Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames go bust in home loss to Vegas
Photo credit:Brett Holmes-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike8 months ago
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The Calgary Flames hosted the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night, hoping to keep their flickering playoff hopes alive against one of the top teams in the Pacific Division. The Flames had flashes of great play, but it just wasn’t enough to get the desired result.
The Flames lost to Vegas by a 3-2 score. Their playoff hopes remain mathematically alive, but just barely.
Neither team looked great in the first period, but the Golden Knights were pretty consistent throughout and the Flames gradually got better. But in the middle of a disjointed period, Vegas opened the scoring.
The Flames were cycling the puck in the Vegas zone and trying to get a good shooting lane to open. That passing and pressing pulled Nikita Zadorov a little out of position, allowing Jonathan Marchessault to sneak behind him. Jack Eichel fired a pass to Marchessault, leading to a two-on-one rush with Marchessault and Ivan Barbashev facing MacKenzie Weegar. Weegar starfished to block the pass, so Marchessault elected to shoot, beating Markstrom to make it 1-0.
A few minutes later, Vegas struck again. The Flames timed a line change poorly, leaving a gigantic open passing lane in the neutral zone. Shea Theodore put a crisp pass on Mike Amadio’s stick. Amadio’s initial breakaway chance was stopped by Markstrom, but Amadio bonked in his own rebound to give Vegas a 2-0 lead.
The Flames thought they opened the scoring later in the period on a power play, as Andrew Mangiapane drove the net and had a pass go in off his skates. But the goal was reviewed and disallowed because of everyone’s favourite thing, the distinct kicking motion.
But in the final minute of the first period, the Flames actually broke the goose-egg: Milan Lucic caused a Vegas turnover inside the Flames blueline and Walker Duehr grabbed the puck and raced up ice. Duehr put a nice pass on Lucic’s stick in front of the Vegas net and Lucic chipped the puck high over Logan Thompson to cut the Vegas lead to 2-1.
The Golden Knights added to their lead midway through the third period. Rasmus Andersson couldn’t get enough mustard on an attempted clearing pass – he protested after the play, suggesting he felt he had been held – and Nicolas Roy stole the puck. A couple passes later, and Roy roofed the puck past Markstrom to make it 3-1 Vegas.
The Flames had their second goal of the game waved off a little later. Milan Lucic shoved Zach Whitecloud into the Vegas net, slightly dislodging it. The officials didn’t seem to notice it and play continued. Thompson, seemingly aware that goals can’t be scored on dislodged nets, raced to the bench for the extra attacker. But he was caught halfway to the bench and Duehr fired the puck into the wide-open net. The play was reviewed by the officials and the goal was waved off because the net was dislodged. (It was a very weird sequence.)
But the Flames inched a bit closer a few minutes later on the power play. The Flames got a few chances and managed to bury their third chance of the advantage, as Jonathan Huberdeau threw the puck to Nazem Kadri at the high slot and Kadri buried the feed past Thompson to cut the Vegas lead to 3-2.
Thompson seemed to injure himself – playing his first game since Feb. 9 – and left the game with 6:07 left in regulation. Jonathan Quick entered the game in relief. The Flames made a push late, but Quick stood tall and the Golden Knights held on for the 3-2 victory.
Why the Flames lost
The Flames got better as this game wore on, and they had some spurts of really strong play.
But for the most part, their game was disjointed. Their transition play was equal parts slow and challenged in its execution. Vegas did a nice job keeping the Flames to the outside in the offensive zone, and disrupting their attempted puck carrying in the neutral zone and at their blueline.
The Flames just weren’t good enough for long enough in this game to get the desired result.
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Don’t pin this one on the netminder. Markstrom made a lot of really strong saves and in general faced more dangerous chances than his counterpart at the other end of the ice.
The Flames never had a lead in this game, but the entire first period was seemingly a race between Vegas and Calgary to see which club could get their game going more quickly. Vegas won that race, left the period with a lead, and then just managed the game well from then on out.
This and that
The Flames wore special #SnowyStrong helmet stickers for this game in support of assistant general manager Chris Snow. The stickers are designed by artist Tova Shan and can be purchased from her website, with the proceeds going to the Flames Foundation to help in the fight against ALS.
The Flames’ elimination number is 7.5 – any combination of Flames losses or Winnipeg wins adding up to 7.5 eliminates them from the playoffs. Similarly, their magic number is 12.5 (on Winnipeg) and 13 (on Nashville) – the combination of Flames wins and losses by those respective teams that ensures that the Flames finish ahead of them in the standings.
The Flames (32-26-15) are back in action on Saturday afternoon for a matinee against the San Jose Sharks.
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