In what is being called the best game of the season by many hockey pundits, the Calgary Flames suffered their fourth straight overtime defeat. This also happened to be their seventh straight loss to the Edmonton Oilers in the Battle of Alberta, as Connor McDavid continues to dominate Calgary during his NHL career.
Calgary once again got off to the better start, with Matthew Tkachuk and Mark Giordano scoring in the first period. Tkachuk continued to get under the Oilers’ skin, and David Rittich backed the team in another outstanding performance
Leading 2-0 midway through the second frame, the Flames looked to be in complete control. Back to back goals from Brandon Davidson and Zack Kassian in 1:04 completely changed the fabric of the game. Calgary started playing lazily, and Edmonton took full advantage of the situation.
Eventually the teams traded goals in the third period, from Davidson and Tkachuk, which ended up leading to a fourth straight overtime game for the Flames.
This is where the madness truly began.
Early in the extra frame, McDavid streaked towards the front of the net, and Ryan Strome quickly potted the rebound for the apparent game winner. Rittich went into complete meltdown mode, all while the Oilers were celebrating their win. Of course, this was not the end, as the situation room in Toronto deemed McDavid had initiated goaltender interference with Rittich on his rush, leading to the goal being called back.
The call was highly questionable, and most likely shouldn’t have been overturned, but who really knows what is and isn’t goaltender interference these days. Regardless, the game continued.
During a maniac overtime both teams had plenty of chances which easily could have ended the game, but the game was stretched into a shootout after no one could capitalize. During the final round, McDavid squeaked his shot by Rittich’s pad for the winner, and made sure to add his own flare to the celebration. He was given a minor penalty for abuse to officials.
The Flames were granted a second life, but were unable to capitalize, yet again. They enter the All Star Break sitting third in their division, riding a 11 game point streak, and four game losing streak.
|All Situations||5v5||SVA 5v5|
5v5 Player Stats
- Sean Monahan lead the team with a 60.9% CF% at 5v5, with Tkachuk following close behind with a 59.1%.
- Ryan Lomberg impressed in his debut with a CF% of 58.9%, third among the Flames, in addition to his fight with Kassian.
- Brett Kulak didn’t fair very well as his 33.3% CF% was worst on the team.
- Jujhar Khaira posted the highest CF% in the game with 65.0%.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Player of the Game
This honor easily goes to Tkachuk, who continues to convince many that he may be this team’s most important player. With two goals and two drawn penalties, Tkachuk seemed to be integrated into the fabric of every exciting moment from last night. He briefly left due to an injury, but thankfully returned for the third period. The Flames looked to be lost after surrendering the lead, but his goal and attitude willed the team to another point.
Thoughts on the Game
John: I’m back! After gallivanting around New Zealand for almost a month, I’m beyond excited to be back in Calgary, back with the Flames, and back with The Win Column. During my time in NZ, I was unable to view any of the games, but kept track as best as possible.
There are almost too many things that I would like to give my thoughts on, as it has been a while, but I shall try to keep them brief.
First off a bit of criticism, Dave Cameron needs a new career. If the Flames PP is unable to score against a historically bad home ice PK, then it’s clear something is wrong. They are 0/9 in their past two games, in which one goal easily should have earned them the extra point. Tension has been building on the PP front and I wonder if last night was the final straw.
Monahan also gets a bit of a slap on the wrist for last nights contest. On Kassian’s goal, and the “overtime winner”, his back check was beyond lazy. In both situations his man looked to have plenty of time and space to generate a chance, while he drifted behind. As well, his shootout attempt was by far “boring” in every sense of the word. Usually a low blocker shot is his bread and butter, but a weak toss right into Cam Talbot’s left pad was a terrible way to end the shootout. In no way is last night’s loss on Monahan, but he could have done a little more.
Continuing with the shootout trend, something needs to change. Micheal Ferland and Monahan are shooters. They don’t have the same kind of secret stash of dangles that can be utilized at a moments notice. Johnny Gaudreau, seemingly stymied on breakaways and shootouts, at least gives a higher range of potential outcomes that could throw off a goaltender. Shootouts are something that shouldn’t be a priority for a team, but with the Flames seemingly snake-bitten, siting at 2-5 on the season, maybe it is time for a little more strategy on Glen Guluztan’s part.
Finally the positives. I’ve absolutely loved the way the Flames have been playing the past 11 games. If you are nitpicking the 0-0-4 record in the past four games, that’s fine I just don’t agree with it as much. Yes they have squandered a lead in all of the games, but were able to escape with a point. It seems that when other teams in the West secure the extra point that diminishes our playoff chances, it is viewed as unacceptable. Yet when the same happens for us, the same reaction is initiated. Just imagine what would have happened if these four games hadn’t made it to extra time, that is when the true panic mode starts.
The Flames gave themselves a chance to win all four games and they didn’t. Did it cost us a playoff spot? Not yet. During those four games, the Flames were able to establish the early lead, a trend that we haven’t been used to. They also were able to extend the tied games into extra time, another trend that we aren’t used to. It is by no means the most preferred outcome, but it shouldn’t be causing this much outrage from fans as we have seen in the last week.
What needs to be fixed? Dave Cameron’s Sole Responsibility.
The job just isn’t getting done. It’s time for a change on or off the ice.
What needs to continue? Points.
Always try to observe things with a half glass full mentality. In the past 11 games, the Flames have earned 18 of a possible 22 points. Yes they have lost four straight in extra time, but had those losses been sprinkled in between the seven game winning streak then the same eventual outcome would have existed. Calgary still sits in third in the Pacific, with the California teams circling around them, these points are crucial. The Boston Bruins went from lottery team, to potential Eastern Conference Champions on their current point streak. Should the Flames string together more wins, this current slide might be viewed differently at the end of season.
The All Star Game is truly the next game where you can witness some Calgary Flames players, as Mike Smith and Gaudreau will be representing the city this weekend in Tampa Bay.
After that, it is back to business. For the first time in franchise history, the Flames will face the Vegas Golden Knights. If you have been living under a rock the past few months, you may have missed the fact that Vegas leads the Pacific Division and the Western Conference in points. This match-up could prove to be extremely crucial as the Flames sit 10 points behind the Knights in the division. Wins against Vegas could help catapult them over the proverbial castle walls and maybe even into first place in the Pacific if they play their cards right. Too many Vegas Golden Knights puns for you?