Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames lose a last-minute heartbreaker to the Blues
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
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At one point in the second period, the Calgary Flames led the St. Louis Blues by a 3-1 score. On home ice, playing against a team they’re battling for playoff real estate, you would hope the Flames could find a way to lock it down.
They did not.
Three unanswered goals from the visitors, including a Brandon Saad game-winner with 48 seconds left in regulation, powered the Blues to a 4-3 victory over the Flames to push the home side back down to the .500 mark.
The Flames got out to a slow start, with the Blues getting a lot of quality shots and scoring chances, testing the returning Jacob Markstrom early. But Markstrom was up to snuff, which allowed the Flames to get their game going and turn the tide.
In the back half of the period, the Flames made a nice counter-punch push and it resulted in the first goal of the game.
Jonathan Huberdeau used some nice back pressure to induce a turnover by the Blues in the neutral zone, which led to another flurry of chances. First, Nazem Kadri had a rush chance that didn’t get buried, but the Flames held onto the puck, cycled it back to the point, and a pinching MacKenzie Weegar picked the corner on Jordan Binnington, short side, to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
First period shots were 17-10 Flames (16-8 Flames at five-on-five) and, via Natural Stat Trick, five-on-five scoring chances were 12-9 Flames (high-dangers were 7-1 Flames).
The Blues tied things up on a nice sequence off a face-off win midway through the second period. Brandon Saad fired a bad angle shot that rang off the crossbar. The Blues kept the puck and fed it back to Saad. His shot was contested by Kadri, but that caused the puck to get slightly deflected and wobble past Markstrom to tie the game at 1-1.
Right after the Blues scored, the Flames got a power play that resulted in some nice chances for both teams. Slightly after the expiry of the Blues penalty, the Flames held onto the puck, cycled it in the offensive zone, and eventually scored, with Noah Hanifin’s shot slightly deflecting off a defender and beating Binnington to give the Flames a 2-1 lead.
Just 64 seconds later, the Flames scored again. Huberdeau and Yegor Sharangovich went in on a two-on-two rush. Sharangovich was given a little bit too much space and got a great shot off, beating Binnington stick-side to give the Flames a 3-1 lead.
But the Blues got one back early on a Flames power play. The puck slid off Weegar’s stick right off a face-off win and was stolen away by Brayden Schenn. Schenn went up ice and beat Markstrom on a breakaway to cut Calgary’s advantage to 3-2.
Second period shots were 13-9 Flames (9-7 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 8-8 (high-dangers were 4-2 Blues).
The Blues made a push in the third period to try to tie the game up, and succeeded. The Flames were hemmed into their own end for awhile, with a few clearing attempts not getting through. Jordan Kyrou got the puck, walked into the high slot and fired a shot past Markstrom to tie the game at 3-3.
And just when it looked like this one would need overtime, Saad entered the zone and fired a low shot. The shot glanced off Jordan Oesterle, wobbled, and bounced past Markstrom, hit the far post and went into the Flames net to give the Blues a 4-3 lead with 48 seconds left.
And that was that.
Third period shots were 7-5 Blues (all five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 12-3 Blues (high-dangers were 2-1 Blues).
Why the Flames lost
The Flames were pretty good at five-on-five. They were far too leaky defensively than would be ideal, but they were generally good. Their power play was flat-out not particularly good, and they left points on the table in a close game because of it.
You can point to the flukey nature of the Blues’ game-winning goal and blame puck luck. And yeah, that’s some rough luck. But they were only in that situation because their power play got out-scored by the Blues’ penalty kill. Playing against a team you’re battling for a playoff spot with, that’s just not acceptable.
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Let’s give it to Kadri. He made a lot of good plays, had a lot of good chances, and was energetic and noticeable.
The Blues scored the game-winner with 48 seconds left in regulation.
This and that
This was Cole Schwindt’s Flames debut. Jacob Markstrom also returned to action after missing three games last week with an injury.
The Flames wore their black alternate jersey (Blasty).
The Flames (21-21-5) are back in action on Thursday night when they welcome Johnny Gaudreau and the Columbus Blue Jackets to town.
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