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About Last Night #41: Slow start sinks Flames against Canucks

After a dominating showing against their provincial rivals, the Flames were back in action Sunday evening against another Pacific Division opponent. The Vancouver Canucks entered the contest having won their previous four games, looking to extend their win streak to five. After playing the previous night, the Canucks showed no signs of slowing down as they jumped out to an early 3-0 lead against the Flames. They wouldn’t look back from this, as the Canucks carried the lead the entire game, earning their fifth straight victory with a score of 5-2.

Statistical Breakdown


Team Stats

5v5 Player Stats

Calgary Flames
  • Andrew Mangiapane and Elias Lindholm tied for the team lead in CF% with 71.4%.
  • In addition to those two skaters, only four other Flames posted positive possession ratings.
  • Milan Lucic had a tough night in terms of possession, posting a team worse 31.6%.
  • The Flames only registered two HDCF at 5v5 all game.
  • Antoine Roussel posted a game high 80.0% CF% at 5v5.
  • Only five Canuck skaters posted CF%’s below 50%.
  • Jay Beagle and Tim Schaller posted game lows of 25.0% CF.
  • Quinn Hughes was on the ice for five HDCF and zero HDCA.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick

Thoughts on the Game

Not the game many expected after such a dominant performance in the Battle of Alberta. Even though the Canucks were coming off of a game the previous night, it was the Flames who looked lethargic. Tyler Myers’ quick power play goal was surprising and really propelled the Canucks from there. Combined with the fact that David Rittich was not as his best, it just was a nasty first period from start to finish.

I wouldn’t say it’s a ‘panic mode’ type loss, but it does start to make you wonder how inconsistent the Flames are becoming. Let’s look back at the last four games:

  • 5-1 victory in Dallas
  • 3-0 loss in Minnesota
  • 5-1 victory in Edmonton
  • 5-2 loss to Vancouver

In their two wins the Flames were simply dominant from start to finish and really looked like the same team from last year. In their two losses, the team looked like the one of their early season struggles. It’s concerning that ever since the win streak the team has been unable to string together two similar strong games together. Something to keep an eye out for.

Finally, after last night’s game I think it’s clear the Flames have some big bottom six questions to answer. The team opted for Mark Jankowski over Sam Bennett last night, which really is a toss up at this point. The likes of Jankowski and Bennett appear to have started to fall out of favour with the new coach, and with good reason. Both have been wildly inconsistent and have not been able to provide much upside this season. Jankowski has gotten the edge due to his PK ability, but then again when he is out of the lineup they haven’t necessarily struggled. With Glen Gawdin and Matthew Phillips both within the top seven in AHL scoring, it might make sense to inject them into the lineup temporarily to see how they perform. Another option is Austin Czarnik who could fill a fourth line role and provide more offensive upside for the time being.

The Gaud, the Bad, and the UGLY

Good: Talbot was excellent in relief of Rittich last night. He stopped a number of quality chances immediately after being thrown into the game. I would think he gets the look on New Years Eve. Also did we mention Miikka Kiprusoff was at the game last night?

Bad: On the flip side, Rittich did not look his best. Three goals on seven shots isn’t good to see. Just did not look like his excellent self.

Ugly: The Flames were unable to capitalize on any chance that they had. They only registered two 5v5 HDCF, and the Flames lacked any type of finish. Aside from Rasmus Andersson’s outstanding goal, the Flames looked to be discombobulated on the offensive end.

Next Game

Opponent: Chicago Blackhawks
Record: 17-17-6
Standings: 7th in the Central
Season Series: 0-0-0

Photo by: Brett Holmes / Getty Images

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