Connect with us

Calgary Flames

Game Over: Hot Lucic The Hero In Third Period, Sparks Flames to 7-3 Win

The Calgary Flames won their second straight game over the Sharks in San Jose thanks to a couple of sweet plays by Milan Lucic.



Fans at the Saddledome would have gone crazy in the third period. Milan Lucic seemed shocked back to Calgary Flames relevancy in San Jose this week. 

Not only did he pull off likely one of the best passes of his career with a spinning reverse backhand pass on a give-and-go with Nazem Kadri to set up his linemate for the go-ahead goal midway through the third period, Lucic then scored the insurance marker himself with a little more than three minutes in regulation. 

The Flames cruised to a 7-3 victory over the Sharks from there, with Tyler Toffoli and Kadri both scoring their second goals of the game 20 seconds apart with less than two minutes on the clock. 

It was that kind of finish for a Flames team that controlled the game and never trailed but still found itself in a tie contest with half a period to play. 

The win was their second straight in San Jose, kicking off a four-game west coast road trip with a bang. 

Of course, it did come against the Sharks. And they were without one of their better players after Tomas Hertl earned a two game suspension in the opener with a high stick on Elias Lindholm

But still, wins are all worth the same, and these four points were huge for a Calgary Flames collection looking to hit the Christmas break in a playoff position in the Western Conference standings. 

Not a bad way to start. 

And the fact Lucic played such a key role in sparking his teammates to a bloodthirsty finish bodes well for a locker-room that is still finding its way after some serious top-end turnover this summer. 

I’m trying not to reference that in every story, but it’s proving to be a challenge. More outings like this one for the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau (three assists), Toffoli (two goals and an assist), Lindholm (a second-straight three-assist game) and Kadri (two goals) and that distancing will start to happen organically. 

And that’s the way the Flames chemistry is coming. It’s important for the team not to get too high after wins or too low after losses. The slow burn on their season needed a bit of gas and that came in San Jose, where the Flames scored a dozen times in two contests. 

And Lucic now has goals in back-to-back games

He may not be a fan favourite — at least not in the social media channels where analysis of the big winger has been far from favourable through most of the season — but Lucic would have been given a standing ovation for his third-period performance alone on Tuesday. 

You could almost hear the Looch chants. 

No one thought after the start they had — with Toffoli and Dillon Dube scoring to set a franchise record for the two fastest goals to open a game at the 15 and 30 second mark — that the Flames players would find themselves seeking a game-breaker that late in the game.

Fewer would have predicted it would be Lucic. 

“I think he was noticeable, which is good," Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said post-game on Flames TV. "That’s the type of player he is — he’s got to be noticeable to help our team."

Even the big guy himself seemed to be in disbelief on the bench after pulling a move out of … Huberdeau’s playbook with the blind spinning pass to Kadri and then a cradled wrister that found a hole in James Reimer’s armour to help the Calgary Flames to a 5-3 lead at the most critical part of the game. 

Now on to the crux of the road trip — a back-to-back set in Los Angeles on Thursday and Anaheim on Friday. 

Those two will determine how merry their Christmas is.