The Flames started this one off strong, and had a number of dangerous chances that were thwarted by Aaron Dell. After scoring early in the second on the man-advantage, they let the pedal off the gas and allowed the Sharks to score two in just over four minutes. The visitors added a third in the third to seal this one 3-1.
5v5 Player Stats
- Prior to getting injured, Mark Giordano posted a perfect 100% CF in 11 minutes of icetime
- Buddy Robinson did not look as good as he has in games past, posted a team low 33.3% CF
- Andrew Mangiapane had two individual Corsi chances, two individual scoring chances and two individual high danger chances. A truly special individual!
- Dylan Gambrell and Maxim Letunov posted twin 62.5% CFs in just over ten minutes of icetime. This was Letunov’s first NHL game
- Although Jumbo Joe Thornton reached 1500 career points in this game, he posted a team low 35.5% CF
- Also in his first NHL game, Alexander True recorded two individual Corsi attempts, one individual scoring chance, and one high danger chance
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Thoughts on the Game
Sean Monahan put it best when he said:
The team did not put in the requisite effort, or show the drive that they needed to show to deserve the win. They played a solid first period, and while they did have defensive zone breakdowns, they looked like they could have had a go in this one.
From there, something just hit them and they slowed down completely. Maybe it was Geoff Ward reuniting the Johnny Gaudreau – Monahan – Elias Lindholm line and then changing the second line to Matthew Tkachuk Mikael Backlund and Mangiapane, but the team just did not look the same. Ward probably saw something was not working, which may have been Robinson not looking as good as last game or the Mark Jankowski on wing experiment not playing out as planned. Whatever he saw, he made the change early in the second and the Flames struggled mightily.
As if the game could not get worse, with the Flames down by a goal already in the second, Giordano tried a one-timer but got his legs twisted up in the process. He quickly went down the tunnel and did not return. Needless to say, this is a huge loss for the team. While he has not had a Norris caliber season, he has been far and away the Flames’ best defenceman this season, and it has not been close. The Flames may have to seriously reconsider their Trade Deadline plans if he will be out longer than day-to-day.
While losing your Captain midway through a game is not good for morale, it does not excuse the miserable showing the Flames had in the second and third periods. Other than the one shot that the Flames had from Backlund on the play that Gio was injured, they had no other shots on target that period. Then in the whole of the third period, they had four (4) shots on target. That is simply not good enough.
With all due respect to the San Jose Sharks, they are having a brutal season with injury luck and under-performing players. If there was a game the Flames should have had in the bag, it was this one. The Flames did not bring their A game to this one, and it really showed. With the way that they have played the last few games, it is becoming more difficult to imagine this team making the post-season. Hopefully this is the loss that reminds the team that they are better than they have played so far this season.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the UGLY
Good: The Flames top pairing of Rasmus Andersson and Giordano (pre-injury) did an excellent job of shutting down the Sharks’ top players. Both defencemen played incredibly well
Bad: After a month between games, Michael Stone was not super effective in this one. He did had three shots on net and somehow was named the third star of the game, but he was on the ice for 18 scoring chances against nine high danger chances against.
Ugly: Even with 55% offensive zone starts, Gaudreau was on the ice for nine high danger chances against and 18 scoring chances against. Yikes!
Opponent: Nashville Predators
Standings: 4th in the Central
Season Series: 1-0-0
Photo by: Gerry Thomas/ NHLI via Getty Images