Post-Game: Flames Deal With The Devils

Ryan Pike
October 11 2013 10:07PM

 

With points in their first four games of the season, the Calgary Flames had a unique opportunity before them on Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome. After 60 minutes of hard-fought, occasionally chess-like hockey, the Flames were able to make a little bit of history.

THE RUNDOWN

The first period was pretty even and quite back and forth. The Flames out-shot the Devils 10-7, but New Jersey struck first. With the Flames on a power-play, Curtis Glencross took a tripping penalty and after a brief period of four-on-four, the Devils got a truncated power-play opportunity. On the heels of an exchange featuring some nice passing (and some nice reflex saves from Joey MacDonald), Adam Henrique put the puck past MacDonald for his first goal of the year, giving New Jersey a 1-0 lead. The Devils goal was scored just after Glencross' penalty expired, but the zone control the Devils gained was due to their PP.

The Flames power-play was the star of the second period. The teams each had 10 shots on net in the second, but the Devils definitely carried the play. The difference - and what kept Calgary in the contest - was a combination of the Devils' lack of discipline and Calgary's opportunism on the PP.

Case in point: Calgary tied the game on a beautiful one-timer from Dennis Wideman on a power-play created by an Anton Volchenkov penalty in the Devils' zone. The Devils kept pressing and re-took the lead on a Dainus Zubrus one-timer from the point that beat Joey MacDonald at the top-corner (but wasn't really screened), putting the Devils up 2-1. However, just three minutes and change later, the Flames tied it up. After Michael Ryder took a goalie interference penalty - nullifying a potential third Devils goal - Mark Giordano capped a nice power-play by deking past two Devils forwards and going back-hand on a sprawling Martin Brodeur to tie the game up at 2. Granted, Brodeur was expecting a different shot from the point and went down too early, but hey, the Flames PP scored for a second time and kept the Flames in it.

There was lots of Flames pressure early in the third period, including one segment where the fourth line created two nice little opportunities and another where the Baertschi line had maybe six or seven whacks at the puck in front of Brodeur - but the wily veteran made several gorgeous saves to keep things dead-locked. The Flames ended up getting hemmed into their own zone for a while with about seven minutes left: Bouma blocked two shots, Backlund blocked two shots, and the Flames ended up getting a two-on-one opportunity out of it. The Flames have adopted a more structured, PK-like system in their own zone. It's a bit passive for my tastes, but it does prevent them from running around like fools in their own zone.

The Flames went ahead with just over two minutes left when Baertschi, on the half-boards, found Sean Monahan on the far side of the crease through a maze of coverage for a one-timed slap-pass. They managed to hold on following a late penalty to Mark Giordano to win their third game of 2013-14.

FLAME OF THE GAME

Giants #10 Lance Bouma, Giants #25 Nick Ross

I'm gonna go with Lance Bouma. Number 17 got his first taste of the top-nine and didn't look out of place. Moreover, when the Flames got hemmed in their zone in the third with the game tied, he sacrified his body to keep the game stuck at 2-2. He didn't get any points, but Bouma definitely factored in on the score-sheet.

Honourable mention to Jiri Hudler, who had two assists.

WHY THE FLAMES WON

In short, the Flames stuck to their system. In the third period, the Devils got tired and got a bit sloppy defensively. The Flames stuck to their coverage and got a few lucky breaks - two power-play goals and a gorgeous, gorgeous pass from Baertschi on the winning goal that made it to Monahan's stick

SCORING CHANCES

# Player EV     PP     SH    
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 19:59 4 6 01:51 0 0 00:00 0 0
5 GIORDANO, MARK 16:45 1 2 05:02 3 0 01:04 0 0
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 21:54 5 6 04:49 4 0 02:23 0 1
7 BRODIE, TJ 20:49 4 4 01:38 1 0 01:21 0 1
8 COLBORNE, JOE 06:44 2 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 15:45 4 5 02:32 0 0 01:59 0 0
15 JACKMAN, TIM 05:49 1 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
16 MCGRATTAN, BRIAN 06:08 2 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
17 BOUMA, LANCE 15:14 3 6 00:00 0 0 01:06 0 1
20 GLENCROSS, CURTIS 14:45 1 3 04:08 4 0 00:00 0 0
22 STEMPNIAK, LEE 11:57 2 4 03:51 4 0 00:37 0 0
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 13:59 4 1 02:32 0 0 00:00 0 0
24 HUDLER, JIRI 16:43 4 2 04:23 4 0 00:00 0 0
35 MACDONALD, JOEY   11 12   4 0   0 1
38 STREET, BEN 14:44 2 6 00:17 0 0 01:21 0 1
39 GALIARDI, TJ 16:06 3 5 00:00 0 0 01:07 0 0
44 BUTLER, CHRIS 12:14 5 4 00:00 0 0 01:22 0 0
47 BAERTSCHI, SVEN 12:37 4 1 02:17 0 0 00:00 0 0
55 O'BRIEN, SHANE 08:49 3 2 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0

Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 4 2 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 7 6 4 6 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 4 5 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0

 

SUM IT UP

Two big things happened: the Flames were opportunitic and their power-play kept them in the game. And then the Monahan experience continued, with the 18-year-old (he turns 19 tomorrow) scoring yet another big goal. Be sure to laugh at Kent in the comments.

