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Flames Fall 4-1 to Leafs in Frustrating Affair

The Leafs shut the Flames down all night long

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Calgary Flames Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

I thought I’d go with a more straightforward recap of tonight’s game mostly because tonight was a very frustrating game from a Flames perspective, so let’s keep it short and simple.

The first period was pretty even but Mike Smith was definitely the more heavily tested of the two goaltenders. He made a spectacular save on Mitch Marner midway through the period to keep things scoreless.

Unfortunately an absolutely horrendous bounce af few minutes later would give Toronto the 1-0 lead. A shot from Roman Polak would first deflect off Mark Jankowski’s derrière before then hitting Travis Hamonic’s pants and going right into the net. It was one of those “you couldn’t do it again if you tried” scenarios.

The Flames would come back with some good chances to start the second, the best of which came with Matthew Tkachuk getting robbed by Frederik Andersen.

Flames turnovers (which became a theme on the evening) would lead to the Maple Leafs making it 2-0 when Nikita Zaitsev would bury a shot in the slot after a nice pass from Zach Hyman.

Nazem Kadri would essentially seal the game early in the third with yet another Flame turnover allowing him to beat Smith from the slot to make it 3-0.

Calgary would get some hope back with Michael Stone beating Andersen with a point shot where Sam Bennett and Troy Brouwer got assists. Yeah I know, I was shocked too. A lot of credit for the goal has to go to Mark Jankowski for winning a couple puck battles behind the Leaf net to get the puck to Brouwer.

The Flames would buzz for a few minutes after goal but fade back to their earlier lackluster play as the game progressed. A empty netter by Leo Komarov with under a second to go would round out the scoring at 4-1.

Final Thoughts

As they plagued the Flames for parts of November, turnovers once again reared their ugly head in tonight’s game as sloppy defensive zone play did the Flames in.

Offensively the Flames were unable to generate any zone time or chances, and sometimes you just have to tip your hat to a stellar gameplan by the Maple Leafs. Calgary only had 20 shots against the Leafs which is their lowest of the season thus far.

The Flames really missed both Jaromir Jagr and Kris Versteeg as their bottom six struggled to do much of anything at times during the game. Both those players reall drive their respective lines and their absence was very noticeable.

Flame of the Game

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Jankowski (C): I know I just ragged on the bottom six, but despite being paired up with Bennett and Brouwer I thought Jankowski had a decent night. He seemed to be trying to create plays more and was flying for a good part of the third period. No Flame was all that good tonight, but Jankowski set himself apart by continuing to battle hard until the end.

Next Up: Arizona comes to town on Thursday night