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Flames end six-game losing streak with matinee shootout win over Flyers

by TY PILSON @typilson /

PHILADEPHIA - The slump is over.

The Flames snapped a six-game losing run with a big 3-2 shootout victory against the Flyers in an afternoon matinee in Philly.

Matthew Tkachuk slid a puck five-hole on Carter Hart in the one-on-one finale, the only skater to score.

David Rittich had another monster game, making 36 saves as Calgary was outshot 38-27 in the affair.


Video: Brendan Parker wraps up the 3-2 SO win on Saturday


Coming off a 5-0 defeat at the hands of the Blues in St. Louis Thursday night, the Flames spent the last few days meeting amongst themselves, desperate for a way to snap out of their current funk.

During their recent play, they'd been generating tons of shots and chances, often times more than the opposition.

Still, they had been shut out in three of their last four games heading into the matinee tilt with the Flyers.

Coach Bill Peters broke down their issues Friday, giving his top two priorities to get back in the win column.

"Let's get on the board in the first period, let's be good on the speciality teams," he explained.  

They weren't able to accomplish either in Philly, going 0-3 on the powerplay,

But, at the end of the day, it may not have been the prettiest game but the two points and the victory came at an essential time for a team struggling.

They don't ask how, after all, just how many.

There weren't a lot of shots early in the game.

In fact, each side only had three at the halfway point of the opening frame.

But the ones they did get were solid chances.

Mark Jankowski found himself in a prime scoring spot a minute-and-a-half in, Hart able to squeeze his arm to his body to stop an in-tight backhand attempt.

Later, Travis Konecny had the puck near the hash marks and took two strides in close but right as he was set to snap it, Noah Hanifin lifted his stick from behind to negate the chance.

Not long after, Rittich came up huge, getting across to his left to deny a tip one-timer from Claude Grioux on a great cross-crease pass from rookie Morgan Cross.

Dillon Dube went hunting for the first goal hard to the side of Hart as he tried to jam the puck in amid a pile up of bodies, getting a few pokes at it.

Early in the second period, Zac Rinaldo tipped a point-shot by Mark Giordano that went across the crease instead of behind Hart.

Then came an absolutely incredible play by Andrew Mangiapane, who took a pass at full stride going wide into the Philly zone, then pulling the puck around Phillipe Myers and cutting hard across the crease, and wrapping it around the outstretched right pad of Hart, the puck hitting the post and rebounding out and under Hart. 


Video: "It's big that we won."


The Flyers outshot the Flames 12-2 to start the second period and made good on that 12th crack, Rittich getting a piece of former Calgary Hitmen star Travis Sanheim's shot that squeaked between his legs, Jakub Voracek standing beside the net and able to dive and poke the puck across the goal-line at 13:26.


Mangiapane - who was strong all night, sporting a full face shield after having his nose broken on a big hit by Blues d-man Vince Dunn on Thursday - broke the goose egg just 1:01 into the third period.

After a battle for the puck down in the corner, Mikael Backlund made a short pass to Mangiapane who was standing near the right faceoff dot, turning and snapping a wrister that went off Myers and past Hart low on the far-side.


Tweet from @NHLFlames: So nice we'd like you to see it twice.#CGYvsPHI | #Flames


Rittich made a huge stop later on Giroux, managing to get his paddle down to stop a rebound attempt right on the doorstep.

Later he absolutely robbed Voracek, who tried to one-time a pass five-hole while parked at the top of the blue night. 

Then he committed another act of larceny, stopping Oskar Lindblom on the doorstep.

A misplay behind the net by Rittich led to the Flyers second goal of the night, Kevin Hayes taking a pass from Joel Larabee and putting it in the open net at 16:14.

With the goalie pulled and the Flames pressing for the equalizer, Rasmus Andersson let a point blast go that went wide but bounced off the boards behind the net and out to Elias Lindholm, who put it home with 1:23 left to play.


Tweet from @NHLFlames: Why we're playing #FreeHockey 😍#CGYvsPHI | #Flames


The three-on-three OT was - as is often the case - a wild back-and-forth affair, especially in the final 1:20 of play. 

Rittich was again a monster, making four huge stops in extra time, the best on Lindblom right in tight, getting a piece of a shot that looked destined for twine.


Video: Condensed Game: Flames @ Flyers




"Ya, I mean obviously huge win. It just feels really nice ot be back in the winning column here. Big effort from the guys in the shootout, Ritter obviously stepped up really big in there. Ya, really nice to get a win."



"We've been good on the 6-on-5 now for almost two years. We know we'll always have a chance when we get out there. I felt like they were giving me and Gio a lot of time up there and then after passing it around for around a minute I just thought we have to get at least a shot towards the net and then we kinda got a lucky bounce there and Lindy had an open net, so a huge play from all six of us out there and feels really nice."


Video: "Ritter obviously stepped up really big."



"It was a little different. Kind of blocks you underneath here, and breathing was a little tough. Every time they shovelled the ice down, I had to pop it open and get a good couple of breaths. But other than that it was good, I felt good."



"We just got to keep throwing pucks at the net and keep doing the right things and eventually they would (go in) and eventually we got a couple at the end there."



"It would have been nice, I guess, to bury that. It was a little tough to see, like I said, with the, I don't know, chin strap kind of getting in my way there. I'll blame that."



"Good to get the monkey off our backs, right."



"It's still early. We have to wait to next game. We have to build on it."


Video: "It's huge for us, that win."



"It feels good, obviously. We needed it. And then good for the guys to pick up Ritter."



"That was mentioned on the bench. And that was important. I think it was good that it was mentioned and obviously he's been there for us, right, and so has Talbs. And it's time for us to be there for them. It's time for us to start putting some pucks in the net and reward our goaltenders and give them a little bit of run support."


Video: "It feels good. We needed it."



Defenceman TJ Brodie arrived to join the team and was at the arena with his teammates. He is not expected to play this trip but did chat with Flames TV:


Video: "Will be nice to get back on the ice with guys again"


This was the second and final matchup between these two teams. The Flames won first tilt 3-1 on Oct. 15 at the Scotiabank Saddledome ... Getting as police escort to the arena is a rarity in the NHL, but that was the case Saturday morning when crusiers led the team buses on a short drive from their downtown hotel to the Wells Fargo Centre. The reason? It's the Philadelphia Marathan weekend and the half-marathon race was ran this morning - meaning big crowds and plenty of streets closed off ... Former Stamp and now Philadelphia Eagle Alex Singleton was at yesterday's game reppin' the Flaming C. Brendan Parker caught up with him on Flames TV: "It's the last night I'm a Grey Cup champ."


Tweet from @NHLFlames: We ������ you, @alexsingleton49!#CGYvsPHI | #Flames 



The forwards, d-pairs and goaltender to begin today's tilt (starters in bold):


Johnny Gaudreau  - Sean Monahan   - Elias Lindholm

Matthew Tkachuk  - Mikael Backlund  - Michael Frolik

Milan Lucic  - Derek Ryan  - Dillon Dube

Zac Rinaldo - Mark Jankowski  - Andrew Mangiapane



Mark Giordano  - Rasmus Andersson

Noah Hanifin  - Michael Stone

Oliver Kylington  - Brandon Davidson



David Rittich



It's a short hop to Pittsburgh from here, where the Flames face the Penguins Monday night at 5 p.m. (TV: Sportsnet West, Radio SPORTSNET960 The Fan). They finish off this four-game road swing in Buffalo Wednesday night at 5 p.m. (TV and radio the same). Next home game is Saturday night when the Flames host the Ottawa Senators (click here for tickets).

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