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Three Reasons Why the Flames Lost Game 2

Calgary Flames v Dallas Stars - Game Two Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

1. Leaky Defensive Play and Leaky Goaltending

After a very strong defensive performance in Game 1, the Flames looked much more like their regular season selves, giving up a lot of dangerous opportunities to Dallas in the slot. The Stars routinely were generating opportunities from right in the slot, and that was a big reason why they were able to take a close one goal victory. Here’s a comparison of their shot heatmap from Game 1 versus Game 2 in all situations:

Game 1

Game 2

Dallas got many chances from much closer in, and as you can tell by the goal locations, it was a pretty wide open slot for them. Coupling this with the fact that Dallas’ 2nd and 3rd goals were both pretty weak on Cam Talbot’s part, it was not a good night defensively.

2. An Ugly First 40 Minutes

The Flames were simply not good during the first 40 minutes of this hockey game and thoroughly deserved to be trailing 4-2 heading to the third and the eventual loss. Full marks to them of course for finding a way to come back (with Tobias Rieder and Sam Bennett leading the charge of all people), but this was a well earned result for them and not in a good way.

Dallas had ten high danger chances to just two for the Flames through two periods, while outshooting Calgary 29-15. By all means the Flames were due for a bad game after being fairly solid throughout the Jets series, and that they managed to tie the game late does have to instill some confidence. However, we really need to see more out of them tonight in Game 3, or else this series might turn Dallas’ way real quick.

3. That Last Shift

Unfortunately for the line of Lucic, Bennett, and Dube who had once again been so good in the series they got caught out a long shift late in the third period and it ultimately led to the game tying goal. Roughly 30 seconds into their shift, Calgary dumped the puck into the Dallas zone, but then Dallas countered and kept them on for roughly another 25 seconds.

Almost exactly a minute into the shift Dube lifted the puck just out to center, with Lucic heading off and Bennett coming behind him. Johnny Gaudreau jumped over the boards while Dube circled back to help the mixed pairing of Derek Forbort and Rasmus Andersson. There was a miscommuication at the bench as Bennett was very slow and late coming off, leaving the Flames defending with just four players and nobody on the right side of the ice.

Corey Perry found Jamie Oleksiak all alone with the fifth Flame still skating back into the zone, and that was it. A long shift, a poor line change, a blown coverage, and Calgary lost. There were a lot of things in this game that pointed to a Calgary loss, but with the game tied 4-4 late, this was still a heartbreaker.

Game 3 goes tonight at 8:30 PM MT.