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Calgary 3, Toronto 4: Flames still can’t play 3 periods

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Strong final 40 minutes undone by horrendous first period

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Calgary Flames 3 - Toronto Maple Leafs 4

Preview

Scoring

Calgary Flames

1st: None

2nd: 1:08- Gaudreau (3) [Monahan (4), Hanifin (2)], 14:21- Lucic (1) [Valimaki (1), Backlund (2)]

3rd: 9:03- Gaudreau (4) [Monahan (5), Giordano (2)] PPG

Toronto Maple Leafs

1st: 3:44- Simmonds (2) [Holl (5) (Vesey (1)], 14:16- Matthews (4) [Marner (7), Rielly (4)] PPG

2nd: 2:09- Boyd (1) [Engvall (1), Muzzin (2)]

3rd: 12:14- Marner (5) [Matthews (4), Rielly (5)]

Complete Stats

Recap

With all the repetitive systems and plans implemented by NHL coaches, it’s no wonder more games don’t replicate themselves more often. Tuesday’s tilt between the Flames and Maple Leafs was eerily similar to the season matchup debut on Sunday.

The Flames played a weak first period, trailed the whole night, fell behind 3-1, and just couldn’t pull even or ahead by game’s end.

A game that had so much hype falsely built up by the media and a certain team’s fanbase, didn’t play as physical or chippy as expected. Wayne Simmonds scored for the second straight game (this would be a trend) by burying his own rebound on an early two-on-one.

The Leafs added to that lead on the powerplay, as Auston Matthews (told you) whistled a wrist shot just over Markstrom’s stick. The Maple Leafs badly outplayed and outshot the Flames in the first, leading in shots 10-1 after 20 minutes.

The Flames came out flying to start the second, as expected. In fact, it took only a minute for Johnny Gaudreau to be left all alone in front of Frederik Andersen, and he danced a shot under his blocker. It was only the Flames third shot in 21 minutes.

The Leafs cut that momentum quickly, as a bad cycle in the neutral zone left three Toronto players with one Flames defender in the zone. Pierre Engvall gave Travis Boyd a clear shot under Markstrom’s arm to regaint the two goal lead.

Calgary had a superb response period, as they in turn outshot the Leafs 18-5. One of those, with just under 6 minutes remaining, produced a goal from an unlikely source. Juuso Valimaki’s dump attempt bounced cleanly into the slot for Milan Lucic to slide the puck under Andersen’s pads and cut the lead back to one going into the third period.

Tuesday’s Flames did something in the third that Sunday Flames were unable to do: tie the game at 3. Sean Monahan slid a pass from the goal line through the slot to Gaudreau. He snuck a shot over Andersen to earn his second of the game, and more importantly, even the score.

It was the end of the joy from then, as a late Mitch Marner goal ended up being the decider. With how much criticism the NHL community suddenly have on certain players for certain actions, the same people should certainly lambaste Jake Muzzin for quite an unsportsmanlike play at the end of the game.

The Flames are back at it Thursday against Montreal.