59Rasmus Andersson
Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames lose close one in overtime

The Calgary Flames were generally outplayed throughout the duration of Game 2 against the Colorado Avalanche. But their goaltender was excellent and held them in the game. This one went to overtime, where the Avalanche managed to eke out a 3-2 victory.

The Rundown

The nervous tension of the opening period of Game 1 was replaced with a certain amount of animosity throughout Game 2, as Colorado did a good job putting bodies in front of Mike Smith… which led to big scrums after virtually every whistle in the Flames end.

The Avalanche had a few really nice scoring chances, but Smith was sharp early.

Shots were 15-10 Avalanche and scoring chances 7-3 Avalanche in the first period.

The Avalanche opened the scoring shorthanded. The second power play unit got caught under the hashmarks and the puck squirted out towards the point. Matt Nieto beat out TJ Brodie for the puck… and Brodie lost his stick in the exchange, so he watched in vain as Nieto rushed up ice and beat Smith high on a breakaway to give the Avalanche a 1-0 lead (and their first goal of the series).

The Flames had to kill off a penalty shortly after that goal, as Smith cleared the puck over the glass. Despite Elias Lindholm’s stick breaking, the Flames blocked oodles of shots and killed off the penalty. Mark Giordano was hauled down trying to clear the zone, giving the Flames an advantage of their own. And on a slick bit of passing, Sam Bennett fed Rasmus Andersson with a no-look backhand pass across the goal-mouth for a wrister that beat Philipp Grubauer to make it a 1-1 hockey game.

Shots were 12-10 Avalanche and scoring chances 9-3 Avalanche in the second period.

The third period was pretty ugly and chippy, with neither team really giving the other much offensive daylight. But the Flames got a break off an offensive zone face-off win. Johnny Gaudreau’s shot was blocked and Bennett took a whack at it, but the puck bounced to Sean Monahan and he whacked at it and it beat Grubauer (who had no time to react) to give the Flames a 2-1 edge.

But the Avalanche pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker. After an offensive zone faceoff win, Smith made the initial stop on Gabriel Landeskog but JT Compher chipped the rebound past a sprawling Smith to tie the game back up at 2-2.

Shots were 10-10 in the third period and chances were 6-3 Avalanche.

The Flames had a power play in overtime but couldn’t score. Michael Frolik jammed at a loose puck but Grubauer made a big save. THe puck went the other way and Nathan MacKinnon scored off the rush to win it for the Avalanche by a 3-2 score.

Shots were 7-2 Flames in overtime and chances were 6-2 Flames.

Why the Flames Lost

The Avalanche were the better team throughout the first 40 minutes, with the Flames getting occasional bursts of good looks and scoring chances but finding ways to let the air out of the balloon (so to speak) and dissipate their own momentum. (Case in point: Bennett took a penalty at the end of the first period, so Calgary had to kill it off, gained some energy from the kill, drew a penalty, then gave up the first Colorado goal shorthanded and had to kill off another penalty soon after.)

But despite how… let’s call it uneven… the Flames were throughout this game, Smith was excellent and put them in a position where if they were better than the Avalanche in the late stages of the game they could eke out a victory. It didn’t quite work out, and it was a shame to see such a strong goaltending performance wasted.

Red Warrior

It’s a joint award this evening, as Bennett had two primary assists and Smith made oodles of big saves. Take a bow, gentlemen. They were the big standouts from a home side that was otherwise rather pedestrian for much of the game.

The Turning Point

It’s a tad obvious, but the overtime winner was the big turning point.

The Numbers

(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Natural Stat Trick)

Player Corsi
For%
OZone
Start%
Game
Score
Monahan 46.9 50.0 1.065
Neal 46.7 33.3 0.250
Gaudreau 45.5 50.0 0.925
Hanifin 45.2 58.3 0.300
Lindholm 44.0 44.4 0.325
Fantenberg 42.9 42.9 0.100
Andersson 42.9 44.4 0.575
Hamonic 42.1 58.3 0.225
Hathaway 41.7 36.4 0.145
Jankowski 40.0 40.0 0.195
Tkachuk 36.8 50.0 -0.375
Mangiapane 33.3 36.4 -0.065
Frolik 32.3 66.7 -0.400
Backlund 31.8 55.6 -0.285
Brodie 30.6 36.4 -0.425
Bennett 30.4 66.7 1.300
Ryan 30.0 40.0 -0.270
Giordano 29.7 38.5 -0.350
Smith 1.350
Rittich

This and That

Bill Peters shuffled his lines significantly in the third period:

  • Gaudreau – Monahan – Bennett
  • Tkachuk – Backlund – Lindholm
  • Frolik – Jankowski – Neal
  • Mangiapane – Ryan – Hathaway (no change)

But once the game went to overtime, he went back to the team’s regular lines.

