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5 THINGS - FLAMES VS. CAPITALS

Flames open a two-game homestand tonight against Ovechkin and the Caps

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

FLAMES (5-4-1) vs. CAPITALS (6-2-2)

7:00 p.m. MT | TV: Sportsnet Flames | RADIO: Sportsnet 960 The FAN

 

2018-19 Season Series: 0-1-1

Leading Scorers:

Flames:

Points - Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk (8)
Goals - Elias Lindholm (5)

Capitals:

Points - John Carlson (18)
Goals - T.J. Oshie (7)

Special Teams:

Flames:

PP - 15.6% (23rd) / PK - 87.5% (5th)

Capitals:

PP - 27.0% (8th) / PK - 85.7 (10th)

Advanced Stats:

Flames:    

Shot Attempts: 52.32% (8th)
High-Danger Chances: 47.50% (20th)

Capitals:

Shot Attempts: 46.33% (24th)
High-Danger Chances: 53.85% (8th)

 

Video: Brendan Parker sets up tonight's tilt

 


1. US

Following a disappointing 4-1 loss to the LA Kings less than 24 hours earlier, the Flames put their work boots on and ploughed their way to a massive, 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday at the Honda Center.

Michael Stone leveled the score with his first of the season (and first since Mar. 24, 2018) with a howitzer from the point at 15:32 of the second, while Mikael Backlund converted a Matthew Tkachuk pass on a 2-on-1 midway through the final frame, as the Flames held on for the one-goal decision.

Cam Talbot had a phenomenal night in goal, stopping 29 of the 30 shots he faced - including 11 in the third period - as he picked up his first win as a Flame.

"I thought everyone dug in," said Head Coach Bill Peters. "I thought we needed a response from the game we had (on Saturday) and we found a way to do that."

Talbot, meanwhile, is now 1-1 on the year with a .931 save percentage and a 1.75 goals-against average.

"I thought everyone took accountability from (Saturday) and came out played for each other," he said. "There were a lot of good things that we did tonight and which we need to do moving forward … I liked our battle level tonight, I liked our compete, our work ethic and our
dedication in our own zone to get those pucks out when we needed them."

Andrew Mangiapane , who suffered an upper-body injury in last Thursday's home-ice win over the Red Wings, did not make the trip to SoCal, but could be available for tonight's game.

However, some uncertainty lingers when it comes to the status of winger Sam Bennett , whose lower-body injury held him out of Sunday's contest.

Prior to the game, the Flames recalled forward Alan Quine from their affiliate up the highway in Stockton, Calif., and assigned defenceman Oliver Kylington there as a temporary measure to stay compliant with the NHL's $81.5M salary cap.

 

Video: "They know they can get to another level"

 

2. THEM

The Capitals are coming off a 5-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday to begin a season-long, five-game road trip.

Tom Wilson broke a 3-3 tie off a cross-crease pass from Carl Hagelin with 9:13 to play in the third period, before Lars Eller scored into an empty net with under a minute left to secure a third straight win. T.J. Oshie, Nic Dowd, and Alex Ovechkin also had goals, and Braden Holtby made 41 saves.

"Special teams - I talk about it all the time - (weren't) necessarily where we wanted it to be, and it's been really solid for us the last couple of games," Capitals coach Todd Reirden told Mike Vogel of WashingtonCapitals.com.

The Caps allowed nine shots, but killed off all five of the Blackhawks' powerplay opportunities, which included a game-changing short-handed marker by Dowd midway through the second.

Oshie, meanwhile, converted on Washington's lone chance with the man-advantage.

"It's a big lift," Oshie said of starting the trip off with a win. "It's a long trip, and if you lose the first one, you don't know what happens on the second one. It can make for kind of a tough one. … Obviously, maybe, not our best game, but we found a way to win. That's encouraging going forward on this long trip."

At 6-2-2, the Capitals have an early two-point lead on the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes in what should be a tight Metro Division this year.

Tonight marks the return of former Flame Garnet Hathaway, who signed a four-year, $6M contract with the Capitals back on Jul. 1. Hathaway spent six years in the Flames organization, appearing in 175 games with the big club and recording 16 goals and 40 points in the process.

The 27-year-old has five points (2G, 3A) in his first 10 games in D.C., and is currently playing on the third line, with Eller at centre, and Jakub Vrana on the opposite wing.

 

Video: Ovechkin, Carlson and Hathaway weigh in

 

3. US VS. THEM

This is the first of two meetings between these two teams, and the only head-to-head contest to be held at the Scotiabank Saddledome this season. Last year, the Capitals earned a pair of one-goal decisions - a 4-3 shootout win on Oct. 27 in Calgary, and a 4-3 regulation-time victory on Feb. 1 in the U.S. capital.

Evgeny Kuznetsov led all skaters with four points (1G, 3A) in the two-game set, with Johnny Gaudreau not far behind, recording three helpers in the series.  

These teams will hook up again when the Flames close out a five-game road trip, 10 days from now, at Washington's Capital One Arena.

 

4. THIS, THAT & THE OTHER

THIS: The Flames have yet to lose in regulation at home this season with a record of 3-0-1 at the Scotiabank Saddledome. They have also out-scored their opponents 14-6 on home ice, while posting a Top-5 penalty kill at 92.9%. The Flames were the third-best, home-ice team in the NHL a year ago, finishing with a record of 26-10-5, and had the most home goals with 166. ... THAT: The Flames are 2-0-0 against Eastern Conference opponents this season. Last year, the Flames had a record of 21-7-4 against the East, with a 13-2-1 run against the Metro Division, and an 8-5-3 record against the Atlantic. ... THE OTHER: Noah Hanifin 's 329 games played are the most among active players 22 or under. Connor McDavid (296), Jack Eichel (295), Ivan Provorov (253), Sebastian Aho (251), and Mitch Marner (251) are next on the list. Matthew Tkachuk became the first Flames player in over 25 years to score 34 or more goals at age 21 or younger, which he did last season. The last was Robert Reichel, who at age 21, scored 40 goals in 1992-93. The others who have done so, also in their 21-year-old seasons, were Joe Nieuwendyk in 1987-88 (51 goals in 74 games) and Eric Vail in 1974-75 (39 goals in 72 games).

 

5. PLAYERS TO WATCH

Flames - Mikael Backlund

The pride of Västerås has goals in back-to-back games, including the game-winner on Sunday in Anaheim. One night earlier, he beat Jonathan Quick on a late-game penalty shot to record his first of the season, outwaiting the veteran with a slick move on the forehand before heaving the puck under the blocker to snap the shutout bid.

Capitals - John Carlson

No, really. His numbers are THAT good. Carlson, 29, is the third blueliner in NHL history to get as many as 18(3G, 15A) points in his team's first 10 games, and the first to do it in 31 years, following Bobby Orr, who had 18 points in the first 10 games with the Boston Bruins in 1969-70 and 1973-74, and Paul Coffey, who had 20 points in the first 10 with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1988-89.

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