One night after the Dixie Chicks took over the Scotiabank Saddledome, the Calgary Flames hosted the Detroit Red Wings. Maybe it was the fancy new third jerseys (I like them), maybe it was the chippy ice, but the Flames seemed to struggle to grab hold of the play for chunks of the game. And despite a notable flurry in the second period, they just couldn’t capitalize on their chances and let some points slip away.
Here’s a look at how things went down tonight.
The first period was a sleepy affair, with both teams seemingly fighting the puck and neither team really getting that much in the way of five-alarm scoring chances. But when the Red Wings had those chances, they capitalized on them. The Flames had two full power-plays in the first and generated four shots on net. The Red Wings played the majority of the first period at even-strength, barely put the puck on the net, but made them count.
The Wings opened the scoring at the half-way point of the first, with the ever-dangerous Pavel Datsyuk knocking home a rebound past Joey MacDonald. The Flames defense (Butler and Brodie) had troubles clearing the front of the net, allowing Datsyuk to score off a Jakub Kindl point shot. The Wings scored late in the period as well off of a face-off set play. Datsyuk won the draw, passed to Bertuzzi, who found Henrik Zetterberg at the side of the net (with a gorgeous cross-crease pass) and Zetterberg tapped it home to make the game 2-0 for the Red Wings. To be blunt: Joey MacDonald had zero chance on either shot. The first was a rebound that should have been cleared, while the second was just a tremendous set play by the Wings. The Flames out-shot the Wings 12-5, generated more pucks to the net by a 25-11 margin, edged the Wings in face-offs 13-12 and had more scoring chances to the tune of 7-4. But the score? 2-0 Wings. Life ain’t fair sometimes, I suppose.
The second period began as more of the same – the Flames couldn’t capitalize on chances and the Wings did their best to keep the game to the perimeter. That approach worked…until it didn’t and the Flames got back into it. After a sleepy first period, Jiri Hudler made the first Flames goal happen. Drove puck into zone, tried toe-drag…no dice. Instead of giving up on the play, he stole the puck back, held onto the puck and set up Chris Butler for a point shot. Despite not getting good wood on the shot, the puck knuckle-balled off a Detroit defender’s ankle and past Jimmy Howard to bring the Flames within a goal at 2-1. The Detroit lead was not long for this world, and disappeared entirely just a few minutes later. Mike Cammalleri held onto the puck, out-waited the defenders and set up a streaking Sean Monahan for his seventh of the year to tie the game at two apiece.
The Wings edged the Flames in most metrics in the middle period: shots were 7-6, Corsi events were 18-16 and face-offs wins were 8-7. However, the Flames edged them in scoring chances 6-4 and scored twice in the frame to knot the game.
Early in the third, Joacim Andersson caught Joey MacDonald sleeping with a shot from the corner of the Flames zone, straddling the red line…which clipped Tomas Tatar’s skate and beat MacDonald inside the post to put the Wings back in the lead at 3-2. The Wings controlled much of the rest of the game, keeping the Flames to perimeter and eating up time with lengthy possessions in the offensive zone. Detroit briefly went up 4-2 via a Justin Abdelkader sharp-angle goal, but the Flames had some decent pressure and pulled within one via a Curtis Glencross marker (from behind the net) with 9.8 seconds left. However, 9.8 seconds isn’t enough time to tie a game against most NHL teams, so the Flames lost by a goal for a 4-3 final.
In the third, the Wings out-shot the Flames 10-7, out-Corsied them 18-12, out-chanced them 5-2 and won more face-offs by a staggering 14-6 margin. Mikael Backlund got zero even strength ice time in the final frame.
WHY THE FLAMES LOST
A few reasons.
Notably, the team deflated for a bit after the early third period softie. Fluke goal or not, it seemed to knock the Flames off their game-plan. It also allowed the Red Wings to shift into lead protection mode, and they’re a veteran group that won’t blow too many leads.
But ignoring that, unlike the Toronto game where the Flames were stifled by a hot goalie, in this contest the Flames just couldn’t capitalize on the chances they got. Passes didn’t get where they needed to be, or guys weren’t where passes were heading, either way the team generated just four shots on over 8 minutes of power-play time. If the power-play scores at all in the first forty minutes, the Flames probably take over the game. They didn’t and then they got scored on, so here we are.
FLAME OF THE GAME
Curtis Glencross had a goal, 5 shots on goal, and another 6 pucks towards the net. Despite one notable gaffe in his own zone, Glencross had another solid game.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
SUM IT UP
The Flames hit the road, Jack, for a four-game trip through the American midwest. The jaunt kicks off on Sunday when they visit the Madhouse on Madison to visit the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. The puck drops at 5:30pm MT on Sportsnet TV, Sportsnet Radio, Sportsnet Morse Code, Sportsnet Carrier Pigeon and Sportsnet Smoke Signals. FlamesNation’s army of hired goons will have up-to-date analysis of things via Twitter and here for post-game.