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Flames Start Strong but Fall Apart Late in 3rd to Lose 5-1

The Flames battled the Blackhawks on Tuesday night

NHL: Calgary Flames at Chicago Blackhawks David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Calgary Flames began their four game road trip on Tuesday night with a game against the Chicago Blackhawks. It was the Flames second visit to the United Center in 8 days as the Flames beat the Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout last time.

The Flames went with the same lineup as they had in previous games meaning Matthew Tkachuk played in his 9th game of the season. Decision time is looming.

1st Period:

Brian Elliott got the start and net and would be faced with the toughest test of the first few minutes when Marian Hossa streaked in down the wing but Elliott would make the save.

The Flames would then get an opportunity to go on the powerplay. Chicago entered the game with the worst PK in the NHL where the Blachawks operate at only a 53.1% kill rate. Yes, even worse than us.

The Flames would be unable to score but did generate some good pressure in the Hawks zone including a couple shots.

Dougie Hamilton would be penalized for holding sending Chicago to a PP that’s ranked 28th in the league. Calgary would kill it before being sent back to a powerplay of their own when Dennis Wideman was tripped. Calgary would be unable to score on the PP.

Chicago would take the lead with 1:02 to go in the period as Patrick Kane would make his way into the Flames zone and wrist a shot from the slot past Brian Elliott. Probably a shot that Elliot should’ve saved but those happen and it’s 1-0 Chicago.

The period ends with the Blackhawks ahead of the Flames 1-0 despite Calgary outshooting them 13-6.

2nd Period:

Calgary would get an early poweplay to start the second when Chicago was whistled for too many men. This powerplay would be less successful than earlier ones as the Flames struggled to maintain zone time, however Tkachuk would get this best opportunity late as he tried to sneak a one-timer short side on Crawford but no luck.

Calgary would then be whistled for a too many men penalty of their own.

However the Flames would capitalize as Michael Frolik would block a shot before him and Backlund would take the puck on a two-on-one. Backlund would feed Frolik after Crawford committed to him, and Frolik would wire the puck into the net to tie the game 1-1.

Calgary would kill off the remainder of the powerplay before they would get another powerplay of their own as the parade to the penalty box continued. Brian Campbell would take a delay of game penalty to give the Flames their fourth powerplay of the game.

This powerplay would be the worst out of all of them so far as the Blackhawks would continually ice the puck and the Flames would now be 0/4 on the night against the league’s worst penalty kill.

Sean Monahan would be whistled for essentially poking Patrick Kane (they called it tripping) with his stick and giving Chicago yet another PP. The Flames would expertly kill it off again.

Calgary would get a few more chances as the pace would increase following all the penalties including the Backchuklik (Yes, maybe?) line generating some strong zone time with Crawford making some big saves. Chicago would get a late chance of their own after a puck squeaked through Elliott but he managed to throw his glove back and stop it before it crossed the line.

The second period ends with the game tied at 1 and the shots at 26-15 for the Flames.

3rd Period:

Both teams would play tight fast hockey to start the third as both would get some opportunities in the attacking zone but no goals were scored.

Sam Bennett would be penalized for a very questionable tripping penalty after hitting a Blackhawk who went flying. The Hawks would make no mistake as Artem Anisimov would tip a back door pass into the net to make it 2-1 Chicago.

Tyler Motte would work around TJ Brodie and tuck in a partial breakaway around Brian Elliott to make it 3-1 Blackhawks with 7:26 to play.

Chicago would mainly shut down the Flames the rest of the way before some 4 on 4 hockey arose as the result of Lance Bouma and Dennis Rasmussen would take offsetting minors.

The Flames would pull their goalie with 3:10 to play but Chicago would immediately move the puck down the ice and Artemi Panarin would score to make it 4-1.

Chicago would add one more when they took the puck away from Dennis Wideman before Nicklas Hjalmarsson would slap a shot over Elliott’s glove to make it 5-1.

The game finishes with Chicago winning 5-1 and the Flames end up outshooting Chicago 34-22.

The Good:

  1. The Fight in the Flames, heavily outhit the Hawks 35-21 and were pushing back right to the end
  2. The Tkachuk, Backlund, and Frolik line had another solid game

The Bad:

  1. TJ Brodie had a bad night, being walked around on three Blackhawk goals and finishing a -3
  2. The third period. The Blackhawks held the Flames to very few chances and took any opportunities they could find.

The Ugly:

  1. Yet another game where the Flames almost immediately got scored on after pulling the goalie which is getting ridiculous and needs to be fixed
  2. The penalty call on Sam Bennett that led to the eventual game winning goal was atrocious and completely swung the game from that point forward

At the end of the day, there isn’t a lot to dislike about tonight’s game as the Flames played some solid hockey for most of the game. However it wasn’t enough as Chicago was able to bury the few chances they were given. The game was really much closer than the score indicated, and I think the Flames actually outplayed Chicago for the majority of the game.

The Flames fall to 4-6-1 on the season and will next play Thursday on the road against the San Jose Sharks at 8:30pm MT.