Playing in their final makeup game for previously postponed matches, the Calgary Flames faced off against the Nashville Predators in the second game of a back-to-back set in what very likely be a first round playoffs preview. Having won the prior game against the Blackhawks, the Flames turned to starting Dan Vladar in the pipes to give Jacob Markstrom rest.
The Flames were clearly tired to start the game, having travel included in their back-to-back schedule. In a fairly low-event first period, the Flames were flat footed while the Predators were more steady.
There wasn’t exactly a lot of action on either end of the ice, but Vladar had to stay sharp to make timely saves, whereas his counterpart Juuse Saros was hardly challenged.
The game remained scoreless after one.
With seven minutes elapsed in the second period, Nashville opened the scoring on their power play. Filip Forsberg potted his 39th goal of the season ringing it off the far post and in on a one-timer.
Less than five minutes after, the Predators scored again to double their lead. Matt Duchene was the last to touch the puck on a bit of a scrambled play and thus made himself the eighth player to hit 40 goals this year.
Later in the period, the Flames answered back on thir own power play. Off the faceoff, Calgary had possession and quickly cycled the puck. Gaudreau sent the puck to the net and Matthew Tkachuk partially fanned on his shot attempt. However, the fan sent the puck across the crease to Andrew Mangiapane to clean up for the goal.
The goal also brings Tkachuk to 60 assists and Gaudreau to a whopping 70. Tkachuk also pulled within one point of scoring 100 points on the season.
The Flames went into the second intermission trailing by one. They didn’t have the cleanest two periods of hockey, but kept themselves in the contest instead of keeling off.
Despite trailing by one, the Flames didn’t open the third period with too much urgency. However, they were opportunistic. Transitioning out of their own zone and into the Predators, Tyler Toffoli‘s initial shot rebounded into the slot and Mangiapane picked it up and tucked it past Saros’ outstretched pad into the net.
Just like that, the Flames erased their deficit and the game was tied. The Flames had their looks throughout the third but neither they nor the Predators were able to score the go-ahead goal.
The game would require overtime, and both Calgary and Nashville picked up big points in their quests to clinch the Pacific Division and the first wild card spot, respectively.
Just like their first tilt this at the start of the season, the Flames and Predators needed extra time to solve the game. The Predators took the first match with a game-winning goal from Matt Duchene and were hoping for a repeat.
Overtime was a battle of chances and opportunities for both teams, but Saros and Vladar both made incredible saves to extend the game.
Late in overtime, the Flames were called for a too many men penalty, but Vladar made huge saves in the shortened penalty kill to pull the game into the shootout instead.
In the shootout, Mikael Granlund scored in the Predators’ third shot and Toffoli couldn’t answer back. The Flames couldn’t complete the comeback, but their magic number to clinch the Pacific drops down to 1.0. If the Edmonton Oilers lose against the Dallas Stars in regulation, the Flames will clinch the division.
It was a close one, but the Flames fell just short. Vladar and Mangiapane were two big reasons the Flames got a point instead of succumbing to the scheduled loss.
Data visualisations from the game are below!
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