The Calgary Flames began their 2022 Young Stars Classic tournament on Friday evening with a game against the Vancouver Canucks. The Flames were pretty decent at times, but they failed to really stitch those good moments together into a good game, dropping a 3-0 decision to the Canucks to kick off their rookie tournament play.
The first two periods were pretty even. Shots were 9-8 Vancouver in the opening 20 and 15-12 Vancouver in the middle frame. Both teams had their moments, but both goaltenders were good.
The Flames unravelled a bit in the third period, as some bad habits came back to haunt them.
After killing off an early penalty, the Flames made a bad line change that gave Canucks forward Chase Wouters an eternity to get a good shot on net off the rush. Dustin Wolf made a big save, but he booted the rebound right out to a rushing Arshdeep Bains, and he buried it to make it 1-0 Canucks.
The Flames pushed to try to even things up, but Vancouver kept them to the outside. Tristen Nielsen made it 2-0 Canucks off a nice individual effort, driving to the net, out-muscling Jeremie Poirier, and chipping the puck over Wolf. (Disclosure: Poirier is 20 and has played zero pro games. Nielsen is 22 and has played 41 pro games.)
The Flames pulled Wolf for an extra attacker, and Linus Karlsson scored an empty-net goal to give the Canucks a 3-0 victory. Shots were 12-4 Canucks in the third period.
Why the Flames lost
The Flames were sloppy, and it hurt ’em. They took too many penalties, a result of said sloppiness, and that gave the Canucks prospects time and space to get comfortable with the puck in the offensive zone. If your opponent feels confident and comfortable with the puck, watch out.
In the offensive zone, the Flames just weren’t able to execute well enough. They had their chances, but Wolf faced way more good chances in the Flames net than Canucks netminder Arturs Silovs faced at the other end. Again, sloppiness undid a lot of good things the Flames did with the puck, and it gave the Canucks too much time (and space) with it instead.
Wolf was credited with 34 saves, so he gets this by default.
The top six forwards for Calgary – Jakob Pelletier, Cole Schwindt, Connor Zary, Adam Klapka, Walker Duehr and Emilio Pettersen – were pretty good overall, as well. Klapka in particular impressed with his size and surprising skating ability.
This and that
Lines for the Flames:
Pelletier [A]-Schwindt [A]-Duehr [A]
Dustin Wolf in net, backed up by Daniil Chechelev.
Lines for the Canucks:
Arturs Silovs in net, backed up by Ty Young.
The Flames are back in action on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. MT for the Young Stars Classic edition of the Battle of Alberta.