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Flames pushing for more gritty victories

On the heels of their 1-0 win over the Wild, the Flames are looking replicate the gritty style of play they displayed in Minnesota

by Torie Peterson @ToriePeterson / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- It wasn't pretty but it was effective.

Last night, the Calgary Flames ground out a 1-0 road win over the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center, picking up their sixth victory of the year.

The game's lone goal, coming on the power play, was scored by Johnny Gaudreau in the first period and from that point on, the Flames played a simplistic, gritty style of game that shut down the Wild's offence. The chances Minnesota did generate were denied by Chad Johnson, who made 27 saves in the shutout win.

It could be just what the doctor ordered for a team that has had its struggles early on this season.

"The fashion that we won last night gave us maybe even more confidence than just the win itself," Troy Brouwer stated. "Knowing that our special teams won us the game and then we were solid the rest of the night.

 

"Going into the third period, know where we stood, knowing that they've got a very good offensive team with a lot of good structure ... we had to keep pucks out of the middle, keep pucks in areas that we could kind of grind the clock down.

"And then at the end of the game, what guys were doing: blocking shots, making sure they were sealing out and boxing out in front, clearing rebounds. (Johnson) made a couple big saves in the third.

"Just the way that we won gave us a lot of confidence going forward, especially when we've been struggling to keep pucks out of our net."

Head coach Glen Gulutzan appreciated his team's play when the Wild were pushing for rebounds, noting how his team collapsed on the play to deny them multiple scoring chances.

"What we limited in was the second chance opportunities. We let (Johnson) make the first save and we didn't give them anything after that. We're going to have to continue to play a tight-checking (game)."

Tonight, the Flames face a hungry Arizona Coyotes squad that has had three days off in between games. Sticking with the system and style they played last night will be key for the Flames this evening.

"Arizona is a team that likes to free-wheel," Brouwer said. "I wouldn't say they're as structured as Minnesota but that doesn't mean that we need to get into that type of game.

"We had success last night trying to keep the pucks out of the middle of the ice, trying to make sure we aren't letting the other team go on transition. That's going to be a big part of our game tonight. They've got a lot of quick players, a lot of young players, young energetic legs who like to move the puck and move on transition.

"We've got to make sure we're taking care of the puck and dictating the pace of play."

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