Calgary Flames special teams hurt them, lose 5-3 to St. Louis Blues

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 11: Alexander Steen #20 of the St. Louis Blues is congratulated after scoring a goal against the Calgary Flames at Enterprise Center on October 11, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 11: Alexander Steen #20 of the St. Louis Blues is congratulated after scoring a goal against the Calgary Flames at Enterprise Center on October 11, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Calgary Flames were hoping to continue their success tonight in St. Louis. Unfortunately, the Blues had another idea.

This sounds like a familiar story, hey? The Calgary Flames were hoping to make it a three-game win tonight against the St. Louis Blues. Matthew Tkachuk is definitely familiar with this building, seeing how his dad played for the Blues for eight seasons.

Unfortunately, poor goaltending and poor special teams were the Flames downfall tonight. Let’s check out how they got here.

First period

The St. Louis Blues had some great jump early on and Mike Smith was forced to make three good saves about a minute in. Shortly after, the Blues went on the powerplay with a tripping call to Juuso Valimaki. Like the Calgary Flames, the Blues also heavily struggled with the PP last season.

On this PP, it looked much better, but a couple shots wide and a few blocks, and the Blues only had one shot on their PP. However, they had five attempts, two scoring chances, and one high-danger chance.

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About seven minutes in, the Flames third line went down the ice, Dillon Dube stole the puck from Vladimir Tarasenko along the boards, fed it over to Sam Bennett, and with a nice move to Bennett who got the puck over to James Neal, it’s a 1-0 game. That’s Neal’s first goal as a Flame and Dillon Dube got the second assist on that play, meaning Dube gets his first NHL point!

Don’t get too excited because 12 seconds later, the Blues answered back with Alex Steen‘s first goal of the season. An assist from Jordan Kyrou will give him his first NHL point as well. So many firsts!

Slightly before the midway mark, rookie Rasmus Andersson made a small mistake and gave the puck away to Jaden Schwartz who fed it over to Brayden Schenn who made a smart and nice pass over to David Perron. 2-1 Blues. Poor Ras. He’ll learn.

Shortly after, Matthew Tkachuk drew a penalty (of course), so off to the powerplay they go. Their PP has been quite successful in the last two games, however, as we’ve learned, the first PP of the game is generally not very good, so I didn’t get my hopes up.

The Flames had two shots and two scoring chances on that PP.

A few seconds after the PP ended, the Blues got their crack at it.

Some good chances on that PP, especially right as it was expiring where the puck hit the post, but the Flames did a decent job at penalty-killing for the most part. Shortly after the PP ended, Joel Edmundson fooled Mike Smith and made it a 3-1 game.

With less than two minutes in the period, the Flames were going through the neutral zone. Johnny Gaudreau got tripped up, so we’ll get a penalty, and then Sean Monahan got a breakaway in which he was hooked on, so we’ll also get a penalty shot.

On that penalty-shot, Monahan had a great release and almost made it a one-goal game, but the puck hit the post. Now the Flames will go on the PP. The 1:22 of PP time didn’t solve anything, so the Flames will have 38 seconds to try and make something happen at the start of the second period.

The Blues outshot the Flames 14-8 and the Blues definitely had the edge at even-strength with nine scoring chances (compared to four for the Flames) and six high-danger chances (compared to three for the Flames).

Second period

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The Calgary Flames couldn’t score on the 38 seconds they had on the powerplay but they kept the pressure on once it ended. The two teams went back and forth until the Blues went on the powerplay.

On this PP, it seemed to be going well. Until Mike Smith decided to be Mike Smith, go behind the net to play the puck, make a mistake, get caught behind the net, and allow the Blues to capitalize. David Perron gets the goal and his second of the night. 4-1 Blues.

Shortly after, the Blues went on another powerplay, but the Flames were great on the penalty kill, so this remains a 4-1 game.

After the Flames killed off the penalty, they seemed to have much more jump to their game. Unfortunately, they couldn’t find the back of the net.

Shortly past the midway mark, the Flames went on the PP with a hook on Anthony Peluso. 25 seconds into the powerplay, Brayden Schenn slashed Johnny Gaudreau, so the Flames would get a two-man advantage for 1:35. Gaudreau seemed hurt and immediately went to the bench, but he returned to play on the powerplay and played the rest of the period, so good news there.

The Flames had some good looks on that 5on3 but they were just unlucky. James Neal got robbed by Jake Allen, and there were two posts, one from Mark Giordano and one from Austin Czarnik.

Late in the period, Michael Frolik took a tripping penalty, so the Flames will go on the penalty kill again. With just 11 seconds left on the PP, the Blues made it 5-1 with another goal from David Perron, giving Perron a hat-trick. His fourth career hat-trick, his last one also coming against the Flames. Do you think he likes playing against the Flames or something?

Despite the score, the Flames outshot the Blues 11-10 that period. Let’s head to the third.

Third period

After allowing five goals on 24 shots, Mike Smith won’t start the third period. David Rittich will relieve him for the final 20 minutes of play. The Calgary Flames definitely dominated for a while in this period. They basically had possession for the entire first half of the period. And it paid off.

With a nice feed from Austin Czarnik to Derek Ryan who slapped it in for his first as a Flame. Blues now lead 5-2. Comeback time?

A few minutes later, the Flames were again having chances in the offensive zone when Mikael Backlund shot the puck and it looked like it deflected off Sam Bennett. But it looked like it may have been kicked, so this one will get a short review. Of course, this would happen to Bennett. This is so typical Bennett.

Well, after rewatching that play, the puck actually bounced off Alex Pietrangelo‘s skate and in, so it’s a clear goal but it’s not Bennett’s goal. Poor Bennett. It’s now 5-3 with about nine minutes left in the period. Plenty of time for the Flames to tie it up, but some missed shots and some timely saves by Jake Allen and this game would remain 5-3.

The Calgary Flames pushed hard in the third period and if they had gotten maybe one goal on the powerplay, this would have been a completely different outcome. Or if Monahan didn’t hit the post on his penalty-kill, I know that this game would have ended completely differently.

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Well, we basically know for a fact that David Rittich will get the start on Saturday against Colorado. Let’s hope he can get some of that magic he had in his first NHL win, which came last season, also against the Colorado Avalanche.

On to the next.