1st: 5:40- Mangiapane (3) (Tkachuk), 19:58- Lindholm (10) (Kylington/Mangiapane)
1st: 11:01- Vrana (7) (Kuznetzov/Wilson), 15:08- Vrana (8) (Unassisted)
2nd: 15:05- Vrana (9) (Kuznetzov/Kempny)
3rd: PPG 2:20- Eller (5) (Wilson)
The Flames had a chance to string together three straight wins, but it wasn’t in the cards Sunday night. Calgary finished up a 10 day road trip with a 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals in DC, their 5th game on the trek East.
The Flames looked like a fresh team in the first period as they went toe to toe with one of the NHL’s best. Calgary put eight shots on net, was able to handle Washington’s speed for the most part and even opened the game with the first goal on the contest. Andrew Mangiapane would get the Flames on the board with a nice move cross crease, beating Ilya Samsonov, putting the Flames up 1-0.
Six minutes later the Washington Capitals would kick it into another gear and the Flames were left spinning their wheels. Jakub Vrana would finish off a beautiful 2 on 1, beating Cam Talbot blocker side and the game was tied 1-1. Vrana wasn’t done in the period just yet. He would once again beat Talbot blocker side, this time all on his own with a beautiful sharp angle shot that put the Caps up 2-1. Calgary would strike back as the period was winding down thanks to who else, Elias Lindholm. Calgary’s second marker started with an Oliver Kylington shot that was probably going wide, but Lindholm tipped the puck out of mid air, about chest high, for the perfect deflection. The puck would fly past Samsonov and with two seconds left in the opening frame it was tied 2-2.
For the good guys, that was unfortunately the end of the fun. Calgary’s offence would dry up, as would their energy and the well rested Capitals took full advantage. Jakob Vrana would score the only goal of the second period, completing his hat trick and Washington would take a 3-2 lead after two.
If the Flames looked lackluster in the second, they looked toast in the third. Washington would fire nine third period shots at Cam Talbot and one would find the back of the net, this off the stick of Lars Eller, his fifth of the season. That goal, a mere 2:20 into the period was more than enough for the high powered Capitals and they would snap the Flames two game winning streak with a 4-2 victory.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: a Flames goaltender deserved better. Cam Talbot was hung out to dry by his defence, once by Mark Giordano and the other by Travis Hamonic, both times leading to goals. Talbot hasn’t really gotten a fair shake while in net and though he played well he had ZERO help from his teammates.
What happened to the Flames offence that scored nine goals over their last two games? Andrew Mangiapane was one of the few Flames out there trying to make things happen. Sam Bennett had a solid night early on as well, but like the rest of the team, faded as the game wore on. Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund and Matthew Tkachuk were non existent (sounds like a broken record), combining for five SOG between the four of them. That’s not enough and it’s a all too common occurrence for the Flames stars in big games against top teams.
In the end, the Flames haven’t been near home for almost two weeks. A road trip like this will surely wear you down, especially when you had Thursday’s comeback which will take a physical and emotional toll on you. Then a back to back with Columbus and Washington to finish things off isn’t easy, but this is the NHL and Calgary isn’t the only team to face obstacles over the course of the season. Point being: they need to be better.
Flame Of The Game
Andrew Mangiapane (F): Mang was the best Flame on the ice tonight. He had a goal and an assist, was a +1, blocked a shot and was 100% from the face off dot. He may have been the only Flames player on the ice who looked like he was engaged for 60 minutes.
11/5: Calgary Flames vs Arizona Coyotes, 7 PM MT