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Flames Takeaways: Huberdeau’s world-class pass leads to ‘massive’ win

It was the type of pass Flames fans expected plenty of when the coach opened the season anointing Jonathan Huberdeau “the best passer this team has had in, maybe, ever.”

Spotting Tyler Toffoli streaking down the middle of the ice as the final 10 seconds of a see-saw battle unfolded on Monday, Huberdeau made a world-class pass between two defenders that sprung the team’s leading goal scorer for a solo sprint he finished brilliantly with 6.2 seconds left.

Converting the breakaway with a top-shelf beauty over Jake Oettinger’s glove, Toffoli kick-started an animated celebration the Calgary Flames hope will carry over in Minneapolis Tuesday … and beyond.

Despite coughing up a pair of two-goal leads, a dramatic 5-4 win over the host Dallas Stars should do well to erase the horrible taste the Flames’ fifth straight loss left Saturday when they were booed off the ice.

More importantly, it erased two points from what is now a five-point deficit between Calgary and the Colorado Avalanche, who sit in the West’s final wild-card position.

The Flames also gained one point on the Winnipeg Jets, who had their lead trimmed to six after their overtime loss to San Jose.

The message — the Flames are not dead yet.

“It was a massive win,” Rasmus Andersson told FAN 960 before jetting off in search of revenge on the Wild.

“When Toff went in, I was kind of praying he’d score.

“Thank God he did.”

Otherwise, an evening like that might have been destined for yet another overtime loss. 

“We always have to make it a tight game towards the end,” lamented Elias Lindholm of the back-and-forth affair that saw the Stars tie it 4-4 with six minutes left.

“Nice to get the two points and get a couple bounces.”


On top of the game-winning setup, Huberdeau had a solid night of creativity on a new line formed to make room for trade-deadline acquisition Nick Ritchie.

It paid off immediately, as the big winger banged in a Huberdeau rebound four minutes in to open the scoring.

The goal made good on Ritchie’s morning optimism.

“I’ve got a good feeling about it,” he said of the opportunity to play with Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri, who both finished with two helpers.

“Playing with guys like that, just being hard on the forecheck, physical, getting those guys the puck and getting back to the net would be the idea tonight.”

That’s exactly what he did a handful of times in his 15 minutes of ice time, which included two minutes on the power play.

“(Ritchie) gave them a net presence and some corner play – there’s some physicality there,” said Flames coach Darryl Sutter, who suggested Saturday’s boos were directed at top-end players such as Huberdeau and Kadri.

“The veterans have got to elevate their play.”


The line shuffling had many fans in a tizzy after morning skate, as Jakob Pelletier was elevated to the top line with Toffoli and Lindholm.

Not many had a problem with another Pelletier promotion, as the fan favourite continues to be dangerous, and entertaining, as witnessed by his attempt to lift Lindholm off the ice after the centre’s late second-period goal put the Flames up 3-2.

“He’s a great kid — brings a lot of energy, very positive guy,” said Lindholm, laughing, when asked if the youngster was able to hoist him.

“He’s been very good for our team.  He’s always happy and celebrating. It’s nice to play with him.”

The unpopular side of the new lines had Dillon Dube demoted to centring the fourth unit, and Walker Duehr out of the lineup.

Word from GM Brad Treliving was Brett Ritchie was traded to make more room for Duehr, who has been a tremendous revelation for the Flames.

Time will tell.


Andersson’s third-period goal, combined with Nikita Zadorov’s ninth of the season, marked the first time a Flames defenceman had scored in 12 games.

Zadorov’s goal was made possible by a tremendous pass by new partner Troy Stecher, who picked up his first assist as a Flame with the play.

Andersson and some of the other trusty defenders on the penalty kill were instrumental in keeping the game tied late, after a Ritchie penalty with three minutes left jeopardized a gutsy outing by the Flames.

MacKenzie Weegar finished with two assists, was plus-3 and made a big hit that kick-started the sequence leading to the game-winning goal.  


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