The streak is dead: long live the streak. For just the second time in 12 outings this season, the Calgary Flames left a game with zero standings points to show for it. They generated a lot of shots, but few goals, in a tight 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks (a team currently dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak that’s taken out several key players).
Neither team was particularly great in the first period. The Flames took a couple penalties but the Sharks couldn’t do much with their power plays. The Sharks did a good job defending the middle of the ice, but the Flames also had some challenges connecting on their passes – particularly on breakouts.
Shots were 8-4 Flames (8-2 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 5-4 Flames in the first period.
The Sharks got on the board early in the second period, with Alexander Barabanov sniping a shot past the far post on Jacob Markström off the rush (sprung by a gorgeous pass by Brent Burns) to make it 1-0 Sharks.
But the Flames responded back just 30 seconds later with a weird goal. Off a weak initial shot, the Sharks couldn’t corral the puck and there was a scrum around their net. Milan Lucic seemed to cram the puck over the line. (The goal was later credited to Andrew Mangiapane, who made the initial shot.) The play was initially whistled down and a situation room review indicated that yes, the puck crossed. The Sharks challenged for goaltender interference, but that challenge failed and the Flames had the game tied 1-1 after two video reviews of the same play.
Milan Lucic: goal-scoring machine. pic.twitter.com/ezyhR4PLRZ
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) November 10, 2021
Shots were 19-8 Flames (13-6 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 15-7 Flames in the second period.
The Flames had puck management issues in the third period and eventually, they came back to haunt them. After the Flames couldn’t bury their chances in the Sharks end, Logan Couture skated into their zone and chucked a puck towards the net. Nikita Zadorov attempted to tie up a pinching Nick Bonino. But Zadorov inadvertently made contact with the puck, causing it to knuckleball and flutter past Markström to give the Sharks a 2-1 advantage.
The Flames pressed, but Tomas Hertl and Jonathan Dahlen added empty-net goals to ice this one as a 4-1 final.
Shots were 14-11 Sharks (12-9 Sharks at five-on-five) and scoring chances 9-9 in the third period.
Why the Flames lost
Friends, this is a game that the Flames probably should’ve won by a few goals. They had more chances. They had more shots. They had more high quality chances. They had more zone time. It wasn’t quite the Flames facing the San Jose Barracuda, but it felt like it at times. But the Flames were fighting the puck at times, with sticks breaking or pucks bouncing or shots hitting sticks or feet or posts or just missing the net.
The Flames also spent more time in their own end than was ideal, with outlet and breakout passes going errant or getting intercepted. The Flames were unlucky in this one, but it wasn’t just puck luck that did them in. They didn’t do what they needed to do to make their evening easier.
Matthew Tkachuk was all over this game. If something was happening in either end, he was front and centre.
The turning point
It’s gotta be the second Sharks goal. After Markström had made so many nice saves, and the Flames had failed to score on so many nice scoring chances, it had to be a weird fluttery shot that decided this game.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and that
Walker Duehr took warm-up (as an extra skater) but was a healthy scratch.
The Flames (7-2-3) are hitting the road for their longest trip of the season! They begin seven games away from the Saddledome on Thursday night when they visit the Montreal Canadiens.