Talk about not starting on time. The Flames fell behind by not one, but two goose just minutes into the game. It did not get much better; the first period ended with the Flames down 3-1. It was all downhill from there, with David Rittich getting pulled midway through the second, only to be replaced in the third after Cam Talbot fought Mike Smith. There was little in the way of good news from the Flames through the third, and they lost this one 8-3.
5v5 Player Stats
- Mark Giordano posted a team high 53.3% CF, one of only four Flames over 50% CF
- Oliver Kylington did not have a great night posting a game low 22.7% CF
- Tobias Rieder had three individual high danger chances and four individual Corsi events for
- Leon Draisaitl posted a game high 73.3% CF
- Zack Kassian posted a team low 38.1% CF
- Only three Oilers players players were below 50% CF, one of which was Connor McDavid
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Thoughts on the Game
If you were looking for some Saturday night entertainment, this was an excellent game. There were beautiful goals from both teams, tons of hitting, and even a goalie fight. If you are a Flames fan, you probably don’t care too much about the entertainment, when your team was on the wrong end of an 8-3 drubbing, and probably deserved that scoreline. Here is what really went wrong for the Flames.
The team did not start on time. This has been a persisting issue for this team all season long. They got beat early after Travis Hamonic gets bumped off the puck down low, and nobody picks up a wide open Kailer Yamamoto right in front of the net. Then T.J. Brodie gets bumped off the puck by McDavid, and Josh Archibald feeds Kassian to put it past Rittich. All this happening less than two minutes into the first. You could always hope that Big Save Dave would come up with one or both of those stops, but the fact of the matter is the Flames hung him out to dry.
For a team known for their strength on D, that group did not come out to play. The Oilers pressured the Flames’ defense hard in their own zone, creating turnovers which led to a number of goals. Hamonic and Noah Hanifin had a really rough night, with the latter looking especially bad defensively. While it is easy to look back when playing against the two top scorers in the league, they looked truly horrendous up and down the ice. They were on the ice for two goals against and five high danger chances against.
The bottom pairing for the Flames was also horrendous. Kylington and Rasmus Andersson could not pin down any of the Oilers. They were on the ice for two goals against and posted some of the lowest Corsi for numbers in the game.
In spite of how badly they played, and how they hung both of their goalies out to dry, there were a few key performances. First and foremost, Buddy Robinson got his first goal for the Flames, off of a beautiful feed from Johnny Gaudreau. He dished out a number of key hits, and even dropped the gloves with Jujhar Khaira. He was buzzing up and down the ice, and brought an energy that was fitting in this contest.
The Flames’ fourth line also had a number of key chances. Sam Bennett and Tobias Rieder were especially dangerous in the offensive zone. They came out with a ton of energy, and did what they could to try and capitalize. This energy was mostly lacking in the top nine in this game.
At the end of the day, this one was a tough one to watch. The Flames looked disinterested and disengaged. They struggled to get the puck out of their own zone, let alone create chances offensively. They allowed 49 shots on goal, in a game in which the opposing goalie was Smith. The will to win was lacking, and the Oilers took advantage. The Flames need to tighten up defensively if they want to continue this rivalry in the playoffs.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the UGLY
Good: Talbot fighting Smith was one of the few true highlights for Flames fans. Although he lost, it was the first time a goalie fight happened in the Battle of Alberta
Bad: The Flames just did not come out to play tonight, in one of the games that they really should have.
Ugly: Dropping two points against a Pacific Division rival is never good. Losing like that too the Oilers? Downright ugly.
Opponent: San Jose Sharks
Standings: 6th in the Pacific
Season Series: 1-2-0
Photo by: Derek Leung/ NHLI via Getty Images