The Calgary Flames offense had been red hot heading into Wednesday night’s game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets, scoring 15 goals in that span. Given that they were set to play against a team that entered the contest on a three-game losing streak and well outside of a playoff spot, many expected the Flames to control the tempo, and boy did they ever.
Their goal-scoring surge continued as they walked away with a 6-0 win. Leading the way was Johnny Gaudreau, who now has 12 points in his last four games. He now has 51 points in 38 games, thanks to his three assists in this one. Matthew Tkachuk also continued his recent hot streak with two goals in the contest and is now up to 44 points in 2021-22. They were far from the only players who performed on this night, however, as it was an entire group effort, one that saw them set a couple of new franchise records.
Shots Shots Shots
Elvis Merzlikins may end up having shell shock after what transpired Tuesday night, as his team put forth an abysmal performance, one which led to him facing 62 shots. Not only is that a Flames franchise record, but it is the most rubber a goalie has faced in a regular-season NHL game since 1991 in a contest between the Boston Bruins and the Quebec Nordiques, where Nordiques goaltender Ron Tugnutt somehow stopped 70 of 73 shots in a game that ended in a 3-3 tie.
With the big effort, the Flames also become just the 15th team in NHL history to record 62 shots or more dating back to 1960. It beats the previous franchise record of 59 shots set back in 1977 when the team was still in Atlanta.
While the Flames performance was impressive, Merzlikins deserves some credit himself, as he managed to post a save percentage (SV%) above .900 despite facing over a shot a minute. Had it not been for some great saves on his part, this game could have been even more ugly than it was.
He won’t get a ton of discussion due to the continued offensive surge, but Jacob Markstrom was also rock-solid in this one, kicking aside all 23 shots thrown his way. He now has six shutouts on the season, which leads the league. With the great effort, he becomes the first goalie in Flames franchise history to record four shutouts on the road in a season, and his team still has 44 games to go.
His goals-against average now sits at 2.13 on the season, while his SV% is .926. After a shaky start to January, he has now allowed one or fewer goals in three of his past four starts and is right back into the Vezina Trophy conversation.
Other Takeaways for the Flames
As mentioned, Gaudreau was fantastic yet again and is undoubtedly raising the dollar value on his next contract. With the three-point night, he now sits sixth in league scoring. Recently, head coach Darryl Sutter called the 28-year-old one of the best 200-foot players in the game right now, and his plus-28 rating certainly backs that claim up.
Another great sight was Andrew Mangiapane finding the back of the net, marking just his second tally in the past 11 games. He has gone quite cold since starting his season with 15 goals in 19 games, and it would bode very well for the Flames moving forward if he can get his mojo back. Perhaps we will look back at this game as the one that did it.
Climbing Pacific Division Standings
The Flames now sit just two points shy of the L.A. Kings for third in the Pacific Division with Tuesday’s win. Due to having several games postponed as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak, they have several games on every team in the division other than the Edmonton Oilers and trail only the Vegas Golden Knights in points percentage. They will look to keep the good times rolling on Thursday night when they face off against a St. Louis Blues team they destroyed 7-1 just days ago.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.