In their second last game of the year, the Calgary Flames finally gave Louis Domingue his first start since March 1, 2020, back when he was still a Vancouver Canuck. Facing his former team with nothing on the line, the goaltender and the Flames closed out their final road game of the year with a loss.
In the first period, the Canucks scored twice to reintroduce Domingue to NHL play. The first goal came midway through the frame from a well placed shot from Travis Hamonic, who scored his second goal in as many games. With less than a minute remaining, Nils Hoglander picked up the rebound from Tyler Myers‘ initial shot and added to Vancouver’s lead.
In the middle frame, Tyler Myers looked to extend Vancouver’s lead, but the goal was challenged by the Flames and was ruled offside. More on Myers in a minute. Connor Mackey, playing in his fifth NHL game, made his presence known with a second straight fighting major after taking on Jonah Gadjovich last game, and this game with a bigger opponent in Bo Horvat.
As the third period came around, the Canucks slowed their pace down while the Flames picked theirs up, but Vancouver extended the lead with Myers scoring again, and this time there would be no challenge. With the game all but over with less than five minutes remaining, the Flames made it interesting. Adam Ruzicka made a good play with good effort to keep the puck by the boards after having two Canucks target him, but he was able to find Milan Lucic who found Andrew Mangiapane for the goal.
The Flames’ first goal marked Ruzicka’s first NHL point, coming off a secondary assist where he did a whole lot of work. The goal also marked Mangiapane retaking the team lead for 5v5 P/60 with a mark of 2.10 now, all while still scoring zero secondary assists.
With exactly one minute remaining, Johnny Gaudreau took a shot that Thatcher Demko couldn’t quite catch, and as the puck was falling, Matthew Tkachuk tapped it right past to draw the Flames within one. However, unlike the Canucks pulling the previous game to overtime, the Flames couldn’t do the same as Brock Boeser scored the empty net goal to hand Calgary the loss.
With one game remaining, the Flames are still looking at anywhere between 11th and 13th best odds, as they can still pass the Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks if they pick up two points in their final game.
Check out the game visualizations from the afternoon tilt below.
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