Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames lack offensive bite in loss to Predators

Photo credit:Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
6 months ago
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The Calgary Flames headed to scenic Nashville to face the Predators on Wednesday evening. Rather than carry their momentum over from previous outings, the Flames didn’t really have much offensive oomph to their game – especially on special teams.
The Flames just couldn’t get much going with the puck in a 4-2 road loss to the Predators.

The rundown

The opening 20 minutes was really even, with each team getting momentum swinging towards them at one point or another.
Nashville opened the scoring, on a Flames power play. The Flames just couldn’t gain the offensive zone, which led to frustration and turnovers in the neutral zone. Off one of those turnovers, the Predators turned it into an odd-man rush headed towards the Flames’ zone. Roman Josi fed the puck to Colton Sissons, whose shot beat Jacob Markstrom to give the Predators a 1-0 lead.
But the Flames answered back quite quickly. A couple minutes after Nashville scored, the Flames won an offensive zone draw and cycled the puck a little bit. Andrew Mangiapane corralled the puck in the corner to Juuse Saros’ left, then threw the puck through the slot to a pinching Noah Hanifin, to Saros’ right, and Hanifin’s shot beat Saros to tie the game at 1-1.
Midway through the period, Nashville grabbed the lead back off a really savvy bit of hockey. On what was a set play by the Predators, defender Ryan McDonagh fired a point shot intentionally wide so that it would take a wonky bounce off the end boards. Markstrom, a veteran, anticipated this and tried to block the puck from bouncing into the slot. Ryan O’Reilly, another veteran, crashed the net-front area and swept the puck into the net before Markstrom could glove it to give the home side a 2-1 lead.
First period shots were 16-13 Predators (13-12 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 10-10 (high-dangers were 6-5 Flames).
Neither team scored in the second period, but Nashville carried play and Markstrom had to make a few really sharp saves to keep the game within one.
Second period shots were 14-4 Predators (11-4 Predators at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 9-4 Predators (high-dangers were 3-1 Predators).
The Predators added a couple goals in the third period.
Midway through the third period, Filip Forsberg scooped a puck (with his glove) behind the net and tossed it into the net-front area. The puck was poked by a Flames defender and Alexandre Carrier grabbed the loose puck and beat Markstrom – on the second Nashville chance of that sequence – to make it 3-1 Predators.
The Flames challenged the goal for a glove pass, but it was judged to have been a legal play.
Later on in the period, Nashville added a power play goal as Juuso Parssinen shovelled a pass from Philip Tomasino past Markstrom to make it 4-1.
With 1:39 left in regulation, MacKenzie Weegar threw a stick to break up a Kole Sherwood scoring chance. Sherwood received a penalty shot, but Markstrom stopped him.
Yegor Sharangovich scored a shorthanded goal on a breakaway with 45 seconds left, grabbing a puck that was lost in the feet of Tyson Barrie and deking past Saros. That cut the Nashville lead to 4-2, but that was how it ended.
Third period shots were 16-9 Predators (7-3 Predators at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 5-3 Predators (high-dangers were 1-1).

Why the Flames lost

The Flames weren’t great at even strength, prone to occasional lapses and turnovers. It was definitely one of their lesser 200-foot games by their recent standards, but that means they were merely “fine” overall. They had possession, but couldn’t translate that into a lot of high-octane scoring opportunities.
But what sunk the Flames was their really poor power play. Their first three advantages saw them register zero shots on goal. They were credited with four power play shots on their fourth advantage, midway through the third period, but to that point their PP generated zero momentum for their group – and arguably let the air out of their sails instead.
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Red Warrior

It’s gotta be Markstrom. The Flames were fairly leaky defensively in front of him and he faced a lot of shots (and strong scoring chances). The man in the mask was really reliable for the Flames.

Turning point

We’re admittedly picking on the power play, but here were the circumstances of their first three advantages:
  • 1:38 into first period, tied 0-0 – zero shots on goal, allowed first Nashville goal shorthanded
  • 6:28 into second period, down 2-1 – zero shots on goal
  • 19:03 into second period, down 2-1 – with a chance to head into intermission tied at 2, instead the Flames generate zero shots on goal.
If one of those power plays turns out differently, it’s a completely different ballgame for the road side.

This and that

Prior to the game, longtime (now-retired) general manager David Poile was honoured by the Predators. Poile began his management career with the Flames, first as an office assistant and later as assistant GM in Atlanta and Calgary, so the Flames gave him a gift before the game.
This was Dillon Dube’s 300th NHL game.
Dennis Gilbert fought Michael McCarron in the first period. Nikita Zadorov fought Jeremy Lauzon in the second period.

Up next

The Flames (7-9-3) are back in action on Friday night when they visit the Dallas Stars.

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