devils, 7 PM MT