Post-Game: Hospital Hockey

Ryan Pike
March 18 2014 10:15PM

Back in 2004, Ville Nieminen coined a term - “hospital hockey.” It referred to low-event, low-pace games were each team basically tried to wait each other out. It was in many ways a throwback night at the Scotiabank Saddledome, as the Flames came out of the gate flat, gave up a goal and then had to wait for their chance to claw back in.

They succeeded, and skated away with a 3-1 victory over the NHL's cellar-dweller, evening their home ice record at .500 (16-16-3).

THE RUNDOWN

It was a low-event first period. Very low event.

Unfortunately for the Flames, the fifth shot of the game went in. Ben Hanowski attempted to reverse the puck behind own net, unwittingly setting up Drew Stafford for a wrap-around goal. The Flames went into the intermission down by one, despite leading in shots (6-4), attempts (13-12) and face-offs (8-7).

The middle frame was another low-event one, although the Flames executed much more than they did in the second, where every pass hit a skate or a pad. After a back-and-forth period of broken plays, the Flames scored. T.J. Brodie took a shot and a crowd of both teams formed around the rebound – Sean Monahan and Joe Colborne got wacks at the puck, Colborne's went in to put the Flames even at 1-1. Shots were 11-5 Flames, attempts were 24-11 Flames and face-offs were even at 10-apiece.

The final frame was also rather deliberately paced, but the Flames dictated the flow of the game and were much more effective at moving the puck than in prior periods. They went up 2-1 on a nice simple play: Mikael Backlund won a face-off, and fed it back to Chris Butler. Mike Cammalleri went to the net, where a Sabres defender had position on him but failed to tie up his stick. Butler's shot was then tipped for Cammalleri's 20th goal of the season.

And because it's a Calgary Flames home game, it wouldn't be complete without a short-handed goal. Paul Byron complied, racing down the ice after Chris Butler forced a turn-over and beating Nathan Lieuwen five-hole to make it 3-1 for the home side. That's all she wrote. Calgary led in shots 9-5 in the third, but the Sabres had a slight edge in attempts (15-14) and a massive edge in face-offs (13-3).

WHY THE FLAMES WON

Despite some rough puck luck early, the Flames managed to ride out the storm, make some adjustments and execute better in the third period. They played the third like they knew they were the better hockey club, and ultimately, they were.

Keeping the Sabres to just 14 shots on goal was also a really smart move.

SCORING CHANCES

Team Period Time Note Home Away State
Away 1 7:49 Ristolainen 3 16 18 20 37 56 10 17 23 27 50 55 5v5
Away 1 6:39 Stafford (Goal) 5 7 8 23 37 58 4 6 21 50 63 88 5v5
Home 1 4:09 Cammalleri 4 15 37 39 44 58 5 20 32 37 44 50 5v5
Away 2 17:04 Ellis 3 11 15 32 37 56 10 32 37 44 50 55 5v5
Home 2 15:13 Backlund 4 11 17 32 37 44 5 19 20 50 65 82 5v5
Home 2 13:21 Bouma 5 7 11 17 32 37 5 20 21 50 63 88 5v5
Home 2 11:14 Byron 4 8 20 32 37 44 5 19 20 27 50 5v4
Home 2 3:21 Glencross 5 7 8 20 23 37 4 6 21 50 63 88 5v5
Home 2 2:07 Cammalleri 4 11 13 32 37 44 10 19 50 55 65 82 5v5
Home 2 1:03 Colborne (Goal) 5 7 8 20 23 37 4 6 17 23 27 50 5v5
Away 3 15:53 Deslauriers 4 16 18 20 37 44 4 6 44 50 65 82 5v5
Home 3 13:36 Glencross 4 16 20 23 37 44 4 6 44 50 65 82 5v5
Away 3 11:16 Hodgson 3 8 20 23 37 56 5 17 19 20 27 50 5v5
Away 3 7:57 Ennis 5 11 32 37 44 4 10 19 21 50 63 4v5
Home 3 6:34 Byron (Goal) 5 17 32 37 44 19 27 44 50 55 88 4v5
Home 3 4:06 Bouma 5 7 8 17 18 37 4 6 21 50 63 88 5v5
Home 3 2:17 Colborne 5 7 8 20 23 37 4 10 44 50 65 82 5v5
Home 3 1:16 Galliardi 3 17 18 37 39 44 4 10 44 50 65 88 5v5
# Player EV PP SH
3 SMID, LADISLAV 14:51 1 3 00:00 0 0 00:58 0 0
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 18:25 4 1 02:00 1 0 00:00 0 0
5 GIORDANO, MARK 20:33 5 1 01:23 0 0 03:02 1 1
7 BRODIE, TJ 21:31 5 1 00:13 0 0 02:07 0 0
8 COLBORNE, JOE 16:51 4 2 00:37 1 0 00:11 0 0
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 15:44 3 1 00:40 0 0 02:24 0 1
13 CAMMALLERI, MIKE 17:45 1 0 01:23 0 0 01:07 0 0
15 WESTGARTH, KEVIN 05:12 1 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
16 MCGRATTAN, BRIAN 10:32 1 2 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
17 BOUMA, LANCE 14:25 4 0 00:08 0 0 01:46 1 0
18 STAJAN, MATT 16:44 2 2 00:00 0 0 01:01 0 0
20 GLENCROSS, CURTIS 15:49 4 3 01:12 1 0 00:11 0 0
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 16:17 4 2 01:23 0 0 00:00 0 0
32 BYRON, PAUL 16:11 3 1 00:37 1 0 01:10 1 1
37 ORTIO, JONI   10 5   1 0   1 1
39 GALIARDI, TJ 11:32 2 0 00:00 0 0 00:10 0 0
44 BUTLER, CHRIS 18:31 5 1 00:24 1 0 01:53 1 1
56 WOTHERSPOON, TYLER 14:09 0 3 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
58 HANOWSKI, BEN 04:58 1 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 2 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 1 6 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
3 3 5 2 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

