It seems that whenever the Calgary Flames play a game that’s not a standard start time (like 5pm, 7pm or 8pm MT), they come out flat, get down early and have to claw their way back. In front of allegedly 9,934 fans at PNC Arena in Raleigh, the Flames went down 3-0 early and lost 5-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes.
It was a really flat outing, which probably should be worrisome considering that the Flames played with sloppily and with little desperation early-on, and really didn’t start playing well until Karri Ramo had been chased from the game and they had little chance of winning.
The Flames kept the game close…for about two and a half minutes. Former Hitmen forward Victor Rask broke into the Flames zone and went five-hole on Ramo to make it 1-0. The lead swelled to 2-0 late in the period, as Elias Lindholm blew past Kris Russell and got tripped up, and beat Ramo on the resultant penalty shot. Shots were 14-8 for Carolina and attempts were 22-15 for Carolina as well.
After another flat opening to a period, Kris Versteeg scored on a quick rush sequence to make it 3-0. And yes, it was from some iffy defensive play. That spelled the end of the line for Ramo, who allowed 3 goals on 19 shots. Jonas Hiller came in at this point. And the Flames actually scored a goal, as Mark Giordano pinched and chucked the puck at the net from the corner, which careened off Jiri Hudler and past Eddie Lack. That’s all the Flames could generate, though. Shots were 12-12, and attempts were 29-24 Calgary.
Joe Colborne scored five minutes into the third off a nice rush play, bringing the Flames to within a goal. Ultimately, at this point the Flames began taking penalties, and two goals in 32 seconds by Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom sealed the deal on a flat-footed and shell-shocked opposition. Shots were 15-10 for the Flames and shot attempts were 24-22 for them as well, but hey, score effects.
WHY THE FLAMES LOST
Because they were really, really sloppy and bad in the first period. We’re talking about passes miles away from their intended recipient, bad defensive coverage that really hung Ramo out to dry, and uneven and unfocused offensive pressure.
By the time they got their act together in the middle of the season period, it was way too late.
He had two points, so the default option is Joe Colborne. He was a occasional bright spot in a rather drab game.
But hey, Sam Bennett was good once again, as he seemingly always is nowadays.
The Flames hop a plane and head to the Lone Star State to face the Dallas Stars tomorrow night. If they play anywhere as poorly as they did tonight, they will get stomped.
But hey, Auston Matthews and all that jazz.