The Calgary Flames welcomed the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues to the Saddledome on Saturday night. For two periods, the Flames were the second-best team on the ice. But they managed a big third period push to force overtime. They lost to the Blues 3-2 in overtime.
The Blues scored early, getting on the board three minutes into this hockey game off some shaky defending from the Flames in their own zone. David Rittich made the initial save on a shot from MacKenzie MacEachern. But the rebound bounced around and nobody could corral it. Ivan Barbashev settled it down and put it on net to make it 1-0 Blues.
Shots were 12-10 Blues and scoring chances 9-7 Blues in the opening period.
The Flames were better in the second period than they were in the first, but the Blues played tidy defensive hockey and seemingly waited for the home side to make a mistake. Mark Giordano got penalized for a high stick and 17 seconds into the resulting power play, Ryan O’Reilly one-timed a David Perron feed past Rittich from the slot to give the visitors a 2-0 edge.
Shots were 10-10, but scoring chances 8-5 Blues in the middle frame.
The Flames pressed in the third period and finally broke through midway through the period. Andrew Mangiapane made a nice feed to Matthew Tkachuk in the slot, and Tkachuk used the time and space he had to deposit the puck behind Jordan Binnington with a smart wrist shot to cut St. Louis’ lead to 2-1.
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Late in the period, playing four-on-four, the Flames tied the game. Travis Hamonic drove the net and grabbed a loose puck Binnington was attempting to play. Hamonic held onto the puck and back-handed it past the Blues netminder to tie the game at 2-2.
Shots were 7-4 Flames and scoring chances 4-2 Flames in the third period.
There was bonus hockey at the ‘Dome to decide the game. Things went back and forth until TJ Brodie took a holding call. Perron scored on the ensuing advantage to make this a 3-2 Blues victory. Shots were 2-2 in OT.
Why the Flames Lost (In OT)
Let’s get this out of the way: the Blues are a really good hockey team. They hit. They battle for loose pucks. They muck around in front of the net. They forecheck and backcheck. They don’t give their opponents a night off.
The Flames weren’t particularly awful in the first and second period, they were just a little bit worse than the Blues. But they kept plugging away, simplified their game in the third period and found a way to drag themselves kicking and screaming back into the game. They were right there with the Blues in OT, but just took an inopportune penalty and suffered for it.
Let’s give it jointly to the second line. Mangiapane, Tkachuk and Mikael Backlund had energy and were trying to create chances the entire evening. They gave the Flames some jump and kept the Blues on their toes.
The Turning Point
When the Blues were up, the Giordano penalty and O’Reilly goal sequence seemed pretty big. But Tkachuk’s goal gave the Flames a ton of life and seemed to deflate the Blues.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and That
Sam Bennett’s first period minor penalty tied him with Michael Frolik for the team lead in minors and his third period penalty gave him the outright lead. In 20 games, Bennett has taken 10 minors.
This was the first game since the season-opener against Colorado where the Flames penalty kill surrendered more than one power play goal.
The Flames (10-7-3) are off tomorrow. They’re back in game action on Wednesday night when they host the Dallas Stars.
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