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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: The details haunt Flames in loss to Leafs

The Calgary Flames played a pretty good game on Sunday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. But as has become the tradition lately, their good play was wiped out by a few mistakes coming back to haunt them. The Flames lost 4-2 to the Leafs in the first of back-to-back games against the (Scotia NHL) North Division’s top team.

The rundown

The Flames got out to a bit of a sloppy start and the Leafs punished them for it. Noah Hanifin fanned on a clearing attempt and that led to a turnover. A couple passes later and Morgan Rielly’s point shot beat David Rittich to make it 1-0 Leafs.

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But the Flames got that one back off a nice bit of execution from the fourth line. Derek Ryan won the face-off and a couple quick passes led to Mark Giordano’s point shot being deflected by Joakim Nordstrom past Michael Hutchinson to tie the game at 1-1.

The Flames took the lead late in the first off some nice work by Mikael Backlund’s line. The trio dumped it in and then did some nice forechecking down low, leading to a Leafs turnover. Backlund fed Andrew Mangiapane in the slot and his quick shot caught Hutchinson off-guard and beat him high to make it 2-1 Flames.

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Shots were 12-11 Leafs and scoring chances 9-8 Flames in the first period.

The Leafs tied things up in the second period, despite the Flames carrying much of the play. William Nylander skated into the Flames zone, then looped back to the point rather than cutting towards the net. This stacked traffic and momentarily confused Calgary’s defenders. That opened some lanes and some quick passing later, and Alex Galchenyuk buried a feed from John Tavares to tie the game at 2-2.

Shots were 13-6 Flames and scoring chances 7-5 Flames in the second period.

The Leafs pulled away early in the third period off a pair of rapid-fire goals. The 3-2 goal saw Rittich make a couple nice saves, but the rebound off the second save bounced off Hanifin’s skate and into the open net. The 4-2 goal saw the Leafs use their speed and execution, as Mitch Marner found a gap in coverage and made a precision pass to Auston Matthews for a tap-in past Rittich.

Shots were 12-10 Leafs and scoring chances 12-6 Leafs in the third period.

Why the Flames lost

There’s a Matthew Good song I quite like.

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The Flames played pretty well! They had chances! They made some good plays. But as has become the theme since Darryl Sutter became coach, the mistakes with the smaller details of the game came back to haunt them. One goal was due to a turnover on a bad clear. One was a bad bounce. Two were related to tracking mistakes that allowed Toronto to make some nice passes.

Red Warrior

It’s a joint award to the fourth line of Nordstrom, Ryan and Sam Bennett. They were very good.

The turning point

The Flames entered the third period tied against the top team in their division. But the Leafs bore down and managed to score two quick ones, which for a Flames club that doesn’t score a ton, put this one out of reach.

The numbers

Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.

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Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Face-Off%
Game
Score
Nordstrom 69.6 83.3 1.150
Ryan 69.2 83.3 0.230
Bennett 60.7 83.3 0.020
Lindholm 58.3 44.4 -0.860
Tanev 57.7 50.0 -1.200
Stone 57.1 70.0 0.460
Tkachuk 56.5 40.0 -1.070
Dube 56.0 44.4 -0.960
Lucic 56.0 50.0 1.280
Hanifin 54.6 50.0 -2.520
Nesterov 54.3 70.0 0.580
Giordano 52.0 22.2 0.010
Backlund 51.9 50.0 0.880
Mangiapane 50.0 42.9 0.730
Andersson 46.9 22.2 -1.760
Ritchie 35.3 20.0 -1.140
Gaudreau 35.3 20.0 -1.090
Monahan 25.0 16.7 -1.160
Rittich -1.800
Markstrom

This and that

Mark Giordano registered his 500th NHL point!

Sam Bennett played in his 400th NHL game!

Hanifin was on the ice for every Toronto goal.

Up next

The Flames (16-20-3) are back in action tomorrow against Toronto, again. Tomorrow’s game starts at 7:30 p.m. MT.