About Last Night #77: Penalty kill falters, Flames fall short in loss to the Stars

The Calgary Flames looked to get back into the win column on Wednesday night in the middle game of a three game home-stand as they took on the Dallas Stars. The Flames turned back to David Rittich in net, who backed up Mike Smith for a few games due to sickness.

The first period had a lot of ebb and flow to it, with both teams controlling the puck for segments of time. From the midway point forward, however, the Flames managed to keep control and build up a 12-3 shot advantage over the Stars.

The flow of play changed once again however, with Austin Czarnik sitting in the penalty box on a tripping call. After the Flames were able to kill off the first half of the penalty, Alexander Radulov eventually broke through the Flames stingy penalty kill defence.

With 17:26 gone in the period, Radulov split three Calgary defenders to walk in alone on Rittich and slide a backhand through the five hole for the game’s first goal. The first would end with the score 1-0, visitors.

The second period was an uneventful frame with both teams unable to sustain any sort of prolonged pressure in each other’s zones. Outside of a Jason Spezza penalty, there was not much action to speak of.

The Stars held their 1-0 lead all the way until the 10:44 mark when they extended it, scoring on their second power play of the night (the Stars would finish 2-for-2 on the power play).

A Derek Ryan slashing penalty resulted in the eventual game winning goal for the Stars; Miro Heiskanen banging home his 11th of the season on a puck that bounced around in front of the net before he was able to fire it past Rittich.

With the Flames controlling a good portion of the play without getting rewarded for it, T.J. Brodie finally broke through with a 1:32 left and Rittich on the bench for the extra attacker.

Unfortunately there would be no magical comeback on this night, and the Flames fell in back-to-back games. The loss gives Dallas a sweep of the season series with Calgary.

Ben Bishop left the game late in the second period and would not return. Anton Khudobin would replace him and stop 15 of 16 shots to steer home the victory.

Statistical Breakdown

Team Stats

All Situations5v5SVA 5v5
CF63.3%63.1%58.8%
SCF62.8%61.0%55.5%
HDCF57.9%66.7%62.3%

5v5 Player Stats

Calgary Flames
  • Brodie was the leader on the Flames with a 80.7 CF%
  • Elias Lindholm had a team high 88.9 SCF%
  • Ten Flames had a 100.0 high-danger CF%
Dallas Stars
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick

Line Combinations

Calgary Flames

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

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Fantenberg – Andersson

Rittich
Smith

Dallas Stars

Benn – Seguin – Dickinson
Janmark – Hintz – Radulov
Cogliano – Faksa – Comeau
Nichushkin – Dowling – Spezza

Lindell – Klingberg
Heiskanen – Polak
Oleksiak – Lovejoy

Bishop
Khudobin

Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff

Thoughts on the Game

There is not much to say on this game as it was another unfortunate and “ugly” loss for the Flames, in the sense that they probably deserved a better fate.

For the second game in a row they played a team who played at the very top of their defensive game, and got very good goaltending at the same time. Both Khudobin and Bishop played extremely well, and these were the major differences in the game.

David Rittich played very well too, and did his job without getting the “run support” as they say.

Also of note, coach Bill Peters put the lines in a blender for the first two periods, only to see him return the the lines that we have seen all season long in the third period.

The loss will make the race for the Pacific a little tighter, and could make the game against the Sharks in San Jose on Sunday, a very important game in determining first in the Pacific division and Western Conference.

The Gaud, the Bad, and the Ugly

Good: Calgary finally broke the goose egg late in the third period to avoid getting shutout in back-to-back games

Bad: Calgary failed to get any real traffic in front of the opposing goalie or make life miserable for Bishop and Khudobin, for the most part. This will need to change heading into the playoffs.

Ugly: Roman Polak laid a dangerous hit on Elias Lindholm part way through the second, although Lindholm was fortunately alright. He returned to the game late in the second period.

Next Game

Opponent: Anaheim Ducks
Record: 32-36-10
Standings: 7th in the Pacific
Season Series: 1-1-0


Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

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