The Calgary Flames played Vancouver tonight in their sixth of seven preseason games. It wasn’t a very good game. Despite dressing a largely NHL roster, the Flames seemed tentative and out of sync. More alarmingly, Mike Smith looked shaky at times in net.
The Flames lost to the Canucks by a 3-1 score in a game they never led.
Jake Virtanen opened the scoring in the first, going five-hole on Smith after a nice drop-pass from Sam Gagner that really discombobulated the Flames defense – everybody followed Gagner and gave Virtanen plenty of time – to make it 1-0. Calgary had a few nice deflection chances later in the period, but Anders Nilsson was sharp. Shots were 8-7 Flames.
With Freddie Hamilton in the penalty box early in the second, the Canucks made it 2-0 with a weird power play goal. Michael del Zotto’s point shot went off Michael Frolik’s stick and careened into the open net. How come Smith didn’t move to block it? Three bodies in front of him. The Flames didn’t generate much for the rest of the period. Shots were 12-10 Vancouver.
After they killed a Flames penalty, the Canucks made it 3-0. Darren Archibald scored on a breakaway, grabbing a puck that squeaked past Giordano and beating Smith five-hole. Sean Monahan made it 3-1 late in the game with a power play goal deflecting a Kris Versteeg shot from the slot, but that’s all the Flames mustered. Shots were 13-11 Flames.
Why The Flames Lost
They didn’t generate very much at even strength, getting out-chanced by Vancouver at five on five in two of three periods (and 22-15 overall). Their power play wasn’t very good, taking seven tries before scoring in the third. Oh, and Smith was not very good.
They were out-worked and they didn’t execute when they had the chances to do so. It was a poor effort.
The Turning Point
The del Zotto goal made it 2-0 and stood as the game-winner. The Flames didn’t do much for the rest of the period after giving it up, and it was very much the beginning of the end.
Nobody was great, but let’s go with Michael Stone, who led the team in scoring chances despite playing with Matt Bartkowski for the night. (That pairing did get a bunch of time with the 3M Line, though.)
(All figures via our friends at Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5-on-5.)
Game In A YouTube Video
#Flames Gulutzan: “I think there’s a sense of, ‘Hey we’ve got our team together and now we’re going to just win.’ It doesn’t work that way.”
— Wes Gilbertson (@WesGilbertson) September 29, 2017
The Flames play again on Saturday night at home against Winnipeg. After that? They cut down their roster to 23 players and get ready for the Oilers on Oct. 4.