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Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames fall to Islanders in Saturday night shootout

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
3 months ago
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The Calgary Flames closed out a brief homestand on Saturday night with an early evening game with the visiting New York Islanders. The game started off a bit sleepily, but it built well – with the Flames starting off a bit tentatively and then gradually becoming more tactical with their play – and ended up being a pretty entertaining match overall.
This game went the distance. In a shootout, the Flames lost to the Islanders by a 5-4 score.

The rundown

The opening period was pretty even, with both teams seemingly struggling to generate a lot of momentum (or chain a few good passes together). Midway through the frame, the Flames bucked that trend as they opened the scoring off a pretty nice sequence.
Nazem Kadri flung a puck through the neutral zone, and it ricocheted off the boards and entered the Islanders zone, pursued by winger Martin Pospisil. Pospisil corralled the puck, fended off Islanders blueliner Alexander Romanov and cut to the net. He waited out netminder Ilya Sorokin and fired the puck over the sprawling goaltender to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
But the Islanders tied things up later on off a bit of an odd sequence. Nick DeSimone and Cal Clutterbuck battled for a puck along the boards in the Flames zone, after the Islanders entered the zone. They clashed sticks and the puck blooped out from the wall into the high slot area. Islanders forward Hudson Fasching grabbed the loose puck in the slot and beat Jacob Markstrom stick-side to tie the game up at 1-1.
First period shots were 10-8 Flames (9-8 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 9-9 (high-dangers were 3-3).
Nazem Kadri took a hooking minor in the neutral zone early in the second period, and the Islanders took the lead on the resulting man advantage. The Islanders won the face-off to begin their power play and a few passes later, they cashed in. Markstrom made a stop on Bo Horvat, but Kyle Palmieri buried the rebound past the sprawling Swede to give New York the 2-1 lead.
A very busy 13 seconds swung the game decidedly towards the visitors. Mikael Backlund drew a minor driving to the Islanders net, giving the Flames a power play. Right after the face-off, Jonathan Huberdeau was called for high-sticking, sending things to four-on-four. After the initial face-off in the Flames’ zone, Rasmus Andersson swatted down a puck in the slot and tried to clear the zone. But his clearing attempt needed a bit more oomph, and it was grabbed by Mat Barzal, who fired the puck past Markstrom to give the Islanders a 3-1 lead.
The Flames got one back, though. Backlund line starts and finishes a nice passing sequence through the neutral and offensive zones, ending with Nick DeSimone pinching down from the point and sending a pass to the far side of the crease for a redirect from Blake Coleman. That cut the Islanders’ lead to 3-2.
Second period shots were 12-9 Flames (9-4 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 10-3 Flames (high-dangers were 9-0 Flames).
The Flames tied up the game early in the third period off a nice shift of cycling and battling from Kadri’s line. Eventually, Connor Zary fed MacKenzie Weegar the puck at the point and his shot was inadvertently tipped by Romanov’s stick blade (he was battling with Pospisil) and past Sorokin to tie the game up at 3-3.
But 19 seconds later, as the Weegar goal was being announced in the arena, the Islanders retook the lead. Markstrom made the initial save off a shot from Sebastian Aho, but Brock Nelson beat all the black sweaters to the loose rebound and backhanded it past Markstrom to give the visitors a 4-3 advantage.
In the later stages of the third period, the Flames made a push, and they drew even off a nifty tip from Yegor Sharangovich, redirecting a Noah Hanifin point shot past Sorokin to tie the game up at 4-4.
Both teams had chances late in regulation, but this game couldn’t be decided during the standard 60 minutes.
Third period shots were 14-14 (14-13 Islanders at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 16-13 Islanders (high-dangers were 10-4 Islanders).
The back-and-forth style of game continued in extra time, but neither team could cash in on their chances. Overtime shots were 4-2 Flames.
In the shootout, Sharangovich scored for the Flames, while Horvat and Oliver Wahlstrom scored for the Islanders, and the Islanders won by a 5-4 score.

Why the Flames got a point

This was the 2023-24 Flames encompassed in a single game. They made enough mistakes at bad times that they trailed for big chunks of this contest. But they also played well and battled back when they were down, especially in the back half of this game.
They definitely want to tidy a few things up – their face-off numbers were ugly and they had just 2:54 of power play time because of penalties they took during their own advantages – but the level of grit they showed was impressive and they fully earned the point they received.
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Red Warrior

It always feels like a cop-out when we give it to multiple players, but we’re giving it jointly to Jacob Markstrom and the line of Martin Pospisil, Nazem Kadri and Connor Zary. Markstrom was superb when called upon – it’s hard to really blame him on the goals he allowed – and the Kadri trio were consistently making noise in the offensive zone.

Turning point

How about the Flames’ third period push? This was the type of game that the Flames has routinely lost in recent years, but how they elevated their performance in the second half of the third period was really impressive and helped turn the tide.

This and that

The Flames’ shootout shooters were Sharangovich, Huberdeau, Andersson and Zary. The Islanders went with Horvat, Barzal, Palmieri and Wahlstrom.
The Flames shortened their bench in the later stages of the third period, with Sharangovich taking Dillon Dube’s spot on the top line.
This was the second of 13 games this season where the Flames will wear their black alternate jerseys.

Up next

The Flames (6-8-3) are headed back on the road! They begin a four game trip on Monday night when they head to Seattle to face the Kraken.

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