Game for Thought: Flames at Islanders

Nov 7, 2022; Elmont, New York, USA; Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) skates off the ice after losing to the New York Islanders during overtime at UBS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 7, 2022; Elmont, New York, USA; Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) skates off the ice after losing to the New York Islanders during overtime at UBS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

After losing the last four games at home, the Calgary Flames began their much-needed road trip to the east coast with a clash against the New York Islanders.

After a three-week long, eight-game homestand, the Calgary Flames have finally hit the road for their first multi-game trip of the season. The trip, which has stops in New York (Islanders), New Jersey, and Boston couldn’t have come at a better time for the Flames as they were starting to look a little too content at home. Following their sizzling 5-1-0 start, the Flames sputtered out, dropping their final four games at home. Now, with a 5-4-1 record in hand, a trip to the east coast may have been exactly what the doctor ordered – or so we thought.

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The first leg of the Flames’ road trip saw a quick pit stop in the ‘Big Apple’ for a game with the New York Islanders, on Monday.

Final/OT. 3. 112. 4. 106

Going into the matchup, a lot was expected from the team. A four-game losing skid isn’t a good look on any team, but the larger issue at hand was that the Flames could have – and truthfully, should have – won a majority of those games.

The reason that didn’t happen was an inability to play a full sixty minutes. Aside from their game against Nashville on Nov. 3, the Flames managed to outplay their opponents for two of the three periods. In the lone frame where the away team pushed back, the Flames time, and time again, fought back half-heartedly. Contentment and defensive collapses were both to blame.

Back in Long Island, the change of scenery seemed to do wonders for the club as they dominated the first two periods. None more than Mikael Backlund though. After being ordered to spend some time on the bench in their last game by head coach Darryl Sutter, Backlund was clearly playing with a chip on his shoulder and led the charge against the Islanders. This intensity would directly correlate to a pair of goals on the night, including the icebreaker.

Although it’s November, the spirits that cursed the Flames during their home stint didn’t seem to rest peacefully. Instead, they hitched a ride to New York and haunted the club once again. The 3-1 lead that the Calgary Flames built up in the first two periods was erased in the third when Anders Lee and Kyle Palmieri scored for the Islanders, just 59 seconds apart.

As a matter of fact, the Flames should consider themselves lucky that they hung on till overtime. One lucky bounce or a not-so-key save by netminder Jacob Markström and the Islanders would have gladly taken the win in regulation time.

Overtime was a more level playing field with each team having their fair share of scoring chances, but the Flames’ hopes of breaking their losing streak was put to an end when Rasmus Andersson was caught interfering with Islanders’ defenseman, Adam Pelech. Interference was an understatement. A more accurate description would be, ‘driving Pelech from behind into the goal post.’

Although the call made on Anderrson was valid and well-deserved, it left the away team severely frustrated.

To make matters worse, the officiating crew – which had an off night all around – missed a goaltender interference call when Jacob Markström’s legs were accidentally (but not really) clipped by a forechecking Casey Cisikas.

In New York’s defence, the officials also missed a high stick by Blake Coleman on Alexander Romanov that left him leaking blood from the mouth.

In the eyes of head coach Darryl Sutter, Andersson’s interference was an easy one to make.

Nonetheless, nothing changes the fact that the Flames gave up a two-goal lead regardless if all three plays were called, or none of them. Both Islander goals were at even strength prior to the infractions.

Andersson’s two minutes in the ‘sin bin’ would be cut short when the Islanders scored on the man advantage. The irony? The goal scorer was none other than Noah Dobson, the 2018 first-round pick for the Islanders. A pick originally held by the Flames but was sent via trade to the Islanders in exchange for Travis Hamonic.

Nice thing is, Darryl Sutter and co., will get another crack at the win column soon rather than later. The Calgary Flames will take on the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday in their first back-to-back of the season.

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