Kraken 5-4 Comeback Sinks Unprepared Flames
Not much about the Calgary Flames contest against the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday will stand out as positive. They might even want to delete the footage.
Sure, the Flames got offensive production from three out of four of their new-look forward lines. But the mistakes were many. They were big. And the Kraken made them pay, handing the Flames a 5-4 loss.
“I don’t think it was very loud in here,” Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said of the crowd on Sportsnet 960 after the game.
That may be because every time the Flames players gave them something to cheer about, the Kraken sucked the life out of them again.
The visitors struck first with Alberta product Carson Soucy beating Dan Vladar cleanly on a shot from the high slot with about five minutes left in the opening period.
The Flames seemed to snap out of it in the second with Nikita Zadorov and Nazem Kadri scoring less than two minutes apart before the midway mark to give the hosts their first lead.
But that was short-lived. Morgan Geekie scored to tie things up and make it a winner-take-all third period showdown.
For a hot minute, it looked like the Calgary Flames would stake that claim. Goals from Tyler Toffoli and Trevor Lewis 17 seconds apart less than two minutes into the period gave them a two-goal lead and all the momentum.
But bad discipline and worse mistakes turned the tide quickly.
The Kraken scored three goals in less than five minutes to snatch the lead for good.
Daniel Sprong scored on the powerplay.
Yanni Gourde netted a shortie.
And rookie-of-the-year candidate Matty Beniers scored his fifth goal of the season on an odd-man rush to quiet a Saddledome crowd that felt pretty good about their chances after the Lewis goal.
A Brett Ritchie interference penalty gave the Kraken new life and Sprong took advantage. He was all alone in the left circle and snapped the puck into the empty side of the net to cut into the lead 8:31 into the third.
A Nazem Kadri turnover on a Flames powerplay a few minutes later allowed Yanni Gourde a chance to tie it.
Gourde plucked the puck away as Kadri tried to pass it up the ice and made no mistake on his breakaway against Vladar.
Beniers scored the winner with a patient play, taking the pass from Jordan Eberle and waiting a split second to gain control and place his shot past a diving Vladar. The odd-man rush saw four Kraken players storming up the ice after Milan Lucic fell on a failed chip-in at the Seattle blueline with everyone but defenceman Noah Hanifin
The giveaways, says Sutter, were a case of not sticking with the game plan against a smothering Seattle team that doesn’t give up many quality chances.
“You’ve got to be patient and play through it,” Sutter said. “Guys break and they turn the puck over and that’s what happened in the third.”
No one was safe from criticism.
The new lines scored but didn’t prevent scoring.
“I think Lindy’s line was alright, other than Looch turned the puck over,” Sutter said of the Toffoli, Elias Lindholm, Lucic trio.
The Kadri, Andrew Mangiapane, Jonathan Huberdeau line was listless outside of Kadri’s goal. Kadri’s giveaway on the powerplay was a turning point.
Huberdeau took a bad penalty and was extremely quiet offensively, too.
“Jonathan’s got to speed his game up, that’s for sure,” Sutter quipped.
Even the fourth line, which has been a strong point for the Calgary Flames this year, looked suspect with Ritchie’s bad penalty and a pair of goals against while they were on the ice.
“They didn’t hold their end of the deal up either,” Sutter said.