2nd: 12:53- Monahan (2) [Hanifin (1), Gaudreau (3)]
3rd: 6:33- PPG Tkachuk (3) [Lindholm (3), Andersson (3)]
Toronto Maple Leafs
1st: 7:46- Muzzin (1) [Marner (5), Rielly (1)]
2nd: 19:28- PPG Simmonds (1) [Marner (6), Rielly (2)]
3rd: 2:42- Matthews (3) [Spezza (3), Rielly (3)]
Well, in some ways it went both better and worse than expected. A perfect storm had brewed for the Flames heading into Sunday’s game against the Maple Leafs, in the form of the end of an extended break, and an afternoon game.
Both those categories have not treated the Flames well in recent history, as hot streaks heading into the January break were completely undone in the games following the rest. Afternoon games typically bring out soft Flames performances, and nearly always a strange loss. While Calgary did indeed lose Sunday, it was not for a lack of effort.
The Flames came out strong to start the first period, clearly showing the benefits of the bonus rest. They also ended the period strong, but a Maple Leafs flurry in the middle proved to be the difference maker in the opening frame. Jake Muzzin’s long range shot bounced off the flailing leg of Dominik Simon, who dove for the block in the high slot. The change in trajectory stumped Markstrom, and sent the game 1-0 into the intermission.
Sean Monahan evened the night up. Jack Campbell, who played a superb game, stopped the initial chance at his right post, but was caught at a bad angle for the rebound. Monahan wisely chipped the puck from the goal line and off Campbell’s pants to extend his point streak to 4.
The Flames nearly got out of the second frame without the usual bad luck, but not quite. A late powerplay gave Wayne Simmonds the opportunity to bounce an attempted pass off his own trailing skate and through Jacob Markstrom’s legs with just 30 seconds remaining in the second.
The final and fatal dose of bad luck would be shovelled in by Rasmus Andersson. Almost three minutes into the third period, a Morgan Rielly shot was deflected by Jason Spezza, bounced off Auston Matthew’s unknowing foot, and off the body of Andersson past Markstrom. It made the game 3-1.
The Flames got their own revenge on their red-hot powerplay, as Matthew Tkachuk tipped home Elias Lindholm’s shot to bring the game as close as it would get.
The Flames pushed hard against an apparently injured Campbell, but to no avail. Overall, the quality of the Flames play was pretty good considering the context. All three goals against were once again unfortunate, unlucky plays. The Flames missed Dillon Dube, who left the last game against the Canucks early, and did not return. This game was the first for TJ Brodie against his former team, and was honoured with a tribute video.
Next up: vs. Toronto, Tuesday Jan. 26th