The Calgary Flames have played in a lot of entertaining games this season. The kind of games where you sit back and just appreciate the craft of their game at times. Thursday’s home date against the Montreal Canadiens was not a game to be admired, but rather one to be examined with a puzzled expression on your face. In short: it was a very odd game, for both teams.
The Flames lost to Montreal 5-4 in overtime in a very scrambly, occasionally quite sloppy hockey game.

The rundown

The Flames were a bit disjointed early, with passes just missing their intended recipient and bouncing just as a player was about to take a shot. Despite all these foibles, the Flames opened the scoring.
Mikael Backlund’s line hemmed Montreal in their own end for a bit and began to cycle the puck. In the corner to the left of goalie Andrew Hammond, Backlund overskated the puck but kept skating in his circular route. This seemed to confuse the Canadiens’ defenders long enough for Andrew Mangiapane to grab the idle puck and find Blake Coleman at the side of the Montreal crease for a quick tap-in that gave the locals a 1-0 edge.
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But the Flames gave up the lead later in the period. Late in a Flames power play got several good looks, but no goals, the puck eluded Oliver Kylington just inside the blueline and set Montreal in on an odd-man rush. Artturi Lehkonen’s shot was stopped, but the Flames weren’t able to corral the loose rebound in front of Jacob Markstrom and Jeff Petry batted it past a sprawling Markstrom to tie the game up at 1-1.
Shots were 16-9 Canadiens (10-5 Canadiens at five-on-five) and scoring chances 8-7 Canadiens in the first period.
The second period was an odd 20 minutes of hockey, with frequent penalties, whistles, and a lack of game flow overall. Midway through the period, Johnny Gaudreau grabbed a loose puck deep in the Montreal zone. With a lot of players on both teams sorta standing around, Gaudreau decided to head to the front of the net. He was allowed to wander to the front of the net and he shelved the puck past Hammond to make it a 2-1 Flames lead.
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A little later, with Brad Richardson serving a minor penalty, a tremendous individual effort from Mangiapane padded the Flames’ lead. The Canadiens’ players couldn’t corral a loose puck in the neutral zone after Markstrom cleared the zone, so Mangiapane grabbed it, skated into the Montreal zone and chipped the puck over Hammond’s shoulder to give the Flames a 3-1 advantage.
But the Flames’ penalty parade continued and gave the Canadiens their second five-on-three power play of the game, and the second time was the charm for the visitors. Nick Suzuki received a pass at the side of the crease and tucked a puck past Markstrom to cut the Flames’ lead to 3-2.
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Shots were 7-7 (5-4 Canadiens at five-on-five) and scoring chances 6-3 Canadiens in the second period.
Montreal tied the game early in the third period. The Flames couldn’t clear their zone and Ben Chiarot’s point shot found a way past Markstrom to tie the game up at 3-3. (Markstrom took a whack at Brendan Gallagher after the goal went in, but there was no interference prior to the goal, just Gallagher buzzing around the net-front area.)
The Habs took the lead with 2:45 remaining in regulation. The Flames got backed into their own end, Montreal made some nice passes, and Mike Hoffman made a nice shot that beat Markstrom over his pad to give the Canadiens a 4-3 lead.
But with Markstrom on the bench for the extra attacker, the Flames put a bunch of pucks and bodies towards the net. The Habs were momentarily overwhelmed and Elias Lindholm swept a loose puck past Hammond at the side of the net (after a dandy play in front by Mangiapane to take a hit and sweep the puck back to him) to tie the game at 4-4 with 27.3 seconds left in regulation.
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Shots were 18-10 Flames (13-9 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 15-7 Flames in the third period.
This game went to extra time! After a couple chances each way, Chiarot scored in overtime on an odd-man rush (off a Flames turnover) to give Montreal the 5-4 overtime win.

Why the Flames got a point

The Flames didn’t paint a masterpiece in this game. By the standards they’ve set through their previous 52 games, this was a pretty clunky outing. They weren’t out-and-out bad, necessarily, but they were prone to lapses at key times that made their lives way more difficult than they needed to be.
A bunch of undisciplined penalties, a bunch of too-fancy plays that led to turnovers, a bunch of breakouts that just weren’t executed terribly well. Montreal executed better than the Flames when the game was on the line, and that was more or less the difference.
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Red Warrior

Mangiapane made a great play on the first Flames goal, scored the third Flames goal entirely on his own, and made a great play on the Flames tying goal late in regulation.

The turning point

The Flames seemed to be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory at various key points in the third period, but the game-tying scramble at least ensured that they left this game with a point.

The numbers

Percentage stats are 5v5 and via Natural Stat Trick. Game score via Hockey Stat Cards.
Expected
Goals For%
O-Zone
Face-Off%
Game
Score
Lewis
96.8
80.0
1.05
Ritchie
92.4
80.0
0.76
Richardson
88.6
80.0
0.81
Coleman
70.2
37.5
1.78
Tkachuk
63.3
75.0
0.32
Zadorov
62.0
66.7
0.43
Tanev
58.3
33.3
0.43
Andersson
57.2
57.1
0.60
Gaudreau
55.8
75.0
0.69
Mangiapane
52.6
37.5
2.31
Gudbranson
51.8
66.7
0.02
Backlund
50.9
37.5
1.20
Hanifin
50.2
57.1
-0.57
Lindholm
48.5
75.0
0.87
Kylington
45.5
33.3
-1.65
Toffoli
32.6
0.0
-0.36
Monahan
21.6
0.0
-2.34
Lucic
19.1
0.0
-1.89
Markstrom
-1.47
Vladar

This and that

Prior to the national anthems, the full lineup for both teams stood on the bluelines in an expression of support for Ukraine, and the Ukrainian flag was displayed beside the Canadian flag during the national anthem. In addition, the Ukrainian anthem will be sung prior to Monday night’s Battle of Alberta.
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Blake Coleman has a new goal song and it’s excellent.
Gaudreau’s second period goal was his 562nd point with the Flames, tying Kent Nilsson for sixth on the all-time franchise leaderboard.
After bobbling the puck in the first period on the power play, Kylington was replaced by Nikita Zadorov on the second unit for the rest of the game. Post-game, head coach Darryl Sutter noted that Kylington made too many turnovers. (That was a common thread in his post-game press conference.)

Up next

The Flames (32-14-7) are headed back on the road for another short trip. They’re in Denver on Saturday to face the Colorado Avalanche.
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