Calgary Flames Post-Game: Feisty Flames fall short in spirited Battle of Alberta

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
20 days ago
The Calgary Flames played really well on Saturday night when they hosted the Edmonton Oilers. But the Flames were just leaky enough just often enough to lose a close one.
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The Oilers beat the Flames 4-2 to win the 2023-24 season series three games to one.

The rundown

The opening period was quite entertaining, with some good scoring chances for each team, wild swings of momentum, and not a lot of goals.
The Flames had their skating legs early, and that led to some poor decision-making from an Oilers team that played Colorado the night before… and some penalties. The Flames had three first period power plays, but arguably the best chances to score came for the road team – with Warren Foegele narrowly missing the net on a shorthanded breakaway.
The Oilers got a pair of power plays near the end of the period, and the second one resulted in a goal. After Andrei Kuzmenko mishandled the puck and took a tripping penalty, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins set up Leon Draisaitl for a one-timer to Jacob Markstrom’s left that beat the Flames netminder and gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead.
First period shots were 9-9 (6-5 Oilers at five-on-five) and, via Natural Stat Trick, five-on-five scoring chances were 8-3 Flames (high-dangers were 3-2 Flames).
The Oilers got some insurance early in the second period. Brayden Pachal jumped into the rush, received a pass, and then threw the puck back to the right point. Unfortunately, nobody was at the right point that led to an odd-man rush in the other direction. Dennis Gilbert broke up the initial rush with a great sliding block, but the puck was thrown back into the slot area and Connor Brown jammed it past Markstrom in the chaos to make it 2-0 Oilers.
But on the very next shift, Evander Kane took a minor in his own zone for slashing. 11 seconds into the resulting power play, the Flames got on the board. They won the face-off, cycled the puck quickly, and Yegor Sharangovich leaned into a one-timer feed from Andrei Kuzmenko to the goaltender’s right that beat Calvin Pickard. That cut the Oilers’ lead to 2-1.
The Flames had a lot of puck possession, zone time, and shots for the rest of the period. They had the puck a lot but couldn’t get anything else past Pickard. But in terms of positives, it was an “everything but scoring” period.
Second period shots were 18-8 Flames (17-8 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 17-8 Flames (high-dangers were 9-4 Flames).
The Flames kept working at it and ended up tying the game up a little bit into the third period. With Vincent Desharnais in the box for slashing, Nazem Kadri deflected a Sharangovich shot past Pickard to make it 2-2.
But the Oilers pulled away again on a power play a few minutes later. With Oliver Kylington in box for slashing, an Evan Bouchard slapper from the point appeared to glance off Kevin Rooney’s body and elude Markstrom to give the Oilers a 3-2 advantage.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins added an empty-netter to make it a 4-2 Oilers win.
Third period shots were 10-8 Oilers (7-4 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances 7-5 Oilers (high-dangers were 4-2).

Why the Flames lost

This was arguably an ideal loss for the Flames. They played really well. They worked hard. They got big saves. They just couldn’t turn their zone time into dangerous enough scoring chances – or enough goals – to grab two points.
If you’re looking for positives for a retooling team, this was a really good example of a “good” loss. There are a ton of positives to build upon as the Flames close out their season.
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Red Warrior

Let’s give it to Markstrom. He was really dialed in.

Turning point

The Bouchard go-ahead goal was a tough one to overcome.

This and that

After being a healthy scratch against Winnipeg, Connor Zary slotted back in (at centre). Dennis Gilbert also rotated into the lineup for the first time since Mar. 7. (Walker Duehr and Nikita Okhotiuk rotated out.)

Up next

The Flames (34-37-5) are headed on the road. They’ll begin a three game swing through California on Tuesday night when they visit the San Jose Sharks.

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