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Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames fade away against Capitals

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
30 days ago
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The Calgary Flames had a pretty decent first period against the Washington Capitals. Unfortunately, the Flames just couldn’t put a complete game together. The Capitals took advantage of some Flames defensive lapses and handily won the special teams battle, and that was enough for the visitors to beat the Flames by a 5-2 score.

The rundown

The opening 20 minutes were quite dull and disjointed, as both teams failed to really execute with the puck. The Flames generally carried play, but they didn’t do very much with the puck.
With five minutes left in the period, Washington cashed in on a bad shift by the Flames in their own end. The Capitals got into the zone and cycled the puck, and the Flames failed to clear or disrupt the cycle, and the Capitals cashed in. Eventually Dylan Strome got a clear look at the net from the face-off dot to Dustin Wolf’s left and beat the goaltender glove-side to make it 1-0 Capitals.
First period shots were 12-8 Flames (all five-on-five) and, via Natural Stat Trick, five-on-five scoring chances were 10-10 (high-dangers were 4-1 Capitals).
The second period didn’t go well for the home side.
Just shy of five minutes into the period, Brayden Pachal took a minor for holding the stick. On the resulting power play, Max Pacioretty threw the puck into the net-front area and Alex Ovechkin redirected it high, past Wolf, to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead.
About four minutes later Pachal took an interference minor at the Flames blue line. Early in the resulting power play, Ovechkin cranked a one-timer from the top of the circles – his traditional spot – past Wolf to give the Capitals a 3-0 lead. (On replay, it looked like the puck slightly deflected off of Rasmus Andersson.)
About a minute and a half later, the Flames responded off a rush play. Matt Coronato made a smart pass to Pachal, and Pachal’s backhand shot was redirected by Kevin Rooney past Charlie Lindgren and into the Capitals net to cut their lead to 3-1. The Capitals called a timeout and then challenged for goalie interference – A.J. Greer was in the vicinity of Lindgren – but the goal was upheld.
But the Capitals answered back off a very odd play. Sonny Milano retrieved the puck at the point of the Flames’ zone and chucked it into the net front area, where Hendrix Lapierre slid it past Wolf to give the road side a 4-1 lead.
Second period shots were 15-12 Capitals (10-7 Capitals at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 9-9 (high-dangers were 5-2 Flames).
The Flames had some good looks throughout the third period. They drew within two midway through the period as MacKenzie Weegar fired a point shot past Lindgren after an offensive zone face-off win. That cut the Capitals’ lead to 4-2.
The Flames pulled Wolf for the extra attacker late, but Tom Wilson added an empty-netter to make it 5-2 Capitals and put this out of reach for the home side.
Third period shots were 13-10 Flames (10-8 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 11-10 Capitals (high-dangers were 5-3 Flames).

Why the Flames lost

The Flames were decent enough in the opening period, but their defensive zone play was a big challenge for them. They just didn’t seem as connected as a five-man unit as they’ve been in recent outings, and as a result they had a lot of miscues, missed reads, and mishaps in all three zones. The ones they had in their own end led to penalties and goals against.
Special teams also weren’t on the Flames’ side. They allowed two power play goals and were 0-for-3 on their own advantages. In a game where the Flames were chasing it at five-on-five, their special teams units didn’t do enough to give them a boost.
The Flames just weren’t up to their usual standards against the Capitals, and their goaltender wasn’t able to bail them out. (Wolf did his level best to hold the fort, but he had basically no chance on the two Ovechkin goals.)
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Red Warrior

Let’s give it to Weegar. He led the Flames in shots, played a ton, and was pretty noticeable in all three zones.

Turning point

The second period in general wasn’t all that great for the home side, so take your pick from the two Ovechkin power play goals or the late goal by Lapierre off a weird, broken play.

This and that

The Last of Us star Gabriel Luna was in attendance at the game.
During the minor hockey shootout competition during the first intermission, a kid did The Worm as his goal celebration.

Up next

The Flames (33-30-5) have a bit of a break in their schedule. They’re back at it on Saturday night in Vancouver when they face the Canucks. If you’re in Calgary, head on down to Greta Bar and watch the game with us! Tickets at NationGear.ca!

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