Post-Game: Exactly As Expected

Ryan Pike
March 03 2014 09:08PM

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Tonight was basically what you'd expect on-paper from a match-up between the Calgary Flames and the Minnesota Wild. The Wild, with a talented club, home ice and some good play, pulled out a one-goal win at home. The Flames, full of piss and vinegar, got down twice and battled back before narrowly tasting defeat.

It was exactly what you would have expected, and that's just fine, because nights like this provide a road-map for what tinkering needs to be done to help this team become more competitive. And by sheer coincidence, this handy lesson comes about 42 hours before the trade deadline.

THE RUNDOWN

Play was dictated mostly by the visiting Flames to begin the game, but Wild rolled with the punches and pushed back a bit later in the first. The Flames were able to keep their defensive play structured, though, so the Wild were kept mostly to the outside. This was a typical Flames/Wild first period, but both teams feeling each other out and a lot of neutral zone broken plays. There was no scoring. Shots were 9-7 Minnesota, attempts were 16-15 Minnesota, chances were 8-3 Flames and face-offs were 11-7 Minnesota.

The second period was driven almost entirely by the Minnesota Wild. Remember how the Flames kept the Wild to the outside in the latter part of the first? That was not the case here, as the Wild were able to get inside Calgary's coverage and wreak havoc. Tons and tons of good chances, but due to dumb luck and Reto Berra's positioning, the Flames kept it tied. That is, until Berra fumbled a puck behind the net, Kris Russell and Chris Butler were caught napping and Matt Cooke found Kyle Brodziak, who put it into a wide-open cage to put the Wild up 1-0. That lead lasted until late in the second. After being the Invisible Man for the better part of his first three games back from a concussion, a Dennis Wideman pass tipped off a stick and landed right in front of Mike Cammalleri, who put the biscuit in the basket for the first time since January 6. That kept things even going into the intermission, despite Calgary being on their heels for the majority of the middle stanza. Shots were 12-7 Minnesota, attempts were 23-12 Minnesota, chances were 9-5 Minnesota and face-offs were 12-10 Minnesota.

The two teams fought rather evenly to begin the third, but the Flames were given a golden opportunity after Keith Ballard toppled into Reto Berra. The Flames PP has struggled as of late - they haven't scored since before the Olympics - but the team showed some good puck movement before Mark Giordano got nabbed on a hooking call after a Flames turn-over. After a brief 4-on-4 span, the Wild made the Flames pay for their penalty: with two Wild players and a couple Flames defenders in front of the net, Jared Spurgeon slapped the puck past Berra to put the Wild back up 2-1. After that point, the Wild went into The Shell and Calgary's attacks stayed primarily to the outside. Zach Parise drove the net with five minutes left in the period and tipped a Jason Pominville slap-pass past Berra point-blank to push the lead to 3-1. Game over? Not quite, as the Flames pushed back. Mark Giordano pulled the Flames back within one with his 10th goal of the season via a nifty pass from behnd the net by rookie Markus Granlund. However, even with an empty net and an extra attacker, the Flames just couldn't capitalize on their chances and were kept to the outside by the Wild and the Flames fell 3-2. Shots were 9-6 Calgary, attempts were 16-10 Calgary, chances were 4-3 Minnesota and face-offs were 10-4 Calgary.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

The Minnesota Wild ate their lunch in their own zone and kept them to the outside, for the most part, in the offensive zone. Granted, the first goal was a team fail between Berra, Russell and Butler, but Berra barely got any help on the Spurgeon goal (he was screened) and the Parise goal (where he was able to go right to the net for the tip).

It doesn't help that the team's de facto second pairing, Chris Butler and Kris Russell, were each minus-2 on the night.

Oh, and David Jones, who has quietly been generating a lot of scoring chances for the Flames, was injured when he awkwardly went into the boards late in the second period and didn't return. With the game close, the Flames basically had to run with 10 forwards (minus Jones, who's one of their bigger forwards, and McGrattan, who's used sparingly in close games) and combined with their general lack of size up-front, they just were't able to generate enough chances to tie things up.

