62Mikael Backlund
Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames can’t solve Markstrom, get a point anyway

Friends, from time to time a hockey club will be utterly frustrated by a hot goaltender. On Saturday night, the Calgary Flames put 47 shots on Vancouver Canucks netminder Jacob Markstrom. The Flames couldn’t figure him out, but managed to earn a much-needed point in a 4-3 shootout loss in Vancouver.

The Rundown

Vancouver opened the scoring 44 seconds in, scoring on their first shot on David Rittich. It was a set play off a Canucks face-off win, as Bo Horvat took a pass from Chris Tanev and beat Rittich going side-to-side to make it 1-0.

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But the Flames responded back, as their top line scored a pretty nice goal off the rush. Johnny Gaudreau’s first shot was turned aside from Markstrom, but Sean Monahan collected the puck and found Elias Lindholm in the slot. Lindholm buried the puck to make it a 1-1 game.

But the Canucks re-took the lead off a really nice shot from the high slot by Josh Leivo. It was a wrist shot with a brief hesitation that changed the angle of the shot. Between the shot’s angle and a trio of bodies between Rittich and the shooter, the shot beat the Flames goaltender five-hole to make it 2-1 Vancouver.

But the Flames responded back, as James Neal’s initial shot was stopped by Markstrom. The rebound bounced around and Sam Bennett pounced on it, bonking it in to make it a 2-2 game.

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Shots were 13-11 Flames in first and scoring chances 10-10.

The Flames were borderline dominant in the second period, with the first 13 shots of the second period. Andrew Mangiapane gave the Flames a lead with the 17th Calgary shot of the period, a one-timer off a nice pass from Noah Hanifin after Garnet Hathaway caused a turnover with a nice hit behind the play.

But the Canucks answered back, as Brock Boeser buried a cross-zone pass from Elias Pettersson during some four-on-four play. That goal made it a 3-3 game.

Shots were 20-5 Flames and chances 17-7 Flames in the second.

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Neither team scored in third period, though both had their chances. The Flames had six minutes of power play time, but just couldn’t bury anything.

Shots 14-8 were Flames and chances 8-5 Flames in the third period.

Overtime was full of end-to-end rushes. Mark Giordano hit the post at one end, then took a slashing call on Brock Boeser as the play went the other way. The Flames managed to kill off that penalty to force a shootout. In the skills competition Pettersson was the sole scorer to give Vancouver a 4-3 win.

Why the Flames Got A Point

The Flames put a crap-ton of shots on Markstrom, but only got three goals to show for it. The Canucks did a pretty solid job of keeping the Flames to the outside and minimizing screens and tips. The Flames got a bit too cute at times with their plays and while they did dominate possession, they didn’t make life difficult enough for the Canucks by playing a desperate, direct game in the offensive zone.

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On the other side, at least two of the Canucks goals can be attributed to some soft defensive coverage in the Flames end. At even strength, the Flames just aren’t playing tight enough and it gave the Canucks a few too many high-quality scoring chances.

Red Warrior

Mangiapane had five shots despite barely playing, so let’s give the nod to him. But many Flames had pretty decent offensive nights, with 14 skaters registering shots on goal.

Also, stick-tap to Travis Hamonic for being a crazy person.

The Turning Point

The Flames had a full four minute power play in the middle of the third period with the game tied. They just couldn’t get enough grade-A chances to get pucks past Markstrom.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Giordano 78.8 69.3 1.175
Brodie 74.3 69.3 1.200
Andersson 72.7 71.4 0.775
Monahan 68.6 60.0 1.755
Gaudreau 65.6 60.0 1.925
Lindholm 65.5 60.0 1.720
Kylington 65.2 66.7 0.425
Ryan 60.0 66.7 0.470
Frolik 59.3 36.4 0.025
Tkachuk 58.3 44.4 0.425
Hathaway 57.1 66.7 0.325
Mangiapane 55.6 44.4 1.375
Backlund 53.9 36.4 -0.025
Bennett 52.9 55.6 1.290
Neal 50.0 55.6 1.225
Jankowski 50.0 55.6 0.570
Hamonic 37.1 23.1 -0.050
Hanifin 35.3 28.6 0.250
Rittich -0.050

This and That

The Flames are 8-0-4 when tied after two periods (and a combined 27-1-4 when tied or leading).

James Neal lost a bunch of teeth in the middle of the third period via a high stick.

Up Next

The Flames (34-15-6) head to sunny Florida tomorrow. They face the powerhouse Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday evening.

  • GoodSaveDave

    I don’t usually post. But what is happening with the fan base on twitter? Why is everybody freaking out over an entertaining game we lost? We aren’t about to win 82 games a season. We should be proud of where the team is and what they have done over the last few years with the rebuild. Some of these fans are acting like we are the oilers.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      It’s called giving a damn. For too many years this club has been garbage so in those years where the club is actually good, fans overreact to wins and losses. I’d rather the Fans do this every so often than be in a permanent bewildered stupor like the fans of Orange Crushed.

