Photo Credit: Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames scorched by Lightning

It goes without saying that the Tampa Bay Lightning are really good. They’re in first place in the National Hockey League by a fair margin. The Calgary Flames have the ability to be a very good team, when they’re engaged and playing with precision. They weren’t able to do that on Tuesday night in Tampa, so they lost handily by a 6-3 margin to the Lightning.

The Rundown

The Flames held themselves in the game for awhile, but they put a dangerous Lightning power play on the ice and paid for it. Brayden Point buried a one-timer from the slot off a nice pass from J.T. Miller to make it 1-0 Lightning.

A while later, Matthew Tkachuk turned the puck over in the neutral zone as the defensemen changed up. That left Noah Hanifin to defend a three-man rush as Travis Hamonic jumped onto the ice. A few passes later and Cedric Paquette deposited a Danick Martel pass into the Flames net to make it 2-0 Lightning.

Later in the period, Nikita Kucherov recognized a ton of traffic in front of David Rittich and hucked it on net. It found a way in and made it 3-0 Lightning. Bill Peters challenged due to goaltender interference, but the good stood.

But late in the period the Flames drew a pair of penalties and on the ensuing five-on-three advantage, Mark Giordano’s shot through traffic beat Andrei Vasilevskiy to cut Tampa’s lead to 3-1.

Shots were 11-6 Lightning and scoring chances 8-7 Lightning.

The Flames got within one goal midway through the second period off a nice battle sequence. Elias Lindholm won a face-off and he and Sean Monahan drove the net. Monahan batted in a bouncing puck to make it a 3-2 lead.

But that was as close as the Flames got. As that goal was being announced, Anthony Cirelli tapped in a pass from Kucherov from under the red line to make it 4-2 Lightning – the Flames were running around in their own zone a lot.

Late in the period, Yanni Gourde tipped in a point shot from Braydon Coburn to make it a 5-2 Lightning lead. Shots were 11-7 and chances 14-5 in the second, both in Tampa’s favour.

The Flames and Lightning exchanged power play goals in the third period. Steven Stamkos beat Rittich with a one-timer just before their advantage expired to make it 6-2 Tampa. Monahan scored a second goal, finishing off a nice passing sequence to make it a 6-3 game.

But that’s as close as the Flames could get. Shots were 9-5 Flames and chances 5-4 Lightning in the third.

Why the Flames Lost

The Flames had two power play goals and the Lightning had two power play goals. The difference in this game was their even strength game, and that game wasn’t all that close.

The Flames scored once off a nice face-off scramble. The Lightning scored off a Flames neutral zone turnover leading to an odd-man rush, the Flames screening their own goalie, open lanes allowing a pass to Cirelli and a nice redirection from Gourde. The common culprit was a lot of poor decision-making by Flames skaters and some pretty iffy attention to detail at even strength, especially in the neutral zone and their own end.

Long story short: after being held in a lot of games by their goaltender, they really hung him out to dry. “Big Save Dave” can’t overcome a lack of team play in front of him.

Red Warrior

Let’s go with Elias Lindholm, who had three assists and was one of the more engaged players for the road team.

The Turning Point

The third first period goal was a rough one. The Flames were already reeling and like a snake, Kucherov seemed to know the best time to strike.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Jankowski 68.2 66.7 0.455
Bennett 66.7 66.7 0.595
Ryan 64.3 66.7 0.350
Neal 64.0 57.1 0.510
Mangiapane 60.0 66.7 0.175
Hathaway 60.0 100 0.150
Kylington 55.2 40.0 0.100
Hamonic 54.8 50.0 0.325
Brodie 53.6 56.3 0.050
Hanifin 48.5 62.5 0.000
Giordano 46.5 53.3 0.575
Lindholm 43.5 40.0 2.240
Andersson 41.4 57.1 0.050
Tkachuk 39.1 54.6 -0.550
Backlund 39.1 55.6 -0.550
Frolik 38.1 50.0 -0.635
Monahan 37.9 40.0 1.130
Gaudreau 35.7 40.0 0.550
Rittich -2.400

This and That

The Flames have captured three of a possible 10 points since the All-Star Break.

Up Next

The Flames (34-16-6) play the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

  • freethe flames

    Sometimes I wish the Rd Warrior would go to a guy who plays like a warrior during the game; not just a guy whose stats look good. Last night I would have given it Hathaway for just being Hathaway and giving a crap.

  • Bigman

    They’re playing like they aren’t getting enough sleep. Looking lost and fatigued.. trying too hard to do right. Their play looked forced or like they weren’t ready from start to Finnish. It would have been a good game if our boys showed up to play and play for each other.. But last nights game was hard to watch forsure

  • Derzie

    It doesn’t tell you ‘why they lost’ but the Game Scores tell you ‘who had a good or bad game’. They are relative to what should be the expected result for that type of player in a game.

    Winners: Lindholm & Monahan
    Losers: Rittich & 3M