Flames Post-Game: Flames begin road trip with OT loss on Long Island
Photo credit:Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike25 days ago
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The Calgary Flames were the better team for two periods against the New York Islanders on Monday night. But a bad third period, perhaps compounded by some challenging officiating decisions, turned a strong game into a disappointing result.
The Flames lost 4-3 to the Islanders in overtime to kick off a three game eastern road swing.
The Flames were really good in the first period. They played fast, smart, structured hockey, and registered the first 10 shots of the game. One of those 10 shots represented the first goal.
On one of their many ventures into the Islanders zone, the Flames made a few smart passes and got some clear shooting lanes. Jonathan Huberdeau teed up Mikael Backlund in the slot, and Backlund’s wrister beat Ilya Sorokin to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
The lead lasted just 70 seconds. On the next shift, the Islanders entered the Flames’ zone with numbers, including blueliner Sebastian Aho entering the zone as the trailer. The Flames’ defenders were pre-occupied with Mathew Barzal crashing the net, which gave Aho a clear shooting lane and he beat Jacob Markstrom to make it 1-1.
But before the end of the period, the Flames cashed in again. An offensive zone face-off win led to a Noah Hanifin point shot that was deflected (slightly) by Elias Lindholm past Sorokin to make it 2-1 Flames. Huberdeau was causing a bunch of chaos in front with a screen and some battling with the Isles’ defenders.
First period shots were 18-4 Flames (all at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 16-6 Flames (high-dangers were 6-1 Flames).
The Islanders pushed back in the second period, but the Flames did their level best to defend well and counter-punch. Late in the period, the Flames extended their lead.
Nikita Zadorov retrieved an errant puck and drove towards the net. He swung the puck back to Backlund, who was in a calm area of the slot created by Zadorov’s pinch. Backlund fired the puck and it clanged off the back-bar of the net and out. The goal was upheld and the Flames had a 3-1 lead.
Second period shots were 12-8 Flames (12-6 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 7-6 Flames (high-dangers were 3-0 Flames).
The Islanders got their act together in the third and were really dangerous. The Flames… were less so, and spent much of the period on their heels. It didn’t help that their crisp breakouts became increasingly casual and sloppy in the later stages of the game.
Midway through the third, the dam burst for the Islanders. After an initial scoring chance from Brock Nelson was stopped, the rebound went to Anders Lee all by his lonesome by the far post. Lee didn’t waste his chance, tucking the loose puck into the net to cut the lead to 3-2.
59 seconds later, the Islanders tied things up. Nick DeSimone broke up an odd-man rush with a nice interception. But his attempted clearing pass was intercepted by Kyle Palmieri, and Palmieri beat Markstrom to tie the game up at 3-3.
Third period shots were 19-11 Islanders (18-11 Islanders at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 15-7 Islanders (high-dangers were 8-6 Islanders).
The Flames had some good scoring chances in overtime, but Rasmus Andersson was called for shoving Adam Pelech into the net after a whistle. Noah Dobson scored on the resulting power play to give the Islanders a 4-3 victory.
Why the Flames got a point
The Flames were excellent in the first period and pretty good in the second period. They played smart, structured, 200-foot hockey, and dominated the Islanders possession-wise. They couldn’t bury all their chances, but they had tons of ’em.
And then in the third period, with the Islanders playing desperate and putting pressure on the Flames, the visiting side wilted a bit and got sloppy with the puck. Their poise and execution in all three zones was diminished, and their lead evaporated.
Did the Flames lose because of officiating? No. Sure, you can point to a late non-call on Casey Cizikas for contact with Markstrom behind the net and then the Andersson penalty leading to the game-winning goal and draw your own conclusions. But the Flames played poorly enough for the game to be tied late, and Andersson’s penalty was arguably much more blatant than Cizikas’ non-penalty – Cizikas was going after the puck, Andersson was shoving a guy after the whistle.
Backlund scored twice, so he gets the nod here.
This was also likely Huberdeau’s best game as a Flame.
Man, the Flames were not good in the third period. And their lack of composure and poise really hurt ’em. Two goal lead on the road heading into the final period? You have to find a way to lock that down.
This and that
This was the NHL debut for Nick DeSimone, playing in place of the injured Michael Stone. Aside from the turnover on the game-tying goal, he was actually quite good.
The Flames (5-4-2) head to Newark, where they play the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.
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