The Calgary Flames are a great hockey team. They get good goaltending, play a solid system, and have multiple people who can put the puck in the back of the net. They are going to be one of the Chicago Blackhawks‘ biggest tests since making the coaching change a few weeks ago. Going out and winning would really make a statement.
They weren’t able to contain Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl enough to defeat the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. Now, Calgary doesn’t have two players quite like that but they certainly have a few elite players that make life hard.
One of those players is Andrew Mangiapane. He is a forward that loves to score goals. He is currently tied with Alexander Ovechkin for the second-most goals in the league only behind Draisaitl. He is two ahead of Chris Kreider and three ahead of McDavid, just to show the company that he is keeping right now. He is underrated but will be known as a superstar in short order.
Of course, he isn’t the only good player as Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm each have 8 tucks themselves. Johnny Hockey leads the team in points as well but Mangiapane isn’t far behind that team scoring lead either. Most people know about Matthew Tkachuk at this point as well as he is now a star in the NHL. He can create offense as well as be a complete pest out there.
We have known about Gaudreau, Lindholm, and Tkachuk for a few years now but Mangiapane is breaking onto the scene more this year. That is why they need to make sure that they always know where he is and check him hard.
Andrew Mangiapane is going to be a problem for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Most of his points are goals but he can certainly create chances for his teammates as well. Because of his ability to score, you need to keep him from getting those opportunities as best as you can.
While you’re defending him in that way, you also need to be wary of a pass that he might be trying to make. The defense being in a sound position is extra important when he hops over the boards. The coaching staff needs to have his name circled during practice.
It would be foolish to think he won’t have his chances at any point in the game, however. That is where the goaltender comes in. Marc-Andre Fleury is coming off a 40 save shutout and will likely get the nod for this game. He needs to be sharp and concentrate a little bit more on Mangiapane as he is as good as anyone at scoring goals right now.
If the Hawks win this game, it will mean that they have won six of their last seven games. It will also mean that they went 2-1 on the daunting Western Canada road trip that forces you to play three good teams. Hopefully, they are able to take care of their business here and impress the NHL world.