May 23, 2022
Flames come out flat in Game 3 as Oilers take series lead
With the opportunity to take home ice advantage away from the Oilers, the Flames struggled out of the gate, allowing 21 shots in the first period and four goals in the second en route to a 4-1 Game 3 win for Edmonton to give them a 2-1 series lead. Salim Valji has more.
By Salim Valji
Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom held up his end of the deal.
At the end of Game 2, he vowed to improve and be better after allowing 11 goals through the first two games. Through the 40 minutes he played on Sunday evening, he did just that, stopping a number of Edmonton Oilers' odd-man rushes and giving the Flames an opportunity to win.
His Calgary teammates, however, did not follow suit.
With the opportunity to take home ice advantage away from the Oilers, Calgary came out flat. Through 20 minutes, Edmonton outshot them 21-7 and did not relent the rest of the way. The entire night, the Oilers easily maneuvered through the neutral zone, won board battles, and counterattacked, taking advantage of a couple of key Calgary mistakes and mental lapses en route to the 4-1 Game 3 victory.
“We all know that we weren’t good enough in front of him,” Rasmus Andersson said.
Evander Kane had a hat trick and Leon Draisaitl had four assists, but the Flames felt like one player beat them: Connor McDavid.
“We let one guy dominate the game,” Andersson continued.
“We’ve got to stop him, all five guys on the ice, six including [Markstrom]. We’ve got to stop him as a unit.”
“We’ve let one guy beat us a few nights now,” Matthew Tkachuk agreed.
“Back to the drawing board and figure out a way to stop him… they’ve got one player that plays half the game and is playing some great hockey right now and we have to find a way to stop that.”
“He’s physical, he’s involved, he’s winning pucks along the wall in the defensive zone and offensive zone,” Kane said of McDavid.
“He’s a dominant force out there.”
While the Flames viewed it as one player beating them, Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft saw it as the opposite.
"We got contributions from all 20 today,” he said.
“All 20 contributed to that win tonight.”
Among those 20 were Kane and goalie Mike Smith, who made 32 stops and started the game strong, something he did not do in Calgary.
“We were good on the cycle, we were winning puck battles,” Kane said.
“We were connected as a group of five and the first period set our group up for success.”
“You want to enjoy the process and enjoy when you win,” Smith said.
“I was just trying to make saves… trying to stay as poised as possible and make saves when the team needs me to.”
Calgary’s head coach chalked the Flames' night up in large part due to them not having experience in those types of games – something he has pointed out that the Oilers have in spades, including the powerful learning moments of losing in a Game 7 in the second round.
“A lot of our young guys that haven’t been in this situation before were intimidated by the atmosphere,” Darryl Sutter said.
“I think all those skill sets [puck handling, making plays] gets [players] on their heels a little bit,” he added when asked if the crowd could have been a factor in players mishandling the puck.
Andersson, meanwhile, had a different assessment when asked if the intimidating environment had any bearing on the outcome.
“Not really. The Saddledome is way louder.”