The Flames hit the road with a 3-0-2 record and a lot of confidence in themselves and their systems.

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Now in his fourth season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers and the Wrestling Observer.
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#51 Kevin R
October 12 2013, 11:57AM
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Baalzamon wrote:

When Stajan and Cammalleri return:

Glencross - Stajan - Cammalleri

Galiardi - Backlund - Hudler

Baertschi - Monahan - Stempniak

Bouma - Street - Colborne.

I don't know if it's just me, but I don't want Stajan or Cammi returning too quick. If anything, teams like Philly & Rangers are really really struggling with offense. Maybe there is a market for them & we can score a 1st & another high end prospect for these guys to a desperate team trying to shake up their front lines. I like this line up & if we do start to struggle a bit or get injuries, I don't care what our record is, I want to give guys like Ramage, Cundari, Breen, Knight, Reinhart, Horak as many games possible in the NHL as well at some point this year. Lets have fun with this, & don't forget we are rebuilding. I wouldn't mind seeing Gaudreau, Arnold & Agostini later this year as well.

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#52 Mikeoxbig
October 12 2013, 12:16PM
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Yes, Jankowski scored two but Gilmour scored two as well. The review on the game praised Both players. Side note; they are on different lines.

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#53 BurningSensation
October 12 2013, 12:32PM
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A few things:

- The first 9 games is not long enough to effectively judge Monahan's suitability for the NHL. Which raises the question, if Monahan is kept up for an extended evaluation period (say 20 games) and in that time he demonstrates he should be sent back down, are we ok with the loss of a year on his ELC? (Call this the 'Grigerenko situation'). Yes, it's arguably 'poor asset management' (or whatever expletive Ryan Lambert would call it), but wouldn't you rather have an extended look to see if what we have seen so far is 'real'? On the flip side, maybe Monahan doesn't regress (much - his shooting % is currently ridiculous and will dip - Mike Bossy was 'only' a 20% shooter for his career, and Monahan as good as he is, is no Mike Bossy), and proves he really is an NHL caliber pivot at 18-19 years old. It could happen. Let's find out.

- I haven't loved Hartley as a coach, but I am seriously warming to him. I suspect that McDonald is getting the starts for the oldest reason in the book - he's been winning. Players respect that, even if management would prefer Ramo get more burn.

- Going back to Keenan there have been whispered rumours of Iggy not being great in the room, or even being all that enamoured of listening to coaches. Meh. Absent some substaniated evidence that Iggy was a bad locker room guy I think it's all noise.

- The Flames hot start reminds me a ton of Minnesota a couple years back. It just doesn't pass the smell test. A team like the Flames will outwork some teams early in the season, and benefit from random luck effects that boost their win total. As exciting as it is to see the Flames winning, I just don't see them being playoff bound.

- Gotta hand it to the vets, Stempniak, Hudler, Wideman, and Gio are all playing out of their minds right now and are leading by example. More than anything else, this strikes me as the major difference between Cgy's rebuild and Edm's. In our case we have some reliable vets (albeit lower case talents all) to help steer the bus while the kids figure things out.

- Brodie is just light years better than I expected he would ever be. Everytime I watch him play he pulls off a pass that I didn't think he could make, or makes a solid read in his own zone that I didn't expect. There is also a calmness to him that he's developed in the last two years. Could be a beauty in the Duncan Keith mold.

- Backlund. I still don't know what his ceiling is, but the kid does so many of the little things right it would be a shame if he didn't develop an offensive game that complimented his all-round skills.

That all said, winter is coming. Strong coaching and team spirit will only get you so far when the shooting % regresses.

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#54 Kevin R
October 12 2013, 01:01PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

A few things:

- The first 9 games is not long enough to effectively judge Monahan's suitability for the NHL. Which raises the question, if Monahan is kept up for an extended evaluation period (say 20 games) and in that time he demonstrates he should be sent back down, are we ok with the loss of a year on his ELC? (Call this the 'Grigerenko situation'). Yes, it's arguably 'poor asset management' (or whatever expletive Ryan Lambert would call it), but wouldn't you rather have an extended look to see if what we have seen so far is 'real'? On the flip side, maybe Monahan doesn't regress (much - his shooting % is currently ridiculous and will dip - Mike Bossy was 'only' a 20% shooter for his career, and Monahan as good as he is, is no Mike Bossy), and proves he really is an NHL caliber pivot at 18-19 years old. It could happen. Let's find out.

- I haven't loved Hartley as a coach, but I am seriously warming to him. I suspect that McDonald is getting the starts for the oldest reason in the book - he's been winning. Players respect that, even if management would prefer Ramo get more burn.

- Going back to Keenan there have been whispered rumours of Iggy not being great in the room, or even being all that enamoured of listening to coaches. Meh. Absent some substaniated evidence that Iggy was a bad locker room guy I think it's all noise.

