With a mix of old, new and borrowed tricks, the Flames make franchise history

The Calgary Flames hammered Blue Jackets netminder Elvis Merzlikins with 62 shots as they crushed Columbus 6-0.

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something Blue Jackets fans will want to move on from as soon as possible.

Flames fans won’t soon forget the record-setting outing from a resurgent Calgary squad that fired a franchise-record 62 shots on goal as part of a 6-0 trouncing of Columbus Wednesday. The total also made them the first team to fire that many pucks at the net in a regulation game since the Chicago Blackhawks on March 12, 1989 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

It marked the second-straight slaughter by the Flames, who have outscored their last two opponents 13-1 while outshooting them 110-44.

Much like their 7-1 win over St. Louis two nights earlier, the Flames had 12 different players find the scoresheet, with all but one player — Adam Ruzicka — recording at least one shot on Elvis Merzlikins.

“It doesn’t happen very often, but I’m going to bet there was a lot of high quality (chances) in that tonight,” said Darryl Sutter, whose club had an incredible 34 scoring chances, including 15 of the high danger variety.

“After the second period we had three different lines score, which is critical for this team to win hockey games. You can get by once in a while with special teams, or one line, but we need something out of everybody, and tonight was a little more complete in that.”

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Nine different players had at least four shots on goal, in a game that remained just 1-0 until late in the second period when the Flames scored two late goals after outshooting the hosts 39-17 after two.

“I think the first period we had a really good start — we dictated how we wanted to play,” said Sutter, whose club eclipsed the previous club record of 59 shots set by Flames teams from 1977 and 1991. “In the second period we had a lengthy 5-on-3 in which we didn’t score, but the players didn’t get beat up about it, they stayed the course.”

Sure did.

Here’s how they did it:

Flames Talk
Post-Game: Beatdown in Columbus
January 26 2022

SOMETHING (SAME) OLD

The top line was at it again, dominating from the opening shift.

One game after racking up ten points against St. Louis the lads took their show on the road with a six-point outing that included three assists from Johnny Gaudreau, two goals from Matthew Tkachuk and a goal by Elias Lindholm.

Gaudreau and Tkachuk each have 22 points in their last 11 games (yes, 44 points combined) and Lindholm became the fourth player from his 2013 draft class to notch his 400th NHL point, (behind Nathan MacKinnon, Aleksander Barkov and Sean Monahan).

“They scored some highlight goals for sure,” said Sutter, who marvelled at the setups Gaudreau made on three of the team’s last four goals. “Johnny was in full control of the puck, Matthew was going to the net. That’s a big goal he scored at the end of the second and that’s a slick play.”

Tkachuk has goals in five of his last six outings, as one of the league’s hottest players.

SOMETHING NEW

Mikael Backlund opened the scoring with his first goal in 19 outings, Andrew Mangiapane made it 2-0 with his first in nine games and Erik Gudbranson scored late for his first goal in 60 games.

Depth scoring is what this team craves, and got it in spades Wednesday with three players getting off the snide.

Asked if he remembered his last goal, Gudbranson chuckled.

“Ya, I scored against Calgary when I was playing for Ottawa,” beamed the rugged defenceman. “I have so few of them that, ya, I do remember, believe it or not. Nice to score. Of course, it’s not my job, but if you can chip in that way then it’s always nice.”

Mangiapane’s 19th of the season gave the sixth-round revelation his 100th NHL point.

“Starting where I came from, up and down roller coaster my whole life in the OHL and the AHL and now kind of making it to the NHL and being able to help the team win and produce, it will be nice,” he said of the milestone before the game.

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SOMETHING BORROWED

Jacob Markstrom borrowed a page from his remarkable start to the season with a 23-save shutout that included several key stops early in a 1-0 game that could easily have been tied had he not robbed Patrik Laine twice, as well as Oliver Bjorkstrand.

The goose-egg extended his league-lead in the category to six, punctuating a two-and-a-half-month stretch since his last bagel in Buffalo.

More importantly, it marked back-to-back brilliance for the veteran who had struggled to find his groove since Christmas.

“I felt good,” said Markstrom, heaping praise on teammates who had several big blocks in an early first period penalty kill prompted by his well-advised trip on Jakub Voracek. “We haven’t had a busy schedule before so we had a chance to work a lot on goalie stuff and technique and get back to where we were in October and November. A little slump in December that lasted a little too long for my liking.”

Asked how it would feel for a goalie to face 62 shots, Markstrom smiled.

“Busy, for sure,” he laughed.

“I don’t think I’ve been up there in my whole career, but I’ve seen a lot of rubber.”

Added Sutter of Markstrom’s return to form, which has seen him stop 43 of the last 44 shots he’s faced, “it’s good, he’s back on track again.

“What gets overlooked with our team, at the end of day, he is our best player and he has to be our best player.”

Flames play in St. Louis Thursday.

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