At one point on Monday night, the Calgary Flames had a 3-0 lead against the Edmonton Oilers. Unfortunately, some defensive lapses in their own zone and some bad penalties led to four unanswered Edmonton goals and a 4-3 pre-season loss for the gentlemen in red, white and orange.

The rundown

After a slow start to the opening period, the Flames went up 1-0 off a nice bit of forechecking. Mikko Koskinen was handling the puck behind the net but Calgary’s forecheck pressured him, so he dumped the puck up the boards to a teammate. His teammate couldn’t handle the puck well and his clear attempt went right to Elias Lindholm, who fed the puck to Matthew Tkachuk in front of the net for a slick toe-drag and wrist shot that went into the net.
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Later on in the first period, the Flames scored again. Tkachuk intercepted an errant neutral zone pass and fed Johnny Gaudreau for a breakaway. Gaudreau went “top shelf” (as the kids say) and the puck beat Koskinen and actually got wedged in the back of the net, making it 2-0 Flames.
Shots were 15-11 Flames in the first period.
The Flames got up 3-0 early in the third period off a nice work cycling the puck below the Oilers goal line. Andrew Mangiapane shuffled the puck to Tkachuk, who found Lindholm in the slot. Lindholm beat Koskinen to extend Calgary’s lead.
But then the Oilers woke up. The Flames failed to clear their zone and Kyle Turris, after knocking down the clear attempt, fed Brandon Perlini at the side of the net for a quick shot that cut the lead to 3-1.
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A little later, Leon Draisaitl and Jesse Puljujarvi got behind the Flames’ defenders. Draisaitl chased down a loose puck and found Puljujarvi all alone in front of the net for a quick pass, shoot and score to cut the lead to 3-2.
Shots were 15-4 Oilers in the second period.
A pair of Edmonton power play goals in the third period swung the game. After Milan Lucic was penalized in the defensive zone, Connor McDavid barrelled towards the Calgary net. He was upended by Chris Tanev and crashed into Jacob Markstrom. In the process, the puck beat Markstrom. The Flames challenged the goal due to goalie interference, but the goal stood (to make it 3-3) and the Flames were tagged with a delay of game call.
On that delay of game power play, Draisaitl hammed a one-timer past Markstrom to make it a 4-3 Edmonton lead. The Flames made a bit of a push after that, but couldn’t tie the game.
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Why the Flames lost

The Flames got a big lead because of forechecking and tenacity. They gave up four goals in a row because of some lacking defensive details, an unfortunate defensive zone penalty and a poor coach’s challenge.

Red Warrior

Let’s give it jointly to the top line of Gaudreau, Lindholm and Tkachuk, who each had a goal and combined for six points.
Oliver Kylington also stood out again on the back end for positive reasons. On the flip side: Nikita Zadorov was an adventure in this game. Honourable mention stick-taps to Tanev for his work on that pairing.

The turning point

Can it be anything else but the two power play goals for the Oilers?

This and that

For the curious, the Flames’ lines for the evening:
Gaudreau – Lindholm – Tkachuk
Mangiapane – Monahan – Lewis
Dube – Backlund – Ritchie
Lucic – Richardson – Duehr
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Hanifin – Andersson
Zadorov – Tanev
Kylington – Gudbranson
Markstrom went the distance in net. Gaudreau didn’t play in the third period for precautionary reasons.
For the curious, special teams units (with Gaudreau or Blake Coleman) looked like this:
  • PP1: Monahan – Tkachuk – Lindholm – Andersson – Kylington
  • PP2: Dube – Lucic – Mangiapane – Backlund – Hanifin
  • PK1: Backlund – Lindholm – Tanev – Zadorov
  • PK2: Richardson – Lewis – Kylington – Gudbranson
  • PK3: Dube – Mangiapane – rotating defense pairing
Presumably Kylington was a placeholder for Gaudreau. It’s not quite clear where Coleman would slot in, but presumably he plays on (at least) the second PP unit and somewhere on the PK.

Up next

The Flames are back in pre-season action on Wednesday night when they visit the Winnipeg Jets.