The Calgary Flames played one of their best games at home all season but were not able to get the right result on the scoresheet, falling 4-2 to the Dallas Stars.
The Flames opponent tonight was a Dallas Stars team that has been having a very rough go of it lately. 5 of their top 9 forwards are currently out with injuries, their goaltending has been greatly struggling and they were coming off an 8-2 loss to the Jets. Games like these are ones the Flames need if they want to get back on track.
The Flames had a really solid start to the game, with a few promising signs. The first line had a great shift a few minutes in and the Flames had a powerplay where they looked competent. The shots were 8-1 to the Flames halfway through the period, they were carrying the play. So of course, Lauri Korpikoski (who was at the Flames’ camp on a PTO) scored against that flow to make it 1-0 after a couple bad turnovers by Bennett. Not long after, John Klingberg rushed the puck up the ice and got the puck over to Jamie Benn after Bennett lost him on the backcheck and Benn made it 2-0 Stars. The Stars started to carry the play after that. No reward for a great start, the Flames were down 2-0 after 1 with the shots 10 apiece.
The first shift of the period, Micheal Ferland hammered Seguin into the boards with a clean check, which brought Stars agitator Antoine Roussel over his way leading to a fight. Ferland threw a few bombs and they both went off for five. Shortly after, a good shift from the top line resulted in Gaudreau crashing the net and tucking in a shot from Brett Kulak that had squeaked past Kari Lehtonen. The Flames were on the board. Less than 2 minutes later, Kulak fired a shot-pass into the slot which Gaudreau got past Lehtonen with a really nice deflection. All of the sudden it was tied, great to see Gaudreau going.
The Flames also had two really nice penalty-kills in the period, with the second one featuring two dangerous rushes from everyone’s favourite PK duo, Backlund and Frolik. A really solid bounce back period for the Flames, leading the shot clock 10-4 in the period. It was tied at 2 after 40.
The Flames got a couple lucky breaks early in the third, with the Stars hitting the crossbar and then the post in fairly quick succession. Unfortunately, they were not lucky enough tonight. After Alex Chiasson took his second offensive-zone penalty of the night, Jamie Benn tapped in a pass for his second of the game, 3-2 Dallas. The Flames made efforts, including a late powerplay that some good looks, but of course Kari Lehtonen actually had a good night tonight. The Stars scored with Elliott pulled and the Flames lost again, 4-2. They actually played well tonight, outshot the Stars 31-22, leading in Corsi For with 57.1% of the shot attempts (hockeystats.ca) and had some dangerous chances, but it did not result in a win.
Flames 3 Stars
- Johnny Gaudreau: One really positive takeaway from the game was the play of Gaudreau. He was terrific tonight, scoring 2 goals and consistently creating chances. He was second on the team in Corsi For at 73.3%. Hopefully this is the start of a good run for him.
- Brett Kulak: I have really liked Kulak’s game all season, today he got rewarded with primary assists on both Gaudreau goals. He has earned the right to be a regular in the line up from now on.
- Micheal Ferland: No points and he left the game after taking a headshot late in the third, but Ferland had another solid game. Playing on the 3-Mikes Line, he received regular shifts with 2 of the Flames’ best, was physical and hung around the net. Hopefully he is alright, he has had concussion issues in the past and did not look like he was doing great when he left the game.
- Matthew Tkachuk, who has been one of the best forwards so far this season, missed the game due to receiving stitches on his wrist yesterday, but he should be back in the line up soon.
- Linden Vey was in the line up as a result and he was a part of some good plays but really should have shot on that 2-on-1 instead of forcing a pass that did not connect.
- The line of Shinkaruk-Bennett-Brouwer was crushed at even-strength and finished a collective -7. After a hot start to the season, Brouwer has looked pretty bad of late.
- Chiasson took 2 offensive-zone penalties and while his team bailed him out on the first one, the second one cost the team. Penalties in the offensive-zone have been such a problem this season and it has costed the team a lot. It needs to stop.
- Special teams looked pretty good, unfortunately a goal was given up on the PK but the previous PK attempts were great. The powerplay only got to come out a couple times, but they moved the puck way better than we have been accustomed to seeing. Progress.
- Once again, hope Ferland is okay. He has had a great season so far and it would be awful for him to miss time. Concussions are scary and he has already had issues with them.
- The Flames d-core is really stabilizing, the pairings they have right now are good matches and it showed tonight. Hopefully the get the right result next game.
The Flames face a really good New York Rangers team on Saturday. It will be a tough test, but if they play how they played tonight, it should be an interesting game. They need to get in the win column again, it is still early in the season but they are losing ground.