The second iteration of this season’s Battle of Alberta featured David Rittich playing in his first start since February 2, eight games ago. On the other end of the ice stood Mike Smith, making for two fresh goalies playing in the provincial battle. The Flames would be without Sean Monahan for the game, as it was announced he was injured.
Onto the game. There’s a handful of different game recaps to copy and paste from, but the Flames got off to a poor start and one bad play later and the Flames were down by a goal. Jesse Puljujarvi put the Oilers up by one less than six minutes into the game.
Give the Flames some minor credit though, they passed the incredibly low bar of not having a disaster of a period for the remainder first, and ended up playing with better pace. In search of more positives, just seeing Calgary give some form of a response before the intermission was a good sign.
A large majority of the second period was uneventful; however, towards the end of the frame, Gaetan Haas scored another for the Oilers to get ahead by two. It was a bit of an unlucky play as Noah Hanifin sprawled in the crease to help defend the net, but in doing so his momentum put Rittich out of position to recover.
The Flames immediately responded with some fanciful stickwork and footwork from Johnny Gaudreau to make Tyson Barrie trip over himself in the corner, giving Gaudreau all the time in the world to pass the puck off to Rasmus Andersson, who made no mistake beating Smith to cut the lead in half.
In search of even more positives, the Flames didn’t end the period by surrendering two more goals to their opponent, so they were heading into the third period looking as best as they could have been for a trailing team. Little victories.
The third featured some low event hockey from really both teams, and that type of hockey only works out in favour of the leading team. In this case, the Oilers were happy to kill time while the Flames struggled to muster any offence.
Sam Bennett did not play a single minute in the third, Joakim Nordstrom and Connor Mackey were extremely limited too, and even Byron Froese barely got any shifts. With the shortened bench, the Flames relied most heavily on Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm up front, with support from Matthew Tkachuk, Mikael Backlund, and Andrew Mangiapane.
The Flames couldn’t draw even with the Oilers unfortunately, and the second round of the Battle of Alberta concluded with both teams sitting at one win apiece. Round Three commences tomorrow in Edmonton.
Below are all the data visualisations from the game, one better forgotten sooner rather than later:
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