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Calgary Flames Post-Game: Sharks take bite out of the Flames

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Photo credit:Brett Holmes-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
2 months ago
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In the world of sports, you hear about “trap games” often. Maybe it’s facing a perceived lesser opponent after a string of tougher ones. Maybe it’s a return home after a lengthy road trip. Maybe it’s a Thursday night in February where your group just doesn’t have their mojo going.
However you want to dress it up, the Flames laid an egg on Thursday night, losing by a 6-3 score to the 31st-place San Jose Sharks.

The rundown

The Flames carried play for much of the first period, though they didn’t quite run the Sharks’ show or anything. The Sharks were on their heels, but they never quite seemed overwhelmed.
The Flames opened the scoring just over four minutes into the game off a nice rush play. On a three-on-two sequence, Martin Pospisil threw the puck on net. Mackenzie Blackwood made the initial stop, but booted it right out to Nazem Kadri, who jammed the rebound in to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
First period shots were 13-8 Flames (11-8 Flames at five-on-five) and, via Natural Stat Trick, five-on-five scoring chances were 8-3 Flames (high-dangers were 5-0 Flames).
The second period featured some bad execution, bad decision-making, and bad bounces for both teams – but mostly for the Flames.
Just shy of five minutes in, Noah Hanifin had the puck on his stick in his own end and attempted an outlet pass. That pass went right to the stick of the Sharks’ Filip Zadina. Hanifin managed to find off Zadina, but Zadina passed to Mikael Granlund, and he cut across the slot and threw a shot over top of a sliding Chris Tanev and a sprawling Dustin Wolf to tie the game at 1-1.
A few minutes later, a MacKenzie Weegar outlet pass from the Flames’ zone hit Nazem Kadri in the back inside their blueline. Justin Bailey and Zadina executed a nice give-and-go in front of the Calgary net, ending with Bailey beating Wolf with a wrist shot to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead.
The Sharks had a power play midway through the period and didn’t score. However, at a stoppage, a sequence was reviewed where Luke Kunin shot from the bottom of the circles, Wolf made a save, and then Tanev swept the puck back into the crease and the puck was booted away by Wolf. It turns out that the puck fully cleared the goal line due to Tanev’s efforts before Wolf booted it out, so the goal counted and the clock was rebound by 34 seconds to reflect that reality. That gave the Sharks a 3-1 lead.
But the Flames managed to answer back before the end of the period. Mikael Backlund skated from behind the net to Blackwood’s left and fired the puck in off defender Calen Addison, who was jostling with Andrew Mangiapane for position just inside the crease. Addison and Mangiapane then fell into Blackwood. The goal was challenged and reviewed, but held up, and the Flames cut into San Jose’s lead to make it 3-2.
Second period shots were 11-9 Sharks (8-4 Sharks at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 8-6 Sharks (high-dangers were 3-3).
Zadina scored twice just 37 seconds apart early in the third period and the Sharks pulled away.
First, Nico Sturm threw a puck towards the net and Zadina got his stick on it, causing it to flutter up and over top of Wolf and into the net. Most deflections maintain speed and change direction sharply. This one caused the puck to knuckleball into the net. That made it 4-2 Sharks.
On the very next shift, Zadina came in on the rush and fired a shot that beat Wolf five-hole to give the Sharks a 5-2 lead.
Kunin took advantage of some holes in the Flames defensive scheme later on, skating in on Wolf and beating him high glove-side to make it 6-2 Sharks.
Kuzmenko scored late with a nice deflection from the front of the net to cut the lead to 6-3.
The Flames couldn’t get their ducks in a row and the Sharks held on for the victory.
Third period shots were 13-12 Sharks (11-8 Sharks at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 12-10 Flames (high-dangers were 6-2 Flames).

Why the Flames lost

Nothing was working for the Flames. Their power play wasn’t working. Their penalty kill technically scored on themselves. Their defensive group was porous. Their goaltender couldn’t make enough big stops to overcome those lapses. Their forwards couldn’t generate enough. They didn’t get the bounces. They didn’t make enough plays.
This was just an all-around bad game by the Flames against a team they really need to be beating.
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Red Warrior

Y’know what? We’re gonna pass on this one. Nobody in red was terribly deserving of praise for this one.

Turning point

The two Zadina goals to begin the third period really killed any hopes of a dramatic Flames comeback.

This and that

Jakob Pelletier missed this game with an upper body injury. Cole Schwindt stepped into the fourth line in his spot.

Up next

The Flames (25-24-5) are back in action on Saturday afternoon when they host the Detroit Red Wings.

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