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Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames gun-shy in loss to Columbus

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
26 days ago
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The Calgary Flames weren’t great on Thursday evening when they hosted the Columbus Blue Jackets. They played a workmanlike 60 minutes of hockey. Aside from a few nice plays by a returning Oliver Kylington, they lacked swagger. They made a few too many mistakes at key times and, combined with some bad bounces, they were behind the eight-ball for the virtually the entire game.
The Flames ran their losing streak to four games via a 5-2 setback to the Blue Jackets.

The rundown

The visitors opened the scoring early in this game… on a very weird sequence. Off the rush, Yegor Chinakhov went to dump the puck in. It bounced off referee Steve Kozari and went right back to Chinakhov, who walked in on Jacob Markstrom and beat him with a shot to give Columbus a 1-0 lead.
Awhile later, though, the Flames answered back. Mikael Backlund’s line were involved in a pretty protracted 50/50 battle for a puck along the wall in the Columbus zone. They eventually came out with the puck, and Andrew Mangiapane sent the puck to MacKenzie Weegar at the point. Weegar’s shot beat Daniil Tarasov to tie the game up at 1-1.
A few minutes later, the Blue Jackets retook the lead on another weird one. Markstrom went to play the puck behind the net and attempted to rim the puck around the glass for a zone exit. It looked like the puck hit the edge of a stanchion and dropped down, ended up on the stick of Damon Severson along the boards to Markstrom’s left. Severson chucked the puck on net and beat the scrambling Markstrom to give Columbus a 2-1 lead.
But the Flames answered back, again! Rasmus Andersson fired a shot on net that Tarasov stopped, but the rebound bonked off Matt Coronato and went right to Connor Zary, and Zary chipped the rebound into the net to tie the game, again, at 2-2.
First period shots were 18-9 Flames (all five-on-five) and, via Natural Stat Trick, five-on-five scoring chances were 12-2 Flames (high-dangers were 3-1 Flames).
The middle period was a bit lower event than the opening 20, as both teams seemed to have trouble connecting on some nice passing sequences – the first two passes would work, but the important third pass would end up askew.
On a Flames power play, the Blue Jackets grabbed the lead again. Alexandre Texier went in on an odd-man rush and opted the shoot. His initial shot hit the post, but it bounced right back to him and he buried that chance, giving Columbus a 3-2 lead.
Second period shots were 11-4 Blue Jackets (6-3 Blue Jackets at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 8-7 Flames (high-dangers were 5-1 Blue Jackets).
The Flames pressed in the third period and had some looks. Jonathan Huberdeau was given a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit to Jack Roslovic along the boards in the Columbus zone.
During the five minute advantage, Dmitri Voronkov made a nice deflection in the net-front area off a Columbus face-off win in the offensive zone. That beat Markstrom and gave Columbus a 4-2 edge.
Adam Fantilli added an empty-netter to make it a 5-2 game. The Jackets held on for the victory.

Why the Flames lost

This game resembled, in a few ways, the Flames’ three recent losses. They weren’t out-and-out bad, but they made puck management mistakes at tough times that snowballed on them. Combine that with some tough bounces on a couple of Columbus’ goals, and the Flames were chasing the whole time – and had trouble making that proverbial last pass to make an okay chance a really strong one.
The Flames out-shot the Jackets 18-9 in the opening 20 and were out-shot 23-12 in the final 40. That’s basically the whole game right there.
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Red Warrior

Let’s give it to Kylington. He stood out for positive reasons.

Turning point

Man, that Huberdeau major was just the wrong thing to happen for the Flames at the worst possible time.

This and that

This was Oliver Kylington’s return to action after missing 20 months due to mental health challenges. He was named in the starting lineup and was the recipient of a pretty nice ovation.
A.J. Greer left the game midway through the second period after jamming his ankle into the boards on an aborted hit that he ended up taking a tripping penalty on. He had to be helped off the ice and didn’t return to the game.
The Flames wore their black alternate jersey (Blasty).

Up next

The Flames (21-22-5) close out their schedule before the All-Star break on Saturday night when they host Connor Bedard Jason Dickinson and the Chicago Blackhawks.

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