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Flames Grades: Dustin Wolf Shines as Flames Trounce Montreal Canadiens



Calgary Flames Daily pospisil

The Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens proverbially dropped their hands and traded blows on Saturday night. In a game loaded with offensive opportunities and chock full of physical altercations, rookie goaltender Dustin Wolf stood tall, fending off 15 shots in the first period and 33 total to ensure a 5-2 win over a visiting Canadiens team eager to get back into the win column.

Team: B+

The Flames had their flaws in their own end and could have easily lost a game against the 26th-place Montreal Canadiens. The Hockey Gods smiled on them in the form of a few key bounces – and hard work did the rest. That, and some sublime goaltending from rookie Dustin Wolf, who finished the night with a .947 save percentage.

Performances to like:

Captain Mikael Backlund clearly took a veteran-only meeting with Ryan Huska days earlier to heart. Notching the first two goals for the Flames built a 2-0 lead that the team used to lean into a system defence and wait for the Canadiens to start taking risks. Seven and a half minutes later, Martin Pospisil made it 3-0 off a Jonathan Huberdeau net front play.

Speaking of the pesky Slovak, Pospisil made his presence known to the Habs with three hits in 12:20 of ice time. He also found himself in dark waters after taking a double minor for bullying Montreal captain Nick Suzuki.

The penalty wasn’t great, but distracting a team already down on its luck can have ripple effects for the remainder of the game.

Newcomer Daniil Miromanov also found a way to make a solid impact. With the leash extended on his offensive pinches, Miromanov took a walk low in the Montreal zone. Picking up a rebound, the 26 year old Russian potted his second goal in his five games with the Flames. A 32 goal pace over a full 82 game season.

Reasons to Pound the Table:

1.) The result looks great on paper, but the group’s tendency to need to be bailed out by a goalie is concerning. The game could have easily been 3-1 Canadiens by the end of the first if it wasn’t for some artistry from Wolf.

2.) Nikita Okhotiuk is a fun one to watch. Great skater, very physical, absolutely fearless.

With the puck? Well, he’s only 23 and needs a bit of polish. The play died on bad passes and poor decision-making a few times after he tried to make something happen. Plenty of time to figure that out, and at the end of the day, he is fun to watch play hockey.

3.) Yegor Sharangovich recorded an assist on the night. That might be enough for fans to give him the stamp of approval.

With that said, he was simply off his game against Montreal. A -1 at even strength and got eaten alive in the faceoff dot. 1-for-9. His only win came against Alex Newhook, who beat him six of seven times.

Sharangovich wasn’t the only Flame getting his lunch eaten in the dot. Kadri went 6/17, Rooney went 4/12 – even Mikael Backlund went 6/14. The only Flame player to hit 50% was Blake Coleman, who went 1/2.


Unfortunate News

Per Marc Dumont of MHN, Habs head coach Marty St. Louis left the team for family reasons prior to puck drop. You can only hope that everything will be alright in short order.


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