Calgary Flames 3 – Vancouver Canucks 0
1st : 8:31 -Monahan (1) (Tkachuk, Lindholm) PPG
2nd: 16:12 – Dube (1) (Mangiapane, Backlund) PPG
3rd: 15:16 – Tkachuk (2) (Gaudreau, Andersson) PPG
The Calgary Flames home opener against the Vancouver Canucks kicked off with the team first sharing a touching tribute to the late Ken King who passed in March after a long battle with cancer. He was a tremendous man and a huge figure in the community. The Flames also paid tribute to Calgary Police Officer Andrew Harnett who lost his life in the line of duty on January 1st.
1st Period: Flames 1, Canucks 0
The Flames came out of the gate with more jump than the Canucks in the first period which resulted in a number of great scoring chances but it took a couple of wacky blocked shots and a post to keep Calgary off the board early. However the Flames would head to the powerplay after a prolonged shift in the offensive zone with Tanner Pearson taking a high sticking penalty.
Calgary would make no mistake early in the man advantage and take the lead. A great keep-in by Rasmus Andersson would result in the Flames setting up a nifty passing play with Elias Lindholm hitting Matthew Tkachuk down low, who then put the puck right on Sean Monahan’s tape for the 1-0 lead. It’s a goal by Monahan we’ve seen dozens of times over his career and his first goal of the season and #195 on his career.
Pressure would continue to be applied by the Flames but an offensive zone penalty from Sam Bennett would send the Canucks to the powerplay. Mikael Backlund would make it a 5-on-3 by catching Quinn Hughes up high with his stick, giving the Canucks a 1:22 two man advantage. Despite Vancouver holding the puck in the Flames zone for about 90 seconds, they would only get a few shots on net with some very good penalty killing by Mark Giordano and Chris Tanev among others.
The rest of the period would be fairly uneventful, with the score sitting at 1-0 Calgary but shots at 11-7 for Vancouver but 5/11 of those shots coming on the PP.
2nd Period: Flames 2, Canucks 0
The second period started with the Flames pushing on the Canucks, eventually resulting in a penalty to rookie Nils Hoglander for interference. Calgary would generate a few chances but nothing dangerous, however late in the powerplay another penalty would be assessed to Tyler Motte for hooking, sending Calgary to a 16 second 5-on-3. The Flames wouldn’t be able to score and the Canucks would push hard the other way.
Consecutive penalties to Noah Hanifin and Sam Bennett for stick fouls would give the Canucks a pair of separate powerplays midway through the period, but some great penalty killing would again result from the Flames to kill them off.
Finally, the Flames would get back to the powerplay with Motte getting his second penalty of the period. This time the second unit would come up huge, with Dillon Dube ripping a one time pass from Andrew Mangiapane over the shoulder of Braden Holtby. It was a perfect shot with a helpful screen from Milan Lucic in front. Mikael Backlund also got his first point of the season on the goal.
The period would end with the Flames up 2-0 and the shots in the period were 15-10 for Calgary, giving them a 22-20 overall edge.
3rd Period: Flames 3, Canucks 0
While the first half of the period was a little uncomfortably in that it was scrambley, the Flames managed to withstand a Vancouver push as they tried to cut the deficit to one.
Calgary would then take over with a powerplay after Matthew Tkachuk was ran over by Alex Edler in the neutral zone away from the puck. Both players were worse for wear with Tkachuk briefly going to the dressing room before returning while Edler sustained a cut on his leg from Tkachuk’s skate as they fell.
After a strong play by Mangiapane, the Flames went to the powerplay when Brock Boeser slashed Mark Giordano’s stick in half on a 2-on-1 to prevent an almost sure goal. The Flames would take advantage, notching their third powerplay goal of the game with Matthew Tkachuk shoveling home his own rebound past Holtby.
With under five minutes to go, not much else would happen with the result secured with the exception of a couple more nice saves from Jacob Markstrom.
The Flames snatch their first victory of the 2020-21 season with a 3-0 final, giving Markstrom his first win and shutout with the franchise. The teams rematch on Monday night.
I thought tonight’s game was a really steady performance by the Flames. They did a really good job in limiting the effectiveness and danger of the Canucks top young talents in Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. Markstrom was a big part of that making 32 saves, but just as much credit has to go to both respective special teams units.
On the PK the defensive duo of Chris Tanev and Mark Giordano was absolutely solid, with special props for Tanev for using his knowledge of his former team to interrupt passing lanes and keep Canuck opportunities to the outside.
On the powerplay, both units were solid, with the top unit scoring twice and the second unit chipping in one as well. The team as a whole went 3/6 on the evening with 12 shots which was very encouraging. The top unit was moving the puck very well while Andrew Mangiapane and Dillon Dube showed some great glimpses of their potential on the second unit in setting up the latter’s goal.
Flame of the Game
Chris Tanev (D): Tanev finished the night with eight shot blocks, the entire Canucks team had 11. I was very tempted to give this edge to Markstrom but I think Tanev’s strong plays, especially on the Canuck 5-on-3 in the first period were a huge turning point in the game. He really seemed to know what his former teammates intended to do with the puck and gave him an extra half step to break up passes. His even strength game was also very good, finishing with an xGF% of 85%.
by Michael MacGillivray