Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flat Flames get devoured by the Wild
By Ryan Pike2 months ago
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The Calgary Flames have generally played pretty well for awhile, dating back to their home game against Dallas to begin November. Well, that string of solid outings screeched to a crashing halt on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild.
The Flames were pretty thoroughly out-played en route to a 5-2 home loss to Minnesota.
The Flames did not have a good first period, and their challenges began early in the game. Matt Boldy swiped at Connor Zary’s stick as he skated through the neutral zone, knocking the puck loose for teammate Marcus Foligno. Foligno grabbed the puck, skated into the slot in the Flames’ zone, and scored. His high wrister beat Dan Vladar, but bounced off the top bar in the net and out quickly, so the Situation Room in Toronto had to call to get the game whistled down. The goal made it 1-0 Wild.
And that’s sort of how the entire period went. The Flames couldn’t get very much going in any zone, frequently turning the puck over and spending much of the frame on their heels.
First period shots were 13-5 Wild (10-4 Wild at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 11-5 Wild (high-dangers were 4-2 Wild).
The Flames allowed two goals in the first 90 seconds of the second period, which ended Vladar’s evening prematurely.
The Wild doubled their lead early in the period off the rush. Marco Rossi fired a shot while crossing the high slot that beat Vladar, but hit the post behind him. The shot redirected off the post, skidded across the crease, and found Kirill Kaprizov at the far post. It was a pure tap-in to give the Wild a 2-0 edge.
45 seconds later, the Wild went up by three. Boldy skated into the Flames zone and fired a wrister that beat Vladar high glove to give the Wild a 3-0 lead.
Dustin Wolf entered the game in relief after the third goal.
The Flames got on the board a few minutes later, off a really nice bit of puck battles and cycling by Mikael Backlund’s line. Jonathan Huberdeau chased down errant pucks, a couple times, and threw the puck to the point. MacKenzie Weegar’s point shot was tipped by Backlund in the high slot and wobbled past Filip Gustavsson to cut the Wild lead to 3-1.
But awhile later, Rasmus Andersson took a minor penalty off a Wild scoring chance. On the resulting power play, some nice puck movement by the Wild led to Boldy using his stick in the slot to perform a dandy little redirect of a pass from Kaprizov, launching the puck over top of Wolf to give the Wild a 4-1 lead.
Wolf made a really nice save before the end of the period, though, stopping Brandon Duhaime on a shorthanded breakaway.
Second period shots were 11-10 Wild (9-6 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 11-6 Flames (high-dangers were 2-1 Wild).
The Flames clawed back a little bit early in the third period. After an offensive zone face-off win, an Ilya Solovyov point shot was redirected by Zary, parked out front, past Gustavsson to cut the Wild lead to 4-2. The assist represented Solovyov’s first career NHL point.
But the Wild restored their three goal lead a little bit later. The Flames turned the puck over below the circles in their own end, as a Chris Tanev pass attempt was easily intercepted by the Wild. A bunch of chaos and confusion followed, including Nazem Kadri sliding into his own goalie and spinning Wolf completely around. Amidst all of that zaniness, Joel Eriksson Ek calmly fired the puck into the Flames net to give the visitors a 5-2 lead.
That was enough for the Wild.
Third period shots were 15-4 Flames (13-4 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 12-3 Flames (high-dangers were 6-0 Flames).
Why the Flames lost
When the Flames aren’t on their game, they have trouble dealing with teams that play with speed. The Flames got off to a bad start, both looking slow and playing slow, and the Wild made them pay for that lack of speed and execution.
Sometimes, you fight it for a shift or two and eventually you figure it out. The Flames fought it for the majority of this game. They looked disorganized, disjointed and fairly discombobulated overall.
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Let’s pour one out for the goaltenders, Vladar and Wolf. Both were deluged with good chances for good chunks of this game. Neither really had much of a chance on most of their goals allowed. They could’ve played both of them in the net simultaneously and the home team still might have lost this one.
Man, this game just got away from the Flames in a hurry to begin the second period. When you’re down by three goals just 21:30 into a hockey game, things aren’t going to go your way. If this game stays close, the Flames have some hope. All of a sudden, the game wasn’t all that close anymore.
This and that
Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Mike Vernon dropped the puck for the ceremonial opening face-off.
A.J. Greer fought Marcus Foligno in the second period after a Foligno hit on Adam Ruzicka.
Two Flames weren’t on the ice for a goal against: Walker Duehr and A.J. Greer.
This was the fourth of 13 games this season with the Flames wearing their black alternate jerseys. They’re now 1-2-1.
The Flames (10-12-3) are back in action on Thursday when they host the Carolina Hurricanes.
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