The Calgary Flames played a very fine first period in Raleigh, North Carolina on Tuesday night. It was followed by an okay second and a pretty lousy third, as they spotted themselves a one goal lead and held on for dear life. It didn’t quite work out, as they suffered a 2-1 road loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
It was a back and forth first period. It was a bit unstructured and scrambly, with both teams getting nice rushes and scoring chances but both goaltenders looking sharp.
The Flames got on the board first, as Johnny Gaudreau out-maneuvered Dougie Hamilton and fed Elias Lindholm in the slot for a slapper that beat Petr Mrazek. That made it 1-0 Flames.
Booing him only increases his power levels pic.twitter.com/3F94xaJjIh
— FlamesNation (@FlamesNation) October 29, 2019
Mikael Backlund appeared to score a few minutes later at the end of a nice pressure sequence from the Flames, but it was overturned after the Hurricanes challenged the goal due to being offsides.
Shots were 11-10 Flames and scoring chances 7-4 Flames.
Neither team scored in the second, though the Hurricanes shelled the Flames with chances but kept missing the net. The Flames evened things out a bit in the second half of the period, though.
Shots were 13-7 Flames, but chances were 13-6 Hurricanes.
The Flames got shelled in the third period. They had zero five-on-five shots on goal. Zero. Mark Giordano took a penalty midway through the period. The Flames killed it off, but got hemmed in own end after the penalty expired. Andrei Svechnikov got some time and space behind the net, so he jammed the puck in lacrosse-style in the space between David Rittich’s mask and the post. That made it 1-1.
My lord Svechnikov. The lacrosse goal is absurd. pic.twitter.com/ro7HSGpKQg
— Mike Pfeil (@mikeFAIL) October 30, 2019
A few minutes later Matthew Tkachuk took a penalty. On the ensuing power play Rittich got speared in the groin area by Erik Haula but no penalty was called – Haula was jamming away at a puck he felt was loose, so presumably the officials felt it was a hockey play. Off the next face-off, Rittich was beaten by a Svechnikov wrister with a Haula screen to make it 2-1 Hurricanes.
That’s how it ended. The Flames had a late power play but couldn’t do a lot with it. Shots were 10-4 Hurricanes and chances 6-3 Hurricanes in the final 20 minutes of this game.
Why the Flames Lost
The Flames played a good game for the first half or so, but really seemed to abandon their structure as the game went along. They didn’t get overly fancy or play terribly, but the Hurricanes stuck to their program while the Flames seemed to abandon theirs.
And this will sound like a broken record, but the Flames remain the NHL’s most-penalized club and seem to take penalties at the most inopportune times.
Let’s go with Rittich, who held them in this one as long as he could.
Honourable mentions to Tkachuk and Lindholm for their attempts at creating offense.
The Turning Point
In Regina, the Flames took a third period penalty that directly led to the game-tying goal. In Raleigh, they took penalties six minutes apart that were followed by the game-tying and game-winning goals. The Flames have a good penalty kill generally, but they simply gave a surging Hurricanes club way too many kicks at the can when the game was on the line.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and That
This was career game 100 for Alan Quine.
Noah Hanifin left the game midway through the third period after blocking a shot with his ankle on a penalty kill. He returned late in the period, though.
The Flames (6-6-2) head to Tennessee tonight. They have a spooky Halloween meeting with the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.