After playing one of the worst games of the season on Saturday in Los Angeles, the Calgary Flames played a composed, smart three periods of ice hockey en route to a narrow 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.

The Rundown

The Flames were much better in the first period than they were at any point in Los Angeles, generating good looks and chances. Neither team scored, but John Gibson and Cam Talbot were both very sharp. Shots were 11-9 Flames and chances 10-7 Flames in the opening period.

The Ducks scored 12 seconds into the second period. A couple Flames – notably Rasmus Andersson – got caught up ice on a scrambly opening draw and the Ducks too advantage with a nice passing play as they entered the zone, ending with Jakob Silfverberg beating Talbot with a nice wrist shot to make it 1-0 Ducks.

But the Flames answered back with a late goal. A couple good shifts hemmed the Ducks in their own end and Michael Stone’s point shot – with Gibson pre-occupied watching Michael del Zotto and Sean Monahan battling out from – eluded the netminder to tie the game at 1-1.

Shots were 12-10 Flames and scoring chances 10-9 Flames in the second period.

The Flames took the lead midway through the third period. The Ducks turned over the puck and Austin Czarnik made a smart pass to spring Mikael Backlund and Matthew Tkachuk on a two-on-one. Tkachuk teed up a feed for Backlund, whose one-timer beat Gibson to make it a 2-1 hockey game.

The Ducks pressed to tie the game, but to no avail. The Flames held on for a 2-1 victory.

Why the Flames Won

The Flames were engaged from the get-go and in key moments, they managed to be a little bit better than the Ducks. Look at the two goals they scored: on one they hemmed the Ducks in and wore them down, while on the other they took advantage of a defensive lapse and capitalized.

Red Warrior

Talbot got his first victory as a Flame, and he was superb in all three periods.

Honourable mention to Alan Quine, playing in his third game in three nights (in two leagues and three cities) and generally looking pretty damn good in the process.

The Turning Point

Let’s go with Backlund’s game-winner, as it was a nice reward for what was the Flames’ best line on the evening.

The Numbers

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

Rieder 74.1 0.0 0.925
Jankowski 70.0 0.0 0.690
Quine 67.7 0.0 0.775
Monahan 63.3 53.9 0.455
Gaudreau 58.8 53.9 1.225
Andersson 58.5 54.6 0.475
Giordano 54.6 50.0 0.275
Hamonic 52.8 64.3 0.600
Hanifin 51.6 66.7 0.475
Lindholm 51.4 50.0 -0.090
Brodie 48.4 42.9 0.775
Stone 44.4 50.0 1.050
Tkachuk 40.7 88.9 0.725
Czarnik 38.5 81.8 0.400
Backlund 38.5 80.0 0.710
Lucic 37.5 40.0 -0.115
Frolik 27.8 60.0 -0.325
Ryan 26.7 50.0 -0.390
Talbot 2.150

This and That

Michael Frolik had a couple shifts with Backlund and Tkachuk early in the game, then swapped spots with Czarnik (and took his place on the third line). It seemed to be a smart decision.

Up Next

The Flames (5-4-1) head home. They’re off tomorrow and then host the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.

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