They were bound to lose at some point.
The Flames dropped a close 3-2 game tonight against the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks spotted the Flames a first period lead, but the Flames paid the favour back via some sloppy second period defensive-zone play. Ultimately, they couldn’t consummate the comeback and they dropped their ninth regulation game of the 2014-15 season.
Here’s how it happened.
The Flames had one of their best periods of the season in the first. They had jump. They executed well. They made Antti Niemi make quite a few good saves. They out-shot the Sharks 12-7. They out-attempted them 25-14. They skated well. They won more face-offs by a 14-11 margin. They scored a late-period goal, as a nice zone entry and some pressure and some cycling found Mark Giordano entering the zone as the trailer, and he fired a slap-shot past Niemi to make it 1-0. Outside of scoring more goals, not much else could be asked of the Flames in the first period.
The second period? Ehhh… They weren’t quite as good. The Sharks came out of the gates like a team that had gotten yelled at by their coach. They had more jump and better execution than the Flames did early-on, and made the locals pay twice fairly early in the middle frame. 33 seconds in, Tommy Wingels grabbed a Flames defensive turnover in their own zone and fed it to Justin Braun, who back-handed the puck past Karri Ramo to make it 1-1. 2:01 later, Raphael Diaz failed to clear out a Sharks dump-in, allowing Logan Couture to collect it and beat Ramo to make it 2-1. The period went back-and-forth from there, with the Sharks trying to protect their lead. However, after a successful late-period penalty kill on a Mark Giordano hooking minor, the Flames entered the zone with some vim and vigour, and after some pressuring, some cycling and some shots, Jiri Hudler’s initial shot was saved by Niemi but Johnny Gaudreau collected the rebound and put it past the netminder for a 2-2 tie. Shots were tied 9-9 in the second, with the Flames leading in shot attempts 27-18 but the Sharks having a clear face-off edge by a 15-7 margin.
The Sharks went up mid-way through the third period on a weird one: they had the Flames hemmed in their zone. Stajan hit Wingels. The puck went to Couture, and popped into the air when a Flame went to challenge him. The bouncing puck landed in front of the net and Marleau knocked it past Ramo to give them a 3-2 lead. The Flames successfully killed off a five-on-three Sharks power-play and had a late advantage of their own, but Antti Niemi stood tall and the locals were down 3-2. Shots in the third were even at 14-14, while the Sharks had an advantage in shot attempts (29-25) and face-offs (13-10).
WHY THE FLAMES LOST
Two key factors: face-offs and turnovers.
The first two Sharks goals were off sloppy defensive-zone play, which allowed the Sharks to pounce and basically gave Karri Ramo little chance to do much. Combined with a wonky bounce in the early third – set up by them getting absolutely hemmed into the own zone after an icing – and viola, the Sharks score more goals.
The Sharks also were strong at pacing themselves. Huge in that was their face-off performance. Calgary lost the majority of the draws, winning just 44%, which allowed the Sharks to really dictate the pace as the game went on (and dissipate Flames momentum).
Let’s go with the ever-dangerous Johnny Gaudreau: five shots, a goal and an even rating in 19:21 of ice-time. He continues to stir the drink on the Flames power-play, getting 4:10 of PP time in a game where they had six minutes of PP time.
Barclay Goodrow, his soundalike Sharks counterpart, was minus-1 in 15:24 of ice-time.
(Stick tap to the mystery person that did Scoring Chances so I didn’t have to! – RP)
|Home||1||16:01||Bouma from Stajan, save||5||7||16||17||18||31||15||27||31||52||81||89||5v5|
|Away||1||0:22||Scott from Pavelski, save||5||7||19||20||23||31||4||18||19||20||31||88||5v5|
|Away||1||0:19||Pavelski from Scott rebound, miss||5||7||19||20||23||31||4||8||19||20||31||88||5v5|
|Away||2||17:27||Couture from Braun, goal||15||16||17||18||31||33||18||20||31||39||44||61||5v5|
|Away||2||15:40||Goodrow from Sheppard, save||5||7||19||20||23||31||15||18||27||31||44||89||5v5|
|Home||2||12:03||Ferland from Russel, miss||4||6||31||32||60||79||15||20||27||31||52||89||5v5|
|Home||2||9:42||Byron from Giordano, miss (5v4 PP)||5||6||20||31||32||86||4||12||27||31||39||5v4|
|Home||2||6:45||Monahan from Giordano, save||5||7||16||20||23||31||4||8||19||31||48||88||5v5|
|Home||2||2:22||Russel from Stajan, save||4||5||15||17||18||31||12||31||44||52||57||89||5v5|
|Home||2||2:13||Gaudreau from Hudler, save||4||13||15||18||24||31||12||31||44||52||57||89||5v5|
|Away||3||19:16||Burns from Hertl, miss||5||7||19||20||23||31||4||8||19||31||48||88||5v5|
|Away||3||17:09||Wingels from Marleau, save||5||7||13||24||31||86||4||12||31||39||57||88||5v5|
|Home||3||16:20||Gaudreau from Hudler, save||4||6||13||23||24||31||10||19||31||44||61||5v4|
|Home||3||15:12||Byron from Giordano, save (5v4 PP)||5||7||20||31||32||86||12||31||39||44||61||5v4|
|Away||3||10:43||Marleau from Couture, goal||5||7||17||18||24||31||12||27||31||39||52||57||5v5|
|Away||3||9:42||Hertl from Pavelski, miss||4||6||19||20||23||31||4||8||19||31||48||88||5v5|
|Home||3||7:23||Granlund from Byron, save||5||7||31||32||60||79||4||8||12||31||39||88||5v5|
|Away||3||6:18||Wingels from Couture, save||4||6||31||32||60||79||12||31||39||44||57||61||5v5|
|Home||3||6:09||Ferland from Byron, miss||4||6||31||32||60||79||12||31||39||44||57||61||5v5|
|Away||3||5:10||Hertl from Thornton, save||5||7||19||20||23||31||8||19||31||44||48||61||5v5|
|Away||3||4:47||Thornton, miss (5v4 PP)||5||6||17||18||31||8||12||19||31||39||88||4v5|
|Away||3||4:22||Pavelski from Burns, save (5v3 PP)||5||6||17||31||8||12||19||31||39||88||3v5|
|Away||3||3:41||Pavelski from Burns, save (5v3 PP)||5||6||17||31||8||12||19||31||39||88||3v5|
|Home||3||2:57||Brodie, save (4v5 PK)||5||6||7||31||86||8||15||31||44||48||52||4v5|
|Home||3||1:47||Diaz from Monahan, miss (6v5)||5||23||24||33||60||79||12||27||31||39||57||61||5v5|
|Home||3||0:44||Monahan from Hudler, save (6v4 PP)||4||6||13||20||23||24||19||31||39||44||88||5v4|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
SUM IT UP
The Flames (17-9-2) have had their winning streak napped after four games. They’re off tomorrow and then jet off to the Centre of the Universe for a game on Tuesday in Toronto against the Maple Leafs.
The next home game is on December 16. This upcoming roadie features stops in Toronto, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Chicago. We’ll see if their prior road success can continue.