The Calgary Flames winning streak came to a crashing halt this evening at the Scotiabank Saddledome. They never quite got their legs under them, gave up some untimely goals and couldn’t really figure out their power play against the Boston Bruins. The result? A 5-2 setback, ending their franchise record-tying winning streak at 10 games.
It was a bit of a sloppy game for the home team early on, as the Flames seemed to fight the puck quite a bit and had some issues clearing the zone throughout the first. They were stymied by the Bruins penalty kill on a couple of power plays, really struggling to gain control in the offensive zone. Despite those struggles, the Flames struck first off a nice sequence from their fourth line. Lance Bouma dumped the puck in and Alex Chiasson recovered it, drove to the front of the net and chipped it through Anton Khudobin to make it 1-0.
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However, the lead didn’t last very long: David Pastrnak beat Chad Johnson through his five-hole on a rush (after nice fourth line shift) to tie it up at 1-1. Both teams settled in from that point and played more of a defensive game. Shots were 9-7 Flames in first.
The Bruins went up a goal early in the second off one of the ugliest goals you’ll ever see a goaltender give up. The Bruins chucked the puck into the Flames end for a line change. Johnson tried for a basket catch but couldn’t hold onto the puck, effectively tossing it into the slot…right to Brad Marchand, who calmly put it past Johnson for a gimme goal to make it 2-1.
Calgary tied things up quite quickly, off a similarly ugly goal: Dougie Hamilton leaned into a shot and beat Khudobin from center ice to make it 2-2.
[in NBA Jam Voice]
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But that score didn’t last too long, as David Backes (who had left the game in the first period after a scary crash into the boards) beat Johnson high glove side on a three-on-two rush to make it 3-2 Boston. Shots were 16-7 Bruins.
The Bruins made it 4-2 early in the third in one of the weirdest pieces of decision-making you’ll see from a defensive pairing. Deryk Engelland jumped into the rush, carrying the puck and pass just past the Boston blueline to…T.J. Brodie. Boston snatched away the puck and were sprung on a two-on-nobody rush. Matt Beleskey scored to make it 4-2. That was basically all she wrote, as the Flames weren’t able to muster very much at all in the remainder of the game. Pastrnak added an empty netter late to make it 5-2. Shots were 9-7 Boston.
WHY THE FLAMES LOST
This was an odd game, in that it’s pretty tough to extricate the rough goaltending from the rough defensive play.
On one hand, Johnson let in a few goals that he’d probably want back: a shot through the five-hole, a dump in that he booted and a glove-side snipe off the rush. But the Flames were awful defensively for good chunks of this game and really couldn’t generate very much of anything on the power play (or on the rush for big swaths of the game).
THE TURNING POINT
Let’s go with the two-on-oh goal that made it 4-2. Engelland and Brodie just pushed too much and cheated into the offensive end, leaving their own side completely open. If the Flames are down 3-2 late, they can pull their goalie and take their chances. If they’re down more than that, it really makes the obstacle too big to overcome.
Let’s go with Chiasson, who drew a penalty, scored a goal and seemed to be running around hitting anybody that he could.
Besides him, the Gaudreau line was good and so were Stajan and Bouma. Other than that, it was a rough night.
(Percentage stats are even strength. Game score is overall. Data via Natural Stat Trick.)
THIS AND THAT
Jon Gillies dressed as backup after arriving at the Saddledome just in time for warm-up.
Matt Stajan’s assist on Chiasson’s goal was his 400th career NHL point.
Chiasson’s goal was his 10th of the season. He’s the 12th Flames player to hit double digits in goals.
The Flames had three power plays. Boston had more shots on goal during Calgary’s power plays than Calgary did.
“You gotta find that momentum again. It wasn’t really one of those games where we had much going on. They played a really good game. I mean, not much energy. I was pretty much dogshit tonight. There wa s a lot of that… In order to get back to winning ways, we just have to get back to what made us successful.” – Flames forward Kris Versteeg on how his team can regroup after the loss.
“I think it’s pretty easy to evaluate. The first two he wanted back, but there was some huge saves made just to keep it close. We got out-chanced by a team tonight. I’m sure he wants the first two back, a little bobble, but we got our chances. We got some bounces, too, when it was 2-2. We had plenty of time to even things up and they just out-played us in the second.” – Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan assessing Chad Johnson’s performance.
Stick-tap to our pal (and yours) Pat Steinberg for busting out the slide-ruler to do the initial calculations on these!
The Flames magic number to clinch a playoff spot began the night at 9. With the loss, their magic number doesn’t change at all. Any combination of 9 Flames wins and Kings losses results in the Flames heading to the post-season.
The Flames (39-27-4) practice tomorrow, then host the Dallas Stars on Friday night at the Saddledome.