A few days after suffering a heart breaking OT loss to the Nashville Predators, the Flames were back in action against the insufferable Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning entered the game having lost their previous four contests, but you wouldn’t have known watching this match-up. The Flames fell behind 3-0 at one point, and although they were able to bring it back within one goal on two separate occasions, they were unable to get over the hump. The Flames lose their first game in regulation on this road-trip, falling 4-3 in Tampa.
5v5 Player Stats
- Erik Gustafsson led the team in terms of CF%, with a 56.3% in 11:49 of 5v5 ice time
- Mark Jankowski posted a game-low CF% of 23.08%
- The second pairing of Rasmus Andersson and Noah Hanifin were on the ice for 4 HDCA and 0 HDCF
- Tyler Johnson started the scoring and led the game in possession with a CF% of 71.4%
- Ondrej Palat didn’t fare as well in terms of CF%, coming last on his team with 38.9%
- Blake Coleman had an impressive game with 2 individual HDCF and was on the ice for 4 HDCF and 0 HDCA
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Thoughts on the Game
Quite the experience yesterday afternoon in Tampa Bay. First of all, fans had to put up with countless reminders of the unfortunate ending to the ’04 playoff run. More importantly though, they had to watch their team play simply a frustrating game to say the least.
Although the Lightning had lost their previous four games, it was very evident that this team is still extremely good at hockey. They completely outplayed the Flames, especially on the offensive end. They held the lion’s share in terms of scoring chances, were able to generate far more off the rush, and were quick to match the Flames at every turn. It was a miracle that the Flames lost this game by a just single goal.
Now that being said, the Flames did have their fair share of decent play too. This was led yet again by the Matthew Tkachuk, Mikael Backlund, and Andrew Mangiapane line. They continue to pace the team and have been impressive in doing so. Another goal for Mangiapane has him up to 17(!!) on the season, and there is no doubt that the young winger is on the precipice of his first 20 goal season.
Now the not so fun stuff. Geoff Ward has done what he can do since taking over for the Flames under tough circumstances. Last night though may have been his worst coached game; and also potentially may have cost them the game.
First of all, Derek Ryan, who may be the Flames most consistent forward this entire season, appeared to be stapled to the bench all game. He only played 7:21 in the entire game, with 4:28 of 5v5 time. Since returning from his sickness, Ryan hasn’t looked quite like himself defensively, but not using him against one of the best teams in the league is counter productive at best.
Of course, Ward’s most inexcusable decision came at the end of the game. After Sean Monahan brought the team within one goal, and then having the top players establish significant zone time with the goalie pulled, Ward chose not to call a timeout after play was stopped with under a minute left.
Johnny Gaudreau even seemed to motion for one to no avail. In choosing not to do so, he put out his next best line combination including Sam Bennett and Milan Lucic. Obviously we are not here to criticize the players, but you need your best players on the ice in order to give yourself a chance to win the game. Ward did not, and in doing so probably cost the team an opportunity to tie the game.
Perhaps a bit harsh, but at this point of the season every single point matters. After a huge three-point swing on Thursday, the Flames needed at least a single one badly.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the UGLY
Good: Elias Lindholm had a very solid afternoon. A goal and an assist and was second on the team in CF% with a 54.5% at 5v5.
Bad: Special teams were not where they usually were over the past few games. Although they scored a PPG late, they also gave up a SHG and allowed two PPGs over the course of the game.
Ugly: Speaking of allowed PPGs, the Flames were very poor in terms of discipline. Giving the sixth-best power play in the league four opportunities, including one in the middle of the third, is not a sound strategy.
Opponent: Florida Panthers
Standings: 4th in the Atlantic
Season Series: 1-0-0
Photo by: Getty Images via NHL.com/Flames
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