Calgary Flames 3 - Montreal Canadiens 4 (OT)
1st: 7:34- Tkachuk (13) (Lindholm), 19:54- Lindholm (15) (Tkachuk/Gaudreau)
3rd: 6:25- Kylington (1) (Gaudreau/Hanifin)
2nd: 9:46- Gallagher (15) (Weber/Lehkonen), 13:11- Armia (12) (Lehkonen/Chiarot)
3rd: 11:58- Suzuki (7) (Cousins/Weal)
OT: 3:52- Domi (7) (Unassisted)
The Flames had a chance to snap a two game losing streak against Montreal Thursday night, but it wasn’t in the cards as Calgary fell to the Habs 4-3 in OT.
The Flames looked strong early as they hitched themselves to a 2-0 first period lead thanks to goals from Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm. As has been the case during this now three game losing streak, the Flames forced the pace of play in the first period and had the opposition on their heels. The first 20 minutes has been a safe place for the Flames and tonight was no exception. The issue is there are two other periods that come after the first.
Whatever was said in the Montreal locker room during the first intermission worked as the Canadiens looked like a different team from there on out. The Canadiens would score twice in the second period and tie the game at 2-2 thanks to goals from Brendan Gallagher and Joel Armia. Goals clearly win games, but opportunities help as well. Montreal vastly out shot the Flames 16-7 over the second period, which is a concerning trend for the Calgary Flames.
Calgary would snag the lead back with a third period goal from Oliver Kylington off a nice feed from Johnny Gaudreau and it looked like Calgary was once again in command. Wrong. This was a very even period with each team scoring once and both having seven shots on goal over the final 20. Montreal would score the equalizer at the 11:58 mark off the stick of Nick Suzuki and we’d finish the period tied at 3-3.
Three on three overtime is supposed to be exciting and while this version had it’s moments, the Canadiens dragged the pace to an almost grinding hault and used it to their advantage. The visitors were able to get fresh bodies on the ice while controlling the puck and a missed Flames opportunity would lead the the game winner. Johnny Gaudreau would break in and fed Lindholm, who didn’t get much on his shot. Montreal would break the other way and Max Domi would fire a shot off the inside of the far post, beating David Rittich from just outside the face off circle giving Montreal a 4-3 victory.
If you asked David Rittich I think he’d agree with this assessment of his game tonight: not good. The Flames keeper looked off tonight, surrendering beefy rebounds and misplaying the puck. He handled the difficult shots fairly well, but three of the four that found the back of the net were pucks he should have had. After giving up his first goal on a shot that managed to somehow get between his body and the post, Rittich’s body language looked off and his game was really up and down after that. He did face a TON of shots, stopping 39 of the 43 shots that came his way.
Speaking of shots, the Flames only had 27 make it to the net. While that’s not a terrible number, you’re also not going to win a lot of games with that shot total. Calgary also turned the puck over 21 times which isn’t going to help either.
The Flames have now dropped three straight, but still have points in 10 of their last twelve games. I guess that’s the good way to look at this current slide the Flames are on. The Flames need to figure out how to hold a lead and how to play in the second period of games. This is the third straight game where they’ve had a garbage second frame and not coincidentally, they’ve lost all three.
Flame Of The Game
Elias Lindholm (C): Lindholm had a multi point night with a goal and an assist and had a chance to win it in overtime. He had two SOG and was tied for the lead in hits on the team with three.
12/22: Calgary Flames @ Dallas Stars, 5 PM MT