Calgary Flames feel the wrath of the Boston Bruins, lose 5-2

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 13: Riley Nash
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 13: Riley Nash /

The Calgary Flames will be looking to improve their dominating road record tonight against the Boston Bruins. Let’s see how this game turned out.

The Calgary Flames have the second best road record this season at 16-6-5. They’ll be looking to improve that vs. the Boston Bruins tonight, who have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL since December.

Johnny Gaudreau, who’s currently on a six-game point streak, heads into this game tied at second in the NHL for points with 66 in 56 games and was named the second star of last week after having seven points in four games last week. One of his three career hat tricks have come against the Bruins.

But the Flames will have to try and get some past Tuukka Rask, who has only lost one game in regulation in his past 21 games. He’s been a big reason for the Bruins’ success as of late, where they’ve lost just two games in regulation in their last 25. On the other end of the ice, David Rittich will be between the pipes while Mike Smith nurses a minor lower-body injury. All six of Rittich’s starts this season have come on the road where he has yet to lose a game in regulation. He’s 5-0-2 in seven starts with a 0.938 sv%.

Related Story: David Rittich deserves more than just back-to-back games

The Flames are currently in the third Pacific Division spot, but they could be out of that spot tonight. They’ll be looking to further secure that spot. Let’s check out how this game went down.

First period

Well. I know we say we all like the Calgary Flames getting scored on first because they don’t get overconfident, but we didn’t expect this. Right after the faceoff, Riley Nash wins the draw and the Bruins right away apply pressure. Nash makes it 1-0 just 28 seconds in. Oh boy, this is going to be one of those games, isn’t it?

Calgary Flames
Calgary Flames /

Calgary Flames

And by “one of those games”, if I meant lots of goals, then I was right apparently. Sam Bennett ties it up less than two minutes later with some good forechecking by the third line, Bennett stayin on the ice as the fourth line was coming on, and he scored with a good hit by Garnet Hathaway behind the net. We’ve got a tie game!

The Flames got a powerplay about six minutes in, but we know the current PP struggles, and no goal resulted. But the Flames kept the pressure after that PP ended. With some pressure from the fourth line again and Johnny Gaudreau, Gaudreau saw an opening behind the net, bounced it off Rask, and it went in. Flames up 2-1 at around the midway mark of the first period with Johnny now on a seven-game win streak.

Well, I guess scoring on Rask isn’t that hard it seems.

The Flames took a late penalty followed by a late penalty by the Bruins, so we’d have some four-on-four for a bit. While the Flames had more chances between the two, this period would end 2-1 for the Flames. The Flames outshot the Bruins 13-11 and while the Bruins had more even-strength shot attempts and scoring chances, the Flames got out of this one on top.

Second period

The Calgary Flames started the second on the powerplay, but in short PP, they couldn’t capitalize. Early on in the period, David Rittich had to be sharp. The Bruins had a two-on-one which resulted in some pressure and Rittich stopped two great chances on Ryan Spooner.

A little before the midway mark, the Flames took a penalty which gave the Bruins lots of chances to even things up. But Rittich was sharp and stopped all five shots he faced on that PP.

Shortly after, the Flames yet again went on another penalty-kill. It’s going to be one of those games, isn’t it? However, the Flames physicality in this game has been paying off. They successfully killed it off and kept the Bruins around the perimeter.

Shortly after, the Flames finally went on the powerplay. There hasn’t been lots of 5on5 action this period. Right as soon as the Flames PP ended, where of course they didn’t score, because it’s the Flames, the Bruins came back the other way and Riley Nash scored his second of the game.

The Bruins took a late penalty in this game, which the Flames couldn’t capitalize on, so the Flames will start the third period on the PP. The Bruins had the edge in shots 16-8 that period and badly outplayed the Flames at even-strength with 16 shot attempts compared to just five for the Flames.

We’ve got a tie game heading into the third period.

Third period

Like I mentioned, the Calgary Flames started the third period on the powerplay. While it was a short PP, they still couldn’t capitalize. Shortly after, the Flames took yet another penalty. These penalties will honestly be the death of me.

It didn’t take long for the Bruins to set up on their PP. 12 seconds, to be exact, for early Hart contender Patrice Bergeron gave the Bruins an early lead about a minute into the period. Oooooh boy.

Five minutes into the period, the Flames go on a crucial powerplay where they’re able to even things up. Meaning their man-advantage will go to waste and they’re going to keep the puck around the perimeter the entire two minutes.

Call me psychic, but this ended up happening with no shots on this critical PP. Not even one shot attempt.

The Flames applied some zone pressure, but then the Bruins went on an odd-man rush the other way and applied a good amount of pressure themselves. Brad Marchand shot it from the point which Rittich was ready to make a glove save. With some traffic in front and the puck changing direction by deflecting off of Bergeron, this one found the back of the net. 4-2 Bruins at the midway mark.

The Flames decided to take Rittich out for the extra attacker with four minutes left (????) and from the other end of the ice, Zdeno Chara shoots it all the way down and puts them up 5-2.

This game ends 5-2 with the Bruins outshooting the Flames 40-30.

Post-game thoughts

Powerplay continues to struggle

The Calgary Flames powerplay still continues to be their downfall. In some crucial moments, especially in the third period where they’re down a goal, they couldn’t capitalize with the man-advantage. They could barely even set up with good chances, most of their powerplays, they just kept the puck around the perimeter.

A heat map for the Flames shot attempts on their FIVE powerplays, they kept it around the perimeter.

Not only is the amount of shot attempts unacceptable (11 on five PPs), where they’re keeping the puck also needs to change. They didn’t even have one shot attempt in the third period on their most crucial PP of the game.

Johnny Be Good

Johnny Gaudreau keeps his point streak alive at seven games with 10 points in that stretch. He momentarily sat all by himself in second place in the NHL in points, but not all the games tonight are over yet, so that could change.

He currently has 67 points in 56 games and has lots of potential to beat his career high of 78 points.

The Flames are frustrating

That’s it. That’s the thought. I have no other words to describe this team other than “frustrating”. They have the talent to be a top team, but for some reason, they’re not. They just haven’t been able to get well-balanced and it’s quite irritating. If they can come out with a win vs. the Nashville Predators and end their road trip at 4-2-0, I’ll be happy. But if they continue to not play a full 60, then they won’t.

Next: Good news, Mike Smith is just day-to-day

That’s all for tonight. Let’s hope the Calgary Flames get in sync on Thursday evening.