Calgary Flames sweep season series vs. Chicago Blackhawks, win 3-2

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 06: Johnny Gaudreau #13 and Michael Stone #26 of the Calgary Flames celebrate after Stone scored against the Chicago Blackhawks in the third period at the United Center on February 6, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 06: Johnny Gaudreau #13 and Michael Stone #26 of the Calgary Flames celebrate after Stone scored against the Chicago Blackhawks in the third period at the United Center on February 6, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Calgary Flames are hoping for a season sweep against the Chicago Blackhawks tonight. Let’s see how these two teams faired tonight.

The Calgary Flames are FINALLY starting their road trip tonight. I wouldn’t normally be excited for a road trip, but seeing how their season has been going at home and how they play away, it’s coming at a perfect time.

The Flames are 13-13-3 at home and 13-5-5 on the road. There isn’t really an explanation for this and even the team doesn’t quite know why this is the case. After losing six straight (after winning seven straight), the Flames finally broke that losing streak with a win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Well, they’ll be playing the Blackhawks again tonight for their third and final matchup.

The Flames have won both meetings by a score of 4-3 in OT. They’ll be looking to make it a season series sweep tonight as they begin their six-game road trip in just nine days. The same goalies in the last two matchups both get the nod again tonight. There’s Jeff Glass for the Hawks, who made his NHL debut earlier this season at 32 years old. And on the other end of the ice, there’s Mike Smith who’s tied for the best road record of the season at 9-3-3 and has the best road save-percentage at 0.948.

Let’s check out how this game went down.

Related Story: Flames road trip couldn't come at a better time

First period

The first period had a great shift from the Calgary Flames top line who kept hammering the shots and putting an immense amount of pressure. Unfortunately, the was followed by an unnecessary boarding penalty by Micheal Ferland. With some good pressure on the powerplay by the Hawks, rookie Alex DeBrincat found a screen and scores his 19th of the year.

It’s 1-0 Blackhawks less than four minutes in, which is actually good for the Flames, so they don’t get overconfident.

There was a lot of back and forth action from both teams, then late in the period, the Flames went on a powerplay. This ended up being a 5on3 powerplay for 1:40. But we all know how the Flames powerplay is. It basically took them all powerplay to even set up. They had no scoring chances.

At the end of the first period, the score was 1-0 for the Blackhawks as they outshot the Flames 11-6. Each team had 21 shot attempts (all situations).

Second period

The second period started with a couple of chances for the Blackhawks. Then the Calgary Flames went back the other way, and with some sloppy movements in the neutral zone by the Blackhawks, the Flames got a two-on-one with Sean Monahan and Dougie Hamilton. Monahan attempted to pass it to Dougie, but Duncan Keith‘s stick got into the way, so it went off of Dougie’s skate and in. We’ve got a 1-1 game early in the second period.

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The Flame went on the powerplay soon after that goal, but again, we all know how their powerplay has been. It took them over a minute to even set up, and I’ll admit, once they set it up they got a couple of opportunities, but no goal.

A couple minutes later, what seemed like the Blackhawks may or may not have scored, there was a lengthy review. The Blackhawks scored, but there were lots happening in front of Mike Smith, so there was a review for a kicking motion from Ryan Hartman. In an attempt to kick the puck in, he also got Mike Smith in the groin. So, it was determined that it was a legal goal, to which Glen Gulutzan challenged for goalie interference.

Seeing how those calls have been going, I really had no idea what the call was going to be. But it was determined there was in fact interference, so it’s still a 1-1 game.

After that call, it was a quick game. Another penalty for the Flames and a few good chances from both teams, but this period ended 1-1. The Blackhawks were badly outshooting the Flames 23-12, but the  Flames were badly outhitting the Hawks 22-4. Lots of blocked shots for the Blackhawks and lots of shots missing the net for the Flames, so while they’ve only had 12 shots o far in the game, they have 43 shot-attempts.

The Hawks blocked 22 shots and the Flames’ FF was 21 (with CF of 43). Meaning that lots of their shots went wide. They should practice just shooting shots onto the net.

Let’s go on to the final period.

Third period

The first four minutes of the third period was quite intense. The Calgary Flames started out the period on the penalty kill. They were aggressive on the PK and didn’t let the Hawks get a clear zone entry. This led to a delayed Hawks penalty which led to a glorious chance for Mikael Backlund, but of course, Jeff Glass had a pad save on that.

While the Flames had some chances on their PP,  we know this story. Score remains 1-1.

We had some back and forth again. The Flames would get good shifts and put pressure, but then the Hawks came back hard and were in the Flames zone for a while. Then, of course, with less than seven minutes left, the Flames take a penalty. Because they are the Flames.

Luckily, the Hawks couldn’t quite set up that well and the score remained 1-1. But then the Flames went the other way, Michael Stone shot it from the point which deflected off of Johnny Gaudreau‘s stick and in the net. It’s a 2-1 game with less than four minutes left!

But was it a good goal? It seemed like Gaudreau’s stick may have been sort of high as he tipped it in, so this would be under review for a high stick. People on Twitter had jokes about that.

This review didn’t take long, to which it was concluded to be a good goal. And Johnny Gaudreau was pretty excited about that call.

Sean Monahan would soon score an empty-net goal, and this is a 3-1 game. But the Hawks spoil the 0.969 sv% for Smith and score with 5.1 seconds left in the game. Instead, it was a 0.943 sv% for Smith tonight.

This game ended 3-2 for the Calgary Flames and they sweep the season series. The Hawks outshot the Flames 36-23 and kick off their road trip on a high note.

CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 06 2018: (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 06 2018: (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Post-game thoughts

Mikael Backlund is a perfect human being

Backlund’s offensive confidence has really improved since Michael Frolik returned to the lineup. He had three shots tonight and four shot attempts. While his CF% was below 50% which usually doesn’t happen, you couldn’t tell this was the case watching the game tonight.

Top line + Gio and Dougie = the perfect lineup

The top line continues to regain their confidence. That Gaudreau goal we thought was a high stick ended up going to Stone, but he still had two assists tonight, Monahan had one goal and one assist (including the GWG), and Ferland had one assist.

Giordano tonight spent over 26 minutes on the ice and Gio + Dougie each had CF% above 60%. Gaudreau has now tied his point total from last season. There are still 19 games left in the season.

The fourth line continues to crumble

The fourth line was quite horrendous to watch tonight. While Matt Stajan has been decent lately, Curtis Lazar has absolutely not been. He keeps drawing into the lineup while other players who may be more deserving than him continue to sit. Tonight, he was at 11% CF% with just CF two and CA of 16.

He’s been rough to watch.

Next: Three stars of the week Jan. 29 - Feb. 04

Well, this was a fun game and a great way to start off the road trip for the Calgary Flames. They’ll head to New Jersey on Thursday to hopefully continue a win streak.