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Flames Come Back in 3rd, Fall in Shootout

Calgary fought back but lost in the skills challenge

Ottawa Senators v Calgary Flames Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

In a night where the Flames really needed a victory after a tough 3-2 loss to Edmonton the night before, they ended up with just a point in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators which dropped their record to 11-12-3.

Jacob Markstrom got the start in the game despite just playing the night before in Edmonton, and while it seemed kind of questionable as he’s still coming back from an injury likely related to overuse, Darryl Sutter and Ryan Huska chose him to start.

It was not Markstrom’s best night as he got beat in the first period on a long shot that may have been slightly deflected, no matter how much the broadcast tried to say it was deflected. It was a puck Markstrom needed to stop but he couldn’t, however he earned a few free passes with his play earlier in the year. Ottawa tallied their second goal of the opening period thanks to a sloppy bit of coverage during 4-on-4, as two Sens got in behind the Flames and it was eventually Ryan Dzingel who put the puck home.

Calgary got back into the game early in the 2nd period with a long Mark Giordano point shot somehow beating Matt Murray, perhaps with a very slight deflection again but one that should have been saved. Despite some luck, the Flames would squander any chance to get back in the game with a scramble play in front of Markstrom eventually winding up with Colin White burying the puck to make it 3-1.

However while I expected the same script to play out that we had seen in previous losses to Ottawa, the Flames managed to come out for the third period with a ton of energy and took over the game. They pulled within one goal on a powerplay marker from Johnny Gaudreau which was his 11th goal of the year.

Calgary would then find the tying goal with Noah Hanifin scoring his second goal in as many nights as he flung a loose puck past Matt Murray after a chaotic sequence in front of the Ottawa net. Thanks to a strong final period which included a final shot count of 16-3, the Flames earned a point.

Overtime would not solve much with the Senators getting the best chance on a breakaway as we headed to the shootout. Tim Stutzle and Drake Batherson scored for the Sens while Matthew Tkachuk had the only Flames goal in the four round shootout, as the Sens prevailed 4-3.

Final Thoughts

  • I didn’t want to get into it in the recap itself, but the Flames PP went a ridiculously terrible 1/8 tonight and their only goal was off a strange sequence while the units were mid line change. Whoever is running this unit simply should not be anymore as the Flames generated nothing, especially from the top unit
  • While neither unit was good, the play of the top unit, or at least the way they are coached to set up was particularly bad. The Gaudreau bump back play was great, but teams know how to shut it down now, and the Sens were doing that all night. It pretty much feels like if the Flames don’t win that first faceoff, then they waste a minute trying to establish the zone before the second unit comes out. It’s bad.
  • That makes it nine points left on the table in recent weeks to the Senators and Canucks. We’re definitely going to look back on this stretch if the Flames just miss by a few points.
  • When together I actually quite liked the Gaudreau-Monahan-Ryan trio tonight
  • In theory the Flames probably should have won this game, but stretches of sloppy play all around in the first two periods meant they had to scrape back just to get a point. This team can dominate at certain times, which makes other times so frustrating.
  • Mark Giordano trying to skate with a stick in his skate is the best way to describe the 2020-21 Calgary Flames so far
  • Darryl Sutter will be the Flames head coach next game!!!

Flame of the Game

Ottawa Senators v Calgary Flames Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

Derek Ryan (C): While it wasn’t like he was the best player by production or anything, this is more-so an appreciation post for how he seems to really calm things down for the Flames when he’s on the ice. I really liked him with Gaudreau and Monahan today and I hope we see a bit more of that going forward.