POST-GAME: Wild at Heart

Vintage Flame
April 15 2013 11:01PM

 

 

Now that your Calgary Flames have soundly beaten the Oilers, the goal for the rest of the season should be pretty damn clear. Play your asses off, put in a solid effort and then lose a close nailbiter. There is no shame or pride left in the final solution.

The only problem with that plan, is that no one told your Calgary Flames that; or they're just not listening.

With a line-up that feature names like Reinhart, Baertschi and now Ben Hanowski rather than the likes of Iginla, Bouwmeester and Blake Comeau (yes THAT Blake Comeau), This team went into tonight primed and ready to win it's third consecutive game; for the first time this season.

The Rundown

Just 2:16 into the game, the Minnesota Wild gave the Flames a reminder of just where they were in the standings, and why they were there. Miko Koivu would find himself with an open net and an easy tap in, only to be foiled by Mark Giordano diving for the goal line and swatting the puck away. Except he swatted it right back onto Koivu's stick, who then bounced it into the open corner.

That was all for the scoring, but there were definitely some positives for the Flames to take out of the period. Max Reinhart had a couple of scoring chances in the opening frame and continues to demonstrate that he is not out of place with the big club.

TJ Brodie continues to do what TJ does, and that's just leaving us all shaking our heads at just how much he has accelerated the learning curve this season. He was the workhorse once again for the Flames blueline and had one truly remarkable shift, which can only be accurately described with Kent's words. It was "Coffey-like". The result of the shift almost resulted in Ben Hanowski's first career NHL goal, after taking a pretty cross-ice pass from Mike Cammalleri.

Hanowski also had a decent period, as he was by no mean burried on the depth chart and got ample ice-time... and opportunity.

Minnesota out-chanced the Flames 6-4, but 3  of those chances came in one shift. Calgary carried a lot of the play considering the rookie laden line-up, out-shooting the Wild 11-6.

The second was a whole lot of the game that we have become accustomed to when the Wild come to town. Back and forth and fairly low in events.

That would change just passed the half way mark, when Dennis Wideman would deflect Ryan Suter's shot from the point. The puck would carem off the backboards, right onto the stick of Jason Pominville. With MacDonald still down in the butterfly, Pominville would have his opening  to pull the puck over the goal line and put it into the open net.

Just bad luck, or Murphy's Law? Perhaps it's just the design for the grand scheme of things at this point.

Regardless, the Wild were beginning to tilt the ice in their favour, and Calgary seemed to be chasing. Chasing what at this point is entirely up to you,  but they were definitely lacking the game style they brought against the Oil.

The Wild got there first power-play f the game in the dying minute of the second; a highsticking double minor to Giordano. Calgary managed to kill off the first half, but the Wild's PP isn't steller these days, and they will have their next shot.... or shots, in the third.

Overall, not a great period for the home town boys. They were manhandled 12-3 in shots and 5-2 in the scoring chances. More telling though, they didn't have a single chance at even strength. They were pretty lucky to only let in one that period, and that was largely in part to the play of MacStarter.

Calgary managed to kill of the second half of Gio's double minor, but they still had a hole to dig themselves out of. Given the history with the Wild, that was going to be a tough.

At 3:42, the Flames own Roman legion would start that excavation with a pretty tic-tac-toe play, coming over the Wild blueline. The play would end with the centering pass going to Jiri "My Czech name is Roman"  Hudler, who deftly tipped it between Backstrom's legs. Cue the comeback?

Not so fast! Just ten seconds later, the Wild regained their two goal lead, with P.M. Bouchard snapping home his sixth of the season. 1:13 later we'd witness Matt Cullen center a pass to Jason Pominville coming off the bench into the high slot. Pominville's one-timer would find it's way passed MacDonald and you could just see where this was going to end up.

Cue the feel good portion of our program. At 11:19, Ben Hanowski would score his first NHL goal while cruising past the top of the crease. To make fans feel better, Hanowski now has as many goals with the Flames as Iggy does with the Penguins. Just sayin... Let's all take a look, shall we?

 

Trying to make this one interesting again, your Calgary Flames decided to pull MacDonald with a minute and a half left. With :39 secomds left on the clock, Mike Cammalleri played pick pocket on Brett Clark. Cutting to the net and a light saucer pass across the crease resulted in Sven Baertschi's second goal of the season and in consecutive nights.

