Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames earn a point in battle at Madison Square Garden
Photo credit:Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike7 months ago
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Sometimes hockey games after extended schedule breaks are bad, ugly, and clunky affairs.
That wasn’t the case on Monday evening, as the Calgary Flames and New York Rangers had an awesome game of ice hockey at Madison Square Garden. This game had everything! Big fights! Big hits! Nine goals! Overtime!
The Flames battled back, repeatedly, and captured an important point on the road via a 5-4 overtime loss to the Rangers.
The Rangers opened the scoring in the first period. Adam Fox started a breakout play for the Rangers and Nikita Zadorov got caught flat-footed in the neutral zone, creating a two-on-one rush with Filip Chytil leading the way and Michael Stone defending the pass. Chytil opted to shoot, beating Jacob Markstrom off the rush to make it 1-0 Rangers.
The Flames answered back before the period ended, though. Andrew Mangiapane and Blake Coleman buzzed around the Rangers’ net and Jaroslav Halak couldn’t track the puck down, leading to Coleman scoring from right around the blue paint to tie the game at 1-1.
The Rangers took the lead early in the second off a puck-handling miscue by Nazem Kadri just inside the offensive blueline. He momentarily bobbled the puck, allowing Chytil to yoink the puck, rush up ice on a breakaway, and beat Markstrom low stick-side with a great release to give the home side a 2-1 lead.
The Flames answered back, though. After the Rangers took a too many men minor, the Flames worked through both power play units. Late in their advantage, Tyler Toffoli took advantage of an Elias Lindholm screen and picked the far side of the net on Halak, going post-and-in to tie the game at 2-2.
But the Rangers got a power play late in the second period after Dillon Dube was given an instigator penalty for fighting Jacob Trouba after Trouba walloped Kadri with a big check. On the man advantage, a bit of rapid puck movement led to a goal for Mika Zibanejad that gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead.
But the Flames answered back midway through the third period! Mikael Backlund’s line battled for the puck in the offensive zone, and Noah Hanifin fed Mangiapane at the side of the net for a quick redirect with his skate to make it 3-3. Halak protested the goal and it was reviewed, but the NHL Situation Room ruled that it was a skate direct rather than a kicked-in puck – no distinct kicking motion – and so the game was tied 3-3.
The Flames took the lead a little later. The Backlund line broke into the Rangers’ zone and dropped the puck to the point for Michael Stone, whose slapper from the high slot beat Halak to make it a 4-3 game.
But the Flames had a pass get away from them, leading to an icing and a Rangers’ offensive zone face-off. The Rangers won, cycled the puck quickly, got the Flames chasing around a bit, and Zibanejad got his second goal of the game to tie things up at 4-4 off a redirect from a pass below the goal line from Artemi Panarin. (The Flames held the lead for 4:14.)
This game, deservedly so based on how evenly-played it was, went to overtime. The Rangers got most of the good chances in overtime, including a wrap-around sequence that led to a desperation save by Elias Lindholm.
Markstrom made a big save on Zibanejad on an odd-man rush late with Kadri and Mangiapane caught up ice, but nobody could get to the loose rebound – Zadorov was right there – and Alexis Lafreniere got the rebound past Markstrom for the overtime winner for a 5-4 final.
Why the Flames got a point
On the one hand, the Flames exhibited some rough lapses at key times that resulted in goals. The Rangers’ four even strength goals were all preceded by execution issues by the Flames that resulted in turnovers and, as the season has gone, those mistakes all resulted in high quality chances against… and goals.
But give the Flames credit: they had a couple lines that were executing really well, and they battled back throughout this game, never really letting the Rangers pull away. On the road against a good team in a tough building, that’s a result worth holding onto going forward. If the Flames can bottle up that battle level and bring it to their final 31 outings, watch out.
(If you want to be a pessimist: yes, the Flames’ top forwards didn’t do a heck of a lot offensively in this game at five-on-five.)
Joint award to the Backlund, Coleman and Mangiapane line. They combined for six points and were all over this game.
Two quick goals got the Flames a third period lead in Madison Square Garden. They really had to find a way to close this one out in regulation.
This and that
This game featured three fights, all after big hits:
- Chris Tanev fought Jacob Trouba after Trouba walloped Dube.
- MacKenzie Weegar fought Will Cuylle after Sammy Blais hit Milan Lucic.
- Dube fought Trouba after Trouba hit Kadri.
In all three sequences, the Flames ended up getting tagged with an extra minor penalty.
The Flames’ record when trailing after two periods is now 0-11-2.
The Flames (24-17-10) are headed to the Motor City. They face the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.
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