Despite losing a close match-up last night against the Vegas Golden Knights, the Calgary Flames were right back in action against the Arizona Coyotes. Embattled in the midst of a three game regulation losing streak, their first of the season, the Flames were in dire need of a victory.
Their lead atop the Western Conference evaporated to just a single point by the end of the night, in addition to having the extra game played over the San Jose Sharks. After going with David Rittich the previous two games, the Flames turned back to Mike Smith against his former team.
The Flames may have gotten off to the better start, controlling play for the opening minutes, but it would be the Coyotes who would strike first. On a two-on-one, Clayton Keller would polish off a beautiful saucer pass from Christian Dvorak to give the Coyotes the 1-0 lead.
The pressure would continue for the rest of the period, as the Flames were unable to generate any serious chances.That trend continued into the second period, where outside of a few power play opportunities for both teams, there was little offense. The score would remain 1-0 entering the final frame.
The Coyotes would extend their lead early in the third period off a Jacob Chychrun goal. Although the Flames would challenge the goal for goaltender interference, the marker stood. The Coyotes got a glorious opportunity later in the period off of a penalty shot by Vinnie Hinostroza. Although he took his sweet time in an attempt to deke out Mike Smith, the Flames goaltender made the stop.
The Flames pulled Smith with over four minutes left, but were unable to capitalize with the extra man. The team loses its fourth straight game in regulation, dropping this one 2-0 to the Coyotes.
|All Situations||5v5||SVA 5v5|
5v5 Player Stats
- Rasmus Andersson led the game in terms of possession with a marvelous CF% of 80.0%
- Only four Flames skaters posted a CF% below 50.0%
- Travis Hamonic was the worst possession player on his team with a 41.0%
- Mark Giordano was on the ice for 10 HDCA
- Hinostroza posted a team high CF% of 60.0%
- Niklas Hjalmarsson was on the ice for 9 HDCF and 0 HDCA
- Michael Grabner accounted for 4 iHDCF in his return from injury
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Bennett
Frolik – Jankowski – Neal
Hathaway – Ryan – Czarnik
Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson
Crouse – Galchenyuk – Archibald
Grabner – Dvorak – Keller
Panik – Richardson – Hinostroza
Garland – Kempe – Cousins
Ekman-Larsson – Hjalmarsson
Chychrun – Goligoski
Connauton – Demers
Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff
Thoughts on the Game
I’m not entirely sure what has been in the water in Calgary since the seven game winning streak, but the Flames simply look dreadful as of late. The worst part is the fact that it isn’t just one or two key players, it’s simply every single player that looks a step behind.
Johnny Gaudreau is trying to do too much, Sean Monahan looks like a shade of himself, and other key forwards are all hitting a slump a the same time. Perhaps it is a team mentality, wherein they prefer working as a unit, but right now it is not a good time to be a Calgary Flame.
The effort last night was also very poor. There didn’t seem to be any urgency from the whole team, outside of a few fleeting minutes. Instead of pushing back after going down, the Flames looked like they were playing with the lead. It is a very unfamiliar sight to see for this group of Flames to play with such a sloppy effort.
I don’t know if the Coyotes deserve full credit for the victory, as they didn’t get the Flames’ best, but Darcy Kuemper played a solid game. That’s four straight goalies that truly stymied the Flames. The Coyotes also worked extremely hard to clog up the majority of shooting lanes, which made it very difficult for the Flames to muster up anything at all.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful/Ugly
Good: Andrew Mangiapane continues to impress with his recent promotions. His game has completely evolved and there is no doubt he will be a top six option for years to come.
Bad: The hit against Sam Bennett in the third period not only caused him to leave the game, but also resulted in no discipline against the Coyotes.
Ugly: The consistency of the refereeing is continuously impacting the fabric of the game, for both teams.
Opponent: Vegas Golden Knights
Standings: 3rd Place in Pacific Division
Season Series: 1-2-0
(Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)