Flames Mangiapane, Dube Key to Secondary Scoring Gap
The Calgary Flames enjoyed a big night from Andrew Mangiapane and Dillon Dube on Tuesday and got a massive victory over the Panthers as a result.
The Eastern time zone hangover is still lingering for the Calgary Flames.
A six-game journey through south Florida, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and Carolina was trying emotionally and physically. The emotions were high in Florida, where Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar made their debuts against the Panthers in different colour jerseys. On the other side of the ice in Pittsburgh, the Penguins’ celebration of 1,000 games for Evgeni Malkin took a toll, too.
Physically, they may stay in nice hotels and fly privately, but the distance in the range of 10,000 kilometres is significant.
So the Flames managing to make it through another homecoming game without much of a letdown to beat the Panthers 6-2 in Matthew Tkachuk’s return to Calgary was impressive.
“You can see it during the game last night. I think we got through it with a lot of guts and character, things like that,” Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said of the victory despite some residual fatigue.
But while some looked a bit sluggish, two Flames stood out for their speed and tenacity.
Andrew Mangiapane and Dillon Dube.
“Young legs.” Sutter said with a smirk when asked how the two were able to stand out and give their line some energy. “There’s games where Naz (Nazem Kadri) is coming off a long season last year, a long trip, and heavy minutes. His style of game, there’s gotta be nights where those guys gotta say, ‘OK, we got you.’ And they did.”
They’re two of the players the Flames desperately need to be consistently in the fabric of the game. And through the first quarter of the season, they’ve been two of the more disappointing.
On Tuesday, they stood out as difference-makers at a time the team needed some.
Huberdeau may have been the first star for a two-point performance against his former team, but his fellow wingers were right up there.
Dube had a shorthanded goal and a pair of assists. His third goal in five games came courtesy of an incredible individual effort by Mangiapane to dish the puck over, and then his own dazzling re-direction on the backhand at full speed.
A good sign for a team with a lot of expectations this season.
Dube returned the favour on the penultimate goal, waiting until the last second on a two-on-none break to set Mangiapane up for his fourth of the season.
“He set me up pretty good,” Dube said of his setup on the sixth of the night. “Two-on-ohs can be tricky sometimes, though. You over pass sometimes, the goalies read it well. I’m happy that he scored, or else it wouldn’t have looked so good. It was nice that he scored.”
A great sign of what could be ahead if that line gets rolling.
Sutter talked earlier about that trio showing signs of breaking out. They’d been getting more chances recently, throwing more pucks at the net and gaining confidence that they’d be rewarded if they stuck with the process.
Tuesday was one of those nights.
The Flames just need more of them from those two in particular.