The second half of the 2021-2022 season got underway on Wednesday. And the Calgary Flames wasted no time. Their mission was clear, and they accomplished it. Here are my thoughts on the Flames 6-0 win over Vegas.
Wow. That’s all I got. Just, wow.
The Calgary Flames could have been forgiven for coming out sluggishly on Wednesday when Vegas came to town. The team, with the exception of All-Star Johnny Gaudreau, has been relatively dormant for a week. So it makes sense that it might take some time for the boys to get their legs under them.
That is not what happened. In what was arguably the best first period I’ve ever seen, the Flames got the puck and never let it go. Except, of course, when they put it in Robin Lehner’s net.
There’s a lot to be excited about coming out of this game. But there is also some things to be wary of. Here is what I saw coming out of the Flames win over Vegas.
Four Words: Power Play, Secondary Scoring
I’ve been harping on the Calgary Flames power play for a while now. Despite a barrage of offence in the five games leading up to Wednesday, they had not scored once with the man advantage. It’s a stat that has troubled me.
Against Vegas, after two periods, it was looking like they we’re going to make it six games with a dry power play. Mikael Backlund’s first period marker came close. But it was four seconds after Brayden McNabb came out of the penalty box.
Then, in the third period, along came Andrew Mangiapane. Off a feed from Backlund, who was below the goal line, Mangiapane roofed a beauty from his backhand…on the power play! It was as though they’d been reading all of my Flame for Thought posts.
The power play goal is significant for reasons other than the broken dry spell. It was Mangiapane’s second goal of the night. And Backlund’s assist was good for his fourth point on Wednesday. That was a career high for single game points for Backlund. But it was also 2 of 7 points attributed to the Flames’ second line, consisting of Mangiapane, Backlund and Blake Coleman.
Much has been written about the Calgary Flames need for secondary scoring lately. Our own Roundtable discussed potential trade targets to fill that gap. But, if the second line continues to perform like they did on Wednesday, there may be not need to look elsewhere.
Start was Good. Middle…Not So Much
For as good as the Calgary Flames were in period one, they faltered in the second. Though the scoreboard would indicate otherwise, the Flames opened the door for Vegas to come back in the game.
The Flames held Vegas to only five shots in the first period. The second was a different story. Per Natural Stat Trick, the Golden Knights managed 10 shots and, of greater concern, a game high 5 High Danger Chances in that period.
Were it not for some stand-up saves by Jacob Markstrom, on his way to his league-leading 8th shutout of the season, this game would have looked much different.
It should be noted that Vegas was short two of their best players. Mark Stone was out with an injury. And, shiny new toy, Jack Eichel has yet to suit up. Things will look a lot different against this team when they meet again in April.
Can I really NOT make mention of Matthew Tkachuk’s ridiculous between-the-legs tally in the third? Check it out below.
Next up: the troublesome (and grammatically incorrect) Maple Leafs.