Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames salvage a point from Vegas in overtime
Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike9 months ago
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The Calgary Flames headed into Nevada on Thursday night to face the Vegas Golden Knights. At this point in their season, the Flames need points. And in a less than ideal circumstance – a tough building on the back half of a back-to-back – the Flames earned a point in a 4-3 overtime loss to Vegas.
The Flames played a really good road game, and probably deserved better than just the single point.
The Flames were quite strong in the first period. They had a lot of shot volume, but Vegas matched them in shot quality (when they did get chances).
But the Flames opened the scoring on the power play. The second unit battled in the Vegas zone and cycled the puck. Mikael Backlund, playing the puck at the circle to Laurent Brossoit’s left, opted to fire it on net into a crowd of people. Jakob Pelletier, in the midst of that crowd of people, batted the loose puck past Brossoit to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
Early in the second period, the Flames doubled their lead. The Golden Knights had a slow, disjointed line change. The Flames took advantage with some quick passes, ending with Pelletier feeding Jonathan Huberdeau as he was headed to the net-front area. He tucked the puck behind Brossoit to make it 2-0 Flames.
The Golden Knights got a bit of a break midway through the third. Walker Duehr got called for goalie interference after glancing into Brossoit while cutting to the net. Did he cut through the blue paint? Yep. Did he had a Vegas blueliner boxing him in a bit? Also yes. But rules are rules. On the ensuing power play, Jack Eichel fired a puck from the top of the circles past Dan Vladar – Mike Amadio had a partial screen on Vladar – to cut Calgary’s lead to 2-1.
But 2:07 later, the Flames answered back. Vegas was pressing, but they iced the puck off an errant pass through the neutral zone. Backlund won the ensuing offensive zone face-off and the puck cycled around, with the Flames battling to maintain possession. Backlund ended up tipping a Blake Coleman shot past Brossoit to extend the Flames’ lead to 3-1.
But the Golden Knights didn’t go away quietly. On a rush play, Zach Whitecloud pinched in, accepted a pass from Reilly Smith and chipped it past Vladar just inside the near post to cut the Flames’ lead to 3-2. (On the broadcast, Sportsnet’s Greg Millen noted that Vladar was pretty deep in his net on the shot.)
The Golden Knights kept pressing, and eventually they found the equalizer. Vladar made a pad save on an initial shot from Phil Kessel. The Flames couldn’t corral the loose puck and it was cycled back to the point, where Alec Martinez’s shot hit some bodies but William Carrier jammed in the loose rebound to make it a 3-3 game.
This game went to overtime. After a bad read on a line change by Backlund created a Vegas three-on-two rush, Jonathan Marchessault’s shot rang off the post but Alex Pietrangelo tucked the loose rebound behind Vladar into the open net to give the home side a 4-3 overtime victory.
Why the Flames got a point
Let’s call a spade a spade, pals: this was a scheduled loss. The Flames played on Wednesday night in Arizona and then flew to Las Vegas to play a rested Golden Knights. But give them tons of credit: the Flames had a strong first period, got a lead, and then did a fairly effective job in the game from then on out.
Was it a perfect game? Nope! You could argue that they faded a bit as the game went on – back-to-backs will do that to you – and that they had some issues managing the game after Vegas started their push in the third period. They had one shot in the third period. They quite simply ran out of gas. It’s understandable, but man, they really could’ve used an extra goal or save in the third period.
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Pelletier’s been varying degrees of good since his call-up, but he was really good against Vegas. He battled constantly in all three zones, and his attention to detail was really on point.
Aw man, that Whitecloud goal to make it 3-2 in the third period was a bad goal. Vladar didn’t seal off the post and got beat short-side. That goal began the gradual erosion of the Flames’ lead throughout the remainder of regulation.
This and that
After leading in Vegas for just 2:09 over their previous seven visits, the Flames led for 39:10. They’re still looking for their first victory at T-Mobile Arena.
The Flames are now 23-1-5 when leading after two periods.
The Flames (27-20-12) are headed to Denver. They finish off their road trip with a Saturday night date with the Colorado Avalanche.
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