Calgary Flames: Mike Smith makes scorpion save to give them the win

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 02: Mike Smith #41 of the Calgary Flames falls on the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on December 02, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 02: Mike Smith #41 of the Calgary Flames falls on the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on December 02, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Calgary Flames beat the Chicago Blackhawks for the fifth straight time as Mike Smith also won his third straight start.

The Calgary Flames had yet another game where they badly outshot their opponents. In tonight’s game, they outshot the Chicago Blackhawks 41-24 and although Mike Smith only faced 24 shots, many were great chances and he had to be sharp tonight. Especially in the final five minutes of the game where he was laying on the ice and made a game-saving scorpion save with his skate (shown later).

The Flames also won their fifth straight game against the Blackhawks while Smith won his third straight start and looking to fight for his starting position back. Andrew Mangiapane made his season debut tonight after being recalled from Stockton, and although he didn’t get on the scoresheet tonight, he had a great game with some good chances.

The Flames still lead the Pacific division with 34 points in 27 games. They are currently on a four-game point streak and are 6-1-1 in their last eight games. Let’s check out how they got here tonight.

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First period

The Calgary Flames had an early powerplay to start the game. On the PP, Elias Lindholm had a great chance and Corey Crawford went across the crease and dropped his stick in order to make the save. The Flames managed four shots on that PP.

The Flames continued some pressure before we got some end-to-end action. First, Sean Monahan had a great chance on Crawford before the Blackhawks went the other way and Patrick Kane snuck behind everybody and had a chance on Mike Smith who made a big save.

The Flames top-line then had a great opportunity (again). After some good passing plays, Lindholm shot the puck, Crawford stopped it and gave up a rebound in which Monahan tucked the puck in on the backhand. 1-0 about 10 minutes into the game.

Andrew Mangiapane had an incredible shot on Crawford and he made an incredible save, probably the best of the game at this point.

Shortly after, Jonathan Toews found the puck and used his incredible speed to rush back on somewhat of a breakaway and got it past Smith for just Chicago’s third shot of the game. Unfortunately, Noah Hanifin and Travis Hamonic couldn’t get back in time.

Late in the period, the Flames took a penalty so the Hawks went on the powerplay. For a majority of the PP, the Hawks couldn’t even get any clean zone entries. The one that they had, they couldn’t get set up and the puck was cleared down the ice. With about 15 seconds left of their PP, they were finally able to try and set up, but they couldn’t get any pucks to the net and this PP went scoreless and it was a good PK for the Flames.

With a little over a minute left in the period, there were some roughing calls so we saw 4on4 action until the end of the period. There was INTENSE end-to-end action and at the buzzer, the Hawks hit the crossbar. An exciting way to end the period. The Flames outshot the Blackhawks 18-6 and were quite dominating at 5v5, but this one was still tied.

Second period

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The second period started with some 4on4 but it wasn’t as intense as the end of the first period was and it went scoreless. But basically right as Sam Bennett came out of the box, he went right back for an interference call, so the Calgary Flames had to kill another one off.

Like the first PK, the Flames did a great job of killing this one off and the Hawks only started to really set up in the last 20-ish seconds. But the Flames managed to clear it, and this Chicago powerplay had no shots again.

Shortly after, Mangiapane had another great chance that hit the post. He’s been unlucky tonight, hey?

Right after, Chris Kunitz had a bad elbow to the face of Travis Hamonic who ended up with a bloody nose, he was ejected for the elbow. This also resulted in a five-minute major penalty, so the Flames got a full five-minute powerplay.

Early in the powerplay, the Flames shot the puck which looked like Crawford saved, but as the play continued, they ended up stopping the play to review it. It was clear that when Crawford had the puck, his glove went over the goal-line, so it ended up being a goal for Lindholm just 10 seconds into the PP.

Later with the second unit out there, they did a good job of setting it up and with a good screen by Bennett, Derek Ryan made it 3-1. In the rest of the PP, the Flames never got another great chance, so they had to deal with just two goals on that PP.

Right as the PP expired, Dylan Strome came out of the box and had a few good chances on Smith which he saved. Right after, Alex DeBrincat had a breakaway on Smith which he stopped.

After those chances, the Flames top line had great chances of their own with Oliver Kylington almost getting his first NHL goal followed by a couple other good chances from Monahan, but they were stopped.

After a bit of a scrum in front of Crawford, the Flames took a penalty. It was somewhat of a controversial call on James Neal with many fans on Twitter arguing that he didn’t have anywhere to go and the only option was to go into Crawford which resulted in the penalty call, but it’s done with. On the PP, Kane was all alone in front of Smith but Smith came up big. Later on the PP, Dylan Strome managed to get one past Smith and cut the lead to one.

This period finished 3-2 for the Flames while outshooting the Hawks11-10. The Hawks had the slight edge at 5v5 this period, but for the most part, it was quite evenly played at 5v5.

Third period

The Calgary Flames took a penalty late in the second period so they started this period on the penalty-kill. While the Hawks had a decent chance early on in the period off the initial faceoff, this PP went scoreless.

Right after the PP expired, TJ Brodie had a shot on Crawford which led to a rebound and Monahan had a great chance to give the Flames a two-goal lead again, but it was blocked and went wide.

Shortly after, Brandon Manning and Garnet Hathaway dropped the gloves and went at it. Hathaway looked to maybe injure his shoulder, but he stayed in the box as they each went off for fighting. Right after, the Flames went on another powerplay as the Hawks shot the puck out of play.

The Flames had a couple decent looks on that PP, but nothing that resulted in a good scoring chance so this one went scoreless. Very quickly after, the Hawks took another penalty so the Flames got their sixth powerplay of the night.

The Flames top unit had good chances early on from Matthew Tkachuk, which was stopped, and Monahan tried getting the rebound but couldn’t quite get his stick on it. Late on the PP, Artem Anisimov had a shorthanded chance that was stopped by Smith.

With a little under six to go, DeBrincat had a breakaway chance, but he shot the puck wide. Right after, the Hawks had a great chance from Anisimov and somehow, it didn’t go in as Smith was down on the ice and lifted his leg up to make a save with his skate.

In the last few minutes, the Blackhawks really pushed hard but a few blocks, especially one from Hamonic who made a big block in the dying seconds of the game to keep this 3-2. The Flames won their fifth straight game against the Blackhawks and Mike Smith won his third straight start.

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The Flames outshot the Hawks 41-24 and although Smith didn’t face a whole lot of shots, you have to give credit where credit’s due. He had a great game tonight and was a big reason they came out with the W.