The Calgary Flames welcomed former captain Mark Giordano and the Seattle Kraken to the Saddledome on Wednesday night. After a pair of fairly one-sided losses, the Flames were much, much better against Seattle. Unfortunately, “much better” didn’t result in a pre-season victory, as they dropped a close one by a 4-3 score in a shootout to Seattle.

The rundown

The Flames were energetic early, but the Kraken were able to take advantage of a couple defensive miscues to give themselves an early lead.
Jared McCann set up Mark Giordano for a nice rush opportunity with a quick pass in the Flames zone. Giordano skated into the slot and chipped a back-hand shot through Dan Vladar’s legs to give Seattle a 1-0 lead.
A few minutes later, Seattle struck again. This time, Vladar made the initial save off an Adam Larsson shot. But he booted the rebound right out to Jaden Schwartz, who buried the loose puck to give the visitors a 2-0 edge.
But the Flames answered back before the period’s end. Blake Coleman and Elias Lindholm cycled the puck down low in the Seattle zone. Lindholm made a soft pass from below the goal line to Matthew Tkachuk at the side of the net, and Tkachuk put the puck behind Philipp Grubauer to cut Seattle’s lead to 2-1.
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Shots were 9-5 Seattle in the first period.
The second period was very sloppy and low event, with both teams making puck-moving gaffes. But Walker Duehr made a nice play at the defensive blueline, stealing the puck from Larsson and going in on a two-on-one with Byron Froese. Duehr opted to shoot and there was a scramble for the loose rebound, which Michael Stone eventually deposited into the net to tie the game at 2-2.
Shots were 6-2 Flames in the second period.
The Flames pressed in the third period but couldn’t get ahead. Matthew Tkachuk took an offensive zone penalty, which wiped out a Flames power play. Right after that, Stone turned over the puck under pressure from Seattle’s forecheck at four-on-four. Jordan Eberle set up Schwartz in front of the Flames net for his second goal of the game to give Seattle a 3-2 lead.
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But the Flames managed to claw their way back again. After a Seattle turnover in the neutral zone, Mikael Backlund entered the offensive zone for a two-on-one rush. He looked off the pass and beat Joey Daccord with a nice wrist shot to tie the game at 3-3.
Shots were 10-10 in the third period.
This game went to overtime and neither team scored, though they did exchange some decent chances. So the shootout decided things: Eberle and McCann scored for Seattle, Matthew Tkachuk for Calgary, and so the Kraken took this game by a 4-3 score.

Why the Flames lost (in a shootout)

Well, the Flames weren’t awful on this occasion, but they made just enough mistakes to keep this game close. They had trouble with Seattle’s speed on the forecheck, and in general their puck management wasn’t great.
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Red Warrior

Honestly, Oliver Kylington was superb at moving his feet and moving the puck in this game, and he and Chris Tanev really complimented each other well. Others that stood out for positive reasons were Duehr, Backlund, Coleman, Lindholm, Valimaki and Vladar.

The turning point

The Flames managed to battle back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits. Backlund’s nice individual effort tied the game late and allowed the Flames to at least salvage a regulation tie. (There are no points awarded in the pre-season, but there are moral victories and imagination points up for grabs.)
The Flames have yet to have a lead during any of their three pre-season contests.

This and that

For the curious, the Flames’ lines for the evening:
Tkachuk-Lindholm-Coleman
Gaudreau-Backlund-Mangiapane
Lucic-Gawdin-Lewis
Kirkland-Froese-Duehr
Zadorov-Andersson
Kylington-Tanev
Valimaki-Stone
Vladar went the distance in net, behind the most NHL-ready lineup the team’s dressed so far in the pre-season. Tanev and Backlund wore the alternate captain’s As in this game.
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The Flames’ three shootout shooters were Tkachuk, Gaudreau and Kirkland. Yes, Justin Kirkland. (If they wanted to go off-the-board, Duehr was right there.)

Up next

The Flames (0-2-1) are back in pre-season action on Friday night when they host Vancouver at the Saddledome. That game’s actually televised on Sportsnet One, and starts at 7 p.m. MT.