The streak is dead. Long live the streak. The Calgary Flames attempted to shake off the bye week dust on Saturday afternoon at the Scotiabank Saddledome in a rare afternoon tilt with the Winnipeg Jets. Fans were treated to a game of fits and starts and, occasionally, some speed and skill from the Jets. But the Flames were the beneficiaries of some nice netminding and managed to get a point for their efforts in the a form of a 2-1 shootout loss.
It was a sloppy game all-around in the opening period, as two teams who hadn’t played in a week missed shots, passes and checks. But despite the sloppy start, the Flames managed to score first. With the game at four-on-four, Troy Brouwer won a battle on the boards and T.J. Brodie collected the puck and beat Connor Hellebuyck with a wrister to make it 1-0.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) January 20, 2018
The Flames almost doubled their lead later in the period when Brouwer poked a rebound past Hellebuyck, but it was challenged by the Jets and disallowed due to goaltending interference.
Referee determined that the actions of Calgary's Matthew Tkachuk caused Winnipeg's Matt Hendricks to contact Hellebuyck before the puck crossed the goal line, preventing him from doing his job in the crease.
— Scouting The Refs (@ScoutingTheRefs) January 20, 2018
Winnipeg came back and had several nice chances before the end of the period. Shots were 15-9 Jets, scoring chances were 12-3 Jets.
Mike Smith made a nice save on Nikolaj Ehlers early in the second, as Ehlers almost had a tap-in redirection from the slot. But the Jets eventually evened things up. The Flames couldn’t score on a power play and sent the fourth line (and the Brodie/Hamonic duo) out for the next shift. The Jets threw out their second line, hemmed the Flames into their own zone, and then Bryan Little’s shot – with Mathieu Perreault and Hamonic battling in front of Smith – beat the netminder through the five-hole to make it 1-1. Shots were 11-9 Flames and chances were 6-5 Flames.
Neither team scored in the third period, though both of them had some nice chances – Smith made a showy glove save on Ehlers early in the period. But regulation solved nothing. Shots were 9-8 Jets, scoring chances were X-Y.
Overtime solved nothing, though (again) both teams had some decent chances. Shots were 2-1 Jets. So it was off to the shootout: Little and Blake Wheeler scored for the Jets, and that was it.
Why The Flames Lost (in a Shootout)
The Flames got a point because Smith was very sharp. They only got the single point because their “best” players didn’t execute very well. The power play is a good snapshot of this: decent amounts of zone time, but a mixture of bad luck, bad passes and wonky execution. They just weren’t good enough to be difference-makers today.
Once again, it’s gotta be Smith. He made several gorgeous saves and gave the Flames a chance.
The Turning Point
The Flames seemed to slump a bit after the disallowed goal. The Jets got the next four shots and out-shot the home side 7-1 before the end of the period.
The other turning point was obviously the shift from the fourth line after the second period power play, which ultimately resulted in the game-tying goal for Winnipeg.
(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Corsica.hockey)
This and That
The Flames are now 5-5-4 when entering the third period tied.
The Drive to 95 (Points)
The Flames now have 55 points with 36 games remaining. They need 40 points over their remaining schedule – the equivalent of a 20-16-0 record to hit the 95 point mark that’ll probably be the playoff cut-off.
“Our power play looked disorganized. Not disorganized, but they couldn’t execute. And we didn’t. We missed nets, bobbled pucks, threw passes. So we’ll work on that tomorrow.” – Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan on his team’s power play, which went 0-for-4 but generated six shots.
The Flames (25-16-5) practice tomorrow, then prepare to host the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.