The Flames made a strong push with just ticks left on the clock, but simply ran out of time. Despite trying to protect the lead, Minnesota still out-chanced Calgary 7-6; but the Flames did an admirable job reeling the play back in, and put forth a solid effort in the final frame.

Why the Flames lost...

It's a familiar story with the Flames. The second period was less than steller and even worse in the sense of being productive.

Even though they pulled it together in the third, getting out-shot 12-3 in a period is never going to produce positive results for your team. Letting in a softy just ten seconds after your offense scores tends to take the wind out of your sales to.

The Flames managed to keep the Wild's special teams off the scoresheet, but unfortunately theirs was as well, and in the type of game the Wild likes to play, you kinda need those to pay dividends; at least once on the night.

Red Warrior

In light of the great article Kent posted earlier and the game he had tonight, I'm gonno go with Backlund.

Mike led all forwards in ice-time (18:47) which at one time would never be fathomable to the fans. He went 10/20 in his face-off draws but was 71% in the offensive zone. He also led the team with five shots on goal and was in on setting up Ben Hanowski for his first career goal.

I'm also inclined to give him the Warrior tonight because of what he represents to this team now. At just 24 he is in a leadership role for all these kids that are getting a chance to play out this season.

For someone who was once described as "whistling passed the graveyard", Backlund now represents what this team needs to look like going forward. He is leading by example, even if he isn't wearing a letter. That impresses me and it gives the kids something to emulate going into next season, rather than being thrown straight into the deep end.

Scoring Chances

Flames in red:

 

# Player EV     PP     SH    
3 CARSON, BRETT 12:56 2 3 00:00 0 0 00:22 0 0
5 GIORDANO, MARK 19:38 6 3 01:11 1 0 00:00 0 0
6 SARICH, CORY 15:41 6 4 00:00 0 0 00:41 0 1
7 BRODIE, TJ 19:55 4 3 01:23 1 0 01:03 0 1
10 CERVENKA, ROMAN 11:02 1 2 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 16:41 6 3 01:43 0 0 00:23 0 0
13 CAMMALLERI, MIKE 16:06 3 5 02:37 1 0 02:06 0 4
15 JACKMAN, TIM 09:25 1 2 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
20 GLENCROSS, CURTIS 15:10 5 2 01:43 0 0 00:56 0 3
22 STEMPNIAK, LEE 14:02 4 3 02:17 2 0 01:33 0 1
24 HUDLER, JIRI 15:02 5 1 01:43 0 0 00:00 0 0
25 BEGIN, STEVE 07:19 1 2 00:00 0 0 01:31 0 0
26 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 20:24 4 2 02:49 1 0 02:57 0 3
35 MACDONALD, JOEY   11 10   2 0   0 4
44 BUTLER, CHRIS 15:33 2 5 00:00 0 0 02:57 0 3
47 BAERTSCHI, SVEN 13:17 4 2 01:29 1 0 00:00 0 0
51 HORAK, ROMAN 11:50 2 2 02:17 2 0 01:31 0 0
58 HANOWSKI, BEN 12:22 2 3 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
59 REINHART, MAXWELL 14:53 3 3 00:48 1 0 00:00 0 0

Sum it Up

MacStarter is doing his best to remain relevant passed these last eight games. The goals from Bouchard and Pominville were questionable but overall, Joey has been one of the players that has been making watching this last string of games still interesting.

By now, most of the fence sitters have to have fallen off and are now comfortable in seeing the losses pile up. It's no fun watching your team lose but at least the Flames are doing it in a fashion that the fanbase finds acceptable and they are producing silver linings amongst all the clouds.

Calgary can officially be eliminated from the post season if they lose to Detroit, which sounds odd since there are only six games left, and this has been expected for, well, a lot longer than that.

Tonight represented exactly what I want to see in those last six games. I wasn't crazy about how the team played in the second but the overall, it was good on almost all accounts for fans and players. The fans want losses, but the players can't just mail it in either. There has to be a progression even if technically a loss is a step backwards.

I like what Feaster and Weisbrod are saying about the kids playing now so that it puts them further into the development curve come next year's development camp and training camp. When you factor in that we are seeing goals from Baertschi, Reinhart and now Hanowski, you can only imagine how excited these kids are going to be to get it all going next season.

Colorado lost tonight, but they did it in OT, so the loser point puts them only one point behind us. I don't think there is any chance to "catch" Florida, but it will be interesting to see if Calgary can maybe sneak into that second draft slot.