RED WARRIOR

Ex-Sabre Paul Byron was +2 and had a nifty short-handed goal that served as a back-breaker for the visitors. Byron's been excellent this year.

Honourable mentions to Chris Butler (two assists) and Matt Stajan.

SUM IT UP

The Flames (28-34-7) get a day off, then it's back-to-backs on Friday at home against Nashville and on Saturday in Edmonton against them Oilers. Nashville's just 5 points up on Calgary as of this writing, while the Edmonton Oilers are not a particularly good hockey team (to be charitable) or are a garbage fire (to be mean).

But I expect this Flames hockey club to bring the same level of emotion to these games as they have the previous 69, because they haven't really let up so far.

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Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#1 beloch
March 18 2014, 10:32PM
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"the Edmonton Oilers are not a particularly good hockey team (to be charitable) or are a garbage fire (to be mean)."

There is absolutely nothing on fire in Edmonton right now.

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#2 prendrefeu
March 18 2014, 10:55PM
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I missed the game, but watched highlights* ... the Byron guy, eh? Wow!

I'm praying he's with us next season on a secure contract.

*Thank you nhl.com.. They're significantly better than the most of the major sports governing bodies when it comes to highlights and available media.

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#3 Parallex
March 18 2014, 11:04PM
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My gawd... the Sabres are so bad. That's the kind of bad that "earns" you a Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.

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#4 RonR
March 18 2014, 11:43PM
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I continue to be hugely impressed with Paul Byron. In my opinion, he should resigned on a one way contract with at least a 30% raise.

I know Brian Burke always talks about the need for players to be big, etc. I would love to hear his take on someone so speedy and so gritty like Byron.

Finally, nice to see Cammalleri doing well. Certainly enjoy seeing him put up points, instead of us hoping a 3rd round draft pick works out. Although I am sure Eric Francis is not enjoying this Cammalleri hot streak.

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#5 ?
March 19 2014, 12:15AM
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Good on Byron and Butler for playing so well against their former team. Must've felt good

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#6 beloch
March 19 2014, 12:38AM
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@RonR

A 30% raise would still bring his salary to under $1M, which would be an absolute bargain for a player on a 40 pt/season pace. There are a lot of questions about Byron, but if he signed for a decent term at that price they'd all be easy to ignore.

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#7 amaninvan
March 19 2014, 12:57AM
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? wrote:

Good on Byron and Butler for playing so well against their former team. Must've felt good

Butler has looked really solid since the Olympic break. His horrendous start to the season has almost been forgotten. Almost.

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#8 loudogYYC
March 19 2014, 01:16AM
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I was lucky enough to get free tickets in row 9 tonight.

The Sabres stink. So much so that the Flames system almost doesn't work because the pushback from the opposition is so inferior. If that makes sense.

The Hanowski giveaway was just brutal, he seemed surprised that one of Buffalo's best players was pursuing so close. I've said it before, Hanowski is not an NHL talent, hopefully he gets sent down soon.

Other than that ugly blunder, we saw another Flames special tonight. Tons of fight and they found a way to win.

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#9 amaninvan
March 19 2014, 01:21AM
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loudogYYC wrote:

I was lucky enough to get free tickets in row 9 tonight.

The Sabres stink. So much so that the Flames system almost doesn't work because the pushback from the opposition is so inferior. If that makes sense.

The Hanowski giveaway was just brutal, he seemed surprised that one of Buffalo's best players was pursuing so close. I've said it before, Hanowski is not an NHL talent, hopefully he gets sent down soon.

Other than that ugly blunder, we saw another Flames special tonight. Tons of fight and they found a way to win.

Top 25 all time for #12

I'm just sayin'...

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#10 amaninvan
March 19 2014, 01:21AM
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Unable to update comment

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#11 johnnyG
March 19 2014, 01:32AM
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Parallex wrote:

My gawd... the Sabres are so bad. That's the kind of bad that "earns" you a Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.

In all fairness the flames aren't a hell of alot better..

