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Flames Escape Toronto with 4-3 Win over Maple Leafs

The Flames were opportunistic on Friday night

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Calgary Flames Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Calgary Flames 4 - Toronto Maple Leafs 3

Scoring

Calgary

1st: Tkachuk (8) (Nesterov, Lindholm) 1:19, Ryan (2) (Andersson, Lucic) 7:33, Tanev (2) (Hanifin) 18:55

2nd: Giordano (4) (Andersson, Backlund) PP 12:33

3rd: None

Toronto

1st: Spezza (6) (Reilly, Simmonds) 12:47, Kerfoot (5) (Bogosian, Dermott) 19:35

2nd: Marner (12) 3:48

3rd: None

Recap

The Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs were both entering tonight’s game coming off of disappointing losses to their respective provincial rivals. For Calgary they were looking to get back on track after a 7-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, while the Leafs were looking to get things turned around as they were mired in a streak of five losses in six games. Toronto came into the game fully rested with their last game on Sunday meaning they had plenty of time to dwell on their last game.

Before we get into the recap I just wanted to talk about tonight’s jersey matchup. I really don’t know if I loved it or hated it, there was so much colour on the ice with the Flames rocking their home retros and the Leafs in their green and white Toronto St. Pats jerseys. It was very bright and my eyes felt like they were burning at times during the game, but oh well.

The Flames got off on the right foot very early in this one with a wrist shot from Matthew Tkachuk deflecting off of a Leaf defender in front and past Frederik Andersen to give Calgary the 1-0 lead. It was Tkachuk’s first goal in nine games and Nikita Nesterov and Elias Lindholm picked up assists.

Not long after Calgary made it 2-0 with a strong forecheck generating a turnover that eventually wound up on the stick of Derek Ryan in the slot who hammered home a one-timer. Rasmus Andersson and Milan Lucic registered assists on the goal.

Toronto managed to pull back within one with Jason Spezza finding a loose puck after a shot block and beating Jacob Markstrom before he had time to reset.

Late in the period, Calgary extended their lead back to two goals with Chris Tanev registering his second goal as a Flame. After a simple pass from Noah Hanifin, Tanev just waited for a crowd to form in the Toronto slot, and then he put the puck through the bodies and past Andersen to make it 3-1.

However the scoring wasn’t done in the wild first period as Alex Kerfoot would beat Markstrom from a ways out (with a slight deflection) to again cut the Calgary lead to 3-2. Early in the 2nd period the Leafs would tie the game after a defensive zone turnover by Calgary left the puck on Mitch Marner’s stick and he beat Markstrom with a wicked wrister from the high slot.

From there the Flames pushed back a bit and eventually it was Mark Giordano getting the Flames ahead 4-3 with a long point shot that hit of the behind of Jake Muzzin (lol) and into the net. It was Gio’s 497th career point as he closes in on 500 points.

The rest of the period finished with a few good chances for both sides, including a shot off the post by Lucic, but Calgary clung to a 4-3 lead heading to the third.

The third period was just straight up Park-The-Bus mode for the Flames as Toronto pushed hard with a lot of zone time throughout the period, but only mustered up eight total shots and just three high danger chances despite also having four minutes of powerplay time.

Among the most dangerous of Toronto chances was a puck that came to the high flying Auston Matthews, but Markstrom dove across the net and made one of the best saves you’ll see this year, robbing the Leaf superstar.

The Leafs pushed late but Calgary did a good job again of limiting any dangerous chances and didn’t let them set up for the final 30 seconds or so. Calgary holds on for the win to move to 15-13-3 and have now won four of five with Sutter behind the bench.

Final Thoughts

  • Goes without saying that this wasn’t a pretty win at all, and Calgary probably didn’t deserve it if I’m being totally honest, but they did what they had to do, and that’s what matters
  • Good on the Flames for getting some shots on Andersen early who has been playing very poorly of late. They shook his confidence early and it likely helped the rest of the way.
  • The Flames had a whopping 29 blocks, something we haven’t seen since the heyday of Bob Hartley back in 2014-15.
  • Nice to see Matthew Tkachuk get off the snide and onto the scoresheet. Finished an assist shy of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick after his fight with Justin Holl
  • The Flames really need to find a better way to utilize the Gaudreau-Monahan duo. At home where you can control matchups they’ve been okay, but they had a horrible game with a sub 15% xGF which is bad.
  • I imagine we’ll see David Rittich tomorrow to give Markstrom a rest and because he was so good against Toronto earlier this year

Flame of the Game

Calgary Flames v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

Derek Ryan (F): A big honourable mention to Matthew Tkachuk for his night, but I thought Ryan was by far the best Flames forward on the ice tonight. He was rewarded with a goal early, but did an extremely good job of limiting the Leafs defensively and filled in very nicely on the PK. Nights like this really make you appreciate what he brings to the table.