About Last Night 36: Sizzling first but ice cold second sinks Flames against Penguins

A story of two periods, the Flames started out well in the first, and led at the end of the period on a goal from Johnny Gaudreau. However, they completely took their foot off the gas, and allowed two very quick Pittsburgh goals in the second. Although the Flames pressed for the equalizer in the third, Tristan Jarry was red-hot to preserve the lead. Evgeni Malkin scored his 400th career goal into the Flames’ empty net en route to a victory 4-1 for the visitors.

Statistical Breakdown

5v5 SVACF%SCF%HDCF%xGF%
55.162.468.763.1
44.937.631.336.9

Team Stats

5v5 Player Stats

Calgary Flames
Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Bryan Rust was one of three Penguins above 50% CF, posting a 53.6% CF
  • Alex Galchenyuk posted a brutal 23.1% CF
  • No Penguins player was above 50% HDCF
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick

Thoughts on the Game

What could have been. The Flames were sensational in the first period, out-chancing Pittsburgh 13-2 in scoring chances and 6-0 in high-danger chances. Unfortunately, when Pittsburgh came out to play in the second, they could not get the puck out of their zone, and as such it ended up in the back of their net.

Cam Talbot looked quite good in the game, stopping 29 of the 31 shots he faced. The first goal he faced was a beautiful one from John Marino just as the Penguin’s power play was coming to an end. The second goal was off a shot where Talbot was completely screened and Rust simply threw it on net, saw the puck bounce off of Talbot’s glove and in. It is tricky to pin either goal on the Flames’ netminder.

Although Talbot was outstanding, his counterpart was even better. Jarry was on another level, stopping almost every shot he faced. He kept the game close in the first, and preserved the Penguins lead in the third. He even stopped a 2-0 from Milan Lucic and Dillon Dube midway through the second, which looked like it should have been a goal. The Flames just could not find an answer against him.

Once again, the first line of Mangiapane, Tkachuk, and Lindholm looked very good. Although they only posted a 42.9% CF, they did not allow a single high-danger chance against, generated two high-danger chances themselves, and generally looked dangerous up and down the ice. They were tasked with shutting down the Malkin line, which they did right until their net was empty in the third.

The second line of Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund looked good offensively, but struggled defensively. Gaudreau generated five shots on net and was flying in the offensive zone. However, the trio struggled to get the puck out of their zone when the Penguins were pressing. Even with Backlund, they have not been good enough defensively over the last few games. Something to continue watching for the Flames going forward.

In his first game back from injury, Sam Bennett looked very good. While he did not generate a shot on net himself, he had a scoring chance and a high-danger chance, as well as was on the ice for eight scoring chances for and zero against. He also played with a ton of energy, and was never shy to fight for a puck in the corners. Great to see him back to his usual self after the injury.

At the end of the day, was this a bad game for the Flames? Not entirely, but they could pinpoint their shortcomings by studying their second period. They probably didn’t deserve to lose, but sometimes you run into a goalie that completely dictates the outcome of a game, and last night was one of those times.

This team is looking more confident in themselves, and is playing with renewed energy since Geoff Ward took over, but still needs more fight when the other team puts the pressure on.

The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful(win)/UGLY(Loss)

Good: Dube and Lucic were flying in this game. Both looked very good for the Flames

Bad: Even when the Flames pressed in the third, they could not get past Jarry, and allowed two empty net goals.

Ugly: That second period… Yikes!

Next Game

Opponent: Montreal Canadiens
Record: 15-12-6
Standings: 6th in the Atlantic
Season Series: 0-0-0


Photo by: Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

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