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Calgary Flames Post-Game: Blues deliver the sad trombone to the Saddledome

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
6 months ago
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The Calgary Flames weren’t great on Thursday night when they hosted the St. Louis Blues. They weren’t all that bad, either. They were fine. However, as has become the pattern early in this season, the Flames made enough mistakes at inopportune times to hand the game to their opposition.
A pair of Blues goals in the first period were the difference in a 3-0 Flames loss, which ended with the fans booing the team off the ice.

The rundown

The opening period was fairly even, as both teams had some decent chances. The Flames drew a power play midway through the first period, and it led to the first goal. By the Blues.
The Flames attempted to cycle the puck, but Oskar Sundqvist got his stick into a passing lane, poked the puck loose, and went for a skate. He saucered the puck just past Matt Coronato to Kasperi Kapanen, and he skated in and beat Jacob Markstrom glove-side to give the Blues a shorthanded goal and a 1-0 lead.
A couple minutes later, St. Louis struck again. This time, the Blues cycled the puck in the Flames’ zone and Nick Leddy chucked a point shot towards a crowd of bodies in front of Markstrom in the slot area. The puck glanced off Nikita Zadorov’s leg and changed directions, fluttering past Markstrom to give the Blues a 2-0 edge.
First period shots were 10-10 (9-8 Blues at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 10-8 Blues (high-dangers were 4-4).
Neither team scored in the second period.
Second period shots were 10-4 Blues (5-4 Blues at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 6-3 Blues (high-dangers were 2-2).
The Flames couldn’t get much going offensively in the third period. Markstrom was pulled for the extra attacker with a couple minutes left and Sundqvist scored an empty-netter from well inside the Blues’ zone to make it a 3-0 Blues victory.
Third period shots were 15-12 Blues (12-11 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 6-5 Flames (high-dangers were 5-0 Blues).

Why the Flames lost

This is becoming a theme eight games into the 2023-24 campaign, but the shape of the Flames’ game was generally pretty good. They didn’t get caught out of position too much, they had possession of the puck a decent amount, and they won face-offs quite a bit.
But man, the details of their game just aren’t there. If you look at the goals they allowed, the 10-bell scoring chances they allowed, or the penalties they took, you can see what they were trying to do, but the execution just wasn’t where it needed to be. They lost a lot of battles and made a lot of poor puck decisions.
They’re 10% of the way through the schedule. At some point, things need to start snapping into place and becoming second nature. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long winter.
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Red Warrior

Matt Coronato led the Flames in shots, so he gets the nod.

Turning point

The Blues scored twice in 123 seconds. That was the difference in this hockey game.

This and that

This game was the first Flames’ shutout loss of the 2023-24 season. They were shut out twice in 2022-23, both by 3-0 scores (to Washington and Minnesota, respectively).
Ilya Solovyov made his NHL debut.
A.J. Greer fought Robert Bortuzzo in the first period.
The Flames kept one forward line – Coleman-Backlund-Mangiapane – and three defensive pairings – Hanifin/Weegar, Zadorov/Gilbert and Solovyov/Tanev – together all game. The other three forward lines were a bit of a blender:
  • First period: Huberdeau-Lindholm-Kadri, Hunt-Dube-Coronato, Greer-Sharangovich-Duehr
  • Second period: Hunt-Lindholm-Kadri, Huberdeau-Dube-Coronato, Greer-Sharangovich-Duehr
  • Third period: Hunt-Lindholm-Dube, Huberdeau-Sharangovich-Coronato, Greer-Kadri-Duehr

Up next

The Flames (2-5-1) are back in action on Sunday night when they visit the Edmonton Oilers, outdoors, in the 2023 Heritage Classic.

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