Man, Ben Bishop was really good tonight.
That’s the main takeaway from a game where the Calgary Flames did 90% of things correctly. Sure, their power play could’ve done a lot more with six chances. But the Dallas Stars performed reasonably well and rode a hot goaltending performance by Bishop to a 2-0 shutout victory over the Flames in a tight-checking game between two teams that both needed the two points in a jam-packed Western Conference playoff race.
There were only two goals in this game, so we’ll eschew the “normal” format and just look at how this game swung.
Dallas scored twice. Once late in the first period on a weird play. The Flames broke up a Dallas zone entry but couldn’t corral the puck, and it found its way to the stick of Devin Shore in front of the net. Dougie Hamilton slid to attempt a block, and Jon Gillies seemed to think Shore was going to pass the puck to his left. Shore instead went to Gillies’ right and buried a wrister to make it 1-0.
In the second Dallas made it 2-0 on the power play on another odd play. The puck was dumped in and rimmed around the back boards to the far corner. Travis Hamonic went to play the puck and got bear-hugged by a Dallas player, which allowed the puck to go to Jamie Benn, who fed Tyler Seguin for a wrister that beat Gillies high. Glen Gulutzan was livid on the non-call on the bear-hug.
The first period was pretty even, with Dallas having a slight shot edge (9-8) and chance edge (7-5). From there on, the Flames were very good at even strength. Shots were 17-7 in the second and 13-8 in the third for the visitors. Scoring chances were 4-1 in the second and 9-4 in the third for the visitors. But the Flames could not score a goal because Ben Bishop was in the zone.
Why The Flames Lost
They couldn’t generate enough dangerous chances on the power play. And when they generated scoring chances of any kind during the game, Bishop swallowed them up. He was the difference-maker tonight.
Here’s what the Flames generated in 1:55 of a five-on-three advantage: shot, miss, miss, shot, miss, miss, miss. That’s not good enough.
Giordano was excellent tonight, with blocks, shots, scoring chances and monstrous possession numbers.
The Turning Point
The Flames went down 2-0 and instead of having some even strength pressure to get their momentum back, their coach takes an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by losing his cool at a crucial time of the game.
— FlamesNation (@FlamesNation) February 28, 2018
(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Corsica.hockey)
This and That
This was the fifth time this season that the Flames have been shut out.
The Drive to 96 (Points)
The Flames now have 73 points with 18 games remaining. They need 23 points over their remaining schedule – the equivalent of a 11-6-1 record to hit the 96 point mark that’ll probably be the playoff cut-off.
The Flames (32-23-9) head to Denver tonight. They cap off their short road trip tomorrow when they play the Colorado Avalanche.