For the first time this season, and after three confident wins against the Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames lost against this rival. And may it be added, at the worst possible moment.
The Coyotes won 2-0 and kept their chances of reaching that last wild-card spot. On the other hand, with this loss, the Flames allowed San Jose Sharks to close down on them to only one point, but with the game in hand.
The central figure of the match in Gila River Arena was Arizona’s goalie Darcy Kuemper who made 30 saves and shut down guests defense. Just to mention, in previous three head-to-head clashes, this season Flames scored 18 goals, never fewer than five.
Offensively, Jakob Chychrun ran the show, with one goal and one assist apiece, which was enough for this both important and unexpected triumph.
The hosts reached a lead after 10:16 of play in the opening period, when Christian Dvorak and Clayton Keller had a two-on-one break. Keller was the executor.
After the game entered a bit of a slow and dull phase in which the fans saw no goals. Except for several strong hits and illegal players, there was nothing worth mentioning in the second period.
The Flames started the final period with a power play which they haven’t capitalized. And shortly after that, the punishment had arrived.
Chychrun doubled the lead with 2:49 after the start of that sequence. Dvorak attempted to beat Flames’ goalie Mike Smith, who saved that shot put didn’t have the time to recover and to react well on Chychrun’s attempt.
This is the fourth loss in a row for the current leaders of the Western Conference. Right now, Flames (40-21-9) are very much struggling with scoring. Once one of the most potent offenses in the league scored more than two goals in just one of the previous eight events.
Bill Peters assesses tonight's game in Arizona. pic.twitter.com/yTI1LFkUqd
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) March 8, 2019
Arizona (33-29-5) meanwhile, started to perform best when needed the most. They have only two losses in previous 10 contests and are making a strong bid for the playoffs.
Up next they play against Los Angeles Kings at home this Saturday, while Calgary awaits Vegas Golden Knights a day later.