Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames lose in a shootout in D.C.
Photo credit:Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
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The Calgary Flames continued their five-game road trek on Monday night against the Washington Capitals. The Flames were dominant early on, but weren’t able to cash in enough early or maintain that stellar play. The Capitals battled back, eventually beating the Flames in a shootout by a 3-2 score.
The Flames had a great first period. They registered the first 13 shots of the game, and opened the scoring for the third consecutive game to begin this season.
The visitors opened the scoring off a face-off win in the offensive zone and a set play executed to perfection. Noah Hanifin rotated down from the left point spot and collected an errant point shot. Adam Ruzicka and Nazem Kadri were both in the slot area and, with the Capitals’ defenders momentarily confused who to cover, Hanifin set up Ruzicka for a quick wrister that beat Darcy Kuemper to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
The Flames had a pair of power plays in the first period – both off minors by Evgeni Kuznetsov. The second unit scored on the second advantage, with Dillon Dube tipping a Hanifin point shot past Kuemper to make it 2-0 Flames.
The Flames had another three or four chances that they just missed scoring on.
First period shots were 18-3 Flames (five-on-five shots were 15-2 Flames), while five-on-five scoring chances were 6-5 Flames (high-dangers were 2-1 Flames).
The Flames pressed to open the second period, again just missing on a couple scoring chances. Midway through the period, after a missing scoring opportunity, play went the other way on a two-on-two rush, with Ruzicka and Chris Tanev attempting to defend against Sonny Milano and Matthew Phillips. The two Flames got crossed up in their own end, both chasing Milano, and Phillips buried Milano’s saucer pass past Jacob Markstrom to cut Calgary’s lead to 2-1.
A few minutes later, Connor McMichael skated into the Flames zone. Surrounded by white jerseys, he fired the puck between MacKenzie Weegar’s legs. It glanced off Weegar’s stick and wobbled its way between Markstrom’s pads and into the net to tie the game at 2-2.
Second period shots were 12-10 Flames (10-10 at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 10-8 Capitals (high-danger chances were 3-2 Flames).
The third period was glorious hockey chaos. Neither team played tremendous defence, relying on their goaltenders to bail ’em out. The Capitals had multiple strong chances on an early power play, but somehow didn’t score. Blake Coleman drew a penalty shot, but also didn’t score. T.J. Oshie had a breakaway coming out of the penalty box after a Flames power play, but also did not score. The Flames had a late power play, but also did not score.
Third period shots were 11-8 Capitals (8-6 Capitals at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 8-5 Flames (and high-dangers were 3-1 Flames).
This game required extra time to determine a winner. Overtime went back and forth. The Flames took a too-many-men bench minor off a bad line change with 1:35 left in overtime, but the Flames defended well to kill the clock and get this game to a shootout.
In the skills competition, Kuznetsov scored for the Capitals while Jonathan Huberdeau, Yegor Sharangovich and Kadri all failed to beat Kuemper. The Capitals captured a 3-2 victory.
Why the Flames got a point
The Flames were excellent early on. And while their puck management wasn’t great as the game wore on and the Capitals got their game going, you’ve gotta give them credit for sticking with their systems and battling through this game. They bent, but didn’t break, as the Capitals pressed in the back half of the game, and they survived some scares in the third period and overtime. The shootout is basically a coin-toss, unfortunately.
If you’re the Flames, you probably want a little bit more out of your five-on-five performances, but their special teams remain pretty effective early in this season. And regardless of the overall results in the standings, that bodes well for the remaining 79 games of the campaign.
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Three Flames – Hanifin, Ruzicka and Dube – had multi-point games. We’ll give the nod here to Hanifin, who was really active and impressive (especially early in the game). Markstrom was also quite good, especially once the game was tied up.
There’s a few:
- The Flames had a chance to take an outright lead with a late power play in the third period, but couldn’t capitalize.
- The Flames took a penalty in overtime, but managed to kill it off and force it to the shootout.
This and that
Phillips’ two points in this game were the first two of his NHL career. He joins fellow 2016 Flames draft choices Dube, Matthew Tkachuk and Adam Fox in both reaching the NHL and registering points once they got there. (Four NHLers in a draft class is quite the haul, even if three of them are now playing elsewhere.)
The Flames (1-1-1) are back in action on Thursday night when they visit the Buffalo Sabres.
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