Up Next

Game 3 of this Best-of-Seven series goes Monday night at 8 p.m. MT at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

  • Off the wall

    Good grief. Reading these comments after a OT loss, you’d think we lost game 7. So it’s tied 1-1.

    Reality check folks. It’s playoff hockey. Look at Tampa. Arguably the best team in the NHL, yet they’re down 2 games to zero.

    Try and remember this is a series, not ONE game.

    We’ll get em’ in Colorado. Our best is yet to come!

    • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

      Colorado has played their absolute best two games in this series that they can possibly play and we haven’t even come close to bringing our A Game yet and the series is still only 1-1, Hahah. As long as we show up to play the next game, we are clearly the most skilled team. Washington went down 0-2 against Columbus in the first round last year and won the Stanley Cup.This happens when you’re a better team that cruises into the playoffs, same with Tampa Bay. We’re a little rusty right now, once we find our game, Colorado can’t hang with our depth.

    • The Red Knight

      Exactly otw, Flames were outplayed and still almost won , There’s no clear winners in any of these playoff match ups as you can’t control the bounces and breaks in a game , Columbus has a good team and anything can happen, Need way more from several players , Will power wins games !!

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      We played bad in a game after we shut out the other team in game 1. Like other matchups we’ve had this season, we played to their game by choosing to be physical first and engage after the whistles. That’s a sucker move. Be physical on the forecheck first and worry about getting quality shots first.

      Brodie was more of a problem on the PP than he was 5v5. For some reason, he can’t seem to hold the line or be able to skate once he loses it. PP with Ras that ends up a shortie; he chose to not squeeze the player on the boards and went for the puck. PP with Ras that ends up a breakaway the other way; he is hesitant and the pass gets picked off. I am fine with Gio-Ras as a pairing, but Brodie can have games where he is the best D-man out there. You just need to know which Brodie you have and adjust.

  • aye

    Have to say the Avs were the better team overall tonight, and deserved the win, although Flames seemed to be taking over in OT. Oh well, can’t shut down MacKinnon forever, he was the best player tonight.
    More urgency next game.

  • Speed Kills

    This was a loss from the begining… Bad Game Plan BP.. Flames didn’t win the west by matching lines to Defend against the Changes other coaches make when they struggled against the Flames lines, Playing a Defensive game shell to rely on Smith instead of trying speed and skill to get goals is just a bad decision! Slow, Precocious and Backing up All game long was painful to watch(unless you like to watch COL Dominate in our end?) Coach the players to play that way again next game and you’ll get the same result! Everyone gliding and positional defending with no aggression or energy… Not Smart or playoff hockey to win…. So Irritated right now~! Flames better wake up and bring it hard or they’ll get swept in COL the next two games!

  • Luter 1

    We had no business winning that game, outplayed, more physical, their top players playing miles better than ours. Brodie doesn’t look like he wants to be out there and Neal is back to being Neal. Get him off the second power play and get Mang out there. Bennett the best player on the ice for us. Peters better do something different on their PP entries, how we are defending is like tissue paper with McKinnon coming into our zone. Could somebody please lay a hit on that pri@k.

  • Franko J

    Well tonight the Flames had more passengers. If anyone expected the Flames to win 4 games in a row there was no way that was going to happen.
    Time to see which team is going to have more urgency come Monday. Tonight it was the AV’s. I thought the Flames as a whole, didn’t play at near the level needed or required tonight against the Av’s.

  • TheRealPepman

    It’s post-Lanny Flames all over again. Great regular season contenders. Great playoff pretenders. Right, Krushelnyski, Tikkanen, Bure, and Whitney?

    Hope the Flames redeem themeselves. Or else Colorado upsets them. This stings.

    • Lazarus

      Damn man. You hit me deep with those names. You are a legit old school fan. I remember each of those daggers… Boys need to bring it in the Mile High City. (Trashed my room after Bure. Losing Game 5,6 and 7 in OT when you are up 3-1 will do that to a young kid. Facts

  • flames2015

    I was a nervous wreck in that last 5 mins before OT. Who lossed the draw on the 6 on 5? We were not winning many faceoff battles tonight and got hemmed in hard tonight. Brodie is seriously god awful. He has no place on the PP. He got beat flat footed, bumped back to no one and got picked off, and never shoots on the PP. He needs to stay on that 3rd pairing and see no special teams. Smith again was a warrior tonight, if not for him this game would have been far over before it saw overtime.

    • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

      Brodie is a high risk player and he is prone to the odd mistake, but I don’t think he is god awful because he can push the play forward even strength. That said, he has absolutely no place on the PP, I completely agree with that. Brodie has a muffin for a shot and fumbles too many pucks, I’d rather see Hanifin or even Czarnik there. You could also slot in Valimaki for this purpose as well. Czarnik actually has a bomb for a shot though, I’d rather him than Neal.

  • Jobu

    Jobu sarcastically nominates Brodie for hardest working flame.

    Working hard for a benching.

    Flames as a whole got outplayed and outside of Smith didn’t deserve to win.

    Lots of time to recoup.

  • Flaming Glory

    Flames will go as far as their 2nd and 4th lines and their goalie can take them. Neal is too old and Johnny is too small. That said, 4th lines win championships

    • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

      Johnny isn’t the problem at all, Lindholm has completely lost his game the last couple of months and all Monahan can do is finish the off PP tally, outside of that he is invisible.

      • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

        Johnny had an assist and FIVE SHOTS IN GOAL TONIGHT. There’s a reason he’s won at every level (USHL, NCAA, World Juniors). He’ll figure it out in Denver.

  • oddclod

    Well said PIke. Your goalie is starts the post season with a shut out.

    Next game you gift wrap two easily avoidable breakaways to show your appreciation.

    #stinkbomb

  • RKD

    Avs had way too much zone time. The Flames were hemmed in their own zone for too long. Brodie had his usual meltdown and belly flopped stickless when Nieto scored on the breakaway. Guys like Jankowski need to play bigger. The one positive I can take is that we still haven’t seen the Flames at their best. Need Frolik and Lindholm and some others to start scoring.

  • KootenayFlamesFan

    Entertaining series. These teams have been pretty even so far. The flames have yet to bring their A game though. If they do, this wont even be close.

      • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

        Yup, Flames have been in cruise control for a month and the Avs have been playing for their lives, it’s obvious watching these last two games. What’s crazy is outside of a last minute goal we would have been up two to nothing in the series. This is the best hockey Colorado can play and we have been sleep walking. We’ll stomp them if we bring our A Game, but I hope we can find it soon.

  • oddclod

    I stayed out of the Neal talk all season waiting for playoffs. Now I’m in. He needs to stop the flybys and finish his checks ala Sarich vs Marleau. Otherwise he’s useless and not being a leader. Someone pop his teeth out in practice and let’s get ugly.

  • Speed Kills

    Of all the line juggling the Fro – Janks – Neal Line was the worst… esp Neal… Forever two steps behind and never added a dang thing other than drawing a penalty. Neal needs to sit and think about what exactly he is contributing On The Ice~!
    Put Lindholm there if he’s off the top line, put the 3m back together and put Czar/Dube in the LW spot on that line or a black ace coming up from Stockton(they play their last game Sunday)… Don’t care who, maybe Graovac, Lazar, Lomberg, Foo? Someone with a lot to prove and will be Intense, Hungry and Battle to win.

  • Albertabeef

    Okay time to take Fantenberg out and put Valimaki or Kylington in. Fantenberg does not help our offensive flow. Outside of Andersson and Gio the rest of our D corps has been offensively silent the last 2 months or so.

    • Budgie

      No, Fatenberg was steady and he makes good passes under pressure-are you watching closely? The amount of time to move the puck is minuscule, Fatenberg is fine-he plays conservatively and has joined the rush effectively

  • Budgie

    MacKinnon is a monster, and their big forwards have speed-watching them gain the zone and control the play 5 on 5 was illuminating. Smith kept it close. The Flames and Colorado are closely matched. It is easy to point fingers at certain players but it doesn’t solve anything. Calgary was playing defense in their zone trying to box Colorado out most of the game. Tired players who can’t get off the ice because the other team controls the play make mistakes. It was close in the end, but the Flames have to keep standing up at the blue-line-forecheck like demons, and win faceoffs to control the play. Crash that Colorado net-they will adjust but when it is close? Frolik almost had the overtime winner and MacKinnon streaked the other way to score-Tough loss but not a wipe-out.