  • aye

    Can’t believe all the negativity after a SO loss in a game the Flames absolutely dominated and deserved to win.
    Go check the recent records of all the top teams around the league, and see how many are actually doing much worse then the Flames. The point is every team goes through bad stretches, and games are supposed to be tighter down the stretch (for every team). And every player goes through tough stretches as well. Sure, Rittich hasn’t been lights out last little while, but has anyone checked Gibson’s stats of late?
    No, the sky is not falling! So, please relax.

        • Cfan in Van

          What a great group of Flames Fans. Thanks for bringing us all together SF, and thanks for the Heat hats. Shootouts are the absolute worst, but everything else on the night was top notch. Hopefully we can get an opportunity to meet up again, be it in BC, AB, or Cali. Cheers.

          • Off the wall

            I must say that was one handsome Flames group in Vancouver. That’s why I took the pictures, I didn’t want to ruin it.

            Mrs Otw and I LOVED our time with all of you. Thanks again for making it memorable, Mr and Mrs SF, Cfan, The Fall and their lovely other half’s. My wife is still taking about it, which means we’re ready for the next get together!

          • Cfan in Van

            Thanks for the great time OTW. Better Half and I are a little rough around the edges this morning, but it was more than worth the price of tickets and booze to meet up with such a fine crew, and enjoy a close game (closer than it should have been). Cheers, till next time!

  • Korcan

    “But the Canucks re-took the lead off a really nice shot from the high slot by Josh Leivo. It was a wrist shot with a brief hesitation that changed the angle of the shot. Between the shot’s angle and a trio of bodies between Rittich and the shooter, the shot beat the Flames goaltender five-hole to make it 2-1 Vancouver.”

    Uh, . . . What? If that is not sugar-coating a weak goal, I’m not sure what is. Apart from the second goal, Rittich had a decent night, but call a spade a spade — that shot should have been stopped.

    “The Flames were borderline dominant in the second period”

    Uh, . . . What? The Flames were as dominant as a team can be. Vancouver looked like they were a man down for the first 15 minutes of that period.

    I’m glad they got a point, disappointed it wasn’t two, especially with how dominant they were, but there are many positives they can take with them as they fly east.

    P.S. that third line is really starting to come together.

  • Calgarycandle

    Calgary did not play great in January before the all-star break, but found a way to win. Is there Feb. record just regression to the mean? If they play this way in the playoffs, unfortunately I don’t think they go far. I’m not sure either what’s needed. I would hate to acquire a pure rental like Stone and further weaken the prospect base.

    Was delighted to see Mangi score his first, and he had a good chance late in the 3rd period, but I think we need more size on the 4th line for the playoffs. Wonder about calling up Rychel??


      • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

        We out shot Vancouver 47-25 (20-5 in the second). Markstrom was the only reason we didn’t pump them 6-3 and the game wasn’t already over by the end of the second period.

        Oh and by the way there are no 3-3 OT or shootouts in the playoffs, which Vancouver has beaten us a couple of times already in. We’re the far better team Even Strength and in the playoffs we would easily be up 3-1 games if it wasn’t for a fluky goalie stealing games in OT or a Shootout.

        If anything we should be happy because Markstrom is costing Vancouver a Top. 5 Lottery Pick, which by most metrics is where they should be finishing this year. Outside of him stealing games and Elias Petterson shooting an unsustainable 30+% all year that’s where they would be.

    • deantheraven

      All the dreamers who think our undersized, non-hitting team will excel in the playoffs just because of a high skill level among the top 6 will be disappointed very soon. It’s going to get harder and harder to get two points as April draws near. And I mean harder and harder as in battle level will increase weekly.
      I would be surprised if Rychel, and even Peluso don’t join the Flames for the playoffs, or sooner.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Tonight’s Takeaways:

    Hope that scruffy looking anthem singer didn’t get full pay as he let the audience do a lot of his work for him.

    In my last Takeaways, I declared the Flames would lose this one, and had I been asked to elaborate, I would have said too much Pettersson and too much Markstrom. Flames would do wise to avoid the Canucks in the playoffs because this duo reminds me eerily of the ’94 Canucks duo that sunk the high-flying Flames, namely Bure scoring and McLean stopping.

    Why didn’t Green challenge the Bennett goal citing goaltender interference? I didn’t think it was interference, but that challenge seems to be used the same way that CFL coaches were challenging incompletions saying that there was pass interference on the play. NHL really has to clean up that goalie interference rule ideally but unlikely by the playoffs.

    How confident are you that Rittich is going to make the big saves in a close game? I’d say your confidence in him has decreased by a tick or two in the last two games but probably not to the point that Tre should try and acquire a 30-something bloated has been as insurance.

    On the topic of new faces in new places, is the Flames’ slump to be expected, par for the course or a warning light flashing “danger” that the present personnel isn’t good enough to be a serious contender?

