Flames out-play Oilers, but let the game slip away on special teams

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
The Calgary Flames did a lot of good things on Tuesday night against the Edmonton Oilers. They out-shot Edmonton 47-22. They out-chanced them at even strength 43-16. High-danger chances were 16-6 Flames.
But penalties at the wrong time, followed by a difference-making goal by Oilers forward Connor McDavid on the power play, led to a 2-1 Flames loss to their biggest rival.
“Thought it was obviously a really close game,” said head coach Darryl Sutter. “Lot of missed opportunities on our part. Probably took.. Didn’t look but probably five-on-five we out-played them, just didn’t score.”
The Flames and Oilers each scored once at even strength in the second period. Midway through the third period, with the game deadlocked at 1-1, Andrew Mangiapane took his second offensive zone minor penalty of the game.
“1-1 game, you look up holding in the dictionary, that’s holding,” said Sutter. “So then you put in whose hands?”
12 seconds into the resulting power play, McDavid found some space in the offensive zone, got his feet moving, and made the Flames pay for it.
Following the game, Flames alternate captain Mikael Backlund (the lone Calgary goal-scorer) reflected on the importance of avoiding penalties (and power play goals) against the Oilers.
“If you look at the games we’ve played this year,” said Backlund. “They’ve scored one power play goal every game and that’s been the difference in the last two games.”
Sutter also noted the importance of not giving the Oilers too many special teams looks. But against a team that entered the game scoring on 32.3% of their power play opportunities, taking three penalties was one too many.
“The first one, the too many men, that’s unlucky,” said Sutter. “We passed the puck to our bench. But Mange takes two penalties: one’s a slash, one’s a hold.”
The Flames had one power play opportunity in the second period. The result? Four shots, one post hit by Tyler Toffoli, and zero goals.
“We hit the post, missed a couple empty nets,” said Sutter, of his club’s special teams performance. “Hit the post with the goalie out. What do I think? Missed it by that much.”
Are there any positives to be taken out of a game where Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were largely contained at five-on-five?
“Not when you play your biggest rival and you lose,” said Backlund. “It just sucks.”
The Flames return to action on Wednesday when they visit the Seattle Kraken.

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