As mentioned, the Flames next game is Wednesday against the Red Wings. Gametime is 7:30 on TSN, so we'll probably miss the first half of the 1st period cause well, TSN sucks like that. If that's the case tune your radio dial to the boys on Fan 960.

E42f2ca09dfb26046c3060ff46473aff
Vintage Flame is a Calgary based sports junkie that prefers to call hockey a "religion" rather than an addiction. He believes there are two types of hockey fans. Those who cheer for the Flames, and those who don't understand the sport yet. Follow Vintage_Flame on Twitter
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#51 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
April 16 2013, 02:26PM
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the-wolf wrote:

DAMN! Feels good to be able to cheer for my team again. What a breath of fresh air. It's like I've been pulled out of the abyss.

Very impressed with Hanowski. Lots to work on as he stated (like his personality too, seems like he lives for the game, Calgary needs some of those), but he's a skilled shooter, has great hockey IQ, works hard and mixes it up. Brings size and while his skating is very choppy, he's not slow, just not very smooth, but as long he gets there in time, who cares?

A year in the AHL for Reinhart and Hanowski with the odd call-up and then full time duty in 2014-2015 season.

Why do I see Monahan as the guy who would most fit into this group? Another guy with great leadership skills, who works his butt off, ecels at the 200' game, is great on face offs, is big and strong, skates very well and has a ton of offense too. Seems like he's exactly what Calgary needs. And he did that playing with absolute crap around him this season.

Frankly, Calgary can't go wrong in the top 7 this year so long as they don't go off the board and do something crazy. I'm guessing we finish 5th.

I know Wolf. The more I think about it, the more I like Monohan over Barkov (not over Mackinnon, though). Did you know the guy played that last 14 or so games with a foot injury on a team that had absolutely no chance of making the playoffs and was god-awful. Said he didn't wanna bail on his teammates as long as he could play through the pain.

Wow, that is the kind of talented warrior that Stanley Cup champs are made of. Call me outdated, but I love me some old-fashioned Canadian grit mixed in with good hockey skills.

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#52 beloch
April 16 2013, 02:37PM
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@Kurt

Actually, with league average goal-tending Calgary would have a slightly better GF/GA than San Jose and would be well ahead of Phoenix. Where that lands a team in the standings is partially due to luck, but it indicates the Flames would have been in the bubble this year. Next year? Who knows. It is worth noting that the team might have finally reached the point where its young assets are appreciating faster than it's older assets are depreciating .

@Sobueno

You might be partially right. The average quality of shots allowed probably does vary from team to team and even from year to year for the same team, which might partially explain why goalie performance is so hard to predict. This is not understood at all AFAIK. I would be very surprised if it's a straight correlation with team quality. If it were, Devan Dybnyk would be a goaltending *GOD* for posting a 0.922 Sv% with the oilers!

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#53 BurningSensation
April 16 2013, 03:02PM
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Parallex wrote:

I kind of have a wierd feeling that we'll (Calgay) be signing Horton (probably for more then he's due). A giant wack of Cap Space + owners willing to spend it + few other free agents of note worth spending it on + Player at his prime years. He'll get a bunch of money this offseason and Calgary looks like a fit in most regards.

The only thing that's missing is a spot. Top 9 wingers are pretty much full up barring a trade.

I for one would be happy with a Horton signing - and that is with the recognition the contract offer would probably have to have a NMC and term to attract him.

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#54 BurningSensation
April 16 2013, 03:05PM
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If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin wrote:

I know Wolf. The more I think about it, the more I like Monohan over Barkov (not over Mackinnon, though). Did you know the guy played that last 14 or so games with a foot injury on a team that had absolutely no chance of making the playoffs and was god-awful. Said he didn't wanna bail on his teammates as long as he could play through the pain.

Wow, that is the kind of talented warrior that Stanley Cup champs are made of. Call me outdated, but I love me some old-fashioned Canadian grit mixed in with good hockey skills.

The problem I have with Monahan is that Barkov has him crushed in the speed/skill departments.

That isn't to say I think Monahan is in anyway bad, but when given a chance to draft a big-skill #1 pivot, you take him.

I want to find a way to get Barkov AND Monahan (or Lindholm, a guy I like even better).

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#55 Kurt
April 16 2013, 03:08PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

I for one would be happy with a Horton signing - and that is with the recognition the contract offer would probably have to have a NMC and term to attract him.

