The Calgary Flames played a game on Saturday afternoon. They visited the San Jose Sharks and played fairly decently, all things considered. The Sharks are a team that’s on their way to the Stanley Cup playoffs and finds ways to win. The Flames? Well, they’re… not.
The Flames scored a goal and had a bunch of scoring chances, but that’s all they could muster in a 5-1 loss to the Sharks. They have six games remaining this season.
The first half of the first period was fairly even. However, a defensive lapse in the Flames end allowed a nice pass from Chris Tierney to a wide open Brendan Dillon at the point and his wrister beat David Rittich to make it 1-0. (Rittich had a clear view of it, but couldn’t stop it). Just over a minute later the Sharks made it 2-0. Brent Burns’ pass to the slot was redirected off Jannik Hansen’s stick, off Mark Jankowski, and into the net – Jankowski couldn’t tie up Hansen. But the Flames responded, as Michael Stone scored off a slap shot through traffic to make it 2-1.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) March 24, 2018
The visitors had tons of pressure early in the second, but no goals. Evander Kane made it 3-1 off a nice pass from Tierney short-handed off a bad line change and Johnny Gaudreau neglecting to cover Kane. Shots were 10-7 Flames but chances were 13-9 Sharks. Shots were 17-13 Flames and chances 11-8 Flames.
The Flames didn’t have a ton of jump in the final period. Justin Braun made it 4-1 when the puck shot out of scrum along the way and sent him all alone where his wrister beat Rittich. Kane added another goal off a redirection in front of the net to make it 5-1. Shots were 10-8 Flames, chances were 7-7.
Why The Flames Lost
At this point the Flames just don’t have a ton of jump. They’re without four regulars due to injury. A few regulars are probably still playing through injuries. They were okay in just about every area, but the Sharks got better goaltending, were better defensively, and were better at burying their chances.
The Flames lost because they weren’t as good as the Sharks.
Hamilton led the team in shots. For a team that’s not scoring a bunch, that’s pretty big.
The Turning Point
Kane’s short-handed goal to make it 3-1 was a back-breaker. They were a bounce away from being tied up, but because of some shoddy back-checking they were down (and stayed down) for the rest of the game.
(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Corsica.hockey)
This and That
Travis Hamonic fought Kane in the third period, ending with Hamonic utilizing some mixed martial arts with a double-leg takedown. It was fun, as far as fights go. Garnet Hathaway fought Dillon in the third and it wasn’t as fun.
Kent sums up the second period, and the Flames season since the Bye Week:
Flames this period: complete territorial domination, but no goals. Break away (wide), 2on1 on the PP (no shot), partial breakaway (wide), clear look from the slot (shot deflected, harmless as a result).
— Kent Wilson (@Kent_Wilson) March 24, 2018
The Drive to 96 (Points)
The Flames now have 80 points with 6 games remaining. There simply are not enough games left for them to get enough points (a projected 96) to qualify for a playoff spot. They’re mathematically eliminated with any combination of 2.5 Ducks wins or Flames losses.
The Flames (35-31-10) head down to Southern California tonight. They visit the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.