- The Flames hot start reminds me a ton of Minnesota a couple years back. It just doesn't pass the smell test. A team like the Flames will outwork some teams early in the season, and benefit from random luck effects that boost their win total. As exciting as it is to see the Flames winning, I just don't see them being playoff bound.

- Gotta hand it to the vets, Stempniak, Hudler, Wideman, and Gio are all playing out of their minds right now and are leading by example. More than anything else, this strikes me as the major difference between Cgy's rebuild and Edm's. In our case we have some reliable vets (albeit lower case talents all) to help steer the bus while the kids figure things out.

- Brodie is just light years better than I expected he would ever be. Everytime I watch him play he pulls off a pass that I didn't think he could make, or makes a solid read in his own zone that I didn't expect. There is also a calmness to him that he's developed in the last two years. Could be a beauty in the Duncan Keith mold.

- Backlund. I still don't know what his ceiling is, but the kid does so many of the little things right it would be a shame if he didn't develop an offensive game that complimented his all-round skills.

That all said, winter is coming. Strong coaching and team spirit will only get you so far when the shooting % regresses.

Hey Bro! I know lots of us like to nip into the Kool aid a little too often, but you know, sometimes it is pretty good therapy to take a few sips & enjoy it. We don't get a lot of reasons to toast around these parts, but watching this team grow & form a culture we have been missing since 2004, well let us have our Kool-Aid moment.

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#55 Baalzamon
October 12 2013, 01:11PM
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Mikeoxbig wrote:

Yes, Jankowski scored two but Gilmour scored two as well. The review on the game praised Both players. Side note; they are on different lines.

Mostly because Gilmour is a defenseman...

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#56 BurningSensation
October 12 2013, 01:17PM
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Kevin R wrote:

Hey Bro! I know lots of us like to nip into the Kool aid a little too often, but you know, sometimes it is pretty good therapy to take a few sips & enjoy it. We don't get a lot of reasons to toast around these parts, but watching this team grow & form a culture we have been missing since 2004, well let us have our Kool-Aid moment.

LOL, typically I'm the one accused of handing out the Jim Jones refreshments!

The truth is that there is lots to like about the Flames right now, but we should still be realistic about things.

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#57 BurningSensation
October 12 2013, 01:28PM
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Mikeoxbig wrote:

Yes, Jankowski scored two but Gilmour scored two as well. The review on the game praised Both players. Side note; they are on different lines.

Here are the highlights from the game;

http://www.friars.com/sports/m-hockey/recaps/101113aaa.html

Janko's first, a nifty top shelf backhand (at about 45secs in)

His second was a goalmouth scramble tap in (at the end of the video)

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#58 SoCalFlamesFan
October 12 2013, 01:28PM
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We were supposed to be bottom 5 how are we top 4?

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#59 ChinookArch
October 12 2013, 01:41PM
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theCalgaryJames wrote:

Goaltending (and by this I mean MacDonald) has been awful to this point. MacDonald is terrifying in net. He makes these desperation saves and the media seems to go nuts but they ignore the fact that he has forced himself into a position to have to make a desperation save. He's terrible positionally, gives out awful rebounds, and is flying by the seat of his pants at the moment.

Ramo had one game so far and basically got beaten by Alexander Ovechkin Going absolutely BEAST MODE. I see no reason to start MacDonald four games in a row. The team has won in spite of Joey Mac not because of him.

I agree. It's a stretch I know, but the only thing that makes logical sense is that the team is auditioning him for a trade. As I see it, there are 3 interchangeable goalies (Ramo, Berra, and MacDonald) in the stable plus 3 longterm projects. This team does not need Joey.

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#60 MonsterPod
October 13 2013, 12:58PM
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Kevin R wrote:

I don't know if it's just me, but I don't want Stajan or Cammi returning too quick. If anything, teams like Philly & Rangers are really really struggling with offense. Maybe there is a market for them & we can score a 1st & another high end prospect for these guys to a desperate team trying to shake up their front lines. I like this line up & if we do start to struggle a bit or get injuries, I don't care what our record is, I want to give guys like Ramage, Cundari, Breen, Knight, Reinhart, Horak as many games possible in the NHL as well at some point this year. Lets have fun with this, & don't forget we are rebuilding. I wouldn't mind seeing Gaudreau, Arnold & Agostini later this year as well.

I totally agree and I get criticized for it. I understand the need for good vets, but I want to watch the future of the team, not the UFAs. Bring up Horak and Knight. I also think we should trade Colborne for a fourth.

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#61 SeanCharles
October 13 2013, 03:53PM
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@MonsterPod

Stajan and Cammy will be traded by the deadline. I also don't think MacDonald, Smith, Butler or Jackman will be here next season either.

We have prospects in the system that can fill those holes.

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#62 loudogYYC
October 13 2013, 11:35PM
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@SeanCharles

We may have prospects that can fill some gaps, but if the Flames have 5 rookies in next years starting line up, we'll be in trouble. I still hope they take on a few contracts and draft picks next summer, there's still gonna be lots of teams in cap trouble.

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