3 Takeaways as Flames Have Winning Streak Snapped by Canucks

Coming into Thursday night, no team in the league had been as hot as the Calgary Flames, who had a chance to set a new franchise record with an 11th straight win against the Vancouver Canucks. However, that record failed to come to fruition as the Flames looked unusually flat.

Related: Flames Have a History of 10-Game Winning Streaks

Things appeared fine through the first period, as both teams headed to their dressing rooms with no score on the board. That changed in a big way in the second frame, as the Canucks put up five on the Flames and added two more in the third for good measure. Andrew Mangiapane was able to break the Canucks shutout bid late, but it didn’t come close to impacting the game as it ended in a 7-1 final. There was no one victim in this game, as the whole team appeared flat for the final 40 minutes, and as a result, their remarkable streak is no more.

Flames Get Into Penalty Trouble

The biggest issue in this game for the Flames was their inability to stay out of the penalty box. They took just one minor in the first period and were able to kill it, but the second frame proved to be a much different story.

They took a total of four minors in the second, with Blake Coleman picking up two of his own. With just seconds remaining in the second, Rasmus Andersson was given a penalty for covering the puck in the crease, which resulted in a penalty shot and a goal for J.T. Miller.

Calgary Flames Celebrate
Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The third period wasn’t much better for the Flames in that regard, as they took another three minors. For extra measure, 10-minute misconducts were given to both Johnny Gaudreau and Milan Lucic just minutes apart, proving just how frustrated they and their teammates were.

In total, they gave up three goals on seven opportunities and, as mentioned previously, gave up a penalty shot goal after Andersson froze the puck in the crease. Despite the ugly night, the Flames still sit second in the league in penalty kill percentage at 85.6, making this appear to be more of an off night rather than something to worry about.

Hot Goaltending at Opposing End

Though this game ended in a blowout score, Thatcher Demko was fantastic and easily could have been one of the game’s three stars. The 26-year-old made several 10 bell saves throughout the night, several of which came when the game was still very close. Had even one of those gotten past him, the entire course of the game may have been changed.

It hasn’t happened much this season, but Jacob Markstrom was outdueled on Thursday. That isn’t to say he was bad by any means, as he had zero chance on the three goals he allowed, all of which were placed perfectly under the bar.

Late in the third, Markstrom was taken out of the game with what the team referred to as an equipment issue, and the Flames were forced to turn to Dan Vladar. It didn’t go how the young Czech netminder would have liked, as he was scored on almost immediately while on the penalty kill and gave up one on a penalty shot less than two minutes later. He ended up allowing four total goals on just 17 shots but, like Markstrom, didn’t have much of a chance.

Flames Suffer Through Sloppy Play

Perhaps the biggest reason the Flames have been so successful this season is due to head coach Darryl Sutter’s defensive systems. In fact, even after giving up seven in this one, they still sit tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for the least amount of goals allowed on the season with 121.

Darryl Sutter Calgary Flames
Darryl Sutter, head coach of the Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

For whatever reason, that sound defensive play went out the window on Thursday, as the Flames had several egregious turnovers. Many of those turnovers occurred in the offensive zone, which led to several breakaway chances. Sutter certainly won’t be happy with that, but perhaps his club’s previous 10 straight wins will help keep him somewhat cool.

Wild Up Next for the Flames

Things won’t get any easier for the Flames on Saturday, as they are taking on one of the league’s most underrated teams in the Minnesota Wild. The two have nearly identical records on the season, as the Flames have one extra point but have played in one more game. It should be a great game between two top teams in the Western Conference.

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