Calgary Flames home-ice woes continue, lose 6-3 to Florida Panthers

CALGARY, AB - FEBRUARY 17: Evgenii Dadonov
CALGARY, AB - FEBRUARY 17: Evgenii Dadonov /

The Calgary Flames head into this game hoping to keep their third Pacific Division spot. Let’s check out how this game went.

With the Anaheim Ducks and LA Kings winning earlier today, the Calgary Flames needed a win tonight vs. the Florida Panthers. They’re coming home from a six-game road trip where they went 4-2-0. While the Ducks are in the third Pacific spot right now, they do have a couple games on hand on the Flames.

Heading into the game, Johnny Gaudreau is currently on an eight-game point streak with four goals and seven assists in that time frame. He currently sits in second place in the point race with 68 points in 58 games.

David Rittich will also be starting his third consecutive game as Mike Smith nurses a lower-body injury. He suffered his first regulation loss when he starts a game during the road trip, but otherwise, he’s been quite solid. He’s 6-1-2 in nine starts this season. On the other end of the ice, Roberto Luongo returns from injury tonight after missing a little over two months with injury.

This will be the second meeting between the two teams where the Flames won 4-2 in the first and Rittich stopping 41 of 43 shots.

The Panthers right now have 56 points in 54 games. While they’re quite behind the rest of the teams in the playoffs, they also have quite a few games on hand all the teams. So they still have a chance and are basically fighting for their lives right now.

Let’s check out how this game went down.

First period

Well. The first period started out with some end to end action in the first minute. Then the Calgary Flames let the Panthers in their zone too easily and Mike Matheson makes it 1-0 1:09 into the game. Oh boy.

Shortly after, Ryan Lomberg dropped the gloves with Micheal Haley and he… doesn’t exactly win the fight. But hey, he’s not afraid which is always a plus.

The Flames went on the penalty-kill a little past the five-minute mark, and with a great Panthers powerplay as of late, this left me slightly worried. But a great penalty-kill for the Flames, and it’s still a 1-0 game.

Shortly after, the Flames went on the penalty-kill yet again. But again, this PK went even better than their first one. They didn’t even let the Panthers set up and probably had more zone time than the Panthers did. We’re still at a one-goal game.

With less than halfway to go, it’s now the Flames turn with the man-advantage. The first PP unit the Flames have been using has been paying off. Dougie Hamilton shot it from just inside the faceoff circle. With a sharp wrist shot and Matthew Tkachuk there to screen, we’ve got a tie-game.

Wow, a successful powerplay with Dougie Hamilton on the first unit? Who would have thought?

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The first period ended with the Flames taking a late penalty, meaning they’ll start the second on the PK. This period ended 1-1 with the Flames outshooting the Panthers 11-9.

Second period

The Panthers started this period out on the PP with that late penalty to Dougie Hamilton.  This time, the Calgary Flames weren’t so successful on the PK. David Rittich made a glorious save, but moments later, the Panthers again scored an early period goal and were now up 2-1.

Shortly after, the Flames take yet another penalty. These penalties will be the death of me.

With a faceoff win for the Panthers, they scored early with a tip from Evgeni Dadonov. That’s now a 3-1 lead early in the second period. After this, the Flames seemed to have lost all momentum they ever had in this game.

Calgary Flames
Calgary Flames /

Calgary Flames

In a broken play and a poor attempt to clear the zone, Alexsander Barkov made it 4-1 for the Cats just six minutes into the period. With four goals allowed on 15 shots, we’ll see a goaltending change. Poor Rittich. He’s had a great start so far this season, but tonight was just not his night. Jon Gillies will now be between the pipes for the rest of the game.

While they momentarily lost momentum, it seemed like they got it back. They pushed and kept the pressure on which resulted in a penalty call on the Panthers a little before the midway mark of the period. The Flames had some good pressure and some good chances, but no goal.

Shortly after that powerplay ended, the Flames go on the man-advantage again.

With the same unit as the first PP goal that was scored, this one goes to work again. Tkachuk got the puck to Sean Monahan who passed it back to Dougie, and again, with that strong snapshot, it’s another powerplay goal. 4-2 Panthers now. Two consecutive games with two powerplay goals? Am I dreaming?

The Flames kept the pressure and got yet ANOTHER powerplay. This one had a few good chances as well, but they’re still down two goals with a little over three minutes left in the period.

This period ended with a 4-2 lead for the Panthers. Shots were even at 11 apiece for both teams, but the Panthers had the edge at even-strength with more shots and scoring chances. Let’s head to the final frame.

Third period

Can we just stop it here? Do we really need to know what happened in the third period?

The Calgary Flames had some good jump to start the third. For the first few minutes, the Flames kept the pressure and had lots of zone time. And we all know what this means. The Cats came back into the Flames zone and with a shot by Matheson, Florida now has a three-goal lead early in the third period. That’s Matheson’s second goal and third point of the game.

Again, the Flames basically lost all momentum. A couple minutes later, Jared McCann made it a four-goal lead with a good tip-in. No way Gillies was able to stop that.

Later in the period, the Flames got some jump back and with about eight minutes left in the period, Dougie cuts the lead to three. DOUGIE HAMILTON HAT TRICK!?!? Well, maybe not. They may be crediting Tkachuk the second goal because it seems like he may have tipped it. If it is Dougie’s hat trick, this will be his first ever career hat trick and the first time that a Flames defenseman has scored a hat trick since Al MacInnis in 1992.

Shortly after, the Flames went on the powerplay and everyone in the stands were chanting “Dougie! Dougie!” The Flames had some shots, but no goals. They were about to take out Gillies for the empty attacker when the Flames got a powerplay. With 2:54 on the PP, it seemed like Curtis Lazar made it 6-4. After some reviews, they determined it was a no goal due to a high-stick. Boooooo.

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This game remained 6-3 for the Panthers who have now won seven of their last eight. The Flames home-ice woes continue and to add insult to injury, Johnny Gaudreau’s point streak ends tonight too. The Calgary Flames need to find a way to be better on home-ice. Nobody quite knows what it is about playing at the ‘Dome for this team, but they’re not in sync.

Their next game will be an afternoon one on Monday when they’ll face the Boston Bruins for the second time in a week.