First Period: Oilers 3 Flames 1
The initial 10 minutes in the 1st stanza was dominated by the Calgary Flames. All lines generated chances and it seemed as though the Flames would be able to outwork the Oilers in this game. Calgary’s best chances came during the Oscar Klefbom double minor, dominating zone time but unfortunately unable to get the puck past Oilers goaltender Laurent Brossoit. 10:29 into the first period, Jesse Puljujarvi capitalized on a rebound off and backhanded one past Mike Smith to make it 1-0. The Oilers would subsequently get a powerplay and would continue to press in the Flames zone. Patrick Maroon would get his kicked-in goal waived off but the Oilers would soon get that one back when Eric Gryba’s shot deflected off of Jesse Puljujarvi’s leg and past Mike Smith to give Edmonton a 2-0 lead.
The Flames would get the all-important shorthanded goal after MIkael Backlund stripped Matt Benning off the puck and fed Michael Frolik to make it 2-1.
However, the momentum would not last long as Kris Russell fed Jujhar Khaira, rifling one past Mike Smith to regain the 2 goal lead for the Oilers.
2nd Period: Oilers 5 Flames 1
There was nothing good about the second stanza for the Flames. It was by far, one of the sloppiest, mistake-ridden period that this team has ever played. This was a team that looked scared, overwhelmed and simply not interested in getting a win. Mike Smith looked good, but was simply let down by a defense that seemed to always get caught flat-footed. Defensive miscues led to Mark Letestu breakaway, rifling his 6th of the year past Smith to make it 4-1 Edmonton. The Flames would give up two other breakaways, both stopped by Mike Smith. Otherwise, it was a rather uneventful period from the Flames standpoint. Late in the period, they would give up another one, as Milan Lucic tipped in an Eric Gryba shot to make it 5-1 for the Edmonton Oilers.
3rd Period: Oilers 7 Flames 5
Wow, where to start. 1:29 into the third period, Patrick Maroon capitalized on a costly turnover by David Rittich, making it 6-1 for the Edmonton Oilers. It seemed like Calgary’s night was only getting worse. What was the final score going to be?
You could tell however that the Flames were not done yet, as they came checking hard. At this point, some fans were probably ready to start leaving the Saddledome. Nevertheless, the Flames kept pressing on. Calgary would get it into the Edmonton zone and Sam Bennett rifled a bad-angle shot past Laurent Brossoit to cut the lead to 6-2.
The C of Red certainly was not done yet. Following a Patrick Maroon roughing penalty, the Flames would return to the powerplay. Johnny Gaudreau fed a beauty to Micheal Ferland who ripped it past Laurent Brossoit to make it 6-3.
So far, a decent third period for the Flames, but not plausible to get back in the game right? Sam Bennett begged to differ. Skating around a tumbling Kris Russell, he rifled one past Laurent Brossoit to make it 6-4. There was only one message after that one: Game On.
Less than a minute after Bennett’s tally, Johnny Gaudreau received a crisp pass from Dougie Hamilton, swiftly skating into the Oilers zone and firing yet another bad angle shot past Laurent Brossoit to make it 6-5 for the Calgary Flames. The crowd erupted, as it marked an incredible rebound by a team that for the past two periods had looked completely out of place.
With over 7 minutes remaining in the 3rd, the momentum had completely shifted to the Calgary Flames’ favour. They would continue to push, even going on the powerplay following a Mark Letestu interference penalty. However, the absence of Kris Versteeg showed as the Flames were unable to muster a good scoring chance on the man advantage.
Edmonton had somewhat regained their footing and with just a little over 1 minute left in the 3rd, a Ryan Nugent Hopkins backhand pass deflected off of T.J Brodie’s stick and past David Rittich for the insurance marker. That goal essentially took the game away from the Flames.
Going into the third, I would’ve said that this game was, by far, the worst of the season. With a provincial rival that was fragile from a string of losses and marred by injury troubles, the Flames had a great opportunity to send a message to the Edmonton Oilers, and had essentially blown it over what was essentially a complete lack of effort. The third certainly changed all of that.
With that being said, the Flames needed to be consistent throughout the periods. They needed the powerplay units to click and capitalize off of early momentum. The offense certainly was there, but the defense was clearly in another world. There simply was no push against the Oilers offense. Coverage was very sloppy and many careless plays were made. Going forward, the entire defense, especially the 2nd pairing of Brodie and Hamonic have to be more clued on to the puck. Here’s to hoping that they can follow through on that in their next matchup.
Overall, the game can basically be summarized as ‘too little, too late.’ I would stop short of calling this an effortless game given what we saw in the third. But it certainly reflects a big problem that the Flames have run into this season; consistency throughout the game. This was definitely an emotional one. We shouldn’t discount the valiant effort put in the third period. If anything, it proved that this team just will never go away, regardless of what the score is.
Flame of the Game
Sam Bennett. With 2 goals tonight, Bennett was the only consistent player tonight. He worked hard throughout the game and was rewarded in the third. Getting those two were huge momentum boosters to the Flames. Great effort from #93 tonight.
Next Up: The Calgary Flames take on the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, December 4th in their last game of their home stand! Catch it on Sportsnet West at 7:00PM!