The Calgary Flames hosted the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night, hoping to make their path to the playoffs a little simpler. Instead, the Flames played a pretty sloppy defensive game and it got away from them fairly spectacularly. They lost 8-3 to Edmonton in a game punctuated by turnovers and a goalie fight.
So, a lot of stuff happened in this game.
Edmonton opened the scoring 31 seconds into the opening period off some nice pressure. Kailer Yamamoto found some quiet space on the ice, wandered in front of the net (alone), took a nice pass from Oscar Klefbom and patiently tucked a puck past David Rittich to make it 1-0 Oilers.
34 seconds later the Oilers doubled their lead. TJ Brodie couldn’t corral a loose puck during an Oiler forecheck, which allowed Josh Archibald to grab the puck and feed Zack Kassian for a nifty redirect over top of Rittich to go up 2-0.
The Flames answered back off the rush, as high school buddies Johnny Gaudreau and Buddy Robinson connected on a nice two-on-two play. Robinson received the pass, fended off a defender, and put a shot behind Mike Smith to make it 2-1 Oilers.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 2, 2020
But the Oilers answered back quickly. The very next shift their forecheck led to a Travis Hamonic penalty. On the ensuing power play, Noah Hanifin couldn’t clear the puck fully and that allowed Connor McDavid to wander in and beat Rittich to make it 3-1 Oilers.
Shots were 14-11 Edmonton and scoring chances 7-7 in the first period.
Things got out of hand in the second period. The Flames had an early PP that was pretty lousy. That disorganization led to neutral zone confusion, where McDavid’s pressure on Hanifin led to a turnover and Riley Sheahan setting up McDavid for his second goal of the game to go up 4-1. That chased Rittich from the game.
A little bit later, Andrew Mangiapane made a smart pass to Matthew Tkachuk from under the goal line. Tkachuk’s shot found its way through a lot of traffic and beat Smith to cut Edmonton’s lead to 4-2.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 2, 2020
Elias Lindholm made a dandy play to cut the lead further to 4-3. He had the puck under the goal line and was trying to pass out front to Tkachuk. Smith, sensing this, sprawled out to block the pass. So Lindholm flipped the puck over Smith’s pad, off his skate, and into the net to score.
But the Oilers added two more before the end of the period. After a few turnovers and chances, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got a gimme as he put a loose puck past a sprawling Talbot to make it 5-3. A Caleb Jones shot from the point eluded Talbot inside the post to make it 6-3.
Things got nuts later, as with 24 seconds left in the period Talbot took exception to Alex Chiasson and Sam Gagner crashing the crease. So Talbot got punchy and a crowd formed, leading to Tkachuk fighting Ethan Bear and a goalie fight between Mike Smith and Talbot. The officials called an early intermission, giving themselves some time to figure out the penalties. (Smith and Talbot were tossed from the game.)
Shots were 24-7 Oilers and scoring chances 15-5 Oilers in the second period.
Both teams seemed perfectly content to run out the string in the final period. Gagner scored midway through the period, beating Rittich high, to extend the lead to 7-3. Gaetan Haas scored on a penalty shot to make it 8-3 Oilers.
Shots were 11-8 Oilers and chances 6-5 Flames in the third period.
Why the Flames Lost
…where to begin?
They had an awful start. They were jumpy in their own zone in all the worst ways, leading to some truly awful puck management and several turnovers that led to great scoring chances (and goals). They had a decent push in the latter stages of the first period, but it was completely undone by a really undisciplined and disorganized second period.
To be blunt: they were out-played by the Oilers at even strength (out-scored 5-3) and on special teams (out-scored 1-0). When that happens, you won’t win many games.
Y’know what? Talbot made 19 saves and fought Smith. He gets the nod.
The Turning Point
The game really started to get away from the Flames when Hamonic took that penalty and McDavid scored to make it 3-1. The Flames had a chance to reel the game in, but they just couldn’t do it.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and That
That's Johnny Gaudreau's 428th point as a Flame (tying Joel Otto for 14th), Mark Giordano's 477th, and Buddy Robinson's 1st. #Flames
— Ryan Pike (@RyanNPike) February 2, 2020
Buddy Robinson fought Jujhar Khaira in the first period. Tkachuk fought Bear and Talbot fought Smith in the second period. Talbot and Smith received a combined 38 minutes in penalties for their tussle.
The Flames (27-20-6) are back in action on Tuesday evening when they host the San Jose Sharks.