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Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames lose game, and Chris Tanev, against Colorado

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Photo credit:Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
2 months ago
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The Calgary Flames, at full strength, would have been out-matched against the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche, the home side, were favoured by the odds-makers before the game began. The Flames lost Chris Tanev to an injury early on, which also didn’t help things.
The Flames battled hard for three periods but just couldn’t hold onto their lead against a strong Avalanche team. They were handed a 6-5 loss by Colorado to begin a three game road trip.

The rundown

The Flames lost Chris Tanev just 15 seconds into the game, as he was crunched into the boards by Ross Colton. No penalty was called on the play, but it was basically Colton crunching a guy from behind (and Tanev’s face and head smashed off the boards on the contact). As a consequence, the Flames rolled with five defenders for the vast majority of the game.
The Flames opened the scoring past the midway mark of the first period. Mikko Rantanen turned a puck over in the neutral zone to Blake Coleman, who raced into the Colorado zone. He fed a pass to Nazem Kadri, entering the zone off a line change, and Kadri’s shot from the slot area beat Alexander Georgiev to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
Mikael Backlund took a minor later in the period. The Flames killed off the penalty, but afterwards they got crossed-up a bit after losing a puck battle down low in their own zone. That gave Colton time with the puck and he fed Tomas Tatar in front of the net, and his shot beat Dan Vladar to tie the game at 1-1.
First period shots were 14-7 Avalanche (10-7 Avalanche at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 9-9 (high-dangers were 3-3), via Natural Stat Trick.
Early in the second period, the Flames turned the puck over in the neutral zone and on the ensuing scramble into the Calgary end, Noah Hanifin was called for slashing. On the resulting power play, Rantanen fed Cale Makar and his shot from the high slot beat Vladar to give the Avalanche a 2-1 lead.
A little later, the Flames tied the game back up. Off a nice offensive zone cycle play, Kadri found Andrew Mangiapane sneaking into the slot area. He found him with a pass and Mangiapane beat Georgiev with a quick shot to tie the game at 2-2.
Past the midway mark of the game, the Flames scored again to take the lead. Mikael Backlund and Coleman entered the Colorado zone off the rush. Coleman’s shot looked to slightly ramp off a defender’s stick and eluded Georgiev under his arm to give the Flames a 4-3 lead.
But shortly after that goal, Colorado tied it up. Once again, the Flames lost a puck battle down low in their own zone and during a bit of momentary confusion, Andrew Cogliano fed Ben Meyers near the face-off circle and his quick shot beat Vladar to tie things up at 3-3.
But this time the Flames answered back. They lost an offensive zone face-off, but Elias Lindholm chased down the puck and regained possession. That led to a quick cycle play, where MacKenzie Weegar’s point shot was deflected by Connor Zary but stopped by Georgiev. Zary’s rebound attempt bounced into the air, so he swatted it into the net to give the Flames a 4-3 lead.
In the final moments of the second, the Flames gave themselves some insurance at four-on-five. They didn’t win an offensive draw cleanly, but once again Lindholm chased it down. A cycle play followed, ending with Hanifin’s feed to the net-front area getting redirected by Yegor Sharangovich past Georgiev to make it 5-3 Flames.
Second period shots were 15-8 Flames (12-5 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 12-9 Avalanche (high-dangers were 7-4 Flames).
Georgiev was swapped out for backup Ivan Prosvetov to begin the third period.
Just past the halfway point of the third, the Avalanche inched a bit closer. After a Flames turnover inside their own blueline, the Avalanche had a good chance but couldn’t score. But the Flames couldn’t clear the zone, and a Josh Manson point shot ricocheted off-course after his stick broke… but went right to Colton, parked to Vladar’s left. Colton swatted the puck into the Flames net to cut the lead to 5-4 Calgary.
The Avalanche tied things up a couple minutes later. Vladar made an initial stop on a Makar shot, but Rantanen and Valeri Nichushkin won some positional battles out front and Nichushkin jammed the rebound past Vladar into the open net to even things up at 5-5.
The Avalanche grabbed the lead a little bit later. The Flames got caught a bit flat-footed in the neutral zone after turning the puck over in the Colorado end. A couple quick passes, including a nice pass from along the wall in the neutral zone from Nichushkin to Nathan MacKinnon, sent MacKinnon in on a breakaway. He beat Vladar to make it 6-5 Colorado.
The Flames pulled Vladar for an extra attacker, but couldn’t score again and Colorado won 6-5.
Third period shots were 15-11 Avalanche (15-9 Avalanche at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 11-7 Avalanche (high-dangers were 3-2 Avalanche).

Why the Flames lost

The Flames did a lot of good things in this hockey game. They played a smart, structured game. They managed the puck reasonably well. They got goals from across their lineup. They got timely saves. They lost a key defender early in the game, but their remaining blueliners blocked shots and played a heck of a game overall.
But a few things sunk ’em. Their power play wasn’t good. They took too many penalties and gave Colorado momentum. And if you look at the details behind the goals they allowed, they made too many turnovers at bad times, and their coverage inside their own zone just wasn’t up to snuff against a strong Colorado team. When Colorado pushed, the Flames didn’t have the defensive structure or stoutness to hold onto their lead.
Losing Tanev hurt ’em. They leaned on their remaining guys a lot. But the flaws in the Flames’ overall game would’ve been apparent whether they had him or not. They almost managed to overcome those flaws, but not quite.
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Red Warrior

Let’s go with Kadri, who was consistently noticeable throughout this game.
But let’s give shout-outs to Vladar and Gilbert, who both had strong games as well.

Turning point

Man, Colorado turned up the heat on the Flames in the latter part of the third period, and the Flames couldn’t hold them off. Three goals against in a span of 4:10 just cannot happen if you want to win games on the road.

This and that

With Tanev out for essentially the entire game, the Flames rolled with five defenders:
  • Rasmus Andersson played 29:05
  • Noah Hanifin played 25:11
  • MacKenzie Weegar played 25:08
  • Dennis Gilbert played 20:26
  • Ilya Solovyov played 16:18

Up next

The Flames (11-14-3) are back in action on Tuesday evening when they visit the Vegas Golden Knights.

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