The Flames are usually pretty good in Game 3s
Photo credit:David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike10 months ago
It’s been fairly well documented that the Calgary Flames aren’t particularly successful in Game 2s. Thursday’s loss against the Dallas Stars in Game 2 was the Flames’ 12th consecutive loss in Game 2 of a playoff series, a streak that dates back to the 2004 Stanley Cup Final.
The good news is this: dating back almost that far back, the Flames have been pretty good in Game 3 of playoff series.
The six Game 3s the Flames have played since Brad Treliving’s arrival provide a nice glimpse into how each series ended up going.
In 2020 against Dallas, a suddenly Matthew Tkachuk-less Flames got a miraculous goaltending performance from Cam Talbot, as he made 35 saves in a 2-0 Flames win over the Stars. Talbot’s heroics wouldn’t last much longer in the series, but they helped to stabilize the team in Game 3 after losing their emotional leader in Game 2.
In the 2020 qualifying round against Winnipeg, the Flames grabbed a stranglehold of their series with the Jets with a 6-2 victory in Game 3. A bit piece? Three power play goals, which completely sapped Winnipeg’s momentum (as they couldn’t press much at even strength with the fear that they’d take a penalty for any indiscretion.)
In 2019 against Colorado, the Flames lost 6-2 in Game 3. They allowed two power play goals in the first period – including on a lengthy five-on-three off a simultaneous too-men-men call and a hooking minor – and then a Cale Makar goal that left them trailing 3-0 after the opening period.
In 2017 against Anaheim, the Flames battled their way to a 4-1 lead over the Ducks by late in the second. But Anaheim scored in the final minute of that period, then scored twice more in the third period to force overtime, then scored in overtime to win 5-4.
In 2015 against Anaheim, Game 3 was probably the best game of the series. It was a back and forth battle with the lead swinging towards each team. Johnny Gaudreau scored late to force overtime and Mikael Backlund scored the winner in 4-3 victory.
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In 2015 against Vancouver, the Flames played a super patient game. They had a 2-1 lead after one period, completely stifled the Canucks in the second period, then gave themselves some insurance early in the third period and won 4-1. After the pure chaos of Game 2 in that series – they lost by many goals and it was full of fights late – this was a calm, self-assured playoff win.
Prior to Treliving’s arrival and the Flames’ return to the post-season in 2015, the Flames were riding a five game Game 3 winning streak dating back to the 2004 Stanley Cup Final. The Flames may not have had much playoff success in general, but they were money in Game 3s.
With a 9-2 record in Game 3s that coincides with their 0-11 stretch in Game 2s (which has now been extended to 0-12), the Flames are in the midst of a weird but welcome run in that regard. It’s weird, but it’s given them a chance early in several playoff series. As bad as they’ve been in Game 2s, they’ve been quite good in Game 3s – and thank goodness for that. It’s a trend that needs to continue on Saturday night against Dallas.
Teams that are tied 1-1 and then win Game 3 go on to win 67.5% of their series according to the NHL.
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