The Calgary Flames were in need of a win on Saturday afternoon, and they pulled through, defeating the San Jose Sharks by a 5-3 final. As is often said, there are no freebies in the NHL, and despite being dead last in the NHL, the Sharks put forth a hard-fought battle in this one.
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With the win, the Flames were able to gain two points on the Winnipeg Jets, who lost their Saturday afternoon matchup versus the Los Angeles Kings. Also going in their favor was that the Nashville Predators – another time in the wild card hunt – were blown out 7-2 by the Seattle Kraken. With that said, here are the main takeaways from the Flames’ victory.
Plenty Stepped Up Offensively
One of the bigger letdowns for the Flames this season has been their inability to score goals. Playing against a team who has allowed the second most in the NHL proved to help that cause, however, as they put four past Kaapo Kahkonen before sealing it with an empty netter late in the third period.
Making the offensive output even more promising was that several players were able to get in on the action, as there were four goalscorers for the Flames. Tyler Toffoli was able to continue his incredible season with two of his own, while MacKenzie Weegar, Walker Duehr and Nazem Kadri were also able to get in on the action. Perhaps this will spark some confidence in this group for the remainder of the season.
Markstrom Steady In Net
After losses in each of his past three starts, many questioned whether Dan Vladar – who won his last start against the Anaheim Ducks – should be in between the pipes over Jacob Markstrom. Darryl Sutter chose to go with his veteran, however, and the decision paid off.
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Markstrom made several great saves to keep his team in it, and wound up kicking aside 28 of the 31 shots he faced. If there is any chance this Flames team can get back into a playoff position, he needs to be at his best down the stretch, and Saturday afternoon may have been a step in the right direction for the Swedish netminder.
Inconsistent Through Course of 60 Minutes
While the Flames did get the ultimate goal of walking away with two points, it didn’t come as easy as some may have expected given who they were up against. Early on, it had the makings of a blowout as they took a two-goal lead early. However, the Sharks battled back and not only tied it 2-2 in the second, but took a brief 3-2 lead.
The fact that the Flames weren’t able to stomp on the throats of an inferior opponent is concerning given how high the stakes are right now. The promising sign, however, was that they didn’t panic when they blew their two-goal lead in the second and were able to keep their composure in order to battle back and walk away with the win.
Looking Ahead for the Flames
Next up for the Flames will be a divisional matchup against the Kings on Tuesday night. One may consider this a must-win game given the way the standings shape up, but in all honesty, it pretty well feels like all remaining games on the schedule are must-wins at this point. Perhaps boding well for the Flames is that they will have plenty of motivation after being stomped 8-2 by the Kings earlier this week. After Tuesday, they have two games remaining against two very beatable teams in the Vancouver Canucks (Thursday) and the Ducks (Sunday).