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FLAMES FALL TO KNIGHTS

Talbot makes 31 saves, but for the second straight night, the Flames get shut out on the road

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

It may be the ultimate team game.

But no one deserved this more than one man: Cam Talbot.

The veteran puck-stopper has been doing plenty of that lately, but has rarely been given the kind of run support needed to harvest a winning record.

Tonight, the goal for the Flames was to re-write the script that's plagued them in their previous five trips to this barn, cash in, and give their hard-working netminder some much-needed offence to fall back on.

But it wasn't to be.

 

Video: Brendan Parker recaps the 6-0 loss to Vegas

 

Talbot stopped 31 shots and looked especially good through 40, but for the second straight night, the well ran dry and the Flames were shut out on the road.

This time, to the tune of 6-0 to the Vegas Golden Knights.

"It's getting pretty old," said Matthew Tkachuk, "It's not that our starts have been horrible, but we can't get this lead. Then we trail, they press, and put a six-spot up on us when it was a pretty tight game until the third period.

"I don't know what happened, but we let them run away with it. We've hung our goalie out to dry countless times and it's getting old.

"It's disgusting. It's bad, it's bad right now. We need to (turn) this around. Maybe going home for one game can do that, spark us going into that road trip, but something's got to change here and we have to get back to being the old us. Because this isn't fun right now."

With the loss, the Flames fall to 10-10-3 on the year.

Talbot was under siege early, facing five shots in the first two-and-a-half minutes, and turning them all aside as the Knights - losers of a franchise high, five straight entering the night - pressed for the icebreaker.

The Flames had a good response, but a couple of tough bounces one way burned the visitors and put them in a 1-0 hole approaching the midway mark of the period.

With Marc-Andre Fleury scrambling back into position, Sean Monahan had what looked to be an open net to shoot for, but William Karlsson came up with a clutch block to send the play back the other way in transition.

He who started it, finished it, as Karlsson looked off Max Pacioretty on a 2-on-1 and blazed a perfectly placed shot over the blocker, bar down, to put the Knights in front at 9:07.

Talbot, though, was dialled in and make a couple of great stops to keep his team in it late in the period. First, Mark Stone created a 2-on-1 similar to the Karlsson play, but he stuck out his left hand and got a piece of the sizzling wrister to glove it out of the rink.

Then, after coming up with a strong, positional save off Karlsson moments earlier, he snared a Pacioretty blast from the right circle with a windmill-like wave of the arm.

Shots on goal favoured the Flames 13-11 after one.

"It's hard to get it to go (offensively) in right now," said Head Coach Bill Peters. "Some big saves, obviously. But our guy was good, too. Our guy was good when the game was on the line."

 

Video: CGY@VGK: Talbot uses pad to deny Marchessault

 

The Knights opened up a two-goal lead at 9:39 of the second. Paul Stastny did it all by himself, lugging the puck on his off wing before making a hard cut to the inside, beating a defender and snapping a quick shot past Talbot.

The goal snapped an eight-game point drought for the veteran.

Talbot was at it again late in the period, robbing Jonathan Marchessault with an incredible sliding effort off a giveaway near the hashmarks.

The Flames had a great chance to halve the Knights' lead early in the third when Mikael Backlund, Tkachuk and Mark Giordano manufactured a play off the rush, but Fleury came up with a beautiful, right-pad save to preserve the lead.

That was a bit of a turning point, as the Knights iced this one a few minutes later, when Pacioretty kept on a 2-on-1 and rifled a shot short-side to make it a 3-0 game.

"It's frustrating," said Sean Monahan. "You're in a back-to-back, trying to end the trip off the right way. Talbs comes in and plays a great game for us, and we didn't score any goals. That's the story.

"I'll take the blame. I was dash-five and it's a frustrating night. We've got to be better, we've got to get pucks to the net and bear down. That's what it comes down to."

Cody Eakin made it 4-0 with 5:35 to play, as he and Marchessault capitalized on a turnover and slammed the puck home on a partial 2-on-1. The Flames challenged the goal, hoping to have it reversed on a missed offside call, but a quick look-see on video confirmed it was a good goal.

On the ensuing delay-of-game penalty, Stone put the Knights up by five with his ninth of the year.

Karlsson added insult to injury with the six-nil tally at 2:32 to play - a swooping backhander that caught Talbot off guard.

 

Tweet from @NHLFlames: Tonight's infographic. More stats: https://t.co/TXBpsvhpBs#CGYvsVGK | #Flames pic.twitter.com/Ck4pCwqdBE

 

THEY SAID IT:

Tkachuk on what went wrong:

"It's not fun being down in games, it's not fun leaving our goalie out to dry. We've done that a little bit too much here."

Monahan on looking ahead to Tuesday:

"We've got a quality team here. There's not much to talk about right now. It's on ice. But we have to be better."

Giordano on generating offence:

"We're getting our chances early in games and we're not converting. I think a lot of us had some really good looks. The puck doesn't go in, you get down a few, and then ... you've got to press a little bit to try and get one. The snowball went there in the third when they got three, four five. I had an open net right before that third one, so if we score there... That's something we're all guilty of right now. We're not bearing down and putting those ones in."

Peters on when the game got away:

"I thought we battled through 40, and had a tough one in the final 20."

 

Video: "I thought we battled through 40."

 

ONE-TIMERS:

Johnny Gaudreau needs one point to tie Lanny McDonald for the 12th-most points (406) in franchise history. Fellow Flame Mark Giordano is currently eighth with 465 (133G, 332A) to his name, while Jarome Iginla is the all-time frontrunner with 1,095 (525G, 570A) in 1,219 games in the Flaming C. … Prior to the game, Dillon Dube was recalled from the Flames' AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat, and Alan Quine was re-assigned to make space on the roster. Dube, who was a point-per-game player (4G, 9A) in 13 games on the farm, had two shots in 14:23 in his return… Sam Bennett did not play due to an upper-body injury. … Travis Hamonic left the game midway through the second and did not return due to a lower-body injury. … Oliver Kylington took a high hit from Ryan Reaves late in the third period and was pulled by the concussion spotter. He did return late, for upwards of five minutes, the Flames had only four defencemen available.

 

THE LINEUP:

Here are the forward lines, D pairings and goalie to start Saturday's game (starters in bold):

FORWARDS

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Elias Lindholm
Andrew Mangiapane - Mikael Backlund - Matthew Tkachuk
Milan Lucic - Derek Ryan - Dillon Dube
Tobias Rieder - Mark Jankowski - Michael Frolik

DEFENCE

Mark Giordano - Rasmus Andersson
Noah Hanifin - Travis Hamonic
Oliver Kylington - Michael Stone

GOALTENDER

Cam Talbot


UP NEXT:

The Flames return home to host the playoff rival Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday (click here for tickets), before hitting the road once again, beginning on Thursday against the defending the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. Stops in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Buffalo follow to close out the month of November.

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