The Calgary Flames came to Ottawa looking to break free of their scoring drought, after being shut out in their previous game for the first time in 2021. The Flames were starting the game without Brett Ritchie, who has been playing on the second line for the past while. His injury promoted Sam Bennett up and also allowed Zac Rinaldo to draw into the game.
For the Senators, 22-year-old Filip Gustavsson was starting his first ever NHL after making his first appearance in relief due to a midgame injury to Joey Daccord. The Flames, all things considered, had a decent opportunity to exploit the inexperience. However, they did not take advantage of said opportunity at all.
In the first period, the Flames were playing the high shot volume game, looking like they hoped to get one past Gustavsson on a goaltending gaffe or something of that sort. Most of their shots were not exactly dangerous. The Senators scored first, as Ryan Dzingel made amends to putting himself offside on a potential breakaway and shot one past Jacob Markstrom.
The Flames responded with more and more shots from afar, and this was the theme all game long. Throughout the second period, the Flames tripled the Senators in shot attempts, and posted 13 shots to Ottawa’s four. However, many shots came from the point, making for easy saves or easy blocks for the Senators.
Despite the raw numbers showing an offensive onslaught, the Flames could not execute any effective offence and it looked like they were playing tired hockey, despite that not being the case. Between some miscues, being unable to string together some cross-seam passes, and really not making the Seantors work very much at all, it was a period that led to more frustration than momentum.
After five straight periods of not scoring, the Flames found themselves in the situation of being in dire need of a goal above all else. Getting shut out twice in a row would not be ideal, and it’d sink they’d face even steeper odds of making it back into the playoffs.
However, the same story unfolded where Calgary was not able to really cause too much trouble for Ottawa, and most plays were effectively ended by landing on a Senators stick and being sent out of the zone. It wasn’t until nearly the end of the game where Johnny Gaudreau scored on a breakaway that the Flames seemed to have hope again.
Super, really extremely unfortunately, the Flames could neither score another nor send the game to overtime. With two and a half minutes left, Chris Tierney scored for Ottawa, putting them up 2-1 which would be enough to prevent the Flames from securing any points.
Looking at the visualisations, the most frustrating thing is that Calgary put up 68 shot attempts, and based on location, they literally developed a pattern of shooting at low-danger locations. Ottawa had more shot attempts from between the hashmarks despite having just 41 shot attempts.
Calgary’s playing themselves right out of a playoff position right now, and it’s time they take a serious look at what they’re going to do heading into the trade deadline.
Check out the game visualisations below:
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