The Calgary Flames deficit streak ended after they set a franchise record, and so did their six-game winning streak. The Nashville Predators outlasted the Flames to take a 3-2 overtime victory at the Saddledome – the same outcome and circumstance the Flames lost their last game in their home-opener.
A two-on-one rush capped off by Matt Duchene spoiled another 40-shot night for the Flames, who are now 6-1-2 on the season.
Here’s how it went down.
First period: Curses! Franchise record snuffed out by Sportsnet Stats jinx
They set a Calgary Flames franchise record when they hit 434:03 seconds before finally getting behind in a game again. Then the Sportsnet Stats Twitter account quickly jinxed them and Luke Kunin opened the scoring for the Nashville Predators.
Apparently the Flames didn’t like the feeling. They tied things up 99 seconds later on the powerplay when Matthew Tkachuk bumped in a high hot-potato pass from Elias Lindholm.
It’s hard to believe they finished the period down 2-1 considering they outshot and out chanced the Preds by a wide margin. Among their 20 shots in the first frame – a shot a minute since the math is easy – were four breakaways. Johnny Gaudreau, Blake Coleman, Dillon Dube and Matthew Tkachuk all had chances but were either turned away by Juuse Saros or didn’t make it to the net after being knocked down from behind.
The Dube/Andrew Mangiapane line that started the night with some energy and was arguably their most dangerous five-on-five duo through the first 20 minutes.
Second period: Juuuuuse a bit outside
The pace slowed significantly but the Flames still came away with some really good opportunities. Unfortunately, their best were stymied by a goaltender who is pretty darn good at hockey. Dube and Mangiapane were noticeably dangerous again but everything felt about a 10th of a second off for the entire team in the period.
Their best chances came on a powerplay late in the period but Saros did his best Jacob Markstrom impression at the other end.
Speaking of Markstrom, he was stellar during a scramble in the Flames end when Oliver Kylington turned the puck over near the blueline and things went a bit off the rails. Markstrom’s best stop was a quick kick of the right leg to stone Philip Tomasino from in close – set up by Preds defenceman Alexandre Carrier.
Kylington blocked a shot in desperation to end the dangerous series. A bit of redemption there – not that anyone could forget what happened to put them in that situation in the first place.
Also fortunate for Kylington was the fact Nikita Zadorov was frequently serving up pucks in his crease, so if anyone is going to sit out the next game, it’s likely the big guy.
Third period: Tying goal salvages the point, thanks to a point man
The real redemption for Kylington came on the tying goal early in the third period. Coming off the bench with speed, Kylington and defence partner Chris Tanev blasted into the offensive zone and Tanev hit Kylington with a pass on the left side with lots of room to head to the net.
Kylington ripped a perfect wrister past Saros to even things up. It was his first of the season but looked like his 100th NHL goal the way he fired it into the perfect spot.
The Flames poured on the pressure from there and the shot clock continued to click upward toward 40. It helps when you have six powerplays in a game, and it’s probably a bit disappointing they couldn’t convert more on the man-advantage.
Rough stuff takes out Calgary Flames tough guy
Brett Ritchie took a heavy right hand from Mark Borowiecki in a first period fight and hit the ice hard. It was supposed to be one of those off-the-faceoff scraps intended to inspire their teammate – misguided as that may be.
He was wobbly getting up and headed straight to the locker-room to get checked out for a concussion.
You hate to see a guy go down like that for something that seems more and more unnecessary. I’m all for physical hockey and a fight in response to something that happened during the play, but the ‘staged’ scraps just seem to be doomed to a bad outcome one way or another. It’s basically a coin toss in terms of which team it might benefit (if either).