Post-Game: Flat Flames flummoxed by Habs
Photo credit:Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports
By Ryan Pike2 years ago
On Tuesday, the Calgary Flames weren’t good to start their game against Toronto. They got off to a better start on Thursday in Montreal against the Canadiens, but they never got out of first gear en route to a one-sided 4-2 loss to the Habs at Bell Centre.
The Flames were decent in the opening period but their execution wasn’t quite there – lots of passes that just missed their mark, or pucks that were overplayed. After Juuso Valimaki was tagged with a hooking minor, the Montreal power play couldn’t get set up in the offensive zone. Well, for most of the advantage. With seven seconds left, they finally got in and Corey Perry set up Brendan Gallagher with a nifty no-look back pass for a tap-in to make it 1-0 Montreal.
A little while later, Elias Lindholm took a minor. The Habs were much better at setting up, and Shea Weber’s one-time slapper was deflected by Valimaki’s stick past David Rittich to make it 2-0 Montreal.
Shots were 9-8 Flames and scoring chances 6-3 Flames in the first period.
The Flames couldn’t get much traction in the second period. They pressed offensively here and there and midway through the period, it cost them. Nikita Nesterov was caught in the offensive zone on a turnover, leaving Valimaki to defend a two-on-one. Rittich made the initial save off Jesperi Kotkaniemi, but Josh Anderson batted in the rebound to make it 3-0 Habs.
Lindholm drew a penalty late in the period but the Flames managed the puck rather casually on the ensuing power play. After a turnover, Tyler Toffoli corralled a bouncing puck and went five-hole on Rittich with a shorthanded breakaway chance to make it 4-0 Habs. (It was a weird one, as Toffoli never really seemed to have full control of the puck.)
Shots were 11-7 Canadiens and scoring chances 10-7 Canadiens in the second period.
The Habs seemed perfectly content to run out the clock in the third period, never really pressing too much and looking happy enough to just defend.
The Flames broke up the shutout with 78 seconds left, as Milan Lucic’s tip of a Sam Bennett shot knuckle-balled on Carey Price to make it 4-1.
The Habs challenged for off-sides but it was unsuccessful. Rasmus Andersson’s slap shot squirted through Price’s five-hole to cut the lead further to 4-2.
But that’s as close as the Flames got. Shots were 9-2 Flames and scoring chances 2-0 Canadiens in the third period.
Why the Flames lost
Well, they were sloppy early in this game – they had energy and jump, but just couldn’t execute. After they got down a few goals, though, they seemed to lack energy, drive and didn’t muster much of a push-back.
They pressed late, but they were out-played in every game situation.
Let’s give it to the pairing of Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev, who were rock-solid and didn’t allow an even-strength goal for the six consecutive game.
The turning point
The second Montreal power play goal really seemed to deflate the Flames and resigned them to chasing the Habs for the remainder of the game.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and that
The Flames haven’t led during a game since the end of their 5-2 win over Vancouver.
This was Mark Giordano’s 899th career NHL game, all with the Flames.
This was the sixth consecutive game that the Flames have scored a goal on their power play.
The Flames (2-3-1) face Montreal again on Saturday night! Then it’s off to scenic Winnipeg for three games against the Jets.
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