Takeaways: Flames top line dominant in wild win over Blue Jackets

Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan both had four points as the Calgary Flames outscored the Columbus Blue Jackets in a wild game.

Typically when a team erases a three-goal deficit to win, it becomes a significant story.

However, when the game ends up being the highest-scoring affair of the NHL season, the number of storylines dwarfs the number of saves the four goalies combined for.

Wrapping up a two-game Dad’s Trip in which the Calgary Flames did well to show off for their fathers, the Flames erased a 4-1 deficit in Columbus to win 9-6.

Perhaps the more impressive scoring line is Calgary Flames: 4, Rest of the NHL: 3.

Yes, four times this season the Calgary Flames have scored five goals in a period – something the other 30 teams in the league have combined to do just three times.

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On this night the bulk of the damage came in the middle frame, shortly after the Blue Jackets scored an early goal to go up 4-1.

The Flames then scored two goals in a 51-second span, followed by three more in a span of 1:53.

The irony being, the high-scoring Flames entered the game as the NHL’s lowest-scoring team in second periods.

No longer.

Yet, it was a one-goal game very much in doubt heading into the third period.

Here are some takeaways from a night the Flames and their fans won’t soon forget after scoring eight times on two-time Vezina Trophy winner, Sergei Bobrovsky.

Top line shines

Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm had a dream-like outing, scoring five goals and accounting for 10 points on the night.

Monahan, who also dominated in the faceoff circle, had two power-play goals and two assists. Gaudreau had a similar stat line and Lindholm finished with one and one.

Seems strange to call a goal “timely” in a 9-6 scrimmage but Monahan’s first came right after the Flames killed an early, second-period penalty and closed the gap to 4-2.

Fifty-one ticks later it was 4-3 thanks to Lindholm.

Same thing early in the third when Monahan pounced on a puck in the high slot and buried it to increase the Flames lead to 7-5.

Gaudreau was at his creative best all night, all three buried their chances and the group elevated its status amongst the league’s very best trios.

They did the same two nights earlier in Chicago.

It would be unfair to suggest this line’s dominance is why the Flames are seventh in the NHL standings right now.

But their prolific start certainly explains how a team can score five goals in a period four times in 28 outings.

Lucky No. 13

Flames analyst John Shannon reminded viewers why Gaudreau wears No. 13 – because of his diminutive Boston College mentor, Cam Atkinson, who is four years older.

Both wore 13 at B.C., both wear it now and both were on fire Tuesday night.

Atkinson’s sixth-career hat trick was overshadowed by Gaudreau’s four-point night and a score that looked more like an NFL score.

Gaudreau has openly admitted he was inspired and driven by Atkinson’s collegiate success – something he, himself improved upon before making the jump to the bigs.

For the record, Atkinson’s 31 goals and 52 points in 39 games his third and final season at school was beaten by Gaudreau who had 36 snipes and 80 points in 40 games as a junior.

Atkinson is on an 11-game point streak and has 19 goals this season, while Gaudreau’s 12 goals and 35 points moved him into a sixth-place tie in NHL scoring with Connor McDavid.

Flames goalies… did enough

It might seem odd to throw praise towards the goalies in a shootout like this one.

Alas, the merits of a 1a/1b goalie tandem shone through for the Flames when Mike Smith was summoned to start the second period after David Rittich allowed three goals on 14 shots in the first.

Smith, who has had three solid starts to battle his way back to respectability, filled in admirably.

Like those shootouts of the ’80s it seemed the netminder that made the last save of the game would win.

More to the point, the goalie who made the timeliest save got the victory.

Less than a minute into the third period of a 6-5 Flames lead, Smith made a stellar glove save on Cam Atkinson to temporarily deny him from completing the hat trick while on the man advantage.

Had he not come up big the game would have been tied and who knows how it would have ended.

Instead, the Flames killed the penalty and a minute later scored a power-play goal of their own to begin salting the game away.

We’re at the point where it may be a mug’s game to try and determine which goalie Bill Peters will start, but you can bet he’s leaning towards Smith Thursday night at the ‘Dome when Minnesota comes calling.

AND ANOTHER FEW THINGS

The Flames power play, which has improved from 29th last year to 13th currently, scored a goal for the fifth straight game. All told, the Flames power play was 3-for-4, accounting for several key goals … It was one of the rare games of late the Flames have been outshot, 30-28 … the last time the Flames scored nine goals was Valentine’s Day 2011, against Colorado … The Flames entered the game averaging 3.37 goals per game to sit eighth in the league. You can bet they’ll wake up much higher than that … Mark Giordano was a beast, again, with the three assists and Matthew Tkachuk was also stellar, with one power-play goal and two assists including a nifty, between-the-legs backhand pass to set up Noah Hanifin’s goal … Austin Czarnik also got a big confidence boost when he beat a defender wide and made a nice finish to score his second goal as a Flame … T.J. Brodie had a goal and finished plus-1 to move into first-place in the league.

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