Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames have flat finish to pre-season in loss to Vancouver

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
9 months ago
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There are games where things flow nicely, and games where a team just doesn’t seem to have it. Friday night’s pre-season finale for the Calgary Flames against Vancouver Canucks was just one of those nights. The Flames could not get much of anything going against the Canucks, never leading en route to a 3-1 loss in Vancouver.

The rundown

The Canucks opened the scoring just over a minute into this game. The Canucks entered the Flames zone off the rush and the puck blooped back to Tyler Myers, who was entering the zone at the point. Myers’ shot, with Brock Boeser and Nazem Kadri hanging around out front, found a way past Jacob Markstrom to make it 1-0 Canucks.
The Flames got that one back later in the first period, though. The Flames killed off a Matt Coronato penalty, and sent out the line of Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri and Elias Lindholm as a post-kill bump-up line. It worked! Huberdeau’s initial chance was mostly stopped by Thatcher Demko, but Kadri poked the loose puck over the line to tie things up at 1-1.
But the Canucks retook the lead in the latter half of the second period. The fourth line got the puck into the Canucks’ zone. But they couldn’t maintain possession, leading to the Canucks rushing the other way. Quinn Hughes whooshed through the neutral zone, drawing attention away from Teddy Blueger, and that led to a pass to Blueger, who entered the zone, streaked right to the net unopposed and beat Markstrom to make it 2-1 Canucks.
Vancouver added a third goal off a turnover and some odd bounces late in the period. An attempted Flames zone exit up the wall by Nazem Kadri bounced off a skate and was kept in the zone at the blueline by Elias Pettersson. His whack at the puck was redirected by Boeser into the net-front area and Phil di Giuseppe raced past the defenders, got to the puck, and shelved it past Markstrom to go up 3-1.
That’s all the goals we saw. The Canucks held on for a 3-1 win.

Why the Flames lost

The Flames just didn’t look terribly connected. By that I mean, individual players seemed to be doing just fine in isolation, but the pieces weren’t connecting and it led to challenges in breakouts, neutral zone transitions, and puck retrievals. After previous games, head coach Ryan Huska has used the phrase “playing through the opponent” when the team struggled with the connectivity part of the game, and that seemed quite apparent here.
In terms of positives, though, the Flames were very good at the face-off dot. Their puck management after their face-off wins may not have been ideal, but they won a lot of draws.
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Red Warrior

MacKenzie Weegar had a quietly strong game, jumping into the rush here and there and making a lot of good reads and plays.

Turning point

The Flames were hanging in this game, despite being out-played slightly, until the Blueger goal.

This and that

Here’s how the Flames lined up:
Huberdeau – Lindholm – Mangiapane
Ruzicka – Kadri – Dube
Sharangovich – Backlund – Coronato
Hunt – Schwindt – Duehr
Weegar – Andersson
Hanifin – Tanev
Oesterle – Zadorov
Jacob Markstrom start for the Flames and went the distance, backed up by Dan Vladar.

Up next

The pre-season has ended! The NHL’s opening roster deadline is 3 p.m. MT on Monday. The Flames begin their 2023-24 regular season on Wednesday evening when they host the Winnipeg Jets.

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