December has not gone the way the Calgary Flames expected as they dropped their third straight, this time in overtime to the Carolina Hurricanes. The loss drops them to 15–6–6, but keeps them at the top of the Pacific Division, just one point ahead of the Anaheim Ducks.
Long and the short of it, the Flames got outplayed by a faster and more relentless Canes group. Ironically, the Canes did exactly what the Flames typically do to other teams against the home team tonight, pressing hard, pinching deep, and relentlessly forechecking the Flames for the win. It was this style of play that led to them taking an early lead in the first period, as Sebastian Aho redirected a Jaccob Slavin chance for the 1–0 lead.
The Flames were not without their chances. Very early on, Noah Hanifin was taken down on a breakway and awarded a penalty shot but was unable to convert against Frederik Andersen. In the second, however, Hanifin got his revenge, firing an absolute rocket from the top of the circle which beat the former Leaf’s netminder high under the bar.
The second and third saw a number of chances for both sides. The Canes had some great looks, but the Flames played a good tight defensive structure, which limited their opponents to mostly the outside. In particular, the Flames were able to break up passing plays through the slot, which was a key difference in this one.
For the Flames, the chances were there but the finish was not. Dillon Dube, Rasmus Andersson, Brad Richardson, and Matthew Tkachuk all had phenomenal chances that were either thwarted by a sharp Anderson, taken away by a goal-line swatting of the puck, or sheer bad luck. The Flames could have taken the win in this one but were simply unlucky on their chances.
In overtime, the Canes played a simple but relentless press, and it was Aho again who beat Jacob Markstrom on a very weird play to give the extra point to the Canes. Undoubtedly, the Flames will be looking to end this streak on Saturday night when they face off against the Boston Bruins.
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