Markstrom blanks Canucks, leads Flames to victory over former team
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Five observations from Calgary’s shutout victory over Vancouver:
1) I thought Markstrom was rock solid against his former team. He wasn’t asked to be spectacular but, when called upon, he was always there to bail the Flames out. His positioning was good, his rebound control was good, and he was always big and squared up to the shooters. He just took so much of the There really weren’t many holes for the Canucks to try and target. Simply put, he looked very calm and in control even on occasions things broke down around him.
2) Andrew Mangiapane on the PP? I am here for it. Love it, love it, love it. He sees the ice well and is an excellent passer. He’s a puck hound who constantly wins extra possessions in the corners. And, despite his size, he is perfectly capable of making plays around the net. He played 45 freaking seconds on the man advantage last night and the Flames piled up four chances while scoring a goal, which he assisted on. I hate that it took so long for him to get a regular shift but, man, am I glad to see it.
3) I’ve been hard on Sean Monahan at times over the years but I liked his game last night. He seemed more involved defensively and was coming below the paint to help get the puck back. He was also quite good in the offensive zone. He showed more urgency getting to his spots and he was making plays with the puck on his stick, particularly on the power play. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come.
4) Credit where it’s due: Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin played good games. Great games, even. That might sound like a stretch but here is the thing. They played more than 13 minutes together at 5v5. In that time, the Flames conceded *checks notes* one shot and zero high-danger chances. Tanev was steady, and Hanifin had some nice rushes up the ice. They complimented each other well. I’m still not overly optimistic about that pairing moving forward but their performance against Vancouver gave a little reason for hope.
5) Milan Lucic...oof. He looked as slow as a turtle with and without possession, and made some questionable decisions with the puck; such as throwing a bad pass back to the supporting D, which led directly to a good chance for Vancouver. The Flames have already used various combinations on the 4th line and none of them have worked so far. I think Lucic is a big reason for that. The hope is he’s still shaking off rust and getting his legs underneath him but, man, he looks bad.
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