After a three day break that felt like an eternity, the Calgary Flames made their way south to start a three game California road trip. Starting off against the Anaheim Ducks, the Flames looked to extend their four game winning streak, while simultaneously attempt to exorcise more of their Honda Center demons.
The Flames got off to another slow start, which has been an unfortunate trend as of late. A combination of both a bad Noah Hanifin pinch and an embarrassingly terrible attempt at a save by Mike Smith led to the opening Ducks goal by Jakob Silfverberg. Shortly after, a juicy Smith rebound would find Adam Henrique to clean up the mess; extending the Ducks lead to two. Overall, Smith should have been able to mitigate both goals, but the Flames looked a step behind the Ducks, which is not a good look.
Luckily, the Flames wouldn’t leave the period empty-handed. After a controversial penalty call, the Flames took full advantage of the powerplay with a Matthew Tkachuk tip-in goal. Coming only five seconds into the man-advantage, the Flames have now scored a special teams goal in five of the last six contests.
The second period would be somewhat less eventful than it’s predecessor, in terms of goals scored, at least. The Flames would have their chances, but a pair of wide open nets and a rare Johnny Gaudreau howitzer that hit the post would leave them wanting more.
Both teams would headed into the third period knowing the inevitable Flames push was going to come.
The Flames’ bread and butter this season, the final stanza brought more drama to the table. On an amazing individual short-handed effort, Mark Jankowski would net his first goal on the season. The Flames found another way to come back after being down entering the period. Of course, this tie would only last 27 seconds, as Ryan Getzlaf would not be denied with plenty of time and space in front of the net.
Calgary would continue to be the better team in terms of chances, but could never quite capitalize on anything. Even with the 6-4 advantage in the late stage of the game, the Flames simply couldn’t find that comeback magic once again.
The win streak ends at four games, but the Flames still remain tied atop the Pacific for the time being.
|All Situations||5v5||SVA 5v5|
5v5 Player Stats
- The Flames only had two players that posted a sub 50% CF%: TJ Brodie and Anthony Peluso
- Rasmus Andersson led the way in terms of possession, with a game high 77.3% at 5v5
- After being promoted to the second line, James Neal posted a CF% of 68.6% and was on the ice for 13 SCF, four of which were HDCF
- Elias Lindholm continued his torrid offensive impact, netting an assist and being on the ice for a whopping 10 HDCF.
- The Ducks did not have a single player post a positive possession rating. Rickard Rakell was the best CF% player at 5v5 at 46.9%
- Sam Carrick posted a dreadful 26.7% CF%, which was a game low. He was also on the ice for 6 HDCA and 0 HDCF
- Ryan Kesler was on the ice for 8 HDCA across all situations
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Neal
Bennett – Jankowski – Frolik
Peluso – Ryan – Czarnik
Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Valimaki – Andersson
Rakell – Getzlaf – Eaves
Lundestrom – Henrique – Aberg
Cogliano – Kesler – Silfverberg
Street – Carrick – Sherwood
Fowler – Manson
Lindholm – Larsson
Pettersson – Montour
Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff
Thoughts on the Game
Nothing lasts forever. The Flames were bound to have their winning streak end eventually, in addition to them falling occasionally when trailing after two periods. The only disappointing factor was that for 27 seconds, they did come back.
Once again, it comes back to Smith’s goaltending and inability to make saves at the right times. Sure the defense was completely taken out of the play, but if he makes that save against Getzlaf it is a whole new hockey game.
The same thing can be said for the earlier goals he let in. The Flames wouldn’t be needed to come from behind all the time if Smith is able to keep out mundane shots. The goals he let in last night were really unforgivable. It’s unfortunate that within a year he has gone from team MVP to team scapegoat, but something has got to give at some point.
It was a welcomed relief to see Austin Czarnik back in the lineup, albeit mainly because of Dillon Dube’s concussion. I don’t know how I felt about his return to the lineup, as frankly he was unable to capitalize on a handful of golden opportunities. It’s possible that it is rust, but you have to be ready to play every single night.
What I can’t forgive is the Flames’ decision to ice Peluso over literally anybody else. There are countless players in Stockton that deserved a call-up, and it could have actually made a difference last night. The team needs to stop worrying about not having a “tough guy” in the lineup, and start icing the best possible players.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Ugly
Gaud: Lindholm added an assist last night to extend his point streak to six games. He has three goals and six assists over that period.
Bad: Peluso only played 4:19 the entire game.
Ugly: Smith stopped 21 of 24 shots that he faced, for yet another sub .900 SV% game.
Opponent: Los Angeles Kings
Standings: 8th in the Pacific
Season Series: 0-0-0