The Calgary Flames’ playoff hopes and dreams took a hefty hit on Friday night in Montreal. Despite playing quite well overall, the Flames couldn’t avoid momentary lapses, or bury their scoring chances, and they lost a close one by a 2-1 score to the Canadiens.
The Flames looked great in the opening period. They out-skated, out-shot and out-chanced Montreal, and were unfortunate not to score.
Shots were 14-6 Flames and scoring chances 8-6 Flames in the first period.
The Flames had better chances in the second period, but somehow managed not to score. Jake Allen lost track of the puck a couple times, but Elias Lindholm managed to somehow miss the open net. A little after that scramble, though, Montreal scored.
The fourth line lost the puck just inside the Montreal blueline, leading to a four-on-two rush the other way. The Flames managed to break up that rush but they couldn’t manage to gain control in the zone, leading to a quick passing cycle and Tyler Toffoli receiving a pass in the slot with tons of room to operate. He beat Jacob Markstrom to make it 1-0 Montreal.
The period ended with two Flames posts on a power play and a Matthew Tkachuk post off a rush chance. Shots were 8-8 and scoring chances 10-6 Flames in the second period.
After all those pretty chances not resulting in goals, the Flames scored an ugly one in the third period to tie it up. Off a feed from Johnny Gaudreau, Lindholm back-handed a shot. It looked to be going wide until it hit defender Ben Chiarot and went past Allen to tie the game at 1-1.
But with just over four minutes left in regulation, Joel Armia was finally rewarded for a strong game with a pass to the slot that careened off someone – either Mark Giordano or Toffoli – and eluded Markstrom to give the Habs a 2-1 lead.
Shots were 8-6 Flames and scoring chances 4-3 Canadiens in the third period.
Why the Flames lost
They couldn’t translate their chances into goals. They played a good game, but their lack of execution with the puck unfortunately cost them two massive points.
Lindholm had the lone goal, so he gets the nod.
The turning point
When you give up the game-deciding goal with less than five minutes left in regulation, it’s hard to pick anything else.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and that
Noah Hanifin appeared to hurt his shoulder on an awkward crash into the boards in the third period. He went to the room briefly, but returned and finished the game.
— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@HeresYourReplay) April 17, 2021
The Flames (19-22-3) are headed home. They’re back in action on Monday night when they host the Ottawa Senators.