Flames Post-Game: Fatigued Flames lose regular season finale in Winnipeg
Photo credit:James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike10 months ago
The Calgary Flames headed to Winnipeg on Friday night to face the Winnipeg Jets. It was a game of no consequence for either side, and it was the third game in four nights for the Flames and the back half of a back-to-back. The Jets had more jump, battle level and execution than a fatigued Flames squad, who skated to a 3-1 loss.
The Flames had some good jump early, and they opened the scoring by taking advantage of a puck gaffe by the Jets. Brenden Dillon coughed up the puck at the Flames blueline. Matthew Tkachuk stole the puck, headed in on a breakaway, and slid the puck past Connor Hellebuyck to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
Midway through the period, Mikael Backlund and Tyler Toffoli took successive penalties, giving the Jets a 78 second two-man advantage. But the Flames defended well and killed off the penalty.
However, the Jets turned the tables and took advantage of a Flames turnover to tie up the game. The Flames lost the puck in the Jets zone and Paul Stastny, Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler headed up ice. They executed a nice passing play on the rush, ending with Ehlers teeing up Wheeler for a one-timer to Dan Vladar’s right that beat the Flames goaltender to tie things up at 1-1 with 12.1 seconds left in the period.
Shots were 18-12 Flames (11-7 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 7-4 Jets in the first period.
The Jets were all over the Flames in the second period, with the Flames getting beaten to loose pucks often, resulting in a lot of Jets’ trips into the Flames end lasting for awhile.
The Jets took the lead off a lost battle in the Flames end. The Flames couldn’t connect a pass with Tkachuk at their own blueline – Tkachuk was on the blueline side of Zach Sanford, so Sanford got the pass instead of Tkachuk – and Josh Morrissey got a point shot off. Vladar booted the initial shot out to Mason Appleton, who buried the rebound to give the Jets a 2-1 edge.
Shots were 19-8 Jets (18-8 Jets at five-on-five) and scoring chances 20-8 Jets in the second period.
The Flames pressed here and there in the third period, but didn’t have enough in the tank to tie the game. Dillon scored a lengthy empty netter for the Jets with 19.6 seconds left to give the home Jets a 3-1 victory.
Shots were 12-7 Jets (10-7 Jets at five-on-five) and scoring chances 8-4 Jets in the third period.
Why the Flames lost
The Flames weren’t awful in this game, but they seemed to lack emotion, battle and didn’t execute well. In short: they were playing a meaningless game and were playing their third game in four nights, with travel. They looked tired, at times, and even though they were usually in the right spots, they tended to lose battles or misplay the puck at key times.
Vladar made 40 saves and was the main reason this game was as close as it was.
The turning point
Let’s go with the entire second period, as the Jets utterly took the game over and owned the Flames from then on out.
Percentage stats are 5v5 and via Natural Stat Trick. Game score via Hockey Stat Cards.
This and that
This was Johnny Gaudreau’s 295th consecutive regular season game. It was also Dillon Dube’s 200th NHL game.
The Flames (50-21-11) have completed their regular season schedule. They’re back in action on Tuesday when they open the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs at home against an opponent yet to be determined.
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