Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames fall just short against Dallas
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
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We’ve got good news and bad news for you, folks. The good news is that the Calgary Flames played a pretty effective hockey game when they hosted the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night. The bad news is that the Flames, once again, found ways to lose at key moments.
The Flames fell just short against the Stars, losing by a 4-3 score. Their losing streak has been extended to six games.
The Flames got out to a pretty good start. They skated well. They battled. And they opened the scoring about five minutes into the first period!
Chris Tanev fired a shot from the right point after a brief bit of cycling in the Dallas zone. The puck glanced off either Yegor Sharangovich or a Stars defender, replays were inconclusive, and veered off-course. The puck went wide of the net and bonked into the chest of Connor Zary, who let the puck drop to his feet and jammed it past a sprawling Jake Oettinger for his first NHL goal to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
But late in the period, the Flames let the Stars get one back, shorthanded. The Flames drew a late power play but couldn’t get much going. As the first unit was changing, the Stars chucked the puck into the Flames end and Jacob Markstrom went out to play it. But the puck didn’t reach the trapezoid and with Roope Hintz chasing it down, Markstrom scrambled back to his net. Hintz skated to the far side of the net and found Jamie Benn streaking in from the neutral zone. Benn chipped the puck past Markstrom to make it 1-1.
First period shots were 12-11 Flames (8-6 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 7-5 Flames (high-dangers were 3-2 Stars).
The Flames retook the lead early in the second period off some quite good ice hockey. They got possession in the Dallas zone, cycled, battled and maintained possession. Eventually, MacKenzie Weegar found Andrew Mangiapane in the slot, and Mangiapane beat Oettinger stick-side to give the Flames a 2-1 lead.
But Dallas started getting a bit more aggressive in using their size and speed to push the Flames’ defenders back in their zone, and it led to some really nice scoring chances. And goals. For Dallas.
First, Hintz used his speed to back Weegar into the slot area. Hintz couldn’t get a shot off, but a trailing Jason Robertson collected the puck and his shot, partially blocked by Weegar’s stick blade, wobbled between Markstrom’s pads (five-hole) to tie the game up at 2-2.
Just past the midway point of the second, the Stars took the lead. Evgenii Dadonov took a drop pass from Nils Lundkvist and faced off with a defending Rasmus Andersson. Andersson tried to hold Dadonov up, so Dadonov cut to the middle of the ice and fired a shot that beat Markstrom under the crossbar to give Dallas a 3-2 lead.
Late in the second, Dallas struck again. The Flames lost a face-off in the Dallas zone, and the Stars collected the puck and headed up ice. Zary did the right thing, using his stick to disrupt an attempted pass by Tyler Seguin just inside the Flames’ blueline. The pass fluttered past several Flames in the middle of the zone and was collected by Matt Duchene. Duchene set up Mason Marchment in front of the net and Marchment fired the puck past Markstrom in-close to give the Stars a 4-2 lead.
Second period shots were 14-12 Stars (13-12 Stars at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 18-10 Stars (high-dangers were 7-4 Stars).
After Nazem Kadri drew a tripping minor, the Flames scored early in the third period to pull within one. An odd-man rush by the Flames on a Stars line change was broken up, but the Flames retained possession and sent the puck to Weegar at the point. Weegar moved around, waited for a screen to develop, and then beat Oettinger with a high shot to cut the Dallas lead to 4-3.
The Flames pressed late in the third period, but just could not get another goal to draw even and Dallas held on for a 4-3 victory.
Third period shots were 22-5 Flames (12-4 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 5-3 Flames (high-dangers were 2-2).
Why the Flames lost
We feel like we’re playing the hits here: The Flames weren’t awful. They got good goaltending. Their special teams scored. They scored a couple times at even strength. They did a lot of things that were quite smart, good and productive.
But the Flames made gaffes at inopportune times, and the details of their game just weren’t quite where they needed to be if they wanted to beat a really good Stars team. The Flames were a very close second-best in this game, but they were decidedly second-best when the game was up for grabs.
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Let’s go with Weegar. He had a couple points (for the second consecutive game) and was consistently engaged, battling and noticeable. Did he play a perfect game? Nope! But he was the best of the bunch wearing red. He had eight shots!
And stick-taps to Markstrom and Zary, who were also quite good.
The Flames gave up goals in the final minute of each of the first two periods. Remove one, or both, of those goals, and this game has a completely different dynamic. (And outcome.)
This and that
Connor Zary made his NHL debut. Dillon Dube missed the game with an undisclosed injury, and Nikita Zadorov missed the guy due to family reasons.
The Flames held Mike Vernon Night, a theme night that paid tribute to 2023 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Mike Vernon and featured a section sponsored by Mike’s Hard, the beverage company, where a bunch of guys named Mike sat.
The Flames (2-7-1) are back in action on Saturday when they journey to the Emerald City to face the Seattle Kraken.
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