Returning home from a largely successful road trip, the Flames looked to win their first game in the Saddledome since January 11th. Things got off to a bad start with Jonathan Toews scoring on the Blackhawks’ first shot on net. The Flames answered back and Sam Bennett tied it up. Chicago scored again later in the first; the Flames answered back and Sam Bennett tied it up.
With Bennett’s first multi-goal game this season, he kept the Flames in the game early and the game was tied heading into the intermission. The second wasn’t great though, the Blackhawks scored thrice, while the Flames scored one. David Rittich was pulled mid-way through the second after allowing four goals. On the plus side, Elias Lindholm extended his point streak to ten games.
Entering the third, the Flames were facing a tough comeback. With not much happening in the first 15 minutes of the period, things were looking bleak for the home team. However, with the Flames on the power play late in game, Lindholm scored another goal to bring the Flames within two.
Offset penalties to Lindholm and Drake Caggiula led to 4v4 hockey late in the game, in which the Flames pulled Cam Talbot and Patrick Kane immediately scored on the empty net. To rub salt in the wound, the Blackhawks added one more goal by Kirby Dach to end the game 8-4 for the visitors.
5v5 Player Stats
- Sean Monahan posted a game-high 4 individual high-danger corsi attempts
- Mark Jankowski quietly had a game-high 80.0% CF, though his ice-time was limited to 6:34
- Rasmus Andersson led the Flames with 17:21 of 5v5 ice-time and was the best defender in terms of corsi, finishing the night with 69.7% CF
- Ryan Carpenter and Brandon Saad both had game-low 25.0% CF
- Alex DeBrincat and Alexander Nylander were the only Blackhawks to come out of the night positive in corsi, each with 53.3% CF and 52.9% CF, respectively; four other Blackhawks broke even at 50.0%
- Dach was the only Blackhawk with multiple high-danger CF with two, the rest of the team had four in total
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Thoughts on the Game
One of the games you’d rather forget, the Flames didn’t get the job done. With both the Flames and Blackhawks going through their struggles: the former with a home-ice losing streak of four, and the latter with a five-game losing streak, there was lots to prove on the ice and the visitors came out on top.
In a game where the Flames actually were the better overall team, the Blackhawks were simply the more opportunistic. It felt like every goal against the Flames came off of a bad turnover, and most actually did. To let a game slip like that where every mistake is costly is the epitome of Flames hockey this season.
Were there positives in the game? Yes, many. Bennett was great, Johnny Gaudreau had a stellar game, Lindholm was scorching hot, Dillon Dube and Oliver Kylington had two assists each, etc., etc… but all these positives are overshadowed by an embarrassing eight goals against. That’s the second time in exactly two Saturdays that the Flames let in eight goals at home.
The on-ice product at home just isn’t getting the job done. It’s disheartening to be in a slump in front of the home crowd, but the Flames just returned from one of their better (if not best) road trips of the season. They need to look past this loss and build on their aggregate play as of late.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Ugly
Good: Gaudreau was a standout player, he was absolutely buzzing and looked like the Johnny Hockey we all know
Bad: David Rittich had some nice saves, but also let in some ones he’d definitely want back
Ugly: How many goals did the Flames let in by losing possession from behind the net and losing the shooter out front? I lost count.
Opponent: Anaheim Ducks
Standings: 7th in the Pacific
Season Series: 2-0-0
Photo by Terence Leung/NHLI via Getty Images