Vegas was outplayed for most of the game but took a 2-0 lead late in the first period, but a penalty-laden second period turned the tide in Calgary’s favor.
It was another stellar performance by Logan Thompson, who finished the game with 38 saves on 40 shots for a .925 save percentage. He made two particularly memorable saves but didn’t get enough offensive support to help the Golden Knights remain undefeated.
The Golden Knights opened the scoring just under four minutes into the contest when Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom mishandled a William Carrier wrist shot. It was Carrier’s first goal of the season and gave Vegas a 1-0 lead at 3:55 of the first.
Thompson’s best save of the night came roughly six minutes later when he committed highway robbery on Tyler Toffoli with a phenomenal glove save.
Brett Howden then scored his first goal of the season, getting a stick on a Brayden McNabb shot from the point to double Vegas’ lead at 15:23.
Born in Calgary in 1998, scores in Calgary in 2022 pic.twitter.com/sgCz9U91k3— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) October 19, 2022
But that lead did not hold.
The Golden Knights committed a whopping six minor penalties in the second period, giving a dangerous Calgary power play way too much time with which to work.
Calgary cut the deficit to one when Elias Lindholm scored on the Flames’ second power play of the frame. Or so it seemed.
Bruce Cassidy challenged the play for goaltender interference, and his first challenge as Vegas bench boss proved to be successful, negating the power-play tally and preserving the Golden Knights’ two-goal lead.
But the Golden Knights proceeded to take four more penalties, and Calgary made them pay on two of them.
Once again, it was Lindholm who lit the lamp. Thompson made the initial stop and went to grab the rebound, but the puck popped up into the air, hit Alec Martinez’s high stick and fell behind Thompson and into the net.
The goal came at 10:43 of the second, ending Thompson’s shutout streak at 97:45.
Vegas continued to play with fire, and the Flames evened things up at 2-2 with another power-play goal less than three minutes later as Toffoli scored on the rebound.
Calgary was the better team in the third period once again, but Thompson held off the Flames until the final five minutes of regulation.
His most clutch save of the night came 90 seconds before Calgary took the lead as he robbed Nazem Kadri to keep things even at 2-2.
But Calgary eventually broke through with the game-winner when Mikael Backlund found the puck at the top of the crease and buried it to lift the Flames to victory. Three Golden Knights skaters were unable to tie up Backlund’s stick on the play.
It was the first time Vegas trailed this season since Jonathan Marchessault scored the go-ahead goal against Los Angeles in the season opener.
The game wasn’t as close as the score might indicate, however.
Vegas was fortunate to give up just two goals in the second period, and Calgary was the better team in all three frames. The Golden Knights were outplayed even with the extra man, forcing Thompson to shut down several high-danger shorthanded chances by Calgary in the third.
The Flames ultimately outshot the Golden Knights by a 40-21 margin and dominated at 5-on-5 with a 64 percent Corsi share and 70.52 percent expected goal share.
Jack Eichel, Mark Stone and Chandler Stephenson combined for zero shots in an all-around flat performance by everyone not named Logan Thompson.
The Golden Knights will look to regroup as they return to Vegas for a three-game homestand, starting Thursday against Mark Scheifele and the Winnipeg Jets.