    Is the Flames’ mediocre record against Pac clubs a cause for concern? It should be if you have hopes the club will do more than just show-up in the playoffs.

    The PK was as good as the PP was bad. PP is now costing the team games. Why can’t the club spring for a coach who is a PP genius? At the very least, they should switch the personnel on the PP because the current groups are power played out.

    An optimist would say this roadie to hell has started off okay with the collection of a point, and Mr. Brightside wouldn’t be wrong.

  • canadian1967

    Sometimes you win when you should win, sometimes you win when you should lose, sometimes you lose when you should lose, and like today, sometimes you lose when you should win.

  • Luter 1

    Good for Mang and his line, that was a playoff type effort and goal. Some of our big boys better start grinding a little more, Matty T is really not causing any chaos lately, might save us a few million as he has been average at best lately.

  • Gus Fring

    Why is Neal in the shootout? We need a player with some moves let’s deke the goalie as opposed to everyone shooting it into his pads looking for the 5 hole. Which he is just teasing everyone with!

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I have no problem with the effort. Monny needs to be taken off the top line for a few games. Rittich is starting to show some chinks in his armour, seems to go down early on shots and players have figured it out. He needs to stop pushing rebounds in the middle. I am still a fan but BP did screw with his confidence last game and it showed early.

  • THE WW Bandwagon

    Their goalie was lucky.
    Monahan is only on 5 game goal less drought.
    BSD is only letting 3 goals a game now.
    Offence is not so hot anymore.
    Record vs the Pacific is only average at best.

    This team is Stanley Cup bound.

  • everton fc

    I watched the second/third/OT and the shootout. My thoughts:

    Kylington looked very confident in the 2nd. He made one or two questionable decisions, but his skating is off the charts, he looks the be confident out there (which may be why he makes to odd blunder), but I liked what I saw of Kylington, in the 2nd.

    Our 3rd line hustled. They did okay, but Neal looked slow to me. He was giving effort, but he lacks pace.

    Rittich was fine.

    Mangiapane could have had two, tonight. He still gets pushed off the puck and can be dealt with by opposing players who are more physical, but to see him, and the 4th line, out there late in the game. I liked that 4th line. Hathaway needs to be re-signed.

    Didn’t notice the 2nd line much. Frolik seemed to be benched, then was out in the very latter stages of the game. Peters rolled all four lines.

    We got a point, on the road, against a well-coached team, a hungry group of young guys on national television. I’ll take the point, and move on.

    We need one or two more “pieces”. Zuccarello would be a good fit here. So would Dzingel. McQuaid as an extra defender. And I think Ferland would be useful, as well.

    • Derzie

      This sums up what I saw as well. I think we are starting to see why Peters is down on Frolik. He’s hot & cold and so goes 3M. That line gets the shutdown assignments and is going to feel some pain. I think that Frolik might not be doing his part consistently. Especially against the speedy kid lines like Vancouver has. And how good is Lindholm. A monster.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Dzingel is exactly the type of player the Sens need to lock up long term if they want to contend, so renting him out to another club for a playoff run doesn’t show a lot of commitment to the guy.

      If I’m running the Sens, I make very strong pitches to Dzingel, Duchene and Stone to stay. If any says no, I package him or them along with Ryan’s horrible contract and hang a “For Sale” sign on the lot.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Neal was a curious choice to be the 3rd shooter, but is not the mantra around here: “In Billy Peters we trust?” Two games in a row where Peters has made a bum call. I guess magic dust don’t work below these frigid temperatures.

      • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

        I don’t love the call to put Neal in the shootout as all don’t get me wrong. BUT for all the Neal is useless folks…. James Neal has 7 Points in his last 10 GP and easily could have a couple more if his bazar goal scoring bad luck hadn’t continued.

        • Luter 1

          You can’t be serious, in spite of dragging the anchor around Jankowski and Bennett have been playing hard, Neal has a little spurt and people think he’s coming around? He doesn’t hit, cant pass, gives up the puck with little fight. Last but not least he couldn’t put the puck in the ocean as evident by the shootout effort. Hoping Johnny hasn’t caught the ‘Neal bug’ as he has been seriously off on his chances.

        • Derzie

          Neal is playing better, given his age. Luck is not a thing that should be used to describe/explain anything. Same as saying it was voodoo, or magic, or hockey gords.

  • Score When I like Nieuwendyk

    Vancouver got lucky. Peters needs to get out of his own way….stop over-thinking it! Stop trying too hard to get Neal going. Change the personnel on the second power-play: play Jankowski! Brodie is too much of a factor for the wrong reasons during the course of a game…Someone needs to play the body on Petersson.

  • RKD

    Flames are coasting a bit they have been #1 for a bit now all the teams below are battle-hardened fighting and clawing to lock a playoff spot or to chase Calgary for tops. Team is getting complacent.

  • Derzie

    Missed the game. From the game scores alone: Rittich, Backlund, Frolik, Hamonic were the weak links. Weak goaltending and a tough shutdown assignment defending the Canucks top line.