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Deja Vu: McDavid Leads Oilers To Series Win Over Flames With 2-1 Victory

Two bad penalties and missed opportunities costly as Calgary Flames drop last game against the Edmonton Oilers this season.



The Calgary Flames might have had flashbacks. 

In their final game of the Battle of Alberta (regular-season 2022 edition), the Flames watched rather helplessly as Connor McDavid scored the series-clinching goal from prime shooting position.

Sound familiar? 

There were plenty of differences, though, in comparison to the Flames' disappointing playoff exit at the hands of McDavid's winner for his Edmonton Oilers in the second round. For one, Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom was rock solid in the 2-1 loss on Tuesday, playing one of his best games of the season against the team that has had his number for an entire career. 

And the Flames were unquestionably the better possession team at even strength. They just couldn't score. They hit posts, whiffed wide, and also sprayed 47 shots at Stuart Skinner in the Oilers net that the goalie managed to get in front of. 

“A lot of missed opportunities on our part," Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said post-game. "Five on five, I think we outplayed them, just didn’t’ score. 

“We hit the post, missed a couple of empty nets, hit the post with the goalie out. What did I think? Missed it by that much,” he added, emphasizing the narrow miss with his fingers stretched about an inch apart. 

Mikael Backlund, who scored the only goal for the Flames on the night, nearly had the tying goal in the dying seconds, too. Interestingly, the defensive specialist has scored in all three games against the Oilers this season. But he was one of those posts Sutter mentioned and could only stare skyward in disbelief. 

Tyler Toffoli also hit a post earlier in the game. It's a game of inches, for sure. But the Flames have had plenty of games with the same script this year. Lots of shots, but not necessarily the best in quality. 

“We’ve got to do a better job of getting some bodies to the net, create more chaos in front and screen the goalie a little bit more," said Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane, who was in the penalty box for holding when McDavid scored the winner. "That will help with the pucks going in for us."

A few days removed from their solid west coast road trip that saw them earn seven of a possible eight points, the Flames seemed to carry some of that excitement over even after the Christmas break. 

They had some jump and got the crowd invested with some great shifts from the Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri and Milan Lucic trio. Markstrom wasn't very busy, either. He made some critical and timely stops, including a beauty on Jesse Puljujarvi on an odd-man rush, but faced just 22 pucks in total. 

“We had a nice skate this morning and a nice few days break with the family," said Markstrom, who may have finally put the talk of an Oilers block behind him. "Everyone was excited to get back in there. I thought it showed today but it’s still a loss. Our division here, it’s tight. We can’t lose these tight games. 

“They didn’t have many shots, they didn’t have many chances."

When you have McDavid, sometimes it only takes one.

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