Game Takes: Kings 4 Flames 3 (OT)

October 9th, 2019 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Take the point.

When a hockey club comes out and gets out shot 13-1 in the first 12 minutes, 20-3 in the first twenty, and 29-7 through the first 30 minutes of a hockey team you happily take the point.

The Flames led by the emotional leadership and offensive huts pa of recent signee Matthew Tkachuk forged a second half comeback wiping out a three goal Kings lead to force overtime before the other half of the emotional anchor, Drew Doughty, scored the winner in overtime on a deflection.

They didn’t come to play. They found a way. Take the point.

Line Up Changes

Same starting 20 …

All three defense pairs unchanged, David Rittich gets his third straight start, and the same 12 forwards as the group that beat the Canucks on Saturday night. That’s not to say there aren’t some changes however.

The second line sees the promotion of Sam Bennett into Michael Frolik’s spot. Many have been waiting on a Sam Bennett emergence, here is the first opportunity for such this season.

The third line has the promotion of Andrew Mangiapane, forming a new third line with Milan Lucic and Derek Ryan; essentially last year’s fourth line with Lucic replacing Garnet Hathaway.

The fourth line has the demoted Michael Frolik (two rough games, especially his turn in Denver) joining Mark Jankowski and Tobias Reider.

Goalie Rotation

Can’t blame the Flames for going with David Rittich to start the season. He’s the guy most likely being looked to as the starter based on age and development time in Calgary, and he’s off to a pretty above average start.

The team will need to get Cam Talbot into action sooner than later however, something that should happen on the weekend with back to backs on Saturday and Sunday. The last thing the team wants is another Eddie Lack start, where one goalie (Mike Smith in this case) plays the whole month practically leaving the other guy getting colder and colder. In all fairness, the Lack story also includes the intel that the stopper was struggling in practice giving Glen Gulutzan and staff great pause.

Tonight Rittich had a lot of work, but gave up four goals. Talbot could certainly be an option as early as Thursday.

Staying out of the box

The Flames have been extremely undisciplined through two games, taking six minors in each of their contests putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the penalty killers and David Rittich. Some bad decisions, and some opponents falling quite easily as Elias Lindholm’s reaction his tripping penalty on Saturday can attest, but minors nonetheless.

The other toll taken is the effect on players that don’t play special teams end up sitting on the bench all night. Mangiapane for example has only played 17.5 minutes total in two games; a rate of play that makes finding a groove next to impossible.

Tonight they took a step in the right direction, getting whistled only twice for infractions as the Kings went 1/2 on the powerplay, both to Sam Bennett.

More on Sam Bennett

Had a quick look at Sam Bennett and Michael Frolik’s numbers last year in comparison.

Some quick hits;

  • Michael Frolik was more productive with the 3M line
  • Sam Bennett was more productive than Frolik away from the 3M line
  • They are similar players in terms of shot attempt generation
  • Frolik is the better player defensively (shot attempts against)
  • The players are similar when you look at individual shot attempts
  • Bennett leaves Frolik in the dust when it comes to scoring chance and high danger chance individual generation

What does it mean? Not a whole lot. Calgary is still searching for the sixth member of the top six, and tonight they didn’t seem to find the answer as Sam Bennett lasted only a period on the second line before taking Andrew Mangiapane’s on the third line. He took both minor penalties, the last of which led to the King’s win in overtime.

Not a great showing, and not a legit opportunity either when it comes right down to it.

The Lucic Factor

There’s no point in propping up Milan Lucic too far on a night when James Neal almost equalled his entire season in Calgary in one evening on Long Island, but the dude was a factor.

With Matthew Tkachuk doing his best to rub out Drew Doughty on every shift, and the Kings dressing their tough guy (monster) defenseman Kurtis MacDermid for the first time this season it became obvious that it was a good thing that Calgary had a nuke of their own on the bench.

In the second MacDermid actually went after Lucic with an open ice hit that Lucic withstood and then chased him down for a scrap. Not sure how that night would have gone if Calgary didn’t have an answer to L.A.’s method to handle the “Tkachuk issue”.

Development Pay Off

It’s still super early in the season, but I thought the third pairing had a noticeable game, and a huge step forward from their opening night. They were better against Vancouver in a quiet sense, but noticeable for transition and attacking against the Kings.

Oliver Kylington had the puck on his stick often and looked quite calm in wheeling away from attackers and playing catch with Andersson on break outs.

It’s a long season, but putting the time in on Kylington now could pay off in spades as the season marches on compared to a veteran just chipping the puck off the glass.

Counting Stats

Team Stats:
Shots – Flames 29 Kings 40
Face Offs – Flames 43%
Special Teams – Flames 0/2 Kings 1/2

Player Stats:
Points – Matthew Tkachuk scores twice and adds an assist in a three point night.
Plus/Minus – Matthew Tkachuk at +3.
Shots – Sam Bennett with 4

Fancy Stats

The Flames didn’t come all the way back on the possession stats balance, but they came darn close. Five on five the Flames ended the night with 49% of the shot attempts on period splits of 30%/53% and 68%. In all situations the split was similar, Calgary with 49%.

Individually the Flames were led by Andrew Mangiapane at 64.5%, he’s been a possession monster to start the season. TJ Brodie, Mikael Backlund and Rasmus Andersson were all at 60% or just below. Other guys with a good night included Mark Giordano, Matthew Tkachuk and Milan Lucic. Mark Jankowski, Tobias Reider, Travis Hamonic and Sam Bennett were all under 40%.

All content is property of and cannot be used without expressed, written consent from this site.