84Gaudreau Tkachuk
Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Blood in the water

The Calgary Flames have been a pretty good “big game” team throughout the 2018-19 season. But on Thursday evening against the San Jose Sharks, their game was punctuated by a few key lapses that they weren’t able to overcome. The Flames lost 5-2 to the Sharks in a key Pacific Division clash at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

The Rundown

The Flames opened the scoring early in the first period. A Mark Giordano point shot into a crowd of bodies in front was redirected by Mark Jankowski past Martin Jones to make it 1-0 for the locals.

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The Sharks took the game over, though, with three goals on three shots in an 85-second span:

  • Playing at four-on-four, Joe Thornton sent Evander Kane into the Flames zone with a nice bank pass. Rasmus Andersson had position on Kane but didn’t tie him up, allowing Kane to spin and put a shot between David Rittich’s legs to make it 1-1. Rittich got some of it, but the puck squirted through his five-hole.
  • On a Flames power play, Brent Burns whacked the puck away from Sam Bennett as he attempted to enter the Sharks zone. Rittich raced to beat Burns to the puck, but his attempted clearing pass went right towards Burns, who calmly skated past Rittich and put the puck into the open net to make it 2-1 Sharks.
  • Mike Smith came into the game in relief, and the very first shot he played was a Radim Simek point shot that was redirected in front by Tomas Hertl to make it 3-1 Sharks.

Shots were 12-10 Flames and chances 7-6 Sharks in the opening period.

The Flames buzzed around the Sharks zone a lot early in the second period, but couldn’t bury any of their chances. Derek Ryan, Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau had golden chances in consecutive shifts, but passes and shots around the slot found a way to miss the net by inches.

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The Sharks slowed the game down, though, and eventually extended their lead off a bit of nice passing and a bit of iffy Flames positional defense. Giordano was out-manned down low in the defensive zone. Joonas Donskoi grabbed the puck and fed Kane in the slot. Smith made the initial save, but TJ Brodie couldn’t get position on Kane and allowed him a couple whacks at a loose puck to make it 4-1 Sharks.

But the Flames got one back before the end of the period on the power play. A Brodie point shot with James Neal obstructing Jones’ view found its way into the net, making it a 4-2 deficit.

Shots were 14-10 Flames and chances 8-6 Flames in the second period.

The Flames buzzed again the early third period, including having a strong power play that seemingly did everything but score.

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But the Flames just weren’t able to claw their way back into it. Hertl jammed in a loose puck on a late power play to make it a 5-2 win for the Sharks.

Shots were 12-10 Flames and chances 4-4 in the third period.

Why the Flames Lost

This one isn’t entirely on the Flames’ goaltending tandem of Rittich and Smith, but they didn’t give the team in front of them much of a chance to find their stride. The locals were a bit jumpy and a bit too cute with the puck in all three zones – resulting in quite a few lengthy stretches played in their own end – and while they eventually found a bit of of a rhythm, it wasn’t nearly enough.

Quite simply, the Flames played poorly enough that a pretty rough 85 seconds of hockey in the first period was enough to dig them into a hole that they didn’t have the ability to crawl out of.

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Red Warrior

None of the Flames were amazing on this evening, but Giordano was arguably the best. He battled through the game, had an assist, and generated a lot of shots on net.

The Turning Point

Three goals on three shots over 85 seconds. This one, a shorthanded goal by Burns assisted by Rittich, is probably the one that stings the most in the Flames locker room.

The Numbers

(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Corsica.Hockey)

Player Corsi
Ryan 62.5 0.0 0.955
Hathaway 62.5 0.0 0.350
Brodie 59.3 60.0 1.675
Backlund 57.7 14.3 0.355
Mangiapane 57.1 33.3 0.235
Andersson 55.6 0.0 0.225
Bennett 54.2 66.7 0.510
Hanifin 53.9 37.5 0.525
Frolik 53.6 20.0 0.750
Jankowski 52.2 66.7 1.270
Lindholm 50.0 45.5 0.170
Neal 50.0 75.0 0.950
Gaudreau 50.0 50.0 0.525
Tkachuk 50.0 0.0 -0.025
Hamonic 50.0 37.5 -0.025
Giordano 48.4 60.0 0.975
Prout 47.8 0.0 -0.200
Monahan 45.2 50.0 0.320
Rittich -1.100
Smith -0.150

This and That

The Flames used this game to commemorate Harvey the Hound’s 35th birthday. They got him a gigantic drum.

Both goaltenders took tripping penalties in the third period.

Up Next

The Flames (34-15-5) practice tomorrow, then hit the road again. They’re off to scenic Vancouver to play the Canucks on Saturday in the late game of Hockey Day in Canada.