The Flames were in action on Thursday night, in the second game of a back-to-back situation. After taking the victory in Detroit, the Flames looked to continue their 2019 winning ways against the Boston Bruins. In the second game of a four game road trip, Calgary would once again go back to Mike Smith in net with David Rittich still nursing an injury.
It was a tale of special teams in the first period, starting with Michael Frolik scoring a shorthanded goal shortly after a Boston 5-on-3 powerplay. Just over a minute later, on the same double minor penalty by Elias Lindholm, the Bruins would tie the game at one off a John Moore tally. The Bruins would’t stop there in the first, as a beautifully won battle and tip from Jake DeBrusk gave the home team a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
The goals continued early into the second frame, as just over a minute in, Lindholm made up for his previous penalty and score his 20th of the season. Although it was reviewed, the initial play by Johnny Gaudreau and the tap in for Lindholm would stand. The now 2-2 tie was short lived, as just over 30 seconds later Brad Marchand regained the Boston lead at 3-2. The remainder of the second period included many chances for both teams, but the score remained the same.
Early goals would be a story line last night, as 51 seconds into the third period a set play from the Bruins would give David Pastrnak his 25th of the season to increase the Bruins lead to two. Things would stay that way until midway through the third, where Gaudreau would finally cash in on one of his chances to get the lead down to one. The third period was all Flames, and with Gaudreau’s goal it looked to be a similar comeback story-line in the making. Unfortunately for the Flames, an extremely soft shot found its way past Smith moments later. Although the momentum was in favor of the Flames, the soft goal simply was too much to overcome.
Mikael Backlund would get the Flames back within one, but an empty net goal with just under two minutes left sealed the 6-4 victory for the Bruins. Jaroslav Halak was a key reason for the victory, stopping 33 of 37 Flames shots that he faced.
|All Situations||5v5||SVA 5v5|
5v5 Player Stats
- Only one Flames player posted a CF% below 50%: Oliver Kylington at 47.6%
- Mark Giordano led his team, and the game, in CF% with a 74.2%. His partner TJ Brodie was close behind with 73.5%
- In addition to the top pairing, the Flames had six players post CF%’s above 70.0%
- The Bruins didn’t have a single player post a positive possession rating
- David Krejci led his team in CF% with a 46.2%, which was still lower than the lowest Flame skater
- Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson posted a game worst CF% of 18.2%
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Neal
Czarnik – Ryan – Hathaway
Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
DeBrusk – Krejci – Forsbacka Karlsson
Heinen – Kuraly – Wagner
Backes- Cave – Acciari
Chara – Carlo
Krug – Moore
Grzelcyk – Miller
Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff
Thoughts on the Game
Some call it a schedule loss, I would prefer to call it a missed opportunity. The Flames actually played quite well last night against a strong Bruins team, but a few missed chances really sunk them in the long term.
Starting off with the powerplay, which simply needed to be better last night. With a two man advantage for over 40 seconds, in addition to many other timely attempts, the Flames just needed one of these opportunities to cash in on. They mainly struggle with two aspects: set-up and the second unit. The Flames struggle to set up their powerplay, and often spend the opening seconds recovering from their own zone. We have seen them score almost instantaneously when properly set up, but that is a rare occurrence. Last night they never seemed fully prepared. The second unit has only been able to contribute five goals this season, which is abysmal. It would almost be better to have the first unit play for two full minutes instead. They simply need a change.
I hate to also beat the Smith drum again, but he unfortunately cost his team yet again last night. The majority of goals were bad, with Marchand’s and DeBrusk’s being unforgivable. Just when the Flames were gaining significant momentum in the third, they couldn’t get a save from their goalie. After a strong performance last night, it was back to the normal for Smith. At some point, you have to see if Jon Gillies can make his mark in the NHL.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Ugly
Gaud: Lindholm hit the 20 goal plateau for the first time in his career. 30 is easily in reach for the Swede.
Bad: The Flames went 0/4 on the powerplay, in addition to not capitalizing on a two man advantage.
Ugly: After a successful start against the Red Wings, Smith was only able to stop 21 of 26 shots he faced. Finishing with a .808 SV%, the Flames needed more from their netminder tonight.
Opponent: Philadelphia Flyers
Standings: 8th in Metropolitan
Season Series: 1-0-0