Mike Smith. Lots of penalties. Not enough scoring. The Flames were well rested, but looked like the team that played 2 games in 2 days as they fell to the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 at the Dome Thursday night. The Flames took 6 more penalties, one resulting in a PPG and Calgary couldn’t solve Scott Darling until it was too late.
1st Period: Calgary 0 Carolina 0
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Mike Smith saved the Flames this period. The Flames netminder kept Carolina off the score board and Calgary afloat as he made save after save in the first 20. Calgary’s overworked PK unit provided the Flames best scoring chance on a Mikael Backlund breakaway, but Scott Darling was up to the challenge and the game remained scoreless. The big story of the period was Kris Versteeg going down with an injury that sent him to the locker room and didn’t see him return for the remainder of the period.
First Period Stats
Second Period: Calgary 0 Carolina 1
Much like the first period, the Flames were a no show for the first half, but started to apply some pressure in the Carolina end towards the back half of the period. Unfortunately for Calgary, Carolina pressed and got one early in the period. Jeff Skinner scored his 3rd of the season on an absolute rocket that beat Mike Smith glove side to put the Hurricanes up 1-0. Smith once again was THE player for Calgary in the second period as Carolina nearly doubled their shot attempts, yet he held the fort keeping the rest of the Flames team within striking distance. Per usual the Flames were in the box, taking 2 more penalties in the period, upping their total for the game to 4. On a positive note, Kris Versteeg returned to the ice and looked no worse for the wear.
Second Period Stats
Third Period: Calgary 1 Carolina 2
The Flames started the period short handed thanks to a boneheaded Matthew Tkachuk penalty at the end of the second, setting the Flames PK unit up to have to kill the Flames 5th penalty on the evening. And they didn’t.
Justin Williams would roof a wrist shot past Mike Smith and put the Hurricanes up 2-0, his first of the season.
The Flames had a great chance to score out front midway through the period, but Jaromir Jagr was robbed on a great save by Scott Darling. That top line was generating some chances, but that buzz was killed when Mikael Backlund took across checking penalty, putting the Flames PK unit back on the ice. Calgary would kill that penalty off and finally get themselves on the board late in the third.
The top line of Gaudreau, Monahan and Jagr had been clicking and they certainly clicked here. Jaromir Jagr got the puck to Gaudreau who either passed or lost the puck (debatable), which ended up on Sean Monahan’s stick and he didn’t miss from the high slot. That would be it for the Flames though as they couldn’t generate another goal and Scott Darling would make one last save to give the Hurricanes the 2-1 win.
Third Period Stats
The Flames came into this game well rested, maybe too well rested, and somehow looked like the slower team. Carolina was flying up and down the ice generating quality scoring chances early and often. The Flames PK unit was tops tonight as they killed off 5 of the 6 shorthanded opportunities they had to deal with. While that’s all well and good, the Flames even strength units need to take less penalties. Matthew Tkachuk’s needless roughing penalty after the second period horn was a prime example of the Flames lack of discipline.
Flame of The Game:
Mike Smith (G). While the PK unit was close, the Flames goalie keeps on giving the Flames chances to win. He stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced and is clearly the team MVP so far this season.
What’s Next: Calgary Flames vs Minnesota Wild, Saturday 10/21 8 PM MT