Game Takes: Flames 5 Senators 1

March 21st, 2019 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

The Flames are in the drive seat towards first in their division and conference. With a relatively easy schedule the rest of the way the key is not overlooking opponents and taking care of business.

Tonight the Flames played the worst team in the NHL circuit, the Ottawa Senators, a trap game if there ever was one, but they limited their stumble to the first four or five minutes of the game before recovering to take over the game and up their inferior opposition away to the tune of a 5-1 final.

Calgary got a goal and an assist from all of Andrew Mangiapane, Garnet Hathaway and Matthew Tkachuk to carry the load, a shorthanded goal and the fourth line carrying the way on a night that could have been a misadventure.

Lineup Changes

Some players get healthy, the biggest news for the Flames on the night as both Sean Monahan and Sam Benett re-enter the fray and take up their spots on the first and third lines respectively. Essentially it’s a return to Bill Peter’s A-1 lineup with the top line, the 3M, the third line minus Neal with Austin Czarnik stepping in, and the fourth line that has been effective for two months.

No change to the blueline at all, as it continues to look like Oscar Fantenberg is the man heading into the playoffs.

And Mike Smith gets the easier start of the two game home stand.

Fourth Line

What can you say about these guys? Put back together tonight with Andrew Mangiapane sliding back down to the fourth line with Monahan and Bennett coming back they score twice to pace the Flames to what should have been a given win over the Ottawa Senators.

There are a lot of reasons to be excited about the Flames and Spring hockey, but the fact that they may have an elite fourth line is high among them. Depth wins in the playoffs, and if the current fourth line can drive the bus the way they’ve been doing since late January it takes a lot of pressure off of the top two lines, to say nothing of the third.


Anyone else thinking it’s time to start adjusting the potential curve on this guy?

Hard to miss the fact that he’s getting very confident. He’s not big but he plays a heavy game and has the mitts to make a difference when he gets the puck. Tonight a ridiculous pass to Garnet Hathaway in the first, and then a snipe in the second to get his second point of the night.

He’s not a fourth liner, does he have the size to play top six? At worst the Flames have found themselves another top nine forward which is pretty damn exciting heading into the playoffs.

Giordano’s Place

Tonight’s game moves Mark Giordano into sole place of 2nd all time in Calgary colours behind Jarome Iginla. That’s a lot to take in given the modern era of hockey and how fluent players have been through their careers; you’d think there would be more 80s Flames higher up the list.

But as a product of a great career and money issues that saw Gary Roberts, Joe Nieuwendyk, Al MacInnis and Theo Fleury head out in the early 90s has Giordano heading into all time status in Flame’s silks.

Giordano also passed Paul Reinhart tonight to move into third all time in points by a defenseman. With three years left on his contract he has a chance to gain the 118 points needed to pass Gary Suter, though I don’t see him reeling in Al MacInnis.

Bennett Leaves

Same injury? Different injury? We don’t know at this point, but Sam Bennett left the game midway through the second period with only seven minutes of ice time.

Hopefully it’s not serious, but not a good sign coming off two games on the sidelines.

Tkachuk Battles

Last time the two teams met Matthew Tkachuk had a disallowed goal (later to be equalled on the exact same play by Bobby Ryan), and Brady Tkachuk scored a highlight reel goal. Tonight the tables turned considerably with Matthew picking up an assist and then a late third period goal.

What made the assist more interesting was the fact that the senior Tkachuk stole the puck off the stick of the junior Tkachuk setting up the chip to Michael Frolik that ended in the Mikael Backlund goal.

Counting Stats

Team Stats:
Shots – Calgary 36 Senators 19
Face Offs – Flames 54%
Special Teams – Flames 0/2 Senators 0/3

Player Stats:
Points – Many with two actually
Plus/Minus – Mark Giordano at +3
Shots – Mikael Backlund and Giordano at 5

Standings Implications

The Flames take care of business in putting the Senators away, that’s the good. You’d hope and pray for a L.A. King win over the San Jose Sharks at the Staple Center, but there honestly isn’t much of a chance of that when you weigh chances. At press time the Sharks lead the Kings 2-1.

Out of town, super interesting to see the Canadiens beat the Islanders while the Jackets lots in Edmonton, that puts some more pressure on the exec team in Columbus given their all in approach to the trade deadline.

Calgary leads the Sharks by five points as of now, likely three by the end of the night in their battle for both the division and the conference.

Still up on the Jets by seven points, with Winnipeg having a game in hand.

Fancy Stats

The Flames had 57% of the five on five shot attempts on the night with period splits of 70%/41% and 70%. Scoring chances were 63% Calgary with 31-18 split, high danger chances were 57% Calgary at 12-9.

In all situations the Flames had 58% of the shot attempts, 66% of the scoring chances and high danger chances at 64%.

Individually the Flames were led by Travis Hamonic at 67%, followed by Michael Frolik at 63% and Andrew Mangiapane at 61%. Hathaway, Giordano, Hanifin and Monahan were all at 60%. The third pairing of Rasmus Andersson and Oscar Fantenberg were the only players under water, giving up the only goal.

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