The Calgary Flames often look bad coming out of the All-Star Break. Facing the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Flames were pretty damn good – especially by their standards. They went toe-to-toe with the St. Louis Blues and lost 5-4 in the shootout.
The Blues opened the scoring on their first shot of the game, 5:45 into proceedings. An Oliver Kylington outlet pass was intercepted in neutral zone. A few passes later and Alexander Steen finished off the play with a shot over Cam Talbot to give the Blues a 1-0 lead.
But the Flames responded back on the power play. After initially struggling to enter the zone and eating up almost a minute of man advantage, the Flames set up and cashed in. Matthew Tkachuk uncorked a fluttering shot that found its way through traffic to tie things up at 1-1.
A little while later, the Flames took the lead on another power play. This time, the Flames won the face-off, made a couple passes, and Sean Monahan buried the puck from the slot to make it 2-1 Flames.
But the Blues answered back 2:58 later to tie things up. The Flames got a bit hemmed in their own end and ran around, allowing a nice passing sequence by the Blues to be finished off by David Perron to make it 2-2.
Travis Hamonic took a cross-checking penalty. Seven seconds later, Jaden Schwartz buried a feed from Brayden Schenn to make it 3-2 Blues.
Shots were 11-8 Flames and scoring chances 8-8 in the first period.
The Flames tied things up in the first few minutes of the second period. After Rasmus Andersson drew a holding penalty battling for a puck. On the ensuing Flames advantage, Johnny Gaudreau’s initial shot on goal hit some skates, but Monahan buried the loose puck to make it 3-3.
The Flames retook the lead later in the period, as Sam Bennett had the puck below the goal line and dished a nice pass onto Mark Jankowski’s tape. Jankowski put the puck past Jordan Binnington to make it 4-3 Flames.
Shots were 11-9 Blues, but scoring chances were 8-7 Flames in the second period.
The Blues tied things up early in the third period. On one end of the ice, Andrew Mangiapane couldn’t get a chance past Binnington. The rush went the other way and Zach Sanford sniped a shot past Talbot to make it 4-4.
The visitors almost got a lead shortly after, as a shot went through Talbot. But the goal was called back on a coach’s challenge as the Blues were off-sides. Neither side scored, so it went to overtime. Shots were 13-7 Blues and scoring chances 11-9 Flames.
In extra time, the Blues took a penalty and gave the Flames a power play but the home side wasn’t able to convert. Perron and Ryan O’Reilly scored in the shootout to cement the Blues win.
Why the Flames Got A Point
There were basically two games going on here.
- On special teams, the Flames out-scored the Blues 3-1 and were really sharp.
- At even strength, the Blues out-scored the Flames 3-1 and the home side was a bit leaky defensively.
They were in a situation where the coin-toss that is the shootout could determine their fate, but they managed to at least grab a point.
He didn’t hit the scoresheet, but let’s give it to Buddy Robinson. For a guy who’s been minor league depth and got hot offensively this year, he was very noticeable and made a lot happen.
And stick-tap to video coach Jamie Pringle for the (obvious) coach’s challenge.
The Turning Point
The coach’s challenge was clutch and kept the game tied when the Flames desperately needed momentum.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and That
16 different teams had scouts listed for this game. Part of it is proximity to the trade deadline, part of it s likely a light NHL schedule with just two games (including this one).
The Flames (26-19-6) are headed up Highway 2. They face the Edmonton Oilers tomorrow night in Round 3 of the Battle of Alberta.
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