Well that was wild.

The Calgary Flames were lousy for the first two periods of this game. It sounds mean, but there’s no way to sugarcoat it. But then the Nashville Predators seemed to hang back in the third period and the Flames made them pay. Repeatedly. And in what will go down as one of the wildest 25 minutes of hockey you’ll see anywhere, the Flames rallied back in the third period to tie the game (twice) and won a thriller 6-5 in overtime.

The Rundown

The first period was quite bad, with the Flames giving up the first 14 shots of the game. They killed off an early Andrew Mangiapane retaliation penalty, but a couple shifts after the penalty expired Nick Bonino buried a rebound between David Rittich’s legs to give Nashville a 1-0 lead.

Their lead doubled a few minutes later. The Flames defended a Colton Sissons attempted shot, but in the confusion from the shot block nobody really noticed Austin Watson roaming into the high slot as the trailing player and he had a wide-open shot and beat Rittich to make it 2-0 Nashville.

The Flames finally got their first shot on goal 15:16 into the game. It eventually led to some momentum and, eventually, a goal. Derek Ryan beat Pekka Rinne in a scramble to cut the Nashville lead to 2-1.

Shots 15-4 Predators, chances 11-5 Predators.

After scrapping to get within a goal at the end of the first period, the Flames gave up the first five shots of the second period. The Flames were alright at even strength, but some big deficiencies on a pair of power plays tilted the game further in Nashville’s favour.

The Predators took an early too many men penalty, but an errant pass from Elias Lindholm sprung Watson and Calle Jarnkrok on a two-on-one rush. Jarnkrok buried Watson’s feed to score a shorthanded goal to make it 3-1 Nashville.

Late in the period, Rittich drew a goalie interference penalty. On the ensuing power play Mark Giordano blew a tire at the blueline and turned the puck over, leading to another odd-man rush. This time Jarnkrok elected to hold the puck and shoot, beating Rittich to make it 4-1.

Shots were 12-5 Predators and scoring chances 6-5 Flames in the second. (Bear in mind: score effects, as Nashville didn’t really need to press to generate any chances.)

Flames got first shot of period, and it was a goal! After killing off a Nashville power play, Flames generated some pressure and Rasmus Andersson snuck in from the point and beat Rinne glove-side to make it 4-2.

Just over six minutes left, Flames get closer. Monahan causes a turnover crashing and banging behind the Nashville net. He passes puck to Lindholm, who hucks the puck on net and it ricochets in to cut the lead to 4-3.

The Flames kept pressing and tied things up with just over three minutes left, as Giordano made a gorgeous pass to Alan Quine for a one-timer that beat Rinne to tie things up at 4-4.

But the good times would not last, as a defensive lapse led to an odd-man rush for the Predators fourth line and Watson buried a Sissons pass to give Nashville a 5-4 edge.

But about a minute after Nashville took the lead, they gave it away again. With Rittich on the bench for the extra attacker, Matthew Tkachuk jammed in a pass past Rinne to tie the game up at 5-5.

Shots were 14-7 Flames and scoring chances 10-4 Flames in the third.

So off to overtime this game went! Both teams had their chances. Just when it seemed like it was going to the shootout, Lindholm put a slapper on net. Rinne booted out a rebound and Tkachuk jumped on the loose puck, scoring WITH A BETWEEN THE LEGS SHOT to win the game with 1.5 seconds left in overtime.

No, really.

Shots were 4-2 Flames and chances were 3-2, also in favour of the good guys in overtime.

Why the Flames Won

The Flames were awful in the first 40 minutes, having challenges executing and losing many puck battles. This seemed to lull the Predators into a false sense of security, because Nashville was downright passive in the back half of this game.

The Flames seemed to sense this and flipped the switch, playing for the final 20 minutes with a sense of desperation we haven’t seen yet this season. They simply took the opportunities they were given, wore down the Predators, and took hold of the game.

Red Warrior

Tkachuk had the game-tying and game-winning goals in this game and led his team in shots. Let’s go with him.

The Turning Point

We’re cheating, but we’ll go with three:

  1. Quine’s goal to make it 4-4 and give the Flames some daylight.
  2. Tkachuk’s goal to make it 5-5 and force overtime (just seconds after Nashville made it 5-4).
  3. Tkachuk’s insane goal to give them a 6-5 win.

The Numbers

Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.

Tkachuk 68.8 66.7 3.300
Frolik 61.5 83.3 0.140
Bennett 60.9 75.0 0.325
Backlund 60.7 60.0 0.235
Andersson 58.8 71.4 1.400
Giordano 57.7 80.0 1.625
Kylington 56.7 75.0 0.500
Lindholm 56.0 78.6 2.055
Gaudreau 54.6 80.0 1.765
Brodie 54.6 84.6 0.875
Ryan 53.3 50.0 1.585
Monahan 51.5 75.0 2.150
Hanifin 41.4 54.6 0.125
Hamonic 39.3 50.0 -0.475
Quine 38.9 66.7 0.675
Mangiapane 23.1 25.0 -0.575
Jankowski 22.2 50.0 -0.260
Lucic 21.4 66.7 -0.420
Rittich -0.650

This and That

Up Next

The Flames (7-6-2) are off to scenic Ohio. They face the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Saturday night.

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