Calgary Flames Post-Game: A strong third period leads to comeback win over Nashville
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike20 days ago
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The Calgary Flames have won two games in a row.
They achieved this feat with a solid, but not perfect, three periods of ice hockey at the Saddledome on Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators. The Flames carried play but trailed due to some bad luck and bad execution. They cleaned up their execution, especially in a strong third period, en route to a 4-2 victory over the Predators.
The Flames generally carried play early in the game, but the first period was marred by some odd bounces, execution and bad puck luck.
Adam Ruzicka blocked a Nashville shot and the puck blooped to the point, but was held in by Predators defender Marc Del Gaizo. He passed to Liam Foudy and Foudy’s feed to Michael McCarron in front of the net was redirected past Jacob Markstrom to make it 1-0 Predators.
A little later on, a Rasmus Andersson point shot was blocked by Tommy Novak and bounced around a bit. Nobody in red could grab it, and Novak chucked a pass through the neutral zone – past Andersson and MacKenzie Weegar – that sent Luke Evangelista and Kiefer Sherwood in on a two-on-zero rush. Sherwood beat Markstrom to make it 2-0 Predators.
First period shots were 17-6 Flames (16-5 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 13-5 Flames (high-dangers were 7-2 Flames).
The second period was fairly even, with neither team getting much going offensively. But late in the period, the Flames got on the board.
Nikita Zadorov jumped into the rush and went on a sojourn into the offensive zone. A couple Predators defenders chased him, leaving Dillon Dube open for a pass and he blasted the puck past Juuse Saros to cut the Predators lead to 2-1.
Second period shots were 10-10 (10-8 Predators at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 6-5 Flames (high-dangers were 3-3).
The Flames evened things up a few minutes into the third period. A rush chance from Yegor Sharangovich was stopped by Saros, but the Flames battled to maintain possession, then Sharangovich found Noah Hanifin rushing in from the bench on a line change. Hanifin beat Saros with a wrister to tie the game up at 2-2.
A minute and change later, the Flames took the lead. Some nice passing from Nick DeSimone to Nazem Kadri, and then from Kadri along the way to a streaking Blake Coleman, created an odd-man rush with Coleman moving in with Connor Zary. Coleman called his own number and beat Saros to give the Flames a 3-2 edge.
Kadri added an empty-netter with Saros on the bench to give the Flames a 4-2 victory.
Third period shots were 12-3 Flames (11-2 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 10-6 Flames (high-dangers were 4-3 Flames).
Why the Flames won
The Flames were the better team, in terms of puck possession and carrying play, for the better part of this game. They skated well and they had the puck on their sticks a lot, in all three periods. They had some poor execution in the first two periods, especially in the neutral and offensive zones, but they seemed to tidy things up and simplify their game in the third period and they were rewarded.
Their power play needs to be better, but they’ve gotten good-enough results from their penalty kill and their overall group at five-on-five that they might have a bit of wiggle room to clean it up.
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Let’s give it jointly to the Zary, Kadri and Sharangovich line. They were consistent, noticeable, and consistently noticeable.
Let’s go with the first 10 minutes of the third period. The Flames shortened their bench, simplified their game, and found some strong execution when the game was up for grabs.
This and that
Adam Ruzicka returned to the lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury.
Jonathan Huberdeau, Walker Duehr and A.J. Greer had zero shifts in the third period as head coach Ryan Huska shortened the bench.
The Flames (4-7-1) are back in action on Friday night when they visit Brad Treliving and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
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