With just one win in their last four games, the Calgary Flames looked to get back on track against the Vancouver Canucks last night. The season series was knotted at one win apiece going into the game, and unlike the Flames, the Canucks were on a roll as of late.

The Canucks were the first team to dent the scoreboard with a powerplay goal from Brock Boeser just over five minutes into the game. Fortunately for the Flames, they would even the score before the first intermission off the stick of Mark Jankowski, who buried a rebound while on the penalty kill. That was Jankowski’s fourth shorthanded goal of the season; he has just six goals total on the year.

In the second period, the Flames would take their first lead of the game with another shorthanded marker, this time from Travis Hamonic. Shortly after though, a wicked wrister from none other than Elias Pettersson beat David Rittich upstairs to even things up again.

The Flames weren’t their traditionally dominant selves in the third period, and the Canucks were the team that pushed back in the final frame. Still, they were unable to score and the game headed to overtime. In the extra period, the Canucks earned the extra point off a goal from Alexander Edler.

The Flames have now failed to win in four of their last five games. They’ll close out 2018 on New Year’s Eve against the San Jose Sharks at home. That game will determine who finishes the calendar year atop the Pacific Division. High stakes.

Statistical Breakdown

Team Stats

All Situations 5v5 SVA 5v5
CF 52.9% 50.1% 48.5%
SCF 65.1% 66.7% 64.0%
HDCF 67.9% 61.1% 57.6%

5v5 Player Stats

Calgary Flames

  • Rasmus Andersson led the Flames with 63.2% CF.
  • Matthew Tkachuk was the worst Flames player Corsi wise with a dreadful 29.4% CF. No skater from either team had a worse Corsi than Tkachuk.
  • Johnny Gaudreau led the team with 78.3% SCF (18-5).

Vancouver Canucks

  • Josh Leivo and Sven Baertschi led the Canucks with 64.7% CF.
  • Jay Beagle was the worst Canucks player Corsi wise at 33.3% CF.
  • Baertschi was the only Canuck above water in SCF% at 62.5% SCF. All other Canucks were below 50% SCF.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick

Line Combinations

Calgary Flames

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Bennett – Backlund –  Neal
Tkachuk – Jankowski – Czarnik
Dube – Ryan – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson

Rittich
Smith

Vancouver Canucks

Eriksson – Horvat – Virtanen
Goldobin – Pettersson – Boeser
Baertschi – Granlund – Leivo
Roussel – Beagle – Motte

Edler – Tanev
Hutton – Stecher
Pouliot – Gudbranson

Markstrom
Nilsson

Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff

Thoughts on the Game

The Flames haven’t really been all that good as of late. This loss to the Canucks is their fourth loss in five games, a stretch where they’ve picked up just four of a possible 10 points. The big reason for them even earning that many points was the man in net: Rittich. At this point of the season, I think it’s safe to give Rittich the number one tag, and it’s about time we’ve been able to say that. He’s been one of the best goalies in the league and last night was no exception. Every goal he let in was a great play and can’t be faulted on the goaltender.

The Flames’ top line was unbelievable last night. There were several occasions where they hemmed the Canucks into their own zone for an extended period of time and, though they didn’t get any goals, they looked like the most dangerous line on the ice every time they were out there. I’m constantly amazed at Gaudreau’s puck handling skills and how he’s able to make plays in any situation. In the debate between who is more valuable to the team, Gaudreau or Matthew Tkachuk, I don’t think Tkachuk is that close to surpassing Gaudreau.

And on that note. Tkachuk had himself a pretty awful game last night. I don’t for a second expect that to continue as he is his harshest critic, but especially in a game that featured some bite, Tkachuk had to show up last night. He had the worst possession stats in the entire game and didn’t look dangerous for a single second. His weakest asset is his skating ability, which is weird to think about when you consider how good he is, but that’s an area he absolutely has to work on.

The Flames played a good game. They didn’t get the results but the effort was there, something that can’t be said for all the games in this cold streak. Hopefully they can finish off the year on a high note with a win against the Sharks on Monday, which would keep them in first place in the Pacific heading into the New Year.

The Gaud, the Bad, and the Ugly

Good: TWO shorthanded goals for the Flames in this one. That’s pretty impressive any way you cut it.

Bad: Not capitalizing on any of their five powerplay opportunities. Just one goal on the man advantage would have given them the win.

Ugly: The Flames have just one win in their past five games. They on a bit of a cold streak and with the Sharks, Golden Knights, and now the Canucks surging, they need to get back into the win column as soon as possible.

Next Game

Opponent: San Jose Sharks
Record: 21-12-7
Standings: 2nd in Pacific
Season Series: 0-1-0


 

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