Last night, the Calgary Flames won an energetic, crazy, sloppy game.
Tonight? They were much less energetic and much more calm. They were almost as sloppy, and were never really in control in a 4-1 road loss to the Arizona Coyotes. Nothing about this game inspired confidence that this group can be a playoff team.
If you wanted an idea of just how inconsistent this group can be from game to game, the last 48 hours are a picture perfect example of that.
For a team that played a crazy game 20-ish hours before, the Flames had a lot of jump in the first. Unfortunately, some odd choices in the defensive end cost them, as Shane Doan beat Jonas Hiller five-hole (with a rare double partial-screen from Dougie Hamilton and Kris Russell) for the period’s lone goal. Shots were 11-7 Calgary and attempts were 18-16 Calgary.
The second was rough for the visitors. The Flames were on the power-play to begin the period, a carry-over from the end of the first, and almost immediately saw Hiller get beaten. The shot was initially called a goal, but it was crossbar-and-out. However, the Flames got into penalty trouble – shades of San Jose – and gave up a pair of power-play goals. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Anthony Duclair scored on man-advantage. Shots were 16-11 for the Coyotes and attempts were 30-17, and the Flames weren’t really active participants in the proceedings.
The Flames were slightly better in the third, in that they broke the shutout attempt for Louie Domingue; Joe Colborne went to the net and had a couple whacks at a rebound off a point shot, so he was able to hack at it until it went in to make it 3-1. However, there was no more comeback magic left in the Flames, and Doan scored his second of the game (and Arizona’s third power-play goal of the game) to ice it. Shots were 12-5 Arizona in the third, while attempts were 22-12 for the home side.
WHY THE FLAMES LOST
Well, let’s see…
- They weren’t great in their own end, again, like in San Jose.
- They gave up three power-play goals, again, like in San Jose.
- Their goalie tried, but he just couldn’t withstand the onslaught of chances he faced. Just like in San Jose.
- And they got out-shot in the final two periods – during which they always were trailing – and that’s never a recipe for success.
The all situations possession battle was 68-47 Arizona. The attempts in the final two periods were 52-29 Arizona. Calgary had no push late in the game, which is troublesome considering they see themselves as still in the post-season battle.
Jonas Hiller faced 35 shots. He made 31 saves. He got very little help. He wins by default.
The top line had some chances and possession, but nobody else had much of anything going on tonight.
The Flames limp home from this short trip and begin preparing for a battle with yet another Pacific Division foe, the Anaheim Ducks. That will be a rare home afternoon game on holiday Monday, starting at 2pm MT.