Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames buried by Avalanche in return home

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
4 months ago
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After a tough three game road trip, the Calgary Flames returned home on Tuesday to host the Colorado Avalanche. Facing their fourth strong opponent in a six day span, and missing three key cogs, the Flames were, quite simply, out-matched against a superior opponent with Stanley Cup aspirations.
The Flames skated to a 6-2 loss to the Avalanche.

The rundown

With Martin Pospisil in the sin bin, the Avalanche opened the scoring a couple minutes in. The Avalanche wheeled and dealed on the power play. A passing sequence was slightly disrupted by the Flames, but the puck bounced into the crease and MacKenzie Weegar wasn’t quite able to sweep it out in time, so Mikko Rantanen swatted it into the open net to give the Avalanche a 1-0 lead.
But the Flames got that one back quickly. The Flames got into the Avalanche zone and threw the puck to the point. Daniil Miromanov fired a shot from the right point that ramped off a defender’s stick and fluttered past Justus Annunen to tie the game at 1-1.
A few minutes later, the Flames took the lead on a nice second effort. Jonathan Huberdeau made an initial scoring attempt, but a sliding and sprawling Avalanche defender blocked it. Walker Duehr collected the loose puck and backhanded it past Annunen to give the Flames a 2-1 edge.
First period shots were 19-9 Avalanche (16-8 Avalanche at five-on-five) and, via Natural Stat Trick, five-on-five scoring chances were 8-4 Avalanche (high-dangers were 5-2 Avalanche).
The Avalanche carried play in the second period – as they did in the first period – but they were far more tactical with how they moved in the offensive zone. And they absolutely took over the game.
Just shy of five minutes in, after the Flames successfully killed off a penalty, the Avalanche tied the game. Josh Manson threw a shot into a crowded net-front area and the puck ricocheted around and bounced past Vladar to tie the game at 2-2.
58 seconds later, Colorado grabbed the lead. Valeri Nichushkin found Nathan MacKinnon all alone low in the Flames’ zone to Vladar’s right. MacKinnon’s shot found some space over Vladar’s shoulder, short-side, to give the Avalanche a 3-2 lead.
A couple minutes later, the Avalanche added to their lead. After the Avalanche entered the zone off the rush, Nichushkin entered the zone slightly after the initial wave of attackers as the trailer. He accepted a pass from Rantanen and fired the puck past Vladar to make it 4-2 Colorado.
Casey Mittelstadt made it 5-2 Colorado later in the period, rushing into the zone and firing a puck past Vladar short-side while being pursued by a Flames defender.
In the final minute of the second period, Cale Makar’s rush scoring chance hit iron and bounced away from the Flames’ net. But Rantanen chased the puck down and fired another bad-angle shot from Vladar’s right that beat him high short-side to give Colorado a 6-2 lead. (In terms of shot location and placement, it was virtually a copy of MacKinnon’s earlier goal.)
Second period shots were 16-10 Avalanche (13-9 Avalanche at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 10-10 (high-dangers were 5-1 Flames).
Dustin Wolf took over in the Flames’ net for the third period.
The Avalanche seemed completely content to run out the clock in the third period and they held on for a 6-2 victory.
Third period shots were 8-3 Flames (6-3 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 6-4 Flames (high-dangers were 2-1 Flames).

Why the Flames lost

They are who we thought they were.
The Avalanche came into Calgary with a few new faces that they added at the trade deadline as they bolstered their lineup for a post-season push. They had basically all their aces at their disposal, with the exception of forward Artturi Lehkonen. The Avalanche are deep and they showed that depth, controlling the flow of the game for basically the entire time.
The Flames returned to Calgary after trading away an entire defensive pairing over the past few weeks. They’re a team that’s a bit lean on depth right now based on their many departures, and they were without a pair of top nine regular forwards as Andrew Mangiapane and Andrei Kuzmenko both didn’t dress. The Flames were on their heels for much of this hockey game.
They are who we thought they were.
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Red Warrior

Miromanov scored his first goal as a Flame in the first period and he had oodles of shots on net, so let’s give it to him.

Turning point

The Flames had a lead early in the second period. 58 seconds and two Colorado goals later, suddenly they didn’t anymore.

This and that

Jacob Markstrom missed this game due to a lower body injury, Andrew Mangiapane was unavailable due to illness, and Andrei Kuzmenko was a late scratch due to an upper body injury. As a consequence, the Flames dressed call-up Dustin Wolf as backup and went with 11 forwards and seven defenders, including Nikita Okhotiuk, who made his Flames debut.
Okhotiuk made history as the 600th different skater to play a regular season game with the Flames franchise.

Up next

The Flames (31-29-5) are back at it on Thursday night when they welcome back Noah Hanifin and the Vegas Golden Knights.

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