It was yet another comeback for the Calgary Flames as they won this game 5-3 against the Detroit Red Wings to start the New Year off right.
Looks like 2019 is starting off on a high note. The Calgary Flames came back from being down 2-0 after the first period, but we know this team’s motto this season, which is basically “never say die”, and they won this one 5-3 against the Detroit Red Wings. This was also the start of a four-game road trip for the Flames.
Johnny Gaudreau had four points tonight along with four breakaways. He now has eight points in his last two games and earlier today was named the NHL’s second star of the month. After the way he played tonight, no one could doubt he deserved that second star.
Mike Smith also got the nod tonight as David Rittich nurses a lower-body injury. The good news is that Rittich is still travelling with the team, but the Flames still recalled Jon Gillies who was the backup tonight. It’s still unclear if Rittich will return tomorrow, but Smith was just fine tonight.
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Let’s check out how the Flames got here tonight.
Less than a minute in, there was a clear trip on Johnny Gaudreau that didn’t get called, so I see that nothing has changed so far in 2019. For the next ten minutes of the period, it was quite a back-and-forth game. To be honest, it was a little boring, but Mike Smith made a few good saves.
With a little under seven minutes to go in the period, the Red Wings had a two-on-one breakaway and while the Flames tried defending, Darren Helm who made his way back into the lineup from injury, his first game in two months, and he just snuck it under Smith to give the Red Wings the 1-0 lead.
With under four to go, the Calgary Flames’ 3M line made a great play and Matthew Tkachuk was in front of Jimmy Howard and put a great show away. But it was stopped and the Red Wings then went the other way. With three guys right in front of the net, Michael Rasmussen shot the puck on Smith who gave up a rebound which then bounced off of Jacob De La Rose and into the net. 2-0 Red Wings with under three minutes remaining.
This did it for the first period as the Red Wings lead 2-0. It wasn’t a bad period for the Flames per se, it was quite an even game in shots, attempts, and scoring chances. But the Red Wings had eight high-danger chances compared to just one for the Flames.
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The good news for the Calgary Flames is that the Red Wings don’t do well with first-period leads. The second period started out decent by both teams, but a couple minutes in and the Flames really picked it up.
About six minutes into the period, Justin Abdelkader had a bad turnover in his own zone and Gaudreau snuck behind the defencemen and tried going five-hole on Howard. Howard made the save which led to a rebound that Elias Lindholm got, he got the puck over to Sean Monahan and cut the lead to one.
After that Flames goal, the Red Wings applied a good amount of pressure and had some good zone time which resulted in a Wings powerplay. Noted goon Johnny Gaudreau took a penalty.
The Wings had some good chances on that PP and had good traffic in front of Smith, but nothing went in. As Gaudreau was coming out of the box, he was fed on a breakaway and, because he has no other move apparently, he tried going five-hole on the breakaway. It didn’t work, clearly since he tries using that move every time, but nonetheless, he had a shot away.
After that, the Flames went on the powerplay but the Red Wings had some good penalty-killing, so this one also went scoreless.
With about two minutes left, Gaudreau was dangling behind the Wings net, got the puck over to TJ Brodie at the blue-line who seemed to have an innocent shot, but Howard let in a softie and the Flames tied it up.
After that goal, Andreas Athanasiou had a breakaway in which the refs determined that Oliver Kylington was on him a little too much and it was a penalty shot. Well, that tie-game didn’t last long because Athanasiou scored on the breakaway. 3-2 Wings.
Shortly after that goal, the Wings took a penalty so the Flames got their second powerplay of the game. Off the faceoff, Monahan got the puck over to Mark Giordano who fed it to Lindholm and he rocketed that shot past Howard. Tie game again and that’s now three goals in 1:02.
That period was much better than the first. The Flames outplayed the Red Wings at 5v5 in every aspect and scored three goals in the process.
The Calgary Flames had an early powerplay to start the third period and although they had a couple of decent looks, it went scoreless. The Wings took another penalty about seven minutes later and this one was much better. Tkachuk was down low with the puck, looked like he tried bouncing it off Howard’s skate an in from behind, but it went past Howard, Gaudreau found the puck and made it 4-3. That’s four points for Gaudreau tonight and eight points in his last two games.
Shortly after, the Flames got another powerplay and they also had some chances, but this one went scoreless. After that tying goal for the Flames, they played well for the remainder of the period and put up some good zone time.
Late in the game, the Red Wings took Howard out for the extra attacker, but couldn’t manage to tie it up and including an empty-net goal for Michael Frolik, this one finished 5-3 for the Flames.
This one was a good comeback for the Calgary Flames and they started the New Year off on a good note. Not only did Gaudreau have four points tonight, but he also had about four breakaways. He was incredible tonight, along with the entire top-line. With Lindholm also getting three points tonight, he broke a career-high of 45 points with 47 points now in just 41 games. This was a much-deserved win.