Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames come up short against Columbus
Photo credit:Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
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After an energetic, back-and-forth game against Buffalo on Thursday, the Calgary Flames played a decided different style of game against Columbus on Friday evening. Unfortunately, in the back half of a two-game set, the Flames were a bit too slow and a bit too sloppy to be at their best.
The Flames got better as the game wore on, but they lacked the details in key moments in a 3-1 loss to Columbus.
The Flames got off to a bit of a slow start, looking like they were back on their heels against a young, energetic, rested Columbus team. But Jacob Markstrom was really strong, especially early on.
The Flames had a couple power plays that overlapped into a short five-on-three advantage, but they couldn’t capitalize, and both teams headed to the first intermission deadlocked at 0-0.
First period shots were 14-12 Flames (11-8 Columbus at five-on-five) while five-on-five scoring chances were 12-3 Columbus (high-dangers were 5-2 Columbus).
Six minutes into the second period, Columbus broke the deadlock. The Flames had some offensive zone pressure, but possession changed right as Nikita Zadorov assumed Noah Hanifin’s spot at the left point… and Zadorov was caught flat-footed as the Jackets sped past him. That left Rasmus Andersson all by his lonesome to defend a two-on-one rush and Sean Kuraly opted to shoot, beating Markstrom to give Columbus a 1-0 lead.
Second period shots were 12-9 Flames (all five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 7-6 Flames (high-dangers were 4-1 Flames).
Midway through the third period, Columbus padded their lead. After an initial rush into the offensive zone, the Flames’ top line got hemmed in their own end a bit as Columbus passed the puck around. A few Flames chased the puck carried on one side of the net, leaving Justin Danforth all by his lonesome on the other side. Jack Roslovic found him with a quick pass and Danforth buried the feed past Markstrom to give the Blue Jackets a 2-0 lead.
But the Flames got one back while a man down. Columbus was passing the puck around at the point, but an errant puck went off an official and over to Mikael Backlund. Backlund sent Elias Lindholm in on a breakaway, and Lindholm beat Spencer Martin to cut the Columbus lead to 2-1.
The Flames pulled Markstrom with just over two minutes left in regulation, but Zach Werenski added an empty-netter to give Columbus a 3-1 advantage. That was all they needed against Calgary.
Why the Flames lost
The Flames built their game, and gradually looked better and better, and had the puck more and more. But their execution at key moments just wasn’t up to snuff. When your only goal is a shorthanded marker when you’re already down two goals, something’s gone awry from your team’s blueprint.
In general, the Flames were slow. Not in terms of their skating, but they had a bit of hesitation in their play with the puck in all three zones, and it made them easier to defend by Columbus than is probably ideal.
This was a scheduled loss – the second half of a back-to-back against a rested opponent – but the Flames were close enough after 40 minutes that they could’ve stolen a point with better details to their game. Unfortunately, they didn’t deliver that and they had to leave Ohio empty-handed.
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It’s easily Markstrom. He was the most consistently strong Flames player.
The second Columbus goal, the eventual game winner, was off a defensive coverage miscue by Calgary. They just weren’t able to overcome that one.
This and that
Nazem Kadri fought Cole Sillinger in the first period, the Flames’ first fight of the season and Kadri’s first bout since March 2022 (when he was with Colorado).
The Flames (2-2-1) are back in action on Sunday as they conclude their road trip against the Detroit Red Wings.
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