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.

The Rundown

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.

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.

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.

Red Warrior

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.

The Numbers

Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.

Kylington 53.4 63.6 -0.050
Mangiapane 50.0 55.6 0.450
Lindholm 50.0 63.6 1.085
Tkachuk 50.0 50.0 0.440
Andersson 48.3 72.7 -0.200
Gaudreau 48.2 58.3 0.850
Rieder 47.4 50.0 0.075
Ryan 41.2 55.6 -0.040
Brodie 37.5 25.0 0.000
Backlund 34.8 50.0 -0.200
Hamonic 34.5 37.5 0.475
Frolik 33.3 50.0 -0.250
Hanifin 32.1 37.5 -0.100
Lucic 31.3 57.1 -0.245
Giordano 31.0 37.5 -0.675
Monahan 30.4 12.5 -0.320
Quine 27.3 0.0 -0.350
Bennett 26.1 14.3 -0.435
Rittich 1.100

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.

Up Next

The Flames (6-6-2) head to Tennessee tonight. They have a spooky Halloween meeting with the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

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