Calgary Flames Post-Game: A (very) scheduled loss to Colorado
Photo credit:Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike8 months ago
The Calgary Flames have played a lot of hockey this month. Sunday’s trip to Denver to play the Colorado Avalanche was the Flames’ second game in two days, their fifth game in seven days, and their eighth game in 13 days in March. That’s a lot of hockey, and Sunday’s game was the very definition of a “scheduled loss.”
The Flames looked like a tired team, but still battled well, en route to a 3-0 loss to Colorado.
The Flames got off to a fast start and had a few good scoring chances early, but their momentum was sapped by a Nikita Zadorov minor penalty and then Colorado managed to cash in on the resulting power play.
Colorado got set up in the Flames’ zone and Nathan MacKinnon had the puck to Dan Vladar’s right. MacKinnon head-faked that he was going to pass a couple times, then opted to shoot, beating Vladar just over his pad on his blocker side to give Colorado a 1-0 lead.
Colorado had a few good looks on a second first period power play, but Alex Newhook’s scoring chance rang off one post, hit the other post and somehow stayed out.
Shots were 9-9 (9-7 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 8-3 Flames in the first period.
Neither team scored in the second period, though Vladar had to make a ton of really big saves on dangerous scoring chances from the Avalanche.
Shots were 15-12 Flames (14-12 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 12-8 Avalanche in the second period.
The Flames pushed a bit to open the third period, but their execution was a bit off. Mikko Rantanen won a puck scramble after a 50/50 face-off in the Calgary zone and fed MacKinnon in the slot. His shot beat Vladar to give Colorado a 2-0 lead.
The Flames pulled Vladar for the extra attacker late in this game. Rantanen scored on the empty net to give Colorado a 3-0 lead and cement the victory for the home side.
Shots were 22-10 Flames (18-9 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 11-7 Flames in the third period.
Why the Flames lost
Well, Colorado had been idle since Thursday night, so this was a rested home team with last change against a team that looked a bit fatigued after playing a lot of hockey over the past two, seven and 13 days.
To their credit, the Flames battled throughout this game, but their execution in all three zones was a little suspect and Colorado took advantage.
Vladar was easily the best player in red and white in this game. He gave his team a fighting chance, which is all you can ask of a backup goalie in this type of situation.
The turning point
The second MacKinnon goal really made it a bridge too far for the Flames. They could’ve eked out one goal to force overtime, but two was a bit too much to ask on this occasion.
Percentage stats are 5v5 and via Natural Stat Trick. Game score via Hockey Stat Cards.
This and that
This was Mikael Backlund’s 803rd game with the Flames, tying Al MacInnis for fourth in games played in franchise history.
This was the first time the Flames have been shut out since May 5, 2021 against Winnipeg, snapping a stretch of 64 consecutive regular season games scoring (at least) one goal.
The Flames (36-16-7) are off for a couple days. They’re back in action back at home on Wednesday night against the New Jersey Devils. Beware: it’s an 8 p.m. MT start time.
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