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Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames chase Canucks and can’t quite catch them in home loss
By Ryan Pike2 months ago
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The Calgary Flames welcomed Nikita Zadorov and the Vancouver Canucks back to the Saddledome on Saturday night, after 50 hours away for Zadorov and 16 days for the Canucks. The Flames showed well, generated chances and controlled the game for big stretches.
But the details just weren’t up to snuff for the home side. They chased the entire game and lost to the Canucks by a 4-3 score.
The Flames allowed the opening goal two minutes into the first period, on the first shot on goal registered by either team. The Flames iced the puck and then had issues getting out of their zone despite winning the face-off. The Canucks cycled and battled, and Quinn Hughes got a clear shooting lane on Jacob Markstrom from fairly close-in. Hughes, like a marksman, picked the far top corner and gave his side a 1-0 lead.
Midway through the period, the Canucks struck again. The Canucks got zone time in Calgary’s end and stacked up bodies in front of Markstrom. A Filip Hronek point shot was deflected by Ilya Mikheyev from the slot. Markstrom got a glove on it, but he couldn’t hold onto it and it fell to the ice, where Sam Lafferty, parked at the side of the blue paint, swatted it in to give Vancouver a 2-0 advantage.
But the Flames struck back a few minutes later on the power play. The Flames nearly got scored on early in the man advantage, but Vancouver’s forwards couldn’t pull the trigger. The second unit eventually got some zone time in Vancouver’s end, as Connor Zary battled to successfully hold in a puck that was almost escaping the offensive zone. That led to a couple quick passes, and Mikael Backlund redirecting an Adam Ruzicka pass past Thatcher Demko to cut Vancouver’s lead to 2-1. (They scored with nine seconds left on their power play.)
First period shots were 7-7 (7-6 Canucks at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 6-5 Canucks (high-dangers were 3-3).
The second period was pretty even, and punctuated by three Vancouver power plays. The Canucks had a 61 second five-on-three advantage, after Chris Tanev and Blake Coleman took overlapping minors. The Flames killed those off, though.
But after carrying play for a big swath of the period, MacKenzie Weegar took a late minor to send the Flames back to the penalty kill. The Flames killed off that minor, too, but they couldn’t escape their zone afterwards and after a bit of a frenzy off a Vancouver rebound where multiple Canucks wildly swatted at a loose puck, the puck was chipped past Markstrom to extend Vancouver’s lead to 3-1. (Mikheyev was credited with the goal.)
Second period shots were 10-8 Canucks (7-5 Canucks at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 9-6 Canucks (high-dangers were 5-3 Flames).
The Flames tried to get some offence going in fits and starts throughout the third period. With just over four minutes left, they managed to draw nearer after shuffling the forward lines a little bit.
With the puck on his stick and a bit of wiggle room to work with, Elias Lindholm saw Nazem Kadri parked in front of the net and threw the puck there. The puck deflected off somebody‘s stick, past Demko to cut Vancouver’s lead to 3-2.
But the Flames couldn’t another one, and Elias Pettersson tipped a Nikita Zadorov chucked a puck out of the defensive zone (with Elias Pettersson swiping at it on its way out of the zone) to add an empty-netter to give Vancouver a 4-2 lead.
The Flames got a late power play off a puck-over-glass minor and Lindholm scored in the final minute to give the Flames a bit of hope with a slim 4-3 deficit.
But the Flames just couldn’t get another one and they lost by a 4-3 score.
Third period shots were 8-6 Flames (6-4 Canucks at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 9-7 Flames (high-dangers were 4-2 Canucks).
Why the Flames lost
The shape of the Flames’ game looked largely how it’s looked since early November: they were good. Everybody was in the right spot and for the most part, the Flames were rock-solid. But man, the details within their game were shaky at key times. They trailed in this game for just shy of 58 minutes.
Just too many penalties, too many turnovers, too many passes that missed their mark, and shots that missed the net. As noted: the devil for Calgary was in the details. They played just poorly enough at key moments to drop this game in regulation.
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It was a bit of a quiet game for the Flames’ usual “big guns,” but we’ll give this one to Mikael Backlund. He always seems to get amped up for games against Vancouver, and he was pretty effective in this game and scored the Flames’ first goal.
Nobody in black was bad, but they seemed like a group that needed somebody to elevate their game beyond the level of “pretty good” and few players did.
On Thursday against Dallas, the Flames took zero penalties and kept things at five-on-five. It worked out well for them. On Saturday against Vancouver, the Flames took a bunch of penalties at poor times. It felt like if they could escape the second period – and their late penalty kill – down by a single goal, they’d be in good shape.
But they just couldn’t quite make it, allowing Vancouver’s third goal with 28 seconds left in the second frame.
This and that
This was the Flames’ Indigenous Celebration game. As part of the festivities, former Flames forward Rene Bourque dropped the ceremonial opening face-off and Dilayna Blackhorse sang O Canada in Blackfoot.
This was the third of 13 games this season with the Flames wearing their black alternate jerseys.
The Flames (10-11-3) return to the ‘Dome on Tuesday night to host the Minnesota Wild.
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