Ya cause we are just 1 piece away from grinding away for the last playoff spot for another decade. Lets sign Horton and give him a NMC! Why change?

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#56 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
April 16 2013, 03:43PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

The problem I have with Monahan is that Barkov has him crushed in the speed/skill departments.

That isn't to say I think Monahan is in anyway bad, but when given a chance to draft a big-skill #1 pivot, you take him.

I want to find a way to get Barkov AND Monahan (or Lindholm, a guy I like even better).

I think you have a misconception about Barkov. The biggest knock in him is that his skating is barely average at this point. But it is an aspect of his game many expect will continue to improve.

Monohan, on the other hand, has better mobility and plays a meaner style, although he may not evince the kind of one-on-one flashy plays Barkov does.

That being said, both are elite passers, while Monohan is considered by Corey Pronman and other scouts as one of the hardest-working players in the CHL at this time.

Monohan also has the way better 200 ft game.

If you want an elite center with a dazzling offensive game, then go Barkov. If you want an elite two-way center with leadership, a warrior's mentality, and good offensive numbers then you go with Monohan.

You can't go wrong with either, imo.

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#57 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
April 16 2013, 03:51PM
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Also, I don't know why ppl think that Monohan won't be able to produce the kind of numbers that Barkov and Mackinnon supposedly will at the NHL level. The kid was in on almost 50% of his team's offence this year, if I am not mistaken. And his team absolutely sucked.

Monohan's offensive ceiling is high and cannot be precisely predicted at this time, just like the other talents available. But one thing is for sure: he already has the best two-way game of any of them, and will only improve in this regard. That being said, he is the oldest of the bunch, so that is something to take into consideration.

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#58 Kevin R
April 16 2013, 05:12PM
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the-wolf wrote:

Feaster has basically out and out said as much.

What I don't get is who he thinks will be available. Teams will get rid of their crap, not their stars in order to become cap compliant.

Would you give NJ the Pit 1st & the stl 1st for Henrique? NJ can use that pit 1st for their penalty on the Kovalchuk mess & we get a kid for immediate lineup that was a rookie of the year candidate or was he rookie of the year? Cant remember, sorry & I am too lazy to look it up.

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#59 the-wolf
April 16 2013, 05:31PM
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@Kevin R

That's an interesting proposition. In all honesty I'd have to think about it more closely as well as see the final draft rankings, etc.

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#60 BurningSensation
April 16 2013, 09:11PM
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If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin wrote:

I think you have a misconception about Barkov. The biggest knock in him is that his skating is barely average at this point. But it is an aspect of his game many expect will continue to improve.

Monohan, on the other hand, has better mobility and plays a meaner style, although he may not evince the kind of one-on-one flashy plays Barkov does.

That being said, both are elite passers, while Monohan is considered by Corey Pronman and other scouts as one of the hardest-working players in the CHL at this time.

Monohan also has the way better 200 ft game.

If you want an elite center with a dazzling offensive game, then go Barkov. If you want an elite two-way center with leadership, a warrior's mentality, and good offensive numbers then you go with Monohan.

You can't go wrong with either, imo.

I'm a Barkov booster for a bunch of reasons;

- he's young with a late birthdate (effectively adds an RFA year) - he' already playing in a league against men and dominating

- pretty much every scouting list I've seen has the same five players at the top of the draft (albeit in different orders); Jones, MacKinnon, Drouin, Barkov, Nichushkin. Of that list, there is only one guy sure to be a center at the NHL - Barkov. I'll be genuinely thrilled to land any of them, though I will probably have a heart attack (possibly in a good way) if Calgary takes Nichushkin.

As for Monahan, I like him a tonne, but he slots lower in the mock drafts for good reason. He's older, and he shows less of a ceiling offensively than other prospects. He's typically being grouped with guys like Nurse, Ristolainen, and Lindholm.

I suspect strongly that if Calgary has a top five pick, and doesn't take one of the big five names, Feaster will get roasted alive If he can land one of them AND get a guy from that next tier as well (Lindholm, Monahan), he'll win the draft. .

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#61 BurningSensation
April 16 2013, 09:14PM
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Kevin R wrote:

Would you give NJ the Pit 1st & the stl 1st for Henrique? NJ can use that pit 1st for their penalty on the Kovalchuk mess & we get a kid for immediate lineup that was a rookie of the year candidate or was he rookie of the year? Cant remember, sorry & I am too lazy to look it up.

Two 1sts in a deep draft for Henrique is an overpay,

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