The Calgary Flames earned two points after a 4-3 OT win over Vancouver, Monday night. It was not a pretty game by any means but good is sometimes good enough.
A Much Improved First Period
The Flames had a horrific first period in their last meeting. They were outshot 20-3 and not recording a shot until 11 minutes in.. The penalty kill struck early after Dillion Dube was called for hooking and naturally, the Flames would lose steam early. It didn’t take long for the Canucks to take advantage of that, putting them ahead by two.Milan Lucic cut the deficit in half after scoring his forth goal of the year.
It was not a pretty period for the Flames PK either. They found themselves on the kill four times in the first 20. Connor Mackey earned two trips to the box in his second NHL game. Calgary’s golden child, Johnny Gaudreau found himself in there on an interference call.
Relying On Momentum
One of the most frustrating things about the Flames is how heavily they rely on positive momentum. If things are going south, expect them to keep spiraling but if things are good, they’ll be really good. Elias Lindholm tied it up before Dube redeemed himself with a goal. There was a bit of confusion around the goal, though. Vancouver’s Nate Schmidt tried to pass the puck to goalie Thatcher Demko but Dube’s stick tipped it in. Thanks for that, Nate.
Dube’s go ahead goal set the tone for a good portion of the third period. One thing I did want to touch on was Elias Lindholm and Tyler Myers. Lindholm was called for elbowing Myers. Elbows to the head are never good or acceptable but I believe it was an unfortunate collision as Myers was already falling.
The Friendship Tour Continues
It shouldn’t come to a surprise that the Flames are ranked the best third period team in the league. For some reason, they find themselves playing their best hockey at crunch time.
The Flames are also great at getting under their opponents’ skin. Tonight, it was Andrew Mangiapane’s turn.
A fantastic defensive play turned into Tyler Myers needing a hug, Mangiapane getting the Brad Marchand treatment, and of course- Matthew Tkachuk and Mackey in the penalty box.
Tkachuk has fallen into a slight slump. He appears afraid to shoot the puck which leads to overpassing which is never good. It’s no surprise that he chimed in on this scrum. Although, he does appear to be picking his battles these days.
In true Flames fashion, they got too comfortable on the ice and allowed the Canucks to tie it up. Jacob Markström was visibly upset. How many dinners does this team owe him now?
Overtime was over before it really started when Gaudreau buried one. It wasn’t time to call it a night just yet though. The Canucks would not go down without a fight and challenged the goal. Toronto reviewed the offside challenge and the call on the ice stood.
Everyone say thank you, Johnny and Toronto for allowing Calgary to go to bed before too much free hockey.
The Flames walked away with two points. That’s all you can ask for. It was an improvement from Saturday’s performance but certainly not the full sixty they need to be playing.
Captain Mark Giordano and Rasmus Andersson were split up and demoted from the first pairing. Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin rightly slid up to that first pair. Giordano was paired with Valimaki on the second line. While Andersson earned a spot with Mackey on the back end.
Goaltending cannot keep saving this team. The Flames are lucky they have Markström and I hope everyone has pitched in to buy him a new car or something really nice. He’s carrying the weight of this team on his back. Even after facing 47 shots, the team couldn’t bail him out.
Being outshot two games in a row is not ideal but the deficit tonight was far less. 33-27 is more ideal but still a heavy workload for Markstrom. It was Gaudreau who bailed him out but before taking it to OT.
The Flames wrap up their four game trip to Vancouver on Wednesday.