The Calgary Flames faced Montreal for the third consecutive game on Monday night. After getting decisive wins on Friday and Saturday, the Flames just couldn’t bury their chances against the Canadiens. The Flames lost a 2-1 nail-biter to Montreal, putting their playoff hopes on life support.
The game got off to a poor start for the Flames, as both Derek Ryan and Mark Giordano took successive tripping minors that resulted in 1:33 of five-on-three time for Montreal. On that two-man advantage, Shea Weber uncorked a slap shot that beat Jacob Markstrom and made it 1-0 Habs.
But Montreal took a penalty that wiped out the other part of their power play. Eventually the Flames got power play time and they cashed in, as Johnny Gaudreau found Elias Lindholm with a nice cross-zone pass and Lindholm beat Jake Allen to tie the game at 1-1.
Don't leave this guy all alone. pic.twitter.com/tbohxJOEtP
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) April 26, 2021
Shots were 6-5 Flames and scoring chances 6-2 Flames in the first period.
The second period was very even and tight-checking. Neither team got a ton of chances, but Montreal managed to take advantage of some Flames miscues and get a lead late in the frame.
With just 1:55 left in the period, though, Markstrom made an initial save but the rebound bounced high off of him and that confused every Flames defender. Tyler Toffoli made a nice shot but Markstrom stopped him with the sliding two-pad stack, but the rebound went to Joel Armia, who passed to Toffoli, and he put the puck over a sprawling Markstrom to make it 2-1 Montreal.
Shots were 8-8 and scoring chances 7-6 Flames in the second period.
The Flames pressed in the third period, with Andrew Mangiapane hitting the post on a deflection midway through the period. But they couldn’t draw even and took the loss.
Shots were 11-8 Canadiens and scoring chances 6-2 Canadiens in the third period.
Why the Flames lost
The Flames played decently, but they didn’t do enough to generate strong chances at five-on-five – or enough to bury those chances in the first two periods. They also seemed to run out of steam in the third period as Montreal clogged up the middle of the ice.
The Flames were decent, but decent just wasn’t good enough.
Lindholm had the lone goal, so he gets the nod.
The turning point
Montreal’s go-ahead goal late in the second period was a tough goal to give up. It gave the Habs the ability just to play “clog it up, run out the clock” hockey in the third period.
The Flames also had two third period power plays and didn’t generate a lot of dangerous scoring chances or momentum with them.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and that
Newly-minted Hobey Baker Award winner Cole Caufield made his NHL debut for Montreal.
With the loss, the Flames’ tragic number drops to 5.5. Any combination of Flames losses or Montreal wins adding up to 5.5 results in the Flames being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
The Flames (21-24-3) are back at it on Thursday when they visit the Edmonton Oilers.