Heading into Thursday’s meeting with the New York Rangers, the Calgary Flames hadn’t won at home since their Dec. 12 triumph over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Flames weren’t perfect, but for the first time in six outings they managed to send the crowd home happy with a 4-3 victory over the Blueshirts.

The Rundown

The opening period of this game was wacky.

Four minutes in, Johnny Gaudreau took advantage of an errant Rangers pass in the neutral zone. He turned on the jets, grabbed the loose puck and beat Henrik Lundqvist five-hole to give the home side a 1-0 lead.

Sam Bennett and Derek Ryan took successive penalties, giving the Flames 71 seconds of five-on-three time to kill off. 28 seconds into that kill, Mikael Backlund stole the puck inside the defensive blueline and beat Lundqvist – on a five-on-three – for a shorthanded marker that made it 2-0 Flames.

On the same five-on-three kill, Jacob Trouba walked in and beat Cam Talbot with a shot that went far-post-and-in to cut the Flames lead to 2-1. Slightly later but still on the power play, Filip Chytil batted in the rebound (back-handed) from a Kaapo Kakko initial shot to make it 2-2.

But the Flames retook the lead before the intermission, as Derek Ryan received a pass from Dillon Dube in the high slot, spun around and shot. His shot found a way through traffic and beat Lundqvist to make it 3-2 Flames.

Shots were 9-7 Flames and scoring chances 3-3 in the opening period.

Midway through the second period the Rangers evened things up again. Once again the Flames got hemmed in. With some traffic in front, Kakko put a low shot through several bodies and Talbot to make it a 3-3 game.

But the Flames re-took the lead soon after. Gaudreau made a nice zone entry, then a nice pass to Noah Hanifin. Hanifin made a slap-pass to the slot for Sean Monahan, whose quick shot beat Lundqvist to make it 4-3 Flames.

Shots were 11-10 Rangers and scoring chances 10-9 Rangers in the second period.

The Rangers pressed at times in the third period, but they took several penalties that seemed to sap their momentum. The Flames held on for the 4-3 victory.

Shots were 9-10 Flames and scoring chances 2-1 Flames in the third period.

Why the Flames Won

The Flames gave up two power play goals in the first period. They out-scored the Rangers 3-1 at even strength. When they stayed out of the box – e.g., much of the second and third periods – they were able to play their game and roll their lines.

The home side didn’t exactly blow the visitors’ doors off or anything, but they were a little bit better when it counted and it was enough to get them two much-needed points.

Red Warrior

Monahan led the team in shots and scored the go-ahead goal, so he gets the nod.

The Turning Point

In each of the first two periods, the Flames scored to break ties. Heading into each intermission with a lead made life seemingly much easier for them and allowed them just to roll their lines and play their game.

On the other hand, they could’ve made their lives much easier by scoring on any of their third period power plays. But hey, baby steps.

The Numbers

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

Lucic 81.3 66.7 0.725
Giordano 71.4 50.0 0.525
Dube 61.5 0.0 1.150
Backlund 61.1 50.0 1.240
Bennett 61.1 50.0 -0.025
Hanifin 55.6 33.3 1.550
Ryan 52.2 33.3 0.805
Brodie 50.0 44.4 0.125
Hamonic 50.0 40.0 0.575
Gaudreau 47.4 50.0 1.625
Monahan 45.5 44.4 1.530
Kylington 43.5 66.7 0.050
Lindholm 42.9 37.5 0.015
Jankowski 42.9 50.0 -0.140
Tkachuk 41.2 37.5 -0.075
Andersson 35.7 40.0 -0.125
Mangiapane 31.6 37.5 -0.340
Rieder 21.4 33.3 -0.275
Talbot 0.150

This and That

Fans booed Adam Fox whenever he touched the puck for the Rangers, Drew Doughty style.

Up Next

The Flames (21-17-5) practice tomorrow. They’re back in action on Sunday when they travel to the Twin Cities to face the Minnesota Wild.

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