The Calgary Flames made history on Saturday afternoon in Shenzhen, China. They played their first games outside of North America since their 1998 trip to Tokyo, Japan. After digging themselves a 3-0 hole in the first period, the Flames managed to battle back and force overtime. But they couldn’t finish the job, losing 4-3 to the Boston Bruins via shootout.
The Flames had some jump early, generating several good chances early on. But they couldn’t bury them and some defensive lapses led to a string of Bruins goals. First, Trent Frederic and Martin Bodak were sprung into the offensive zone off a bad Flames line change, ending with Frederic catching Jon Gillies sliding left to right and beat him on his left side to make it 1-0. Ryan Donato scored soon after on another two-on-one, beating Gillies with a nice shot to make it 2-0. John Moore finished a really nice Peter Cehlarik pass with the Flames running around in their own end to make it 3-0. But Sean Monahan answered back for the Flames late in the period on a power play off a nice pass from Matthew Tkachuk from below the goal line (with 0.1 seconds remaining) to make it 3-1.
Wrist surgery: pretty effective pic.twitter.com/4N93ifb7kj
— FlamesNation (@FlamesNation) September 15, 2018
Shots were 14-10 Flames, but scoring chances were 7-5 Bruins.
The Flames were quite good in the second period, generating a lot of good chances. Elias Lindholm had the best two chances in the period: an early chance in the slot off a nice pass from Monahan and another late in the period on a two-on-one rush with Johnny Gaudreau that beat Jaroslav Halak but hit the crossbar. Shots were 12-3 Flames and scoring chances were 9-3 Flames.
Odd-man rush off an early turnover, Giordano snuck in from the point and tapped in a Gaudreau pass to make it 3-2.
Gio makes it 3-2 early in the third pic.twitter.com/HORiM052RW
— FlamesNation (@FlamesNation) September 15, 2018
The Flames had a lengthy (1:54) two man disadvantage after Garnet Hathaway high-sticked a Bruin and Travis Hamonic cleared the puck over the glass. But a very nice performance from Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik and Giordano ate up the majority of the time and bought the Flames a bit of life. The Bruins ended up giving the Flames a full two minute two man advantage with 2:08 left in regulation due to a roughing call and a bench minor, which allowed Giordano to power through his second of the period to tie the game at 3-3 with 46 seconds left (and Gillies off for the extra attacker). Shots were 14-5 Flames and scoring chances were 7-2 Flames.
It was off to overtime! Mikael Backlund took a minor in extra time for tripping Brad Marchand, but the Flames killed it off. Neither team could score in OT, though the Flames had an edge in scoring chances (1-0). In the shootout Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk scored for Boston while Matthew Tkachuk responded for the Flames, giving the Bruins the victory.
Why The Flames Lost (in a Shootout)
Boston was able to bury their chances while the Flames weren’t. In particular, Boston scored on three consecutive scoring chances in a span in the middle of the first period and that swung the game wide open.
It was Vintage Gulutzan Flames, but only for a little while:
#Flames give up early goal. So they cheat defensively, which leads to even more chances against and more cheating. Again: early, but they look very like the Gulutzan team.
— Ryan Pike (@RyanNPike) September 15, 2018
Gillies wasn’t amazing in net, but his team didn’t make life easy on him during the first period. They were the better team overall and deserved a better fate, but they played just poorly enough in the first period to need a Herculean comeback to get this one to overtime.
Let’s go with Austin Czarnik, who was buzzing around all game. Lindholm was also quite effective, as was Giordano.
The Turning Point
The Flames were arguably the better team but for a short span in the first period where they lost focus and gave up three goals – two of which were off odd-man rushes. When you take your eye off the ball, bad things happen.
This and That
The Flames had an overall 22-11 scoring chance edge. Lindholm led the way with 3 chances, while Tkachuk, Czarnik, Bennett, Gaudreau, Neal and Monahan all had multiple scoring chances.
Garnet Hathaway took a skate to the face on his first shift of the game. Thankfully he wasn’t injured too badly and returned to the game.
#Flames going with these powerplay units in China, both 1-3-1 setups:
— Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) September 15, 2018
Who inherited Troy Brouwer’s alternate captain’s A? Nobody. They played with a captain (Mark Giordano) and one alternate (Sean Monahan).
A street dog infiltrated the arena and nearly followed me out to ice level. It ran away when it saw Calgary's dog mascot.
I shot video of the encounter.
— Matt Porter (@mattyports) September 15, 2018
The group in China jets off to Beijing later today and prepares for a game on Wednesday night (early morning in Calgary) – they changed their travel plans slightly due to the impending arrival of Super Typhoon Mangkhut in the Shenzhen/Hong Kong area.
The main camp group prepares for a domestic preseason game on Monday night at the Saddledome against the Edmonton Oilers.