Calgary Flames Post-Game: Predators eliminate the Flames in a shootout
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike7 months ago
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The Calgary Flames hosted the Nashville Predators on Monday night, desperately needing two points to stay alive in the Western Conference playoff race. They did not earn two points. They never led, but they battled back to force overtime, but lost to the Predators in the shootout by a 3-2 score.
The Flames have been eliminated from Stanley Cup playoff contention.
The visitors opened the scoring off an odd play. Jacob Markstrom went behind the net to corral a Nashville dump-in. He went to shoot the puck around the boards, but Mark Jankowski blocked the attempt with his body, then fed the puck to Egor Afanasyev out front for a tap-in (and his first career NHL goal). That gave Nashville a 1-0 lead.
Midway through the second, the Flames managed to tie things up. After getting in a bit of penalty trouble, they managed to kill them off and head up ice. Jonathan Huberdeau, coming out of the penalty box, parked himself in front of Juuse Saros. Troy Stecher’s point shot found a way inside the far post, past Huberdeau’s screen, to even things up at 1-1.
Both teams headed into the third period needing to win to keep their season alive. A bounce from a Cody Glass pass attempt went off the referee behind the net and went to Zach Sanford at the side of the net. He alertly jammed it past Markstrom to give the Predators a 2-1 lead.
The Flames tied it up shortly afterwards, though. Mikael Backlund cut off Juuso Parssinen on an attempted zone exit, leading to a turnover inside the Nashville blueline. A few passes later, Backlund buried Andrew Mangiapane’s cross-slot feed to tie the game at 2-2.
As has become customary in Calgary, this game required extra time to determine a winner. It went all the way to the shootout: Huberdeau scored for the Flames in round one. Cody Glass scored for the Predators in round three to extend things. Tommy Novak scored in round four to capture the extra point for Nashville. (The Flames had Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri, Nick Ritchie and Backlund take attempts in the shootout, for those curious.)
The Predators took this game by a 3-2 score.
Why the Flames got a point
The Flames built their game well over this game, though their momentum was stymied in a major way by some puck management miscues and a power play that couldn’t do nearly enough. They also had a lot of challenges at times with Nashville’s speedy forecheck and their structure in the defensive zone.
The Flames were sharp enough to keep this game close against a fast and talented Nashville team, but not sharp enough to win it decisively.
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Let’s give a joint award to the line of Backlund, Mangiapane and Huberdeau. They were superb.
The Novak shootout goal, of course. But give the Flames some credit: the Sanford goal had all the markings of a back-breaker, but they managed to battle back soon after and draw even fairly quickly.
This and that
Some creative fans decided to boo Nashville forward Tommy Novak whenever he touched the puck. We’re not sure why, exactly, but it was amusing.
This was the league-leading 24th trip to extra time for the Flames in the 2022-23 season.
The Flames (37-27-17) complete their regular season schedule on Wednesday night when they host the San Jose Sharks.
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