Calgary Flames: Three-game losing streak heading into Christmas

It wasn’t an ideal way for the Calgary Flames to head into the Christmas break as they lost to the St. Louis Blues, but here they are.

Well, it’s not ideal, but it could be worse. The Calgary Flames lost today to the St. Louis Blues for their third straight loss. They’ve only had one other three-game losing streak this season and they’re still going to be at the top of the division on Christmas, so it’s not the worst thing in the world, but it could still be better.

The Flames had a poor first period, a great second period, but add a couple of soft goals from Mike Smith, and you’ve got a 3-1 loss.

Johnny Gaudreau had a great game today and had many chances but couldn’t find the back of the net today. James Neal also had a few shots and a few good chances today, but it’s also James Neal, so we knew he probably wasn’t going to be scoring.

Let’s check out how the Flames got here today.

First period

It was quite an uneventful first four minutes by both teams. The Calgary Flames got caught in their own zone and the puck took a weird bounce and nobody knew where the puck was. Only David Perron recognized where it was and got it past Mike Smith on a tight angle. 1-0 Blues.

The first good chance for the Flames came a little over seven minutes into the game where James Neal got it over the line and over to Mark Jankowski who shot it on Jake Allen, but it was stopped.

Around the midway mark, the Flames took a penalty so the Blues got the first powerplay of the game. On the PP, the Blues started it off well and were trying to create some chances. Around the midway mark of the PP, the Flames almost cleared the puck twice but both times couldn’t and the Blues created another chance. Patrick Maroon shot the puck to which Smith saved and Tyler Bozak got the rebound to make it 2-0.

Late in the period, Maroon hooked Oliver Kylington, so the Flames got their first powerplay of the game. The Flames won the initial faceoff and the puck was over to Johnny Gaudreau, he waited for a passing lane to open up and got the puck over to Elias Lindholm. Lindholm somewhat faked a shot and got the puck to Matthew Tkachuk who was waiting right in front of Allen and tapped the puck in. It took just seven seconds for the Flames to score on the PP. 2-1 game.

With a minute to go, the Blues took another penalty as the Flames could have had a two-on-one, so the Flames went to work on the PP again. The second PP unit started and Derek Ryan had a great setup for Sam Bennett and he got it right into Allen, but it was stopped.

That was the best opportunity on that second PP for the Flames so they’ll start the second period on the PP. This period wasn’t the best for the Flames but they answered back with their powerplays and seemed more energized at the end there. The Blues outshot the Flames 12-9 and completely outplayed them at 5v5.

Second period

The Calgary Flames went to work right away on the powerplay and had some good looks but managed just one shot. They continued the pressure after the PP ended and the Flames second line had some great chances as well but no goal resulted from it.

About a minute later, Gaudreau sneaked behind the play and was fed on a breakaway and tried going five-hole like he did against the Lightning two days ago, but Allen stopped it. It was a much better start to this period for the Flames than the first.

About seven minutes in, the Flames top line went to work again after the Blues shot the puck off the Flames’ crossbar. Then Gaudreau picked up the loose puck and skated past about three Blues player to try for a goal but it was stopped. The Flames continued the pressure but they couldn’t find the back of the net.

About 11 minutes in, as the Flames couldn’t hold the puck in the offensive zone, then Ryan and Garnet Hathaway somewhat collided in the neutral zone so the Blues went down the other way with a bit of an odd-man rush and tried a shot which was their first shot of the period, but it was stopped.

With about six minutes to go, the Blues took a penalty so the Flames went to work with the man-advantage again. However, this wasn’t that successful due to some good and aggressive penalty-killing by the Blues and the Flames couldn’t quite set up or have too many clean entries. With 43 seconds left of the PP, the Flames took a penalty, so their PP was over.

Once 4on4 ended, the Blues went on the PP and while they tried to set up, they didn’t get any shots.

With under a minute to go, the Flames added some pressure but couldn’t get it past Allen, so this period finished the way it started. This period was miles better than the first. The Flames outshot the Blues 13-5 and completely dominated in every aspect at 5v5.

Third period

Early in the third period, the Calgary Flames were halfway through a change where the Blues entered the zone. Oskar Sundqvist shot the initial shot which somewhat confused Smith, he let out a big rebound and Sundqvist got the next one. The Blues restored their two-goal lead.

Right after, Gaudreau was all alone in front of Allen and tried for a goal but was denied.

As the Flames had a great chance again, the Blues took a penalty on the play, so the Flames went on the powerplay to try and make this a one-goal game again. On the PP, the second unit had some good looks with Neal getting about his third shot of the game, but this PP went scoreless.

It seemed like after that third goal against, the Flames somewhat quieted down a little and didn’t fight as hard as they should. Credit to the Blues defencemen for not allowing much to happen for the team.

This game ended up finishing 3-1 for the Blues and that’s now a three-game losing streak for the Flames heading into the Christmas break. This is only the second three-game losing streak for the Flames this season, both times had a shootout loss as well. So, not the worst thing this season and the team will still head into this break being at the top of the Pacific Division.

We’ll probably see David Rittich start the next game, but for now, happy holidays!