The Calgary Flames had a decent start to their Saturday afternoon date with the Arizona Coyotes. Unfortunately key gaffes in the second period came back to haunt them and they skated to a disappointing 3-0 loss to the Coyotes.
Neither team scored in the first period, though the Flames pressed hard and largely carried play. Shots were 11-8 Flames and scoring chances were 6-3 Flames.
In the middle frame, the Coyotes made adjustments and seemed content to counter-punch and wait for the Flames to make mistakes. A pair of mistakes gave the home side a pair of goals.
David Rittich played the puck and attempted to make an outlet pass. Instead, he went full Mike Smith (to quote The Athletic’s Cat Silverman) and passed it right to Derek Stepan. Stepan said “Thank you” and scored on the open net to make it 1-0 Coyotes.
Later in the period, Noah Hanifin was caught up ice in the offensive zone. The Flames turned the puck over and left Travis Hamonic defending a two-on-one rush. Lawson Crouse fed Carl Soderberg for a tap-in to make it 2-0 Arizona.
We had some chaos to close out the third. Johnny Gaudreau and Jason Demers got into it after Gaudreau cross-checked him to the ice. Darcy Kuemper (Arizona’s goalie) took Matthew Tkachuk down with a sleeper hold and a line brawl broke out. David Rittich skated the length of the ice to even things up. There were many penalties.
All hell is breaking loose in Arizona… pic.twitter.com/PUtqyI5QHh
— Harman Dayal (@harmandayal2) November 16, 2019
Few penalties to note this period. Two minutes to Gaudreau for cross-checking, four minute double roughing minor to Tkachuk, two minutes to David Rittich for leaving the crease (served by Andersson), two minute roughing to Demers, four minute double minor to Kuemper for roughing.
— Kristen Anderson (@KdotAnderson) November 16, 2019
Shots were 11-11 in the second and scoring chances were 7-7 in the second.
The Flames pressed throughout the third period, but the Coyotes did a tremendous job disrupting in the neutral zone and clogging up lanes in the offensive zone. When the Flames got looks, Kuemper shut the door. Lawson Crouse added an empty netter to finish this game off as a 3-0 Arizona victory.
Shots were 15-5 Flames and scoring chances 10-1 Flames in the third period.
Why the Flames Lost
Throughout this game, the Flames were fine. Just fine. They didn’t jump off the screen in any way. They didn’t create a ton offensively. They weren’t stifling defensively and had to rely on their netminder to keep the game close. They made key mistakes at key times that led to goals, and they didn’t get enough from their key players to make up for those mistakes.
This was very much the 2019-20 season encapsulated in 60 minutes of hockey. The Flames were just fine, but just fine wasn’t nearly good enough.
He gave away the puck on the first Arizona goal, but let’s give it to Rittich. He made many, many nice saves and freakin’ rushed down the ice to even up a brawl at the other end. What a teammate.
The Turning Point
The second Arizona goal was a tough one. Especially with the way they were playing in their own end. The Coyotes stuck to their guns, clogged up the shooting lanes, and were able to run out the clock the rest of the way.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and That
Elias Lindholm left the game for a good chunk of the second period after blocking a shot. He returned for the third.
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) November 16, 2019
This was the 13th game that the Flames have trailed after two periods.
Gaudreau’s penalty late in the second period (preceding the brawl) put the Flames on the penalty kill for the 80th time this season.
The Flames (10-9-3) are headed to Nevada. They face the Vegas Golden Knights tomorrow night at T-Mobile Arena.