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#12 amaninvan
March 19 2014, 01:43AM
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I've given up hope of landing the #1 pick, and I dont even care anymore. The way Buffalo played tonite, they deserve it.

I'm really enjoying the way the team has played this year and I'm impressed how this group has carved itself a solid reputation as a hardworking-won't quit-never say die hockey team. High end draft picks with individual talent and potential are a nice thing to have but nothing beats good old fashioned elbow grease and team commitment.

Hey Edmonton... How YOU doin'?

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#13 Werner Heisenberg
March 19 2014, 06:39AM
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RonR wrote:

I continue to be hugely impressed with Paul Byron. In my opinion, he should resigned on a one way contract with at least a 30% raise.

I know Brian Burke always talks about the need for players to be big, etc. I would love to hear his take on someone so speedy and so gritty like Byron.

Finally, nice to see Cammalleri doing well. Certainly enjoy seeing him put up points, instead of us hoping a 3rd round draft pick works out. Although I am sure Eric Francis is not enjoying this Cammalleri hot streak.

Byron= STUD

NOW Cammi decides to start scoring......Not 'nice to see' at all....He continues to screw us.

Looking forward to see what Burke has in store for him....

WW

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#14 W
March 19 2014, 07:50AM
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beloch wrote:

"the Edmonton Oilers are not a particularly good hockey team (to be charitable) or are a garbage fire (to be mean)."

There is absolutely nothing on fire in Edmonton right now.

As an Oiler fan all I can say is SAD BUT TRUE!!!

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#15 mtgould89
March 19 2014, 09:05AM
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Was at the game last night. Geez, Byron is fast. I saw him nearly lose the puck about 5 times on that breakaway, but he got it done.

On that note, is it just me or do the Flames, like, always score shorties at home? They now lead the league with 12, with Backlund pacing them with 4, good enough for - you guessed it - first in the NHL.

Just another cool thing about yesterday - I managed to snag a $25 FanAttic Gift Card, and I bought myself an alternate Monahan shirt. Not bad.

On the opposition - the Sabres looked really flat. And whatever happened to Chris Stewart? Is he hurt? Because he was listed in the roster sheet I got, so... I dunno. Of course, Granlund was listed too. Neither had those little crosses beside them that signified injury.

Around the NHL - Jarome scored again last night, increasing his total to 26 on the season. Now, a 30 goal season that not long ago seemed improbable seems inevitable. No surprise: Iggy is always proficient in March.

Great win, Flames!

My 3 Stars:

1. Mike Cammalleri - Looked very explosive tonight. Especially on that one timer in the third. How did he get that off? Ridiculously good.

2. Paul Byron - Because he's awesome. And because that goal he scored was something else. Wowzers. What an amazing game for Mighty Mouse.

3. Rasmus Ristolainen - Because I love his name. No, JK. Was he even playing tonight? (UPDATE: As it turns out, yes he was, but he continued a stretch of subpar play. He has 1 point (a goal) and is a -8 on the year. Well, not bad on the Sabres.)

3. Sean Monahan - Had about 4 quality shots. Reached 31 points, which isn't really a milestone but Curtis Joseph wore 31. I got a free shirt with his name on it.

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#16 BobbyO
March 19 2014, 09:07AM
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Hey exciting news....Just checked the overall standings and Flames are climbing and actually have a very good chance at finishing 24-23 overall. That is exciting news as many fans point out it is important to build a winning atmosphere. Last year it was Joey Mac and this year it's Cammy who have proven that playing without playoff pressure and opponents who underestimate them is indeed fun.

Next year Cammy will be making his millions $$ elsewhere and Flames fans will bask watching the only few credible players of the 2014 draft play for the upsurging Sabres, Panthers, Oilers, Islanders.....

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#17 jeremywilhelm
March 19 2014, 09:27AM
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I could see Cammalleri sticking around. I know this isnt a popular opinion. But he may accept a 3 year 5 mill contract. And in all honesty, the Flames need him almost as badly as he would like that contract.

The team is nowhere near the cap floor next season.

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#18 TheoForever
March 19 2014, 10:52AM
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At the start of the season I predicted Flames finishing 5-6th from the bottom, which looks like a sure thing now. However, I now believe that my prediction of bottoming out in 2014/2015 was wrong, this team will probably never finish worse than 4-6. There will be teams throwing the towel just to get one of the top 2 picks next year on top of that.

While this may not be the greatest thing for our rebuild long term, I got no problem with it.

This years has been the most exciting since 2004, almost every game is fun to watch. Love the effort, excellent coaching by Hartley. Funny that the Feaster regime has produced some nice up and coming talent.

I'm still concerned that Burke will do something crazy.

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#19 T&A4Flames
March 19 2014, 12:11PM
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I think 2014-15 depends on how many vets we move out during the summer. If we go with a whole lot of kids, we could easily bottom out despite a solid effort. Losing skids will likely take longer to get out of without vets around to show the way.

Besides, the hockey gods may look favourably upon the effort this team shows and award us the lottery win.

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