Flames Post-Game: Flames salvage ugly start against Devils
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
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The Calgary Flames had a tough start to Saturday night’s game with the New Jersey Devils. They lost Michael Stone to an apparent injury. They gave up a lot of good scoring chances, squandering an early lead. But after that rough opening period, they regrouped and battled back to capture a point.
The Flames lost 4-3 to the Devils in overtime. They earned a point, but their losing skid has been extended to four games.
The Flames opened the scoring 89 seconds into the game off a nice bit of execution. Nazem Kadri dumped the puck on net from the neutral zone. Trevor Lewis chased that puck down, stole it from the defender, and chucked it out into the net-front area. Blake Coleman skated past and couldn’t get his stick on it, but Kadri battled it past Vitek Vanecek to give the locals a 1-0 lead.
But the Devils drew even about three minutes later. The Flames couldn’t clear out their zone, and their defenders got bunched up behind the net. That allowed Jack Hughes to throw a puck to the front of the net for Nathan Bastian. Bastian was uncovered and had ages to get a shot off, which beat Jacob Markstrom to tie the game at 1-1.
The Devils scored again about three and a half minutes later off some nice passing on the rush. The Devils entered the zone with numbers and swung around the back of the net, so the Flames’ defenders bunched up out front. From behind the net, Nico Hischier passed to Tomas Tarar, who set up Fabian Zetterlund at the other side of the net. He chipped the puck past Markstrom to make it 2-1 Devils.
The Devils made it 3-1 off a really nice rush chance. Mackey couldn’t quite keep up with Michael McLeod, who made a nice cross-ice pass to the middle lane in the slot. In that lane he found Miles Wood, who just beat out Kevin Rooney in a footrace for the slot redirect to make it 3-1 Devils.
First period shots were 12-7 Devils (10-6 Devils at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 12-6 Devils (high-dangers were 5-3 Devils).
The Flames cut into the Devils’ lead in the second period off a weird play. Noah Hanifin took a minor, but the Flames killed it off. Nikita Zadorov noticed Hanifin leaving the box and sent him in on a breakaway and Tyler Toffoli joined in to make it a two-on-none rush. Vanecek made a big stop on Hanifin’s initial shot, but Elias Lindholm snuck in and poked in the loose rebound to cut the Devils’ lead to 3-2.
The Flames had some opportunities to draw even after that goal, including a lengthy power play that included 26 seconds of a two-man advantage, but they couldn’t generate a ton of dangerous scoring chances.
Second period shots were 15-14 Flames (9-7 Devils at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 8-6 Devils (high-dangers were 5-4 Devils).
The locals tied things up early in the third period off a rush chance. Blake Coleman came into the Devils zone with speed and hucked a puck towards the front of the net. At the front of the net was a pinching Nikita Zadorov, who had joined the rush, and his redirect tied the game up at 3-3.
Third period shots were 8-6 Flames (all at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 8-6 Devils (high-dangers were 4-3 Devils).
The game went to overtime! Elias Lindholm took a minor penalty in extra time. Zetterlund scored on the power play to give the Devils a 4-3 victory.
Why the Flames got a point
The Flames weren’t especially good for the first chunk of this game. Part of that might be because they lost Michael Stone in the opening period, which led to them shuffling the pairings and some general confusion and chaos in the defensive zone.
But the Flames settled in fairly well after the opening period. They didn’t generate an awful lot offensively, but they found a way to limit their big mistakes and play sound structural two-way hockey. The Flames were fortunate to get a point out of this game, but they also deserved to get it based on how hard they battled back after going down after the opening period.
Let’s go with Markstrom. The Flames had some leaky moments in this game, especially early on, but their netminder did a tremendous job of holding them in it and allowing them to settle in, find their game, and calm things down.
Honourable mentions to Rasmus Andersson and Zadorov, who both played a ton and were really sharp throughout.
Lindholm’s overtime penalty was (a) a definite penalty and (b) a bad penalty to take after all it took to get the Flames to overtime. (For what it’s worth, head coach Darryl Sutter didn’t like the call, nor did anybody wearing a red jersey.)
This and that
The Flames were without Chris Tanev (upper body injury) for the second consecutive game. Michael Stone left the game early in the first period with what looked to be a lower body injury. Combined with Mackey’s challenging evening, the Flames essentially rolled with four blueliners for much of the game.
The Flames shortened the bench in the third period, benching Mikael Backlund (two shifts), Milan Lucic (zero shifts) and Kevin Rooney (one shift) for the bulk of the period.
The Flames (5-4-1) are hitting the road! They jet off to the east coast on Sunday, where they begin a three games in four nights road trip on Monday evening on Long Island.
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