The Calgary Flames continued their road trip through the Sunshine State, stopping in Sunrise to face the Florida Panthers. Coming off a stale loss to the Lightning, the Flames were looking to avoid their first four game losing streak of the season. The team would turn to Mike Smith between the pipes; David Rittich isn’t doing himself any favours in earning the net with a string of sub-par outings.
Just like the stands in Florida, there was hardly any action in the first period. Limited chances, not much room either way, and quite a conservative effort by the visiting squad. Frankly, this boring bout of hockey would spill into the second period as well, with a similar story line playing out for the Flames. Although the Flames would be able to generate some more offence, very few shots on net were to be considered scoring chances. The game would remain 0-0 until just under five minutes remaining in the second period, when Evgenii Dadonov deflected a point shot past Smith. This gave the Panthers as 1-0 lead heading into the third period.
Unfortunately the Flames would suffer another blow in the period, as James Neal would leave the game and not return after what appeared to be a shoulder injury. This caused a massive jumbling of lines for the remainder of the contest.
Thankfully, the bad was followed with the good; the third period magic was back. Mark Jankowski scored his tenth goal of the season (on an absolutely wicked shot might I add) to tie the game at one. However, the Panthers regained the lead on a Mike Hoffman wrist shot with around eight minutes remaining the game. Although the Flames looked to be controlling play, the Hoffman goal came off a sloppy defensive zone face-off loss. Down 2-1 with the clock winding down, the Flames weren’t waving the white flag yet. Elias Lindholm tipped a Rasmus Andersson point shot with just over two minutes left in the period to send the game to overtime.
The extra five minutes would generate some chances for both teams, but it solved absolutely nothing. In the shootout, Sean Monahan would start the scoring off, but back-to-back high glove goals on Smith would finish off the game. The Flames lose their fourth straight, falling 3-2 to the Panthers in a shootout.
|All Situations||5v5||SVA 5v5|
5v5 Player Stats
- Before leaving with an injury, Neal would lead the team in CF% at 73.3%, marking back-to-back games in which he has done so
- Derek Ryan had an off night in terms of possession; posting a team worst 30.8%
- Johnny Gaudreau was on the ice for 6 HDCA and only 2 HDCF
- Riley Sheahan led the Panthers in CF% at 56.5%
- Dadanov accounted for 3 iHDCF, one of them being the opening goal of course
- Only six Panther skaters posted positive possession ratings
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Bennett
Mangiapane – Jankowski – Neal
Hathaway – Ryan – Frolik
Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson
Huberdeau – Barkov – Malgin
Hoffman – McCann – Dadonov
Vatrano – Borgstrom – Brouwer
Hawryluk – Lammikko – Sceviour
Yandle – Ekblad
Matheson – Pysyk
Kiselevich – Weegar
Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff
Thoughts on the Game
The slide continues. Of course, this was another contest where the Flames should have come out on top, but didn’t. The PDO gods are frowning down on the team. The Flames were getting strange victories in January, but now they are being handed strange losses one month later.
It is extremely easy to be frustrated and confused about what is going on with the Flames, but be happy the four straight losses are coming now and not in April. The team is in excellent position still, but now they get to experience some adversity. Most likely this slide is going to benefit the team in the long run.
Last night’s loss wasn’t great, especially in such a dull game, but it’s another shootout loss. Obviously some improvements need to be made, but the sky is not falling yet, Chicken Little.
What will be interesting is to see the aftermath of Neal’s injury. It didn’t look great, and if it is going to keep him out long term, then perhaps the team decides to make a move earlier than expected. Even with Neal’s lack of offensive contributions, he still gave the team a better option than the lines it was rolling with last night. Perhaps Austin Czarnik finally gets his chance to stick in the lineup?
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Ugly
Good: Mike Smith stopped 30 of 32 shots that he faced, and easily played his best game in a long time. With Rittich starting to cool off, this is just the performance he needed….
Bad: …that being said, Bob Boughner had to be yelling “high-glove” to his team before the shootout. Both goals scored were on the same shot, with Smith going down a little early. This is of course a nit-pick.
Ugly: The Flames went 0/4 on the power play, generating limited offence at key times in the game. Can’t afford to have the special teams falter this late in the season.
Opponent: Pittsburgh Penguins
Standings: 4th Place in the Metropolitan
Season Series: 0-1-0 (you all remember this one)
Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images