The Calgary Flames wildly out-played the Ottawa Senators for the first half of Saturday afternoon’s game. Unfortunately, a combination of bad luck, bad bounces and poor attention to details sunk the Flames. They dropped a 5-2 loss to the Senators in their final outing prior to the All-Star Break.
The Flames were all over Ottawa in the opening period. They had tons of chances. They had tons of shots. They allowed the first goal, though, after Travis Hamonic attempted to swat down a Brady Tkachuk cross-zone pass and inadvertently redirected it past David Rittich to make it 1-0 Senators.
Shots were 15-3 Flames and scoring chance 20-3 Flames in the first period.
The Flames had a pair of power plays in the second period but couldn’t generate much in the way of high danger chances. Following the second kill, the Senators got a second goal. Sean Monahan got beat on a puck battle behind the net. The puck got funneled to the front of the net. The initial shot hit traffic but the rebound bounced over to Chris Tierney – left uncovered by both Monahan and Mikael Backlund – who jammed it in to make it 2-0 Senators.
Milan Lucic took a tripping penalty shortly after that. On the ensuing Senators PP, Connor Brown’s redirect trickled through Rittich and over the line to make it 3-0 Senators.
Shots were 14-8 Flames and scoring chances 9-6 Flames in the second, though high danger chances were 4-2 Senators.
The Senators added another to make it 4-0 in the third period. Mikkel Boedker’s initial shot was booted out by Rittich, and Colin White beat TJ Brodie to the rebound and beat a sprawling Rittich.
Mark Jankowski got on the board with his first of the season off the rush, cutting the Ottawa lead to 4-1. Vladislav Namestnikov scored an empty netter late in the period to make it 5-1 Senators. Noah Hanifin answered back with a couple minutes left with a shot from the top of the circles to cut the lead to 5-2 Senators, but that’s as close as the Flames got.
Shots were 13-10 Flames and chances 12-8 Flames.
Why the Flames Lost
Well, they didn’t do enough with their chances in the first half of the game – a lot of rubber came at Marcus Hogberg from well outside the home plate area – and then they weren’t quite good enough defensively in the second half to survive when their chances weren’t as plentiful. (The Flames had a 12-10 high-danger chances lead, but if you boot out the first period Ottawa led for the last two periods by a 10-7 margin.)
Defensive lapses and getting too fancy with the puck, as has been the common refrain for much of the past 50 games.
Let’s go with Hanifin, who had a really nice goal and was even in a game where his team got out-scored at even strength.
The Turning Point
The two fruitless second period PPs, followed by the second Ottawa goal, was basically a span of play that encapsulated the entire game for the Flames. Better execution on either end of the ice for the visitors could’ve made a world of difference.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and That
40+ Tkachuks pic.twitter.com/bSPX60xkD9
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) January 18, 2020
Matthew Tkachuk played 19:27 and was minus-3 with zero points and six shots on goal. Brady Tkachuk played 18:48 and was plus-1 with a goal, an assist and three shots on goal. Advantage: Brady.
The Flames (26-19-5) are off for awhile. They’re back on the practice ice next Sunday and back in game action next Tuesday when they host the St. Louis Blues.