There’s some losses this year the Flames maybe could have won with the right bounces. There were others they definitely deserved to lose. This was the first defeat, however, where the Flames most certainly deserved a better fate.
Scoring chances and analysis after the jump.
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 20183
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
It was a relatively close contest after the first period in almost all facets of the game: score, possession and chances. Rene Bourque scored with a rocket on the PP, while Cal Clutterbuck evened things up after a nifty pass by Andrew Brunette. The second period was rather sedate (as some periods can be when playing Minnesota) with the Flames edging the Wild in chances at 5-3 overall and 2-1 at ES.
The clubs exchanged chances in the third with noted Flames killer Martin Havlat burying the game winner inside the first five minutes. Minnesota sat back after that and it was all Flames for a majority of the final frame. Unfortunately they couldn’t find the back of the net despite some quality chances. A suspicious goaltender interference call to Alex Tanguay in the final minute killed the comeback.
Calgary’s bottom-end did an excellent job of driving chances and possession at ES this evening. David Moss and Mikael Backlund were particularly good, combining for 9 of the Flames 34 shots. The fourth line also dominated their counterparts, who were, to be fair, a rookie, a goon and a fringe NHLer. The first line also outchanced the bad guys and would have scored if not for some good goaltending by Backstrom and some bad luck (Tanguay’s post hit, for example). Jokinen et al split the night between Havlat and Koivu and, predictably, were underwater chance wise.
One Good Reason…
The Flames lost because they didn’t press the play enough at ES until they were behind. Through two periods both clubs had seven scoring chances at 5-on-5. That’s not good enough against a Wild team that is suspect at ES even when it’s healthy. The fact that they had guys like Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Brodziak in their top six should have led to more dominance by Calgary when things were even. Calgary certainly pressed the attack in the final half of the third period, but by then it was a little too late.
I’ll go with David Moss this evening. He managed 4 shots on net and did everything well that makes me appreciate him as a player. The third line was at times the Flames best and he certainly had a hand in that.
Sum it up
The Flames were good enough to win this evening and probably would have on many other nights. That said, they didn’t take the boots to a mediocre team beset by injuries earlier in the game and couldn’t finish when things were in doubt. It’s a rough way to lose two very vauable points to a divisional opponent on a night when they were extremely vulnerable.
Next up – Colorado.