Calgary Flames 4 – Detroit Red Wings 2
1st: 6:46- Gaudreau (16) (Hanifin/Monahan), 8:03- Monahan (19) (Lindholm)
2nd: 19:49- Mangiapane (14) (Hanifin/Backlund)
3rd: 19:48- Mangiapane (15) (Unassisted)
Detroit Red Wings
1st: 15:48- Larkin (16) (Perlini/Nemeth)
3rd: 18:00- Larkin (17) (Mantha/Bowey)
The Flames started a five game road trip with a 4-2 victory over the NHL’s worst team, the Detroit Red Wings. Despite that moniker of “worst,” the Wings didn’t make it very easy on the Flames as this game progressed.
Calgary came out strong, similar to how they opened up against the Bruins Friday night, but unlike that game the Flames held their leads and walked out with a win and two points. Johnny Gaudreau opened up the scoring with an absolute rocket of a slapshot that beat Bernier high glove side, putting the Flames up 1-0. Less than two minutes later Sean Monahan would deposit his 17th of the season by batting in a loose puck and the Flames came out flying with a 2-0 lead. Dylan Larkin would lift Detroit’s spirits by out-skating and beating Michael Stone and David Rittich, who was all in on a poke check which didn’t work, and Detroit was within one at 2-1. Andrew Mangiapane would round out the scoring for the Flames by having a puck deflect off his skate at the end of the second period and he would collect his second of the night with an empty netter with 12 seconds on the clock to finish off the Red Wings for good.
Detroit really put on a show effort-wise tonight and pushed the Flames around for the final two periods. For a team with nothing left to play for on the season Detroit played like their lives were on the line. The Red Wings blocked 10 shots on the night and their 3rd worst PK killed off both penalties they took on the night. Jonathan Bernier stopped 27 of the 30 shots that came his way and made some really important saves down the stretch that allowed Detroit to stay within striking distance. Are they good? No. But Detroit wasn’t an easy out on this evening.
The Flames defence, which has been struggling without Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic came to play tonight. Sure, it was against the 15 win Red Wings, but it was still a very good night for the Flames blue liners. Noah Hanifin, who has had a rough go about it lately, played one of his best games as of late. He had two assists on the night, but more importantly his stick was in passing lanes and he broke up some key passes late in the game to keep the Red Wings from having clean zone entries. Alexander Yelesin played his best game in his short stint with Calgary tonight as well. Yelesin was a hitting machine, leading the Flames with five hits and was a solid +1.
The Flames big guns in Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan took some of the headline space tonight, but the Flames second line was their best on the ice….again. Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund were a force to be reckoned with. Mangiapane continued his hot play with two goals and Mikael Backlund collected a helper. That line combined for 11 SOG, which led the team on the night.
The win got the Flames back into the #1 WC spot….for the time being, as they collected their 70th point of the season.
Flame Of The Game
David Rittich (G): Rittich had another fantastic showing on the road, winning for the 8th time in his last 11 tries away from the Saddledome. He made some very big saves throughout the night, stopping 27 of the 29 shots that came his way.
2/25: Calgary Flames @ Boston Bruins, 5 PM MT
by Mark Parkinson