Game Takes: Flames 3 Ducks 2

January 7th, 2018 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Everyone is well aware of the flying coach’s stick, but the response was the question of the day.

Would the team put their best game on the ice and continue a win streak against key Western Conference opponents, or would they find a way to take a step back once again after taking a step forward.

The method to the madness by Glen Gulutzan was clearly aimed at preempting the said step back, which as it turns out was successful as the Flames on a late goal by Dougie Hamilton turned back the Ducks 3-2 on Saturday night to run their win streak to three games.

Can’t wait to see what he does next!

The Third Line

What more can you say about Calgary’s third line?

The trio just continues to get more and more confident with each passing National Hockey League week. The Flames had all four trios going in the early stages of the first period, but the third line was especially dangerous in hemming the Ducks in their zone and creating chances.

The line has a pretty diverse skill tickle trunk to pull from as they are physical, great on the cycle, but also have the tools to beat players one on one to create odd man chances.

Really changes the complexion of the Flames to have that depth through the lineup.

And Sam Bennett Specifically

Sam Bennett is at another level again.

No points tonight, but I thought he was the best player on the ice as he moved his feet, created chances, just missed converting a few of his own, was physical, and then solid in a fight against a tough customer in Manson.

Where plays were once dying on his stick, he know has the confidence and stamina to gain ground on an opponent and turn what looks like a zone exit into a battle drill, where he wins.

Such a good sign.

Gaudreau Defensive Gaff

Not that this is his forte, but Gaudreau’s attempt at playing a two on two resulted in what could have been the turning point in a disappointing loss.

In directing traffic on a powerplay backcheck he essentially handed the slot to Jacob Silfverberg, making the game a lot closer than it should have been.

Young’uns Standing Up

Great to see both Garnet Hathaway and Sam Bennett jump in and defend the bump on Mike Smith behind his net in the second period.

The Hathaway fight was made even better by the fact that he jumped in the fray ahead of captain Mark Giordano, keeping the veteran out of it.

The Flames haven’t been known to be a rough and tumble team in recent seasons, so it’s a good sign to see younger plays willing to draw the line in the sand for one another.

Mangiapane Gets An Elevated Look

Hard not to notice the difference that Andrew Mangiapane is having to the fourth line, as the youngster’s skill and speed is helping create chances at the bottom of the roster.

As a reward he was elevated to the Jankowski line in the third period when Garnet Hathaway was given 17 minutes in penalties at the end of the second period, and didn’t look out of place.

With Frolik’s injury and the whispers of Jagr’s departure he may see some time with the 3M line as well in due time.

And speaking of Jagr …

Jagr Exit?

The Twitter world is a ablaze with suggestions coming from Elliott Friedman that the Flames and Jaromir Jagr are working on an exit strategy for his contract.

I’m sad for both parties if this is true.

Sad for the Flames as they could use his skill and leadership, but especially sad for Jagr as it looks like he won’t pull in the most games played in NHL history mark that looked like a given at the beginning of the season.

If only they had a full camp to work him in and didn’t have to do it on the fly.

Fancy Stats

The Flames were 62.5% in five on five shot attempts on the game, including period splits of 77% / 61% and 48%. Scoring chances were much closer however as the Flames edged the Ducks 6-5 on the game at five on five. In all situations the Flames had 60% of the shot attempts and the scoring chances were knotted at nine apiece.

Six different players finished in the 70%+ range including; Sean Monahan, Hathaway, Gaudreau, Curtis Lazar, and the top defense pairing of Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton. Four other players were 60%+, and no player was under the 50% cut off point.

The top line was a perfect 3-0 in generating high danger scoring chances. Tkachuk and Backlund were at the other end at 1-3, clearing missing the defensive wizardry of Frolik.

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