Calgary Flames already on vacation – lose to Montreal Canadiens

CALGARY, AB DECEMBER 22: Carey Price /

The Calgary Flames enter this game as their last game before the Christmas break. A big two points are on the line for them tonight.

The Calgary Flames will play the Montreal Canadiens in their second and final matchup of the season. The Flames took the first game by a score of 3-2 in OT earlier this month. This will be the Flames’ final game before they leave to go on holidays for their Christmas breaks.

Travis Hamonic will be out of the lineup tonight with a lower-body injury. While Rasmus Andersson was recalled from Stockton, Matt Bartkowski drew in the lineup tonight (great). Jaromir Jagr will also continue to remain out of the lineup with a lingering lower-body injury. Freddie Hamilton will also draw in replacement of Curtis Lazar.

The Flames have not lost their pre-Christmas game since 2010. So they potentially have some luck on their side. Johnny Gaudreau also has some good luck on December 22nd…

  • Dec. 22nd, 2014: First career hat-trick, Flames come back from 3-0 deficit and win first game after losing eight in a row
  • Dec. 22nd, 2015: Hat-trick
  • Dec. 22nd, 2016: No game

Hm… could we be seeing the first Johnny Hockey hat-trick of the season? Let’s cross our fingers.

Related Story: Monahan's ninth OT goal puts Flames over Habs

First period

This game started out with a lot of action in just the first minute of the game. The Calgary Flames entered the Habs zone and TJ Brodie got a great shot, but as every game lately goes for the Flames, it hit the post. The Habs right away turned the puck and came into the Flames zone. With a shot from Max Pacioretty, the Habs were up 1-0 55 seconds into the game.

But hold on a minute. Did this puck go offside? Head coach Glen Gulutzan seemed to think so. With a challenge and just a hair offside, the goal was turned over. Is luck starting to go the Flames’ way? GG is now on a two-challenge win streak, after losing like 30 before that. But we get no fist pump this time.

The best link for the Flames in the first ten minutes was easily the third line. As the game progressed, it was clear that the Habs were the better team. The Flames seemed like they were already on vacation.

But with a bad giveaway by Andrew Shaw, Dougie Hamilton got a good chance that was stopped by Carey Price. Sam Bennett got a chance on the same shift, but nothing came of it. With a chance in the offensive zone later for the habs, Jordie Benn shot from the point and got one past Mike Smith. This one would count. It was later credited to Byron Froese.

The Flames ended up with a powerplay later due to Shaw tripping Smith behind the net, which we already know ended up being somewhat useless. They’re now just 1/29 in their last 29 PP opportunities. They had one shot and two scoring chances on that PP.

The first 20 ended with the Habs outshooting the Flames 11-10 with 11 scoring chances to the Flames’ seven (at 5v5). The Flames, however, had six high-danger chances compared to the Habs’ five.

Second period

Calgary Flames
Calgary Flames /

Calgary Flames

If I could write “wow that was bad” as the second-period complete summary, I absolutely would. That was one of the worst periods of hockey the Calgary Flames have played in a while. How the Flames even managed seven shots is beyond me.

The Habs came out strong and basically remained strong the whole period. They had some chances early on and Smith had to be sharp, yet again, quite early on in the period.

Around the eight-minute mark, Brodie and Michael Stone got stuck in their zone again and the Habs made them pay wit ha goal from Nicolas Deslauriers. That’s now two goals for the Habs’ fourth line and two goals that Brodie and Stone have been on the ice for in this game.

Sam Bennett had a good chance and was one of the only skaters for the Flames who was actually performing. And because of that, throughout the period, Gulutzan tried to get some spark going on in his team. He switched Bennett and Gaudreau so Bennett was on that first line for the rest of the period.

The score remained 2-0 for the Habs and the Flames would start the third period on the penalty kill after taking a too many men penalty late in the second period.

Third period

The Calgary Flames started this period on the penalty kill, but no PP goal for the Habs there. They managed two shots. At one point, the Flames couldn’t clear the zone for what felt like hours. Micheal Stone again failed to clear the puck, and the Habs made it 3-0. Stone is now -3 on the night.

Five minutes into the period, the Habs were outshooting the Flames 9-0. Glen Gulutzan was juggling the lines quite a bit and Gaudreau was playing on basically every line. Nine minutes in, the Flames third line was finally generating some shots and some chances. Around the halfway mark, after what felt like was an impossible mission for the Flames, they finally managed to put the puck in the net. From a good backhand pass from Brodie to get it to Sean Monahan, who then got it to Michael Frolik. Frolik hit the post and Micheal Ferland got the rebound off the post and in.

So you’re saying there’s a chance…

I called this in the second period and let’s just say that everyone should start calling me the YYC Medium.

For some reason, the Flames decided to only play about ten minutes of hockey tonight. They ended up with a powerplay within the last three minutes of the game and they took Mike Smith out. So we’ve got a 6on4 powerplay. And what happens?

The Flames score! They’re now within one with about two minutes left in the game. But it’s quite dumb for all of us to actually have hope in the Flames.

This game finished 3-2 for the Habs and that would finish this season series for the teams. The Habs outshot the Flames 35-23 and this was the first time the Flames were outshot by their opponents since Nov. 28 – 12 games ago. In fact, the only game they didn’t outshoot their opponents was the first meeting between the Flames and the Habs this season where the shots were even at 37 apiece.

Next: Is Versteeg's absence why Gaudreau's hit a slump?

This was an under-average performance by the Flames and to be quite frank, they didn’t deserve the points. Let’s hope that the team resets over the break and gets these days off that they need.