Calgary Flames come back from 2-0 deficit, lose in shootout to Capitals

The Calgary Flames battled back from a 2-0 deficit but lost in a shootout to the defending Stanley Cup champions.

At least a point? The Calgary Flames have now lost three in a row, but this game was a much better one for the Flames than the last two. They were down 2-0 in the first period but managed to come back, and then managed to come back again from a 3-2 deficit late in the third period. However, they lost in a shootout.

It was a little surprising when Bill Peters announced that Mike Smith would get the start today against the Washington Capitals after the way he played against the Pittsburgh Penguins and had to be relieved by David Rittich, but he wasn’t completely terrible tonight, so I guess that’s a bonus.

Phoenix Copley, the Capitals’ backup goaltender, got his first NHL win. He had lost the five starts he started in his career and was 0-1-1 with a 0.873 sv% this season heading into this game. So let’s be honest, we all already knew the outcome of this game.

Let’s check out how the Flames got here.

First period

This period was quite eventful. The Calgary Flames took an early penalty which only lasted about 30 seconds as the Caps also took a penalty. Good for the Flames seeing how the Caps have a lethal powerplay. The Flames had a great chance at 4on4 with a good backhand shot by Sean Monahan, but Pheonix Copley saved it.

The Flames couldn’t get much going with just 30 seconds left on the PP but at the end, James Neal was hit from behind at the boards and seemed to be favouring his shoulder. He stayed on the bench for a few minutes before leaving, which left Sam Bennett double-shifting.

The Flames had a decent start, kept the Caps from recording their first shot on goal 5:37 into the game.

Slightly before the midway mark, the Flames turned over the puck at the blue line and the Capitals basically got a two-on-zero and made it 1-0. I know we fault Mike Smith a lot, but this one wasn’t on him.

James Neal returned to the game and his line along with Dillon Dube and Elias Lindholm had a great chance, but Copley stopped it.

Shortly after, the Flames took a penalty and it took the Capitals just 37 seconds to capitalize. 2-0 with a little over five to go in the period. This started to remind me of Thursday’s 9-1 loss until the Flames cut the lead to one just 15 seconds later.  Johnny Gaudreau shot the puck and with a tip from Monahan and then Travis Hamonic, it’s 2-1. That’s Hamonic’s first of the season!

Hamonic’s daughter is also attending her first NHL game, so I guess she’s the new good luck charm.

Later in the period, the Flames went on the powerplay which has somewhat died down over the last few games. But this time it took no time at all. Just nine seconds in, Gaudreau passed it through some defenders over to Elias Lindholm who made it 2-2. With two assists in this game, Gaudreau has hit 200 career assists!

This period ended 2-2 with the Caps outshooting the Flames 10-9.

Second period

The Capitals had a couple of chances early on before Michael Frolik stole the puck in the offensive zone to create a good scoring opportunity, but Copley stopped a shot from Noah Hanifin to keep this game tied.

A couple minutes later, the Calgary Flames top line had a great shift in the offensive zone with a few good scoring chances, but nothing found the back of the net.

The game was quite back and forth for the next six minutes, with no whistle and both teams going the other way. The best chance during that came from the MMA line, but this game remained tied.

About 11 minutes into the period, Juuso Valimaki took a hard shot off his foot and was slow to the bench resulting in the Flames taking a too-many-men penalty by maybe an inch. A bit of a questionable call, but so be it.

This Flames PK was much better than their first. The Capitals barely had any clean zone entries until there were just 30 seconds left. Later on the powerplay, the Caps finally got a good chance until they took a tripping call, so this would be  4on4 for 21 seconds before the Flames go on a powerplay.

As soon as the 4on4 ended, the Flames were quick to set it up on their shortened PP. This PP didn’t quite solve anything and as it was ended, TJ Oshie had a breakaway, but Mike Smith made a great save (haven’t said that in a while). Nicklas Backstrom then got the rebound puck and almost had an empty-net. I saw my life flash before my eyes but luckily, Backstrom shot it wide.

Later in the game, Matt Niskanen had a seeing eye-shot from the point and through the traffic and got it past Smith to make this 3-2. This was somewhat on Gaudreau as Niskanen was his man and he left him to try and get the puck at the boards.

This period finished 3-2 for the Capitals with them outshooting the Flames 8-6.

Third period

The Calgary Flames top line came out with some big jump to start the period. A few minutes later, the Caps answered back with some pressure of their own, but this remained a 3-2 game.

Around the 5-minute mark, the Flames had some pressure in the offensive zone, but the Caps had a two-on-one breakaway and a pass over to Alex Ovechkin already had me convinced this would be a 4-2 game. But thank you to whatever Hockey Gods are out there, Ovechkin shot it wide.

At the midway mark, it seemed like those were the best chances for either team through this period. With about seven and a half minutes left in the period, Monahan went down with Gaudreau on his wing and had a good shot on Copley, but this was still a one-goal game for the Capitals.

Shortly after, Oshie had a great chance on Smith who had to make a great save.

Right after, the Flames went down the other way and Dube was so close to finally getting his first NHL goal and tying the game, but it hit the post. You could just see the frustration in Dube after that.

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With over two minutes left in the game, the Flames took a timeout and Smith headed to the bench, so the Flames would have about two and a half minutes of 6on5 to try and tie this game.

With a minute and a half left in the game, Bill Peters made a smart decision to take TJ Brodie off the 6on5 and replace him with Rasmus Andersson and oh boy was this a good decision. Andersson shot it from the point and a tip from Matthew Tkachuk tied this game. That’s Andersson’s first NHL point, on his birthday, too!

Right after, the Flames went on the powerplay and they had a close chance with just 25 seconds left to get a goal, but Copley stopped it. The Flames had some more close chances as regulation was dying down, but this one needed overtime.

OT/Shootout

The Calgary Flames started overtime with the man-advantage, but that solved nothing. As Evgeny Kuznetsov came out of the box, he had a chance on Smith, but it wasn’t that high of a dangerous chance and it was stopped easily. Later Michal Kempny had a great chance but it went wide.

OT remained 4on4 until slightly over a minute left when we finally got the first whistle since the powerplay ended.

WIth 3on3, Gaudreau had a great chance that hit the post. Mark Giordano then had a great play in which he waited for Monahan to get to the net and he had the tip, but Copley made a great save on Monahan, who’s dangerous in OT.

Since OT stopped nothing, this one went to a shootout.

Tkachuk was the first shooter who was stopped. Then it was Oshie who has a great record in the shootout but he was also stopped by Smith who got the left pad down on that one. The Flames second shooter was Monahan who scored. The Caps second shooter was Kuznetsov who got it past Smith’s five-hole. Things are heating up, folks.

Neal tried the same move by going five-hole, but Copley stopped it. John Carlson was the Caps third shooter and he was also stopped by Smith, so this one needed another round.

Gaudreau was the Flames fourth shooter, but he’s never been great in the shootout and he was stopped by Copley. Backstrom was the Caps fourth shooter who scored, so the Flames lost this one in a shootout. Phoenix Copley got his first NHL win.