Calgary Flames battle a battered New York Rangers team, lose 4-3

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 09: Kevin Hayes
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 09: Kevin Hayes /

The Calgary Flames will look to make it a four-game win streak tonight against the New York Rangers. Let’s see how this game went down.

The Calgary Flames head into this game at MSG as one of the best road teams in the NHL and on a three-game win streak. They’ll be looking to make it four games vs. a battered New York Rangers team who have lost their last four in a row and seven of their last eight games. That being said, the Flames haven’t won at MSG since 2008.

Just yesterday, the Rangers announced on their social media accounts that they’ll be making lots of changes in their lineups and that they’re basically in a rebuild, so for fans to be patient. For the most part, the response looked good. People were quite pleased that the Rangers were transparent with their fans and it’s not often that teams basically announce that they’re calling off their season.

Heading into this game, the top line are all on four-game point streaks. Johnny Gaudreau is on a four-game point streak with six points in that stretch and Sean Monahan is on a four-game goal streak with five goals and six points in that stretch. Monahan got his tenth game-winning goal of the season vs. the New Jersey Devils last night to tie Jarome Iginla for third in franchise history for most amount GWG in one season.

Related Story: Flames win third in a row, beat Devils 3-2

Mike Smith gets between the pipes again. He had the night off last night, but he’s 10-3-3 on the road and has a 0.948 sv% on the road – the best among all starting goaltenders in the league.

Troy Brouwer has been announced to be week-to-week after taking a puck to the face and dealing with a facial fracture. Curtis Lazar will make his way back into the lineup and Ryan Lomberg will stay in. All this being said, let’s check out how this game went down.

First period

The Rangers had a chance early and Mike Smith had to be sharp early on. Soon after, the Rangers went on the powerplay. While the Rangers applied pressure on the PP, the Flames managed to kill it off. The Rangers had three shots and three scoring chances on that PP.

Calgary Flames
Calgary Flames /

Calgary Flames

Soon after it ended, the Flames applied pressure in the Rangers zone but went right back to the penalty-kill with a questionable goalie interference call. Ooh boy, this is going to be a long game. On the PK, while the Calgary Flames got a shorthanded chance early, the Rangers came right back. In a poor attempt to clear the puck by Michael Stone, Kevin Hayes gets his own rebound. 1-0 Rangers.

10 minutes into the game, the Rangers were outshooting the Flames 12-3.

Less than 15 minutes into the game, the Flames take their third penalty. It’s going to be one of those games, isn’t it? The Flames were quite aggressive on the PK and the Rangers didn’t get an opportunity until late on their PP. But they continued the pressure after their PP ended. The game is still 1-0 for the Rangers.

Late in the game, the Flames had a rush going down the ice. Johnny Gaudreau got the puck up to Micheal Ferland who passed it to Brett Kulak. I saw this and said to myself, “Kulak, pass it, we all know you’re never going to score.” Oh, boy was I wrong. Kulak finally scores his first ever NHL goal! It’s now a 1-1 game and the Flames head to the PP with about a minute left of the period.

After having a horrible period, the Flames were lucky to get out of it tied 1-1. The Rangers outshot the Flames 20-8 and won 63% of the faceoffs. They had 21 shot attempts compared to the Flames’ 11 (5v5) and 11 scoring chances compared to the Flames’ seven.

NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 09: The Calgary Flames celebrate after a goal by Brett Kulak. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 09: The Calgary Flames celebrate after a goal by Brett Kulak. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

Second period

Ondrej Pavelec hurt his knee late in the first period, so Henrik Lundqvist will start this period.

The Calgary Flames started the second period on the powerplay. It was only 56 seconds, and since it takes the Flames over a minute to set up, we know they didn’t score. But they went right back on the powerplay when it ended. Which again, with the powerplay struggles, we could assume what happened.

The Flames took (again) a while to set it up, so the score would remain 1-1.

About a minute later with some scrums in front of the net, it seemed like the Flames scored. After the refs talked it over, they concluded that Curtis Lazar skated into Lundqvist and the goal was overturned. To be fair, it was the right call. Whether it hindered Lundqvist’s ability to make a save or not, he did touch Lundqvist. But Glen Gulutzan decided to challenge. After a quick review, it was determined it was still goalie interference, so the Flames lose their timeout.

Soon after, Michael Grabner came back and put one past Mike Smith and seemed to hit Mike Smith’s left pad in the process. What is goalie interference? The Rangers get the lead back. But it didn’t last long.

45 seconds later, Ryan Lomberg had a good heads-up play to notice Lazar skating down and got the puck in the offensive zone for Lazar to get and get it past Lundqvist who was a little slow in reacting to the play. So Kulak scores his first NHL goal, Lazar finally scores his first goal of the season, and Lomberg gets his first NHL point all in one game so far. What is happening? Is Mercury in retrograde right now?

The Flames soon went back to the powerplay. Ryan Lomberg, 3:50 of ice-time, already has an assist and now draws a penalty. Not too shabby. And that penalty drawing came in handy. For over a month of Flames fans saying to put Dougie Hamilton on the first PP unit, the Flames finally did that. And they finally managed to score! It was credited to Matthew Tkachuk from Dougie and TJ Brodie, but many people thought Dougie had the goal with the shot from the point. If they give it to Dougie, Brodie and Gaudreau will get the two assists which means that Gaudreau gets the sole possession of second place in the points race. The Flames take the first lead of the game and it will stay that way until the end of the period.

This time, the Flames outshot the Rangers 21-8. Let’s go to the final frame.

Third period

The Rangers managed to tie up the game in the first half of the third period. Mike Smith had already made a few good saves in the period, but with a scrum in front of him, Rick Nash got it over his glove. We’ve got a tie game.

Soon, the Calgary Flames went on the powerplay, and while they had a few chances, they couldn’t regain their lead. Shortly after, the Rangers would go on the powerplay. It took them a little bit to set it up, but when they finally did, nobody was watching Mika Zibanejad. He got the Rangers fourth goal of the game and gave them the lead again.

The Flames soon take another penalty, but the Rangers couldn’t capitalize this time. Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik had a shorthanded chance, but Lundqvist made a great save (rude). Late in the game, the Rangers take a penalty so the Flames will have a chance with the man advantage. They took out Mike Smith, so they’ll have a two-man advantage. While they had lots of pressure, they couldn’t tie up this game.

Their three-game win streak comes to an end.

Post-game thoughts

Unable to maintain a lead

For some reason, the Calgary Flames aren’t able to hold onto their leads anymore. Since the start of last season, in 56 games leading after two periods, they had just lost three in OT or SO and won 53. They’ve now lost three in regulation in just six games.

They need to stop leading after two periods. It clearly isn’t working for them.


The Calgary Flames took too many penalties tonight. Which brings us to special teams. Going  1/6 on the powerplay and allowing the Rangers to go 2/5 on their PP is not the way to win hockey games. While their penalty-killing has been good lately, tonight it wasn’t.

At least they scored a powerplay goal though, right?

Johnny Hockey looks like Johnny Hockey again

After going through a minor slump, Johnny Gaudreau is looking like himself again. He’s currently on a five-game point streak now with seven points in that stretch and is tied for second place for points. However, there was the Tkachuk goal that people think may be credited to Dougie since it didn’t seem like Tkachuk even touched it. If they do, Gaudreau will be the sole owner of the second place spot.

Imagine if Gaudreau didn’t go through that minor slump in December. Think of where he could be in the points race right now.

Next: Flames playing Rangers at opportune moment

That’s all for tonight. Let’s hope they have more luck against the other New York team on Sunday.