Calgary Flames Post-Game: Without Tanev, locals Flame out against Chicago

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
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The Calgary Flames were without dependable blueliner Chris Tanev on Thursday evening when they hosted the Chicago Blackhawks. It went poorly, as the Flames looked jumpy and disjointed in almost every aspect of their game and Chicago took advantage.
The Flames lost to the Blackhawks by a 5-1 score, ending their four game homestand with a 2-2-0 record.

The rundown

The Flames played a fairly unstructured, blah game in the first half of the first period, with the visitors generating more chances and quality chances. So the Flames shuffled up their lines.
  • Blake Coleman went from Backlund & Mangiapane to Kadri & Huberdeau
  • Jakob Pelletier went from Lewis & Duehr to Backlund & Mangiapane
  • Milan Lucic went from Kadri & Huberdeau to Lewis & Duehr
Early in the lifespan of the new lines, the Flames failed to disrupt a Chicago zone entry, the Hawks cycled the puck, and eventually Darren Raddysh snapped a shot from the top of the circles past Jacob Markstrom to make it 1-0 Flames. It wasn’t a great goal to give up, but Markstrom had a lot of guys in black sweaters skating around but not doing a lot on that goal.
But late in the opening period, the Flames answered back off the rush. Nazem Kadri made a nice pass to Jonathan Huberdeau in the slot, and Huberdeau took control of a sliding puck while dancing around Chicago defenders, putting the puck past Jaxson Stauber to tie the game up at 1-1.
Early in the second, the Flames almost took the lead! But Mikael Backlund hit iron.
Midway through the second period, Chicago retook the lead. Off a cycle in the Flames’ zone, Boris Katchouk’s point shot glanced off Nikita Zadorov’s leg – he was battling Reese Johnson for position in front of Markstrom – and went past the Flames’ netminder to give Chicago a 2-1 advantage.
Chicago took over the game with two goals in 32 seconds late in the second period.
First, both Flames defenders chased after Patrick Kane off a zone entry, allowing him to find Jason Dickinson streaking to the net on a nice give-and-go sequence. Dickinson toe-dragged to change direction, then beat Markstrom low stick-side to make it 3-1 Chicago.
On the very nice play, the Flames’ defensive coverage was all topsy-turvy – Huberdeau was somehow the last man back in their zone – and Colin Blackwell found Sam Lafferty with a pass that he wristed past Markstrom to make it 4-1 Chicago. Blake Coleman made a diving attempt to break up the pass, but the puck glanced off his stick and went right to Lafferty anyway.
In the third period, the Flames shuffled lines a little bit more:
  • Pelletier went from Backlund & Mangiapane to Kadri & Huberdeau
  • Coleman went from Kadri & Huberdeau to Backlund & Mangiapane
It didn’t do much to give the locals a spark. Thanks to an empty-netter by Connor Murphy, and the four previous goals, Chicago was able to close out a 5-1 win over the Flames.

Why the Flames lost

The Flames were not particularly effective in any particular aspect of the game.
  • Their breakouts were disjointed.
  • The defensive zone play was slow (as a result of those breakouts) and they didn’t defend well against Chicago’s speed through the neutral zone.
  • Their puck management wasn’t very good in the offensive zone, and their game seemed really impatient: instead of cycling and wearing Chicago down, they tried to force passes through lanes that didn’t exist, turning the puck over frequently off of sticks, skates or just via throwing the puck into empty space.
Chicago beat the Flames because the Flames were the second-best team on the ice in terms of execution and battle level.

Red Warrior

It’s weird to say the team’s best player was the guy that gave up four goals in net, but Markstrom gave his team a chance. You can’t say that about many other guys on the home side.

Turning point

A couple bad defensive shifts late in the second period completely took the energy out of the building, as Chicago jumped all over Calgary’s lapses and pulled away.

This and that

This was Tyler Toffoli’s 700th career regular season game in the NHL.
Former Flames farmhand Luke Philp, playing in his second NHL game, had an assist for his first NHL point.
Current Flames farmhand Jakob Pelletier, up with the NHL club on a recall, played 15:21 – the most he ever has in his short NHL career, nearly double his previous high in a game.

Up next

The Flames (23-17-9) hop on a plane and play again on Friday in Seattle.

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