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Sports Flames’ rally over Maple Leafs evidence that offence has found its footing

13:41  13 december  2019
13:41  13 december  2019 Source:   sportsnet.ca

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Get a recap of the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Calgary Flames hockey game. Toronto struck first at 8:24 of the first period when Tavares scored into the top corner, over Rittich's blocker, after Johnny Gaudreau had his first two-goal game of the season and the Calgary Flames scored three goals in

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(Provided by CBC)

CALGARY — Everyone wants to know how the Calgary Flames have been able to help Geoff Ward open his NHL coaching career with seven straight wins.

On Thursday night, his troops used just 150 seconds to offer up a pretty succinct explanation.

Down 2-1 with 20 minutes left against a similarly surging Toronto Maple Leafs squad, the Flames opened the third with three goals before the three-minute mark.

A Michael Frolik goal was sandwiched by a pair of Johnny Gaudreau markers that turned a game previously controlled by the visitors into a 4-2 Flames lead they’d hold onto for good.

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Johnny Gaudreau had his first two-goal game of the season and the Calgary Flames scored three goals in Toronto struck first at 8:24 of the first period when Tavares scored into the top corner, over Rittich's blocker, after being set Maple Leafs : Close out a four-game trip Saturday night in Edmonton.

How skilfully the Maple Leafs paper over the holes in their defensive-zone approach will go a long “And the idea is to play offence . When you have this many guys who are as talented as they are But the team has been making steady improvements in its defensive ranking during Babcock’s time here.

After two-dozen games struggling to find the net, the Flames are now back to scoring plenty of goals like they did a year ago. Ranked 30th in goals per game mere weeks ago, they’ve now cobbled together five in a row with at least four snipes.

a hockey player standing in the snow: flames-leafs© (Jeff McIntosh/CP) flames-leafs Amazing how offence can solve so many problems.

Oh sure, the Flames have rid their game of the mind-numbing giveaways that marked the opening of their campaign. They’re focusing more on defence, and they’re forechecking harder, which has translated into a windfall of wins that keeps the Flames atop the league’s list as its hottest team.

It also happens to have them two points behind Arizona for the Pacific division lead and tied with suddenly stagnant Edmonton.

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Strategic offensives should, as a general rule, be based on the market depends on the development of complementary products or services that are currently not available, buyers have high switching costs, and influential rivals are in position to derail the efforts of a first-mover.

The Leafs were full value despite the loss to Buffalo, matching the speed and quickness of the first-place The Leafs came out gangbusters early and forced Biron to make a big save on Mats Sundin in the First Kalinin’s slapshot from the left point found the top corner on Raycroft’s glove side at 4:18

An amazing turnaround for a team that somehow breathed new life into its season in the midst of an uncomfortable coach investigation that opened the door for Ward to play the hero.

And while every player in the Flames room speaks glowingly of the empowering practices of the 57-year-old former schoolteacher, the praise on this night also revolved largely around the penalty killers.

Shortly after Gaudreau’s ninth of the year, the Flames found themselves down two men against a Leafs power play that had been operating at over 35 per cent under new coach Sheldon Keefe.

A perfect chance for the Leafs to turn back the tide.

However, with Mikael Backlund manning the top and Mark Giordano and Michael Stone working down low, the trio helped David Rittich stop a group that features John Tavares, Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Tyson Barrie.

“Oh my god I was struggling there,” said Rittich of a frantic window that saw the Leafs continually reload on great scoring chances. “All guys who went there for that penalty kill did an amazing job blocking shots and blocking the seams.”

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“I’ve never had so many friends before,” Dalpe said, smiling, after the Wild’s latest come-from-behind victory, this one 3-2 over the Toronto Maple Leafs . With Zach Parise battling on the forecheck, Staal found a loose puck in the corner. Surveying his options, Staal saw Parise beat his guy off the wall.

The Canadiens– Maple Leafs rivalry is a National Hockey League (NHL) rivalry between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs . Dating back to 1917, it is the oldest rivalry in the NHL. From 1944–78

One sequence saw Rittich make a brilliant stop on Tavares, followed seconds later by a Matthews shot off the post that fooled the goal judge before Rittich covered up. Another glove snare off a Matthews shot got the crowd revved up before the power play expired.

“That’s the reason why we won the game,” said Gaudreau, frankly. “It’s a minute-and-a-half of 5-on-3 with five really skilled players out there – for our penalty killers to kill that off is a great job on their part.”

Ward agreed.

“They did a really good job and of course Ritter did a great job when he had to,” said the coach, who said his team’s resilience has had plenty to do with wins like these against a Leafs squad that had the Flames in their end a good chunk of the evening.

“Stoney and Gio blocking shots – it was a real big effort for us. It sure makes the game different when you come out of a 5-on-3 clean as opposed to them scoring a goal.”

Unquestionably the star of the game, the man who made 32 saves for the Flames is on the verge of being taken for granted ’round these parts. Every game he’s played he’s given his team a chance to win, including a statement game in Colorado Tuesday and this monster matchup against a team that had won six of nine.

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The team had stayed at or near the top of the Metropolitan Division, but its rocky play with less than 20 games That was the Maple Leafs ’ first shot of the game, an ominous start for Holtby. And if there wasn’t enough evidence of the Capitals’ good mojo in outdoor games, rookie Jakub Vrana raced

The Leafs have run off back-to-back shutouts during their annual fathers trip, and Justin Holl has That early marker would hold up as the game-winner, as Holl and the Toronto Maple Leafs never With their decisive 4-0 road victory over the New York Rangers, a bubble team that was granted six

“It was a bounce back for me from that game in Colorado which wasn’t my best performance,” said Rittich, who made his biggest stop of the night with a glove beauty on Tavares, in alone with four minutes left.

“We start playing more like a team, more defensively, and it’s not just our zone but the offensive zone. We don’t have many 3-on-2’s or 2-on-1’s like we did before. You can see guys backchecking all night long and fighting to block shots.”

Winning 17 of a possible 18 points of late, the Flames obviously have plenty of momentum, thanks to scoring from, well, everyone.

Frolik’s goal came after a nifty feed from fellow fourth-liner Tobias Rieder, giving the Czech winger a goal in his third consecutive game following a 22-game drought.

Monahan’s first of two assists extended his point streak to eight games when he set up Travis Hamonic’s point blast past Frederik Andersen to tie the game 1-1.

Gaudreau now has four goals and eight points in his last nine outings, to continue his quest to find his old form.

“I don’t know, he still can’t score on me,” deadpanned Rittich when asked about Gaudreau’s newfound confidence.

“I don’t know if he’s back, but it seems like he can find a way to put it in right now. I’m really happy for him. Hopefully he’s still got a lot more on his stick.”

Making as much of a statement with their Leafs win as they did two nights earlier, the Flames have a chance to continue their run with home games against Carolina, Pittsburgh and Montreal.

“Obviously it wasn’t the start we wanted (to the season) but that whole situation we put it behind us, started fresh with Wardo and we’ve been playing well and smart and it’s showing in our results,” said Gaudreau.

“He does a great job. He expects a lot out of us but we like playing for him. For him to go seven games in a row never being a head coach is pretty impressive.”

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