Calgary FlamesFlames Game Recaps

About Last Night #60: Family Day matinee doesn’t go the Flames’ way

Finishing a short home stretch, the Calgary Flames welcomed the Boston Bruins to town for an afternoon game on Alberta Family Day. The Flames looked to even the season series against one of the league’s best teams in their final meeting of the season. This contest was a story of goaltending. Both Tuukka Rask and David Rittich stood tall in their respective creases, both making several key saves to keep their teams alive.

The Bruins opened the scoring early in the first period. David Pastrnak scored his 22nd of the season in what was a dominant period for the Bruins.

Matthew Tkachuk would answer in the second scoring his 22nd goal of the season on the powerplay. Johnny Gaudreau picked up his 50th assist and 69th point on the play as well. The Flames’ powerplay clicked yet again, making it the fourth game in the last five that they scored on the man advantage.

It was a back and forth affair for most of the game. The Flames controlled the third period but weren’t able to put the game away. Heading into overtime, the ice was tilted in favour of the Flames; Boston had won just one game in overtime this season to date.

The Flames controlled most of overtime as well, but Brad Marchand ended the game on a breakaway, scoring his 22nd goal of the year. With just one point earned on their road trip, the Flames find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture.

Statistical Breakdown

Team Stats

All Situations 5v5 SVA 5v5
CF 51.7% 49.5% 46.8%
SCF 42.9% 38.0% 34.7%
HDCF 43.8% 41.7% 37.5%

5v5 Player Stats

Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick

Player of the Game

The Flames’ POTG was Rittich. He bounced back in a big way following a rough outing against the Panthers over the weekend, making several incredible saves to keep the Flames in it. He weathered the storm in the first half of the game when the Bruins were in dominant control, and looked solid in the crease.

Thoughts on the Game

Like their previous outing against the Bruins, it was an incredibly tough test for the Flames. The Bruins are probably the best team in the league right now and their top line is arguable the best in hockey. The Flames being able to hold their ground and grind out a point was impressive, and despite not coming out of the gate with nearly enough jump, they managed to stick with it and get the game to overtime.

Following the loss, TJ Brodie singled himself out for the overtime goal, saying he needed to make a play when the Flames had possession to score. The overtime period was tough to watch; with the Flames not able to capitalize on a few good looks, it just felt like Boston would take it the other way and score on a single chance. Marchand on a breakaway usually ends in only one way.

The Flames didn’t get any help on the out of town scoreboard with every California team winning a game this weekend. Creating separation is tough at this point of the season and just one mediocre stretch can set a team back. The Flames need to grab some points in their next couple games if they want to remain in the hunt for a playoff spot.

It was nice to see Morgan Klimchuk get into this first NHL game. The last remaining piece from the Jarome Iginla trade, he looked okay in 7:25 of ice time. I don’t mind having young guys on the fourth line. If it keeps the rest of the team energized and keeps prospects motivated, there’s no harm in rotating through AHL callups in a low impact role.

One last note on the trade deadline. I can’t see the Flames moving Michael Stone. As much as I want this to happen, he plays too key a role in the top six to ship him out for anything other than a top nine scoring winger. I would bet that a Stone trade happens in the offseason, and Rasmus Andersson stays in the AHL until next year. Stone has been dreadful but Gulutzan relies on him and it just wouldn’t make sense for that trade to happen now. Hopefully I’m wrong.

Moving Forward

What needs to be fixed? Sluggish starts.

The Flames need to open the game with tenacity. They can’t waltz through the first period and expect to win by playing 30 minutes. This is the homestretch. Teams are fighting for their playoff lives and will be hungry for points. Show you’re a real contender and put the foot on the gas right from the opening draw.

What needs to continue? The powerplay.

With powerplay goals in four of the last five games, the Flames are finally figuring things out. Does this have anything to do with Dougie Hamilton playing on the first unit? Absolutely. Hopefully the team has realized how offensively gifted this player is and continue to use him on the man advantage going forward.

Next Game

The Flames head to Sin City to face the Vegas Golden Knights tomorrow night. Though the Golden Knights are likely too far ahead for the Flames to catch them, this is a key divisional matchup that the Flames need to earn points in. Vegas has an amazing home record but the Flames are the second best road team in the league. It should be a fun game.

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