About Last Night #67: Flames fall in Vegas in potential playoff preview

The Calgary Flames started a quick two game road swing through the Southwest of the Pacific division; starting with the first of two games within a week they’ll face the Vegas Golden Knights. David Rittich got his second start in a row.

The first period started out well as both teams came ready to play. In the early going the teams exchanged good scoring chances and played an end-to-end game. The Flames found themselves in penalty trouble early on though, and with Garnett Hathaway off for tripping at the 7:52 mark, Vegas capitalized. Shea Theodore picked up a rebound off a Mark Stone shot and fired it past a screened Rittich.

Later in the first, Calgary seemingly drew even. With Matthew Tkachuk parked in front at the top of the crease, Gaudreau buried a rebound under a sprawling Marc-Andre Fleury. However, upon review, it was deemed that Tkachuk made incidental contact and thus prevented Fleury from making the additional save and the goal was waived off. The period ended with Vegas in front 1-0.

In a penalty filled second period, the teams again traded scoring chances before Travis Hamonic fired home his seventh of the season. On another screened shot from the point, Hamonic found the back of the net and knotted the game at one goal apiece.

The remainder of the second would see no other scoring, however it did have its share of fireworks, including a nice stare down between Rittich and Fleury from their respective blue lines. They didn’t drop the trappers/blockers, but they sure looked close.

With not much room for error neither team was giving much in the final frame. After another evenly played first half of the period, Vegas managed to break through with another goal from a defenceman, with former Flame Deryk Engelland notching the go ahead goal midway through the period.

Calgary continued to make a push in the last half of the third, even pulling Rittich with slightly over two minutes left to play. Despite a valiant effort to tie the game, the Flames would fall just short of registering their first win on Vegas ice.

The final score of 2-1 was definitely indicative of a strong goal-tending duel. The Flames are right back in action with a game against Arizona, tonight where they’ll try and snap their season long three game regulation losing streak.

Statistical Breakdown

Team Stats

All Situations5v5SVA 5v5
CF45.9%50.5%49.8%
SCF45.5%52.5%53.1%
HDCF50.0%53.9%55.0%

5v5 Player Stats

Calgary Flames
  • Michael Frolik had the Flames high mark with a 65.2 CF%
  • Tkachuk had his finger prints all over this game and led the way with three individual HDCF
  • Austin Czarnik had a team worst 29.4 CF%
Vegas Golden Knights
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick

Line Combinations

Calgary Flames

Gaudreau – Monahan – Tkachuk
Mangiapane – Backlund – Lindholm
Bennett – Jankowski – Czarnik
Frolik – Ryan – Hathaway

Giordano – Andersson
Hanifin – Hamonic
Brodie – Prout

Rittich
Smith

Vegas Golden Knights

Marchessault – Karlsson – Smith
Pacioretty – Stastny – Stone
Pirri – Eakin – Tuch
Carpenter – Bellemare – Reaves

Schmidt – Engelland
Mcnabb – Theodore
Merrill – Miller

Fleury
Subban

Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff

Thoughts on the Game

Many Flames fans didn’t know what to expect from this game with about three months and one Mark Stone between the last time these two teams met.

It most certainly lived up to its billing as a possible playoff match-up between these two teams. This game had a little bit of everything, from a bit of goal scoring to some bad blood showing up. Regardless of what the scoreboard read at the end of the night, Calgary played a very evenly matched game and it could have gone either way.

What this game did do was show is that Calgary is the real deal. In a late season game with playoff implications, the Flames more than held their own. They proved that they have what it takes to grind out a seven game series with a team like Vegas.

The other interesting story line in this one was the Flames facing Mark Stone for the first time since narrowly missing out on acquiring him at the February 25th trade deadline. Stone looked good, however the Flames proved that they can stay with Vegas’ dangerous top two lines.

If this game was a litmus test for the Flames’ playoff chances, I would say that they passed with flying colours.

The Gaud, the Bad, and the Ugly

Good: In a game that very closely resembled a playoff atmosphere, the Flames played well. Both the score and the underlying numbers show a very tightly contested game between two elite teams.

Bad: We spun the goaltender interference wheel once again, and came up short.

Ugly: Doesn’t matter how you choose to look at it, the reality of the situation is that the Flames have dropped three straight in regulation. This is the most important part of the season and they badly need to pick up two points tonight.

Next Game

Opponent: Arizona Coyotes
Record: 32-29-5
Standings: 4th in the Pacific
Season Series: 3-0-0


Photo by Matt Zambonin/NHLI via Getty Images

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