The Calgary Flames rolled into St. Louis this afternoon hoping to extend their winning streak in a building that they traditionally struggle in. They played two and a half periods of pretty good hockey, out-shot their hosts in all three periods and were generally pretty good.
Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t bury their chances on the power-play, Brian Elliott was pretty damn good for the Blues, and the Flames’ special teams failures gave the Blues momentum at key times. As a result, the Flames lost 3-2 to snap their winning streak in a game they never led.
And because of that, they’re back at .500.
The game started poorly for the Flames, as they gave up a pair of goals before the game was five minutes old. In retrospect, that was basically the entire game right there. Anyway, Vladimir Tarasenko bonked in a rebound after the Flames couldn’t clear out the initial shot to make it 1-0. Colton Parayko – who made the Flames look silly back in October – stick-handled around both Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie and beat Ramo to make it 2-0. From that point, the Flames got it going, eventually leading in shots 8-7 (though the Blues led in attempts 21-17).
The Flames were really good throughout the second period, but not good enough to actually score goals, sadly. They led 15-6 in shots and 23-13 in attempts, on the road, against a team that usually owns them. They had three power-plays and scored zero goals in the period. After their second power-play, the Blues extended their lead to 3-0 off a Jori Lehtera goal. It was that kind of game.
The visitors finally broke through in the final frame. Four minutes in, Sean Monahan’s tip-in goal eventually counted after a review to make it 3-1. They kept pressing and finally scored another late, as Mark Giordano beat Elliott to make it 3-2. From there, they tried their usual tricks – pulling the goalie and putting Johnny Gaudreau on the ice to create magic – but unfortunately the Blues held firm and held on for the win. Shots were 15-9 Flames and attempts were 24-15 Flames in the third.
I wanted to go with Giordano or Brodie, but neither was great early-on, so let’s go with Mikael Backlund, who kept the puck moving in the right direction and won most of his face-offs.
Sean Monahan? He also had a good game, but he also got better as the game went on.
WHY THE FLAMES LOST
To be honest? They lost because they spotted a better team a two-goal lead on the road, and then had to play catch-up for the entire time. The Blues are pretty well-coached and have a good defensive group, so they’re not a team that will utterly collapse in on themselves just because Johnny Gaudreau can dangle the puck.
Speaking of, the Blues did a good job of not looking overly impressed with Gaudreau’s dangles and containing him throughout the game.
The Flames head to the Motor City immediately after this game, because they play the Detroit Red Wings tomorrow night at Joe Louis Arena.