Photo Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames flattened by Habs

For the second consecutive game, the Calgary Flames were out-played but David Rittich was good. This time the Flames couldn’t muster enough goals and lost to the Montreal Canadiens by a 3-2 score.

The Rundown

The Flames were fairly flat in the opening 20 minutes, but David Rittich was sharp early on. Late in the period, the Flames managed to open the scoring. Mikael Backlund flung the puck towards the front of the net from below the goal line. The pass went through Michael Frolik’s legs (and past a few Canadiens defenders) right to Matthew Tkachuk, and Tkachuk’s quick wrister went off Frolik’s shinpad and beat Carey Price to make it 1-0 Flames.

Shots were 12-7 Canadiens in the first while chances were 6-6.

The Flames spent much of the second period seemingly sitting back, hoping that Rittich could hold onto this one. Given that there were 40 minutes left in regulation, that seemed like a bad strategy – and it was.

Midway through the period TJ Brodie took a dumb retaliation penalty behind the play. On the ensuing power play Frolik broke his stick and the momentary confusion allowed Jeff Petry to power a one-timer from the side boards past Rittich to tie the game at 1-1. A few minutes later the Habs got another power play and Brendan Gallagher redirected a Petry shot from the slot to make it 2-1.

To add insult to injury, the Flames kept turning over the puck in the neutral zone in the final four minutes of the second period. Jonathan Drouin beat Rittich short side off the rush – catching Rittich moving right to left – to make it 3-1. Shots were 21-8 Canadiens and chances 9-5 Canadiens.

The Flames finally showed signs of life in the final 10 minutes of the third period. Tkachuk entered zone, found Backlund with a cross-zone pass for a scoring chance, and Elias Lindholm buried a rebound in-close to make it 3-2.

But that’s as close as the Flames got. Shots were 8-6 Flames but chances were 4-4.

Why the Flames Lost

Rittich was good, but almost nobody else was. The Flames lost the special teams battle – their PP went 0-for-5 and their penalty kill went 3-for-5 – and looked very tentative in both their defensive zone and neutral zone play.

In short: the Flames looked like a confused, disorganized bunch.

Red Warrior

Rittich. He made many, many saves and held the Flames in the game for longer than they deserved to be there.

The Turning Point

Petry’s goal – with Brodie in the box and Frolik waving his hands around due to a broken stick – finally swung the game back to the Canadiens. Montreal had been generating more chances all game and getting nothing from it. The floodgates opened and the Flames were never in the game again.

The Numbers

(Percentage stats are 5-on-5)

Player Corsi
Brodie 73.9 71.4 0.600
Frolik 71.4 60.0 1.025
Backlund 62.5 55.6 1.865
Lindholm 60.9 40.0 1.155
Giordano 59.3 66.7 0.600
Ryan 58.3 33.3 -0.060
Tkachuk 55.6 62.5 1.775
Valimaki 53.6 50.0 0.025
Dube 50.0 50.0 0.000
Neal 50.0 42.9 0.385
Gaudreau 50.0 66.7 0.200
Stone 50.0 50.0 -0.050
Monahan 48.0 57.1 -0.050
Bennett 42.9 60.0 0.125
Jankowski 38.5 66.7 -0.010
Hanifin 36.0 50.0 -0.275
Hathaway 33.3 50.0 -0.300
Andersson 31.3 37.5 0.125
Rittich 1.450

This and That

Johnny Gaudreau briefly left the game after being flattened in the corner by Jamie Benn. He returned and finished the game.

With the Flames down a couple goals for much of the third period, Bill Peters shuffled lines again. Among the third period trios: Bennett-Backlund-Neal, Gaudreau-Monahan-Tkachuk and Frolik-Ryan-Lindholm. (The fourth line stayed intact.)

Up Next

The Flames (5-4-0) fly home tonight. They practice tomorrow and host the Pittsburgh Penguins at the ‘Dome on Thursday night.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    The way I see it there are two ways to make an opponent pay for dirty play…functional team toughness or a deadly power play…the Flames need to pick one!!

  • JoelOttosJock

    All you clowns talking about monny not fighting are..well..clowns. he isnt here to fight. I dislike his defensive game as a top center..but hes not there to play d. He is here to score. Plain and simple. You want to point a finger? What about the captain? Or Hathaway? I hate to say this but you bad the flames signed Ryan and didnt get Reaves.

  • Brownblazer

    Worst game of the season . . . by far. Passing was horrible (and by more than just Hanifin). It’s time for the coaches to switch up the power play personnel (other than Anderson out with the second unit). The pp is taking away momentum not creating it! A terrible way to start the game for the Flames- give them a pp.

  • TKO

    with the amount of major hit Gaudreau is taking every game, i don’t expect him to last much longer before going onto LTIR with a concussion or broken something