The Calgary Flames visited the Honda Center, with hopes of starting a new NHL record for consecutive wins in an opponent’s building. Unfortunately, the Disneyland attempt came to a halt at one.

On the second of a California back-to-back, the Flames took an uncharacteristically high number of penalties. One trip to the penalty box was worth it though, as Matthew Tkachuk became the second Tkachuk to fight Ryan Kesler.

The Anaheim Ducks put up 41 shots to the Flames’ 23, which was less than ideal. As much as Mike Smith kept them in the game, an unfortunate clearing attempt by him led to a delay of game penalty and ultimately the game-winning goal at the hands of Rickard Rakell.

Surrendering 20 shots just in the first period, the Flames were hopelessly outplayed in this one and forced Smith to make too many big saves throughout the game.

Statistical Breakdown

Team Stats

All Situations 5v5 SVA 5v5
CF 47.5%  47.7% 46.7%
SCF 52.9% 54.0% 54.6%
HDCF  53.3% 45.5%  46.6%

5v5 Player Stats

  • Garnet Hathaway and Michael Stone led the team with 4 individual SCF each
  • Hathaway led the team with 64.7% CF, while Troy Brouwer was a team-worst 35.7% (Stone was second worst at 36.7%)
  • The Flames’ third line of Hathaway, Sam Bennett, and Mark Jankowski had 0% OZS.
  • Antoine Vermette led the Ducks with 81.8% CF, while Kevin Bieksa had the worst CF on the team at 37.5%.
  • Only five Ducks players posted below 50% CF.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick

Player of the Game

Tkachuk earns POTG honours. Fighting Kesler was the most impressive thing that happend for the Flames in last night’s game, and Tkachuk did an admirable job taking him down. He was also on the ice for 24 total positive Corsi events, and posted the second best CF% (5v5) on the team.

Thoughts on the Game

Bill:  There has been a lot of talk about how the Flames have been unlucky lately, which is undoubtedly true. They were unlucky to only score one goal in last night’s game, yet they were lucky to only lose by one. Interestingly enough, the ice seemed to be tilted as the Ducks dominated possession in the first and third period, while the Flames dominated the second.

Jaromir Jagr played alongside Mikael Backlund and Tkachuk, and despite Jagr consistently making his linemates better this season, it seemed like he was a hindrance to Backlund and Tkachuk. Considering Michael Frolik is out for at least a few weeks, now is as good a time as any to call up Andrew Mangiapane and slot him in. It’s worth a shot and Mangiapane could be very effective with Backlund and Tkachuk.

Time will tell who the Flames decide to call up, but they have a legitimate opportunity to potentially find yet another player that gets to stay for good in Mangiapane.

Moving Forward

What needs to be fixed? Gaudreau and Monahan.

The Flames’ top line, which was absolutely dynamite to start the season, has been downright ineffective for a few weeks now. Gaudreau is still putting up assists, but the duo hasn’t been able to find the back of the net nearly enough. A lot of the issues with shooting percentages stem from those two players and they need to figure out how to score if the Flames want to keep pace in the extremely tight Western Conference.

What needs to continue? Mark Giordano on the first PP unit. 

The Flames’ first powerplay unit looked significantly better than other combinations that we’ve seen in the past few weeks. The defending team didn’t have to respect Brodie’s point shot, but they definitely do have to take Giordano’s seriously. His knack for finding the net is something that should pay dividends for the powerplay as they continue to get reps together.

Next Game

The Flames head back to Calgary for a New Year’s Eve tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks. It’ll be a big game with definite wild card implications. A cluster of Western Conference teams are within a small range of each other, and the Flames need to bank as many points as possible against Western opponents. Calgary will look to end 2017 on a positive note, and they’ll surely need to if they want to shake of the bitter taste of losing twice in California.

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