The Flames started off strong, but with seconds left in the first, Colton Sissons put the Predators up by a goal. That would not last long. Just 26 seconds into the second, Rasmus Andersson put the Flames level. Just a few minutes after that Mikael Backlund pulled the Flames ahead by a goal.
The Flames pressed in the third, but with just over five minutes left in the third, Roman Josi put one past David Rittich to tie it at two. The two teams looked to take the game to overtime, but with just 43 seconds left in the third, Backlund made a beautiful move in front of the net and fed Andrew Mangiapane who fired the puck past Juuse Saros and put the Flames ahead again. The Preds were not going to go away quietly. With seconds left in the game, they fired a shot on Rittich, it bounced around and then ended up behind the net. Filip Forsberg fed it right out front and with 0.1 seconds left Mikael Granlund put the puck in the back of the net and sent this game to overtime.
The Predators controlled play in the extra frame, and Granlund put the puck past Rittich just over a minute in to seal the Predators’ win.
5v5 Player Stats
- Matthew Tkachuk had an incredible game, posting a 72.7% CF. He also led the team with seven shot attempts and one high-danger chance.
- Mark Jankowski posted a game-low 33.3% CF
- Tobias Rieder posted the second lowest CF at 37.9%, but led the team with four high-danger chances for
- Scorer of the first goal Sissons led the way for the Predators with a 63.3% CF
- Defenceman Mattias Ekholm posted a team-low 35.0% CF
- Josi had a phenomenal game posting a goal, eleven individual shot attempts and one high danger chance.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Thoughts on the Game
In spite of the defeat, the Flames played a very good, well-structured game. They held their own against an equally desperate Predators team, and were it not for an excellent game from Saros, could have easily come away with a big win.
It is hard to pin this game on any one player. When a team allows four goals against it is easy to point to the man in net as the reason for the defeat. However, Rittich played a really strong game. The Flames allowed 11 high danger chances in all situations, and Rittich stopped eight of them. He also faced 38 shots against, and was playing in front of a defence with two players new to the system, a newly returned to action Mark Giordano, and Noah Hanifin who missed most of the first period with an unknown ailment.
The Flames second line was again electric. Not only did they score all of the Flames’ goals, they dominated possession and clobbered them in scoring chances. This line is doing everything right right now, and is getting hot at just the right time. It feels like forever ago when Backlund was mired in a scoring slump, and now his line cannot stop scoring.
The third line of Dillon Dube, Derek Ryan, and Milan Lucic has had a number of poor games in a row, but this game they were absolutely buzzing. The one thing that they did really well in this game is they pressed high and challenged the Preds’ defenders into making poor plays. Even though the home team has one of the stronger defensive cores in the league, this line did an incredible job challenging them behind the net, forcing turnovers and getting the puck on net. Ryan slammed the puck off the crossbar midway through the game, and both Dube and Lucic had chances to get on the scoreboard. A great turnaround game from this line.
At the end of the day, the Flames thought they had this one in the bag. When you take the lead with less than a minute left in the game, it is easy to become complacent. And complacent they were. They did not have the killer instinct to press the Predators in the final few seconds of the third, and seemed happy to block shots and hope that time expired.
Once the Predators got the tying goal, the Flames were shell-shocked. The fight was gone, and they were not prepared for the game to go into overtime. Although they managed to pick up a point, they need to (re)develop that fight and resiliency that helps teams win playoff rounds. This was a good start, let’s keep it going next game in Tampa Bay.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the UGLY
Good: Rieder played an excellent game, and showed that even though he could not score for the Oilers last season, he is still a dynamic bottom six player.
Bad: Sam Bennett took not one but two offensive zone penalties. He has looked better of late, but this needs to stop
Ugly: It hurts to get scored on with 0.1 seconds left in a game.
Opponent: Tampa Bay Lightning
Standings: 2nd in the Atlantic
Season Series: 0-0-0
Photo by: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images