The Wraparound: Darryl Sutter hockey is alive and well in playoffs

Calgary Flames Playoffs
Jeff Vinnick, Getty Images
1 Comment

The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down the NHL playoff games today with the all-important television information.

• Catch up on the third night of the playoffs with the NHL Rink Wrap, as the Hurricanes dominate the Bruins again, while the Lightning, Oilers, and Wild all get even.

• The Hurricanes lost another goalie as Antti Raanta had to leave their Game 2 win with an upper-body injury.

• Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith is considered day-to-day after leaving their Game 1 win against the Rangers on Tuesday night.

The 2021-22 NHL regular season was one of the highest scoring seasons of the modern era, and the Calgary Flames with 292 goals were one of the highest scoring teams in the league.

They have a superstar duo of Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau on its top line that has been one of the league’s best and most productive all season, and they found some added scoring depth before the trade deadline with the additions of Tyler Toffoli and Calle Jarnkrok. They are exciting, and they can score.

But deep down this is still a team coached by Darryl Sutter, a coach that loves nothing more than shutting down an opposing team’s offense. Sutter’s Los Angeles Kings teams were typically dominant in this regard, whether they were winning the Stanley Cup or struggling to make the playoffs toward the end of his tenure. Teams just simply did not score against them or generate consistent scoring chances. This was always especially true come playoff time.

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 First Round schedule, TV info]

In Game 1 of the Flames’ series against the Dallas Stars, the Flames put on a defensive clinic that had to make Sutter proud. They scored an early power play goal in the first five minutes to take a 1-0 lead, and then completely shut the game down after that on their way to a 1-0 win, allowing just 16(!) shots on goal. It was a defensive masterpiece, even if it was against a Stars team that has limited scoring depth and struggles to score goals.

Ever since Sutter re-joined the Flames in March 2021, they have been one of the league’s best defensive teams. Combined with Jacob Markstrom in net, who has 10 shutouts this season (including playoffs; the Flames as a team now have 12 shutouts) they can be downright dominant defensively and have every ingredient a team needs to make an extended playoff run. The Flames have enough talent and offense to win a high-scoring shootout type of game, but this is still a defense-first team that is going to make it impossible to score against them. It is the type of structure and system that is going to make them a tough out in these playoffs and has them as one of the top Cup contenders in the Western Conference.

NHL PLAYOFF GAMES TODAY

Penguins at Rangers, 7 p.m. ET — TNT (PIT leads 1-0): The Penguins are coming off of a 4-3 triple overtime Game 1 win on Tuesday night that saw them have to rely on third string goalie Louis Domingue in the second and third overtime periods. With Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith still considered day-to-day the Penguins might have to rely on Domingue again on Thursday night. They were the better team on Tuesday but still needed 83 shots just to get four goals on Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin. The Rangers have the clear goaltending advantage right now, but the Penguins played their best game of the season series on Tuesday. They will likely be without Rickard Rakell who was injured in their Game 1 win, but could get Jason Zucker back.

Capitals at Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET — TBS (WSH leads 1-0): This is the one Eastern Conference series that most people seemed to think would be pretty one-sided, but Game 1 did not go the way it was expected with the Capitals striking first in the series with an impressive 4-2 win over the Panthers. They already took back home-ice advantage and have a chance to take complete control of the series by potentially winning the first two games on the road. The Capitals looked great on Tuesday and should be extremely confident going into Game 2 on Thursday. The Panthers had the league’s best offense and best record during the regular season, but they do have some flaws on defense and in goal that can be exploited in a best-of-seven series.

Predators at Avalanche, 9:30 p.m. ET — TNT (COL leads 1-0): With Juuse Saros out of the lineup this series looked like a complete and total mismatch on paper, and that is exactly how Game 1 played out. Will Game 2 be more of the same? The Predators have not yet decided on their starting goalie for Thursday night, but unless something else dramatically changes it is looking like it will not make much of a difference. Colorado just seems like it is going to have too much offense for the Predators to match up with without their star goalie.

Stars at Flames, 10 p.m. ET — TBS (CGY leads 1-0): The Stars have had some scoring problems, especially relating to its depth, for much of the season and are coming off of a 1-0 shutout loss in Game 1 that saw them record just 16 shots on goal. That is not going to cut it. Not against this team and Jacob Markstrom, and not against anybody else in the playoffs. The Flames have a chance to take control of the series here.

FRIDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 3: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Boston Bruins (CAR leads 2-0), 7 p.m. ET — TNT
Game 3: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (Series tied 1-1), 7:30 p.m. ET — TBS
Game 3: Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues (Series tied 1-1), 9:30 p.m. ET — TNT
Game 3: Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings (Series tied 1-1) 10 p.m. ET — TBS 

PHT’s 2022 Stanley Cup previews
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning

Hurricanes vs. Bruins
• Penguins vs. Rangers
• Panthers vs. Capitals
Blues vs. Wild
• Avalanche vs. Predators
Oilers vs. Kings
Flames vs. Stars

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info
First Round, Stanley Cup predictions
• NHL Draft Lottery set: Canadiens have best odds for top pick
Why your team will (and will not) win the Stanley Cup