Professional hockey players, like any of us, don’t execute their jobs perfectly every night. We’ve all had a day at the office that we look back on when we clock out and remark, “Man, I wasn’t very good today.”
The Calgary Flames had one of those nights on Thursday evening when they visited the Vancouver Canucks. The Flames were the second-best team in several key areas, especially on special teams, in a 7-1 rout at the hands of the Canucks to definitively end their 10 game winning streak.

The rundown

The first period was scoreless, but generally pretty even. Both teams had chances. Neither team really executed perfectly with those chances, and both goaltenders were very sharp.
Shots were 11-11 (10-10 Canucks at five-on-five) and scoring chances 13-7 Flames in the first period.
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The wheels fell off for the Flames in the second period, as they gave up five goals to the Canucks. Yes, five goals. Let’s review:
  • Blake Coleman took a holding penalty. Elias Pettersson unleashed a one-timer from Jacob Markstrom’s right side that just beat him inside the far post to make it 1-0 Canucks.
  • Sean Monahan took a high-sticking penalty. With Brock Boeser screening, J.T. Miller’s shot beat Markstrom short-side just over his shoulder to make it 2-0 Canucks.
  • 32 seconds after the second goal, Rasmus Andersson’s point shot was blocked and led to a two-on-one rush. Tyler Motte’s shot was stopped by Markstrom, but Noah Hanifin flung the puck up the middle in a seeming attempt to pass to Milan Lucic in the neutral zone. It was intercepted by Bo Horvat, who beat Markstrom to make it 3-0 Canucks.
  • Markstrom lost a skate blade on a penalty kill (with Coleman in the box again) and the repair took long enough that Dan Vladar had to come into the game with no warm-up. A nice passing play saw Boeser pass to Miller, who booted the puck to Horvat in the slot for the redirect to make it 4-0 Canucks.
  • On a goal-mouth scramble, Andersson gloved the puck in the crease so Vancouver got a penalty shot. Miller beat Vladar with a nice deke to make it 5-0 Canucks.
Shots were 13-10 Canucks (10-5 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 13-7 Flames in the second period.
Vladar stayed in for the third period. Vancouver added two goals to pad their lead. Conor Garland put a rebound past a diving Vladar to make it 6-0. Pettersson stole the puck from Elias Lindholm on a Flames power play and beat Vladar on a shorthanded breakaway to make it 7-0.
Andrew Mangiapane took advantage of some soft defensive coverage to snap Thatcher Demko’s shutout attempt with a rush to the net and nice deke late in regulation to make it 7-1. But it was too little, too late, and the Flames left with the loss.
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Shots were 14-9 Canucks (8-7 Canucks at five-on-five) and scoring chances 8-5 Flames in the third period.

Why the Flames lost

The Canucks were pretty good, and Thatcher Demko was excellent in net. He was good enough on his own to probably steal this game. It would be unfair to not praise the Canucks: they were pretty good.
But the Flames let a lot of their bad habits creep into this game and completely derail their gameplan. They gave the Canucks the first four power plays of this game, and a penalty shot, off of plays that were definitely valid penalties. The Canucks were strong on all but their first power play of the game, but the Flames handed them the opportunities.
The Flames were also quite leaky in their own zone, giving up odd-man rushes and really making life challenging for their two goaltenders on this evening. It was a win the Canucks fully earned, but the Flames just as much earned the loss.
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Red Warrior

Mangiapane had the lone goal for the Flames, so he gets the nod by default.
Let’s spare a thought for Vladar, too. He came into a 3-0 game off the bench cold with zero warm-up due to Markstrom’s skate issue and he was thrown right into a Vancouver power play.

The turning point

The entire second period was a continuous turning point, but Vancouver getting two goals – their second and third – in a 32 second span to rapidly expand their lead was definitely the span that killed Calgary’s chances in this game.

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
Gudbranson
78.1
46.2
1.96
Tkachuk
78.0
54.6
0.25
Lindholm
77.5
54.6
0.49
Gaudreau
75.5
54.6
-0.06
Zadorov
68.7
46.2
1.16
Mangiapane
64.7
44.4
1.60
Ruzicka
62.6
66.7
0.20
Andersson
59.8
66.7
0.16
Hanifin
58.9
66.7
0.07
Kylington
56.0
50.0
0.27
Lewis
55.3
57.1
0.32
Backlund
49.1
44.4
1.35
Coleman
46.0
44.4
0.94
Dube
45.1
57.1
-0.17
Toffoli
44.0
60.0
-0.58
Tanev
41.2
50.0
-0.30
Monahan
40.0
54.6
-0.85
Lucic
36.9
60.0
-0.95
Markstrom
-1.49
Vladar
-2.58

This and that

The Flames avoided being shut out for the 55th consecutive game. They haven’t been shut out since May 5, 2021 against Winnipeg.
Not on the ice for any Vancouver goals for: Adam Ruzicka, Erik Gudbranson and Blake Coleman. Coleman, however, was in the penalty box for two of Vancouver’s power-play goals.
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Johnny Gaudreau took a Matthew Highmore stick in the face late in the third period – Highmore’s stick hit Matthew Tkachuk’s leg and clipped Gaudreau on the ricochet, which still counts as a high-sticking penalty by the letter of the law. No penalties were given and Gaudreau was eventually given a misconduct penalty afterwards for complaining about the non-call.

Up next

The Flames (30-14-6) are headed home. They host the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night in the late game on Hockey Night in Canada.

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