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The Calgary Flames finished out their three game road trip in Texas on Tuesday night, with a match-up against the Dallas Stars. After failing to stage a complete comeback in their previous meeting, the Flames were looking to even the season series this time around. They would be taking the ice down a few key contributors, as Sam Bennett and James Neal would miss this contest. This caused the Flames to dress eleven forwards and seven defencemen; not an ideal situation.

Unfortunately, the Flames appeared as if they were ready for a third consecutive afternoon game as they came out listless against the Stars. Sloppy neutral ice play, plenty of incomplete passes, as well as the inability to gain substantial offensive zone ice time completely sunk the team in the opening frame. Luckily the Flames would have David Rittich between the pipes, that kept the game in reach for the visiting team.

The Flames would not escape the period unscathed, as a costly turnover by Mikael Backlund would eventually find it’s way into the back of the net. Even more unfortunate due to the fact that the Tyler Seguin centering pass went off Backlund’s stick and behind Rittich.

This lethargic style of play would carry into the middle frame, as the Flames would still be unable to generate any serious chances or consistent play. A poor defensive effort would leave Radek Faksa all alone in front of the net, leading to an easy 2-0 goal.

Stars goaltender Ben Bishop would leave the game in the second period after sustaining a hit to the head from Garnet Hathaway. Although he would leave the game under concussion protocol, he would return at the start of the third period.

Calgary would come out much stronger in the final stanza, controlling play for the majority of the period. This of course was too little too late, as the Flames were unable to make a dent in the Dallas lead. The Stars would use a joint shutout from Bishop and Anton Khudobin to take the 2-0 victory over the Flames.

Statistical Breakdown

Team Stats

All Situations 5v5 SVA 5v5
CF 49.5% 47.6% 45.9%
SCF 41.9% 37.1% 36.9%
HDCF 27.8% 27.8% 28.3%

5v5 Player Stats

Calgary Flames

  • Dalton Prout posted a game high 80.0% CF%, but in only 2:43 of ice time. So it doesn’t really count
  • Only six Flames skaters posted a positive possession rating
  • Matthew Tkachuk and Austin Czarnik were on the ice for 7 HDCA each at 5v5
  • Czarnik also posted a team worst 36.7% CF%

Opponent

  • Valeri Nichuskin had a strong game, posting a CF% of 70.0%
  • Esa Lindell wasn’t as fortunate as he posted a game worst 33.3% CF%
  • Gavin Bayreuther and Roman Polak posted a perfect 100% HDCF%, with seven and six HDCF respectively
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick

Line Combinations

Calgary Flames

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Czarnik
Quine – Jankowski – Hathaway
Rychel – Ryan – Prout***

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Andersson
Kylington – Hamonic

Rittich
Smith

Dallas Stars

Benn – Seguin – Gurianov
Nichushkin – Shore – Radulov
Faksa – Hanzal – Pitlick
Janmark – Dickinson – Comeau

Lindell – Heiskanen
Bayreuther – Polak
Hanley – Fedun

Bishop
Khudobin

Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff

Thoughts on the Game

The Flames looked absolutely pathetic last night. For the team to be playing such amazing hockey recently, the performance last night was simply dreadful. Nothing was going right for them across the entire ice surface. Neutral zone turnovers, inability to enter the offensive zone, sloppy passes, the Flames just looked a step behind all night. They had a solid third period, as expected at this point with this team, but it simply wasn’t enough to dig themselves out of their early hole.

I do attribute a large portion towards the last minute lineup changes. Bennett missing his second straight game was a game time decision, but they simply didn’t have a replacement for him. Neal was known to be out, and even with his struggles, it is still a top six player that needs to be replaced. Running with eleven forwards simply threw the team out of sorts, as each line deployment was different. Plus having Prout dressed as the extra skater did more harm than good.

Even with the injuries to Neal and Bennett, you forget that the Flames have been consistently playing well with their depth. Neal, Bennett, and Michael Frolik essentially could be this team’s third line at the moment. The Flames bottom six has basically been two fourth lines for a while now, and soon enough the Flames will need those bodies back.

Last night’s game also got me thinking, are the Dallas Stars one of the Flames’ Achilles teams? The last time they beat the Stars was back on December 6th 2016, when they won 2-1. The Flames always look completely out of sorts when facing the Stars. I would personally say they are at the same level of “worry” as when the Flames face the Anaheim Ducks.

The Gaud, the Bad, and the Ugly

Gaud: Rittich was once again phenomenal as was the only reason the Flames weren’t blown out of the building. Stopping 26 of 28 shots he faced, Rittich allowed the Flames to remain in a game they were out off of the opening draw.

Bad: The Flames only were able to register 5 iHDCF, compared to the Stars’ 13.

Ugly: This unnecessary hit that will easily earn Hathaway a call from the league.

Next Game

Opponent: Tampa Bay Lightning
Record: 26-7-2
Standings: 1st in Atlantic
Season Series: 0-0-0


 

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