Calgary Flames: Who said 4-1 leads in hockey are bad?

CALGARY, AB - NOVEMBER 1: Mikael Backlund #11 and teammates of the Calgary Flames celebrate a goal against the Colorado Avalanche during an NHL game on November 1, 2018 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)
CALGARY, AB - NOVEMBER 1: Mikael Backlund #11 and teammates of the Calgary Flames celebrate a goal against the Colorado Avalanche during an NHL game on November 1, 2018 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Calgary Flames came back from a 4-1 deficit against the Colorado Avalanche to win this game 6-5 in regulation. Let’s check out how it went down.

Man, what a game. The Calgary Flames headed into this game on a two-game win streak and a three-game point streak. Mike Smith headed into this game being 10-1-4 against the Colorado Avalanche while Semyon Varlamov headed into this game with the best save percentage in the league at 0.950.

Varlamov’s numbers definitely got affected and while Smith was quite bad, to put it lightly, he still managed to get the W tonight. He should buy beers for all his teammates for their efforts.

This game seemed unlikely for the Flames. They headed into the third period down 4-1 but managed to score five straight goals with still about six minutes remaining in the third.

When else has a 4-1 lead in hockey been lost? Does anybody know?

Let’s check out how the Flames got here.

Previous. Flames tie game late to win in OT against Sabres. light

First period

The Calgary  Flames took an early penalty with a tripping call to Michael Frolik. On that penalty-kill, the Flames did quite well and even had a two-on-one shorthanded chance, but this game was still scoreless.

It was somewhat of a back-and-forth game with not that many chances from either team. The Flames had a great chance around the 7-minute mark, but nothing went into the net. The Flames continued to apply some pressure and a good scoring chance came from Dillon Dube, who’s still looking for his first NHL goal, so of course, this didn’t go in.

The Flames continued to push and this was an extremely fast game. We all knew that the Avs were a fast team, so it’s good to see the Flames keeping up. In the dying minutes of the period, the Flames fourth line had a great shift and applied pressure, but this period ended scoreless.

The Flames definitely had the edge in this period and it seemed like the Avs were only good with their top-line on the ice (who are dominating the NHL). But otherwise, the Flames were all over them.

The Flames outshot the Avs 13-4, with 11 different Flames having shots and had 26 shot-attempts compared to just eight for the Avs.

Second period

The Calgary Flames had a great start to this period with some great pressure, especially from the top-line which led to them getting their first powerplay of the game. After a great first period for the club and a great start to the second, leave it to a powerplay to take away their momentum.

The Avs had a shorthanded chance, and the shot wasn’t all that dangerous, but Mike Smith is in net. Vladislav Kamenev scored his first NHL goal on a weird shot. Even Kelly Hrudey said, “You almost never score on an NHL goaltender on this kind of shot” wow you don’t say?

Less than two minutes later, Sheldon Dries also scored his first NHL goal with a puck that went off Rasmus Andersson‘s skate. I’ll give credit to Smith here, this one wasn’t on him.

But that’s alright because about a minute later, Matthew Tkachuk was down low with the puck, fed it over to Mikael Backlund who was right in front of Semyon Varlamov with nobody covering him and got a quick shot past Varlamov. It’s a 2-1 game.

A few minutes later, with a poor defensive play by Travis Hamonic, the Avs make it 3-1 with a goal by Colin Wilson.

It was a back-and-forth game until Johnny Gaudreau somewhat lost the puck in the neutral zone and the Avs went down with the puck. While it was a bad giveaway, it was also a weak shot that shouldn’t have gone in, but of course, it did. 4-1 Avs.

Right after, Ian Cole charged at Mark Jankowski and Sam Bennett, right away, went after Cole and those two dropped the gloves. Jankowski had to leave the ice, probably due to concussion spotters, and as he left the ice, he was quite angry. It was then 4on4 for two minutes before the Flames got a three-minute powerplay due to a five-minute charging penalty on Cole. Cole also got a game misconduct for the hit and Bennett got a ten-minute misconduct for the fight.

The Flames still had a slight edge at even-strength in the second period, outshooting the Avs and having more shot-attempts. Unfortunately, the score didn’t show it. Let’s head to the third.

Third period

The Calgary Flames started the third period on the powerplay due to the five-minute major on Cole. And some good news – Jankowski was back on the bench.  The Flames got going right off the bat and with a nice tip-in from Elias Lindholm, it’s a two-goal game and a powerplay goal just 47 seconds into the period.

The Flames continued to add pressure before Tyson Barrie got a great chance on Smith, but it didn’t go in.

A few minutes later, Noah Hanifin shot the puck from the point and Sean Monahan, with an excellent read, found the puck for the tip-in. It’s now a one-goal game with over 14 minutes remaining in the third period.

The Flames continued to push and as the Avs were prepared to clear their zone, Juuso Valimaki lays a big hit on Matt Calvert who lost the puck, in which Gaudreau got the puck, had a great feed over to James Neal for the game-tying goal with about nine minutes still remaining in the game. With that goal, we also got rewarded with Gaudreau jumping into Neal’s arms.

Just three minutes later, as the Avs were feeling somewhat defeated and the Flames feeling all the momentum, Mark Giordano goes down with the puck and gets one over Varlamov’s shoulder. 5-4 with over six minutes remaining. But they didn’t stop there.

A minute later, the Flames had somewhat of a breakaway with TJ Brodie finding Tkachuk who went down with Michael Frolik, he passed it over to Frolik who made it 6-4. That’s five third-period goals for the Flames, who currently lead the league in that category.

With 2:30 remaining, Varlamov left the net for the empty-attacker. The Flames then took a penalty, so this was basically a 6on4 powerplay. Through a scrum in front of Smith, Gabriel Landeskog made it a one-goal game with 1:01 left. It looked like there may have been some goaltender interference, but after a coach’s challenge, it was determined there was no interference so this one counted.

Next. To nobody's surprise, Mike Smith is terrible again. dark

This game finished 6-5 for the Calgary Flames with Mike Smith posting a 0.808 sv%… but still walking away with a win. He owes everything to these players for that because he had quite a bad performance. And after that performance, he now officially has the worst save percentage in the league.

Otherwise, the Flames played a great game and deserved this win.