Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames’ brief winning streak snapped by the Ducks
Photo credit:Brett Holmes-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike6 months ago
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The Calgary Flames returned home off a successful two-game road trip that saw them win a pair of games on back-to-back nights. Unfortunately for the Flames’ hopes for extending their humble two-game streak, the Anaheim Ducks weren’t a cooperative guest on Friday night.
The Ducks scored twice in the second period to grab the lead, then defended effectively for the balance of the game. The Flames lost to the Ducks by a 3-1 score.
Neither team scored in the opening period, though they both had some chances.
The Flames opened the scoring on a second period power play. The scoring sequence was rather simple: Mikael Backlund parked himself in front of the net, just above the blue paint, and Elias Lindholm banked a shot in off his leg from John Gibson’s right. That made it 1-0 Flames.
But just 64 seconds later, the Ducks tied things up. The Ducks entered the zone off the rush. The Flames kept them from cycling down low in the offensive zone, but Frank Vatrano opted to circle back to the top of the zone and he fired a puck on net. Maxime Comtois, with position on Rasmus Andersson, deflected Vatrano’s shot past Jacob Markstrom to tie the game up at 1-1. (This was a “coverage goal,” as a lot of players in red jerseys seemed to be looking around at Ducks players and this created some gaps for Anaheim to operate in.)
A few minutes after they tied the game up, Anaheim took the lead. On another rush zone entry, the Ducks were steered to the outside. Comtois elected to fire a puck on net from a sharp angle. Markstrom made the stop, but the rebound dropped into the blue paint. The Ducks swarmed the net, with Brett Leason jamming the loose puck into the open net to give the Ducks a 2-1 edge.
The Flames pressed in the third period, but just couldn’t find enough offensive oomph to tie the game. (Gibson was also really good.)
Derek Grant added an empty-netter late to make this a 3-1 victory for Anaheim.
Why the Flames lost
This game was a representative sample of the 2022-23 Flames.
- They had lots of shots, but the majority of them were from the outside and aside from Backlund’s goal on the power play, they didn’t get a lot of second chances, tips, screens or deflections. Five-on-five scoring chances (via Natural Stat Trick) were 33-19 Flames and high-danger chances were 14-5 Flames.
- They lost a lot of 50/50 battles that could have (a) gotten them a clean zone exit or (b) prolonged some offensive zone sequences.
- They had trouble defending against Anaheim’s speed off the rush, and the in-zone confusion that Anaheim’s speed caused ended up creating some gaps and opportunities. Opportunities that Anaheim exploited.
The Flames weren’t out-and-out bad. They just weren’t good enough in a lot of different ways. It was death by a thousand tiny cuts.
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Let’s go with Backlund. He scored their lone goal on the power play (by going to the net and having the puck bonk in off of him), but he also was consistently engaged, feisty and noticeable.
Let’s just go with the third period collectively. The Flames just could not muster enough to get a game-tying goal. At home. Against a team 20 points below them in the standings.
This and that
The Flames’ record when trailing after two periods is now 0-16-3. They’re the only team in the league without a third period comeback win.
The Flames (29-24-13) are back at it on Sunday night when they host the Ottawa Senators.
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