Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames get out-battled by Blues, run losing streak to five straight

Photo credit:Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
21 days ago
The Calgary Flames headed into St. Louis on Thursday evening to conclude their brief two-game road trip, hoping to end their four game skid when they faced the Blues.
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Unfortunately, the Flames made a few mistakes at key times and weren’t able to outcome them en route to a 5-3 loss to the Blues.

The rundown

The Blues opened the scoring two-thirds of the way through the first period. Jordan Binnington made a smart bank pass to send his team in on a four-on-three rush. During that rush, Zachary Bolduc cut to the middle, took a pass and slid it between Dustin Wolf’s pads to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
But a little later, the Flames responded off a really nice individual effort from Andrei Kuzmenko. The Flames entered the Blues’ zone, but couldn’t connect on some passing and lost possession. Kuzmenko kept after the puck, stealing it away from Justin Faulk beside the Blues net and flipping it past a poke-checking Binnington to tie the game at 1-1.
And late in the period, the Flames took a lead. After Rasmus Andersson got clipped with a high stick, the Flames got a man advantage. On that man advantage, MacKenzie Weegar’s point shot was deflected by Jonathan Huberdeau and fluttered past Binnington to make it 2-1 Flames.
First period shots were 9-7 Flames (8-5 Flames at five-on-five) and, via Natural Stat Trick, five-on-five scoring chances were 11-4 Blues (high-dangers were 3-2 Blues).
Early in the second period, the Blues tied the game up again. Wolf made an initial save on a Robert Thomas shot, but Jake Neighbours beat out Weegar for the rebound and fired it past Wolf to make it 2-2.
Local favourite Nazem Kadri – less-than-beloved in St. Louis after a playoff battle with the Blues a couple years back – took a double minor penalty for high sticking. With 32 seconds left on the minor, Pavel Buchnevich’s shot appeared to slightly redirect off Rasmus Andersson’s leg and elude Wolf’s glove hand to make it 3-2 Blues.
But later in the period, the Flames drew back even. Off a nice little high-low play that began with a Martin Pospisil zone entry, Weegar found Kadri in the slot, and Kadri’s backhander was redirected by Kuzmenko past Binnington to tie the game at 3-3.
Second period shots were 9-8 Flames (8-6 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 8-8 (high-dangers were 4-3 Flames).
The Flames thought they had (a) taken the lead and (b) completed a Kuzmenko hat trick just 1:11 into the third period. However, the officials had blown down the call due to the puck being knocked down in front of Jordan Binnington with a Flames’ high stick. However, Sportsnet’s replays suggested the high stick belonged to a Blues player.
Less than a minute later, Yegor Sharangovich whiffed while handling the puck below his own goal line. Jordan Kyrou yoinked the loose puck and passed it to Brandon Saad at the side of the net. Saad chipped the puck over Wolf to make it 4-3 Blues.
The Flames thought they had tied the game up immediately after, but a Sharangovich goal was overturned via a coach’s challenge for off-side.
Buchnevich added an empty-netter late in this one to make it 5-3 Blues.
Third period shots were 8-4 Flames (7-3 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 6-2 Flames (high-dangers were 3-1 Flames).

Why the Flames lost

The Flames weren’t bad in this game. They weren’t excellent, but they were right there with the Blues despite missing a couple key regulars. However, while the shape of the Flames’ game remains quite good, they just couldn’t overcome their mistakes (and some bad bounces) at key times. The Blues managed to win a few battles here and there, and as a result had the puck on their sticks in advantageous areas at opportune times. Because the Flames lost those types of battles, they didn’t have the puck in those areas as often.
And while we wouldn’t put this outcome on the goaltender’s shoulders, Wolf couldn’t bail the Flames out when they made those mistakes or lost those battles. He was pretty good overall, but he needed to be a bit better in those specific situations.
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Red Warrior

Let’s give it to Kuzmenko, who had two goals and could have had a few more. He was excellent.

Turning point

In a close game, Sharangovich’s turnover in his own end was an absolute back-breaker.

This and that

The Flames were without Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington due to minor undisclosed maladies. In their absences, Dryden Hunt and Joel Hanley rotated back in.
Hanley fought Nathan Walker, the NHL’s first-ever Australian player, in the second period.

Up next

The Flames (33-34-5) are headed home. They’ll host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.
The Flames’ elimination number for the post-season is down to six points; any combination of six points earned by Vegas or potential points not earned by the Flames officially eliminate Calgary from playoff contention.

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