SCORING CHANCES

Team Period Time Note Home Away State
Away 1 18:34 D.Jones 6 11 25 29 35 64 5 7 11 13 29 54 5v5
Away 1 18:01 Backlund 6 11 25 29 35 64 5 7 11 13 29 54 5v5
Home 1 17:16 Niederreiter 2 20 21 22 24 35 3 6 8 11 22 29 5v5
Away 1 15:08 Backlund 11 20 29 35 46 64 4 11 13 29 44 54 5v5
Away 1 12:01 Stempniak 3 6 17 25 35 56 4 22 23 24 29 44 5v5
Away 1 10:48 Backlund 2 21 22 24 35 39 3 6 11 13 29 54 5v5
Home 1 10:39 Niederreiter 2 21 22 24 35 39 3 6 11 13 29 54 5v5
Away 1 9:51 Brodie 6 11 25 29 35 64 5 7 22 23 24 29 5v5
Away 1 9:42 Stempniak 3 6 9 15 25 35 4 22 23 24 29 44 5v5
Home 1 3:24 Coyle 3 6 9 15 25 35 3 7 22 23 24 29 5v5
Away 1 0:07 D.Jones 6 11 25 29 35 64 5 7 11 13 29 54 5v5
Home 2 18:36 Parise 11 20 29 35 46 64 4 22 23 24 29 44 5v5
Home 2 18:18 Pominville 11 20 29 35 46 64 4 22 23 24 29 44 5v5
Home 2 16:09 Koivu 9 14 15 20 35 46 5 7 11 13 29 54 5v5
Home 2 15:16 Parise 3 9 11 20 29 35 3 16 29 32 44 5v4
Home 2 14:25 Heatley 15 20 22 35 46 64 5 17 29 32 44 5v4
Away 2 11:24 D.Jones 6 21 22 24 25 35 4 11 13 29 44 54 5v5
Home 2 10:59 Brodziak goal 6 21 22 24 25 35 4 11 13 29 44 54 5v5
Away 2 10:27 Byron 2 3 9 15 35 39 3 6 8 29 32 60 5v5
Away 2 10:17 Colborne 2 3 9 15 35 39 3 6 8 29 32 60 5v5
Home 2 9:07 Granlund 6 11 25 29 35 64 3 6 22 23 24 29 5v5
Away 2 4:27 D.Jones 21 22 24 25 35 46 4 11 29 32 44 54 5v5
Home 2 3:56 Parise 11 20 29 35 46 64 5 7 22 23 24 29 5v5
Home 2 3:44 Spurgeon 11 20 29 35 46 64 5 7 22 23 24 29 5v5
Away 2 3:20 Cammalleri goal 3 9 15 20 35 46 3 6 11 13 29 39 5v5
Away 3 19:39 Stempniak 3 6 9 15 25 35 3 6 22 23 24 29 5v5
Home 3 13:25 Pominville 9 11 20 29 35 46 5 7 11 13 29 39 5v5
Home 3 12:54 Brodziak 11 21 22 25 35 39 3 6 22 23 24 29 5v5
Home 3 5:17 Parise goal 2 11 29 35 39 64 4 11 24 29 39 44 5v5
Home 3 4:50 Coyle 3 9 15 20 35 46 4 17 22 23 29 44 5v5
Away 3 4:01 Giordano goal 6 21 22 24 25 35 5 7 8 24 29 60 5v5
Away 3 1:13 Scrum in front 9 11 20 29 35 46 5 7 8 17 22 24 5v5
# Player EV PP SH
3 SMID, LADISLAV 17:23 5 5 00:00 0 0 01:34 0 1
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 17:02 5 5 01:27 0 0 00:00 0 0
5 GIORDANO, MARK 21:18 6 4 01:27 0 0 00:47 0 1
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 19:19 5 4 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
7 BRODIE, TJ 22:44 6 5 00:00 0 0 01:19 0 0
8 COLBORNE, JOE 12:18 4 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 21:05 8 6 00:28 0 0 00:21 0 0
13 CAMMALLERI, MIKE 19:58 7 4 01:27 0 0 00:36 0 0
16 MCGRATTAN, BRIAN 05:20 0 0 00:00 0 0 00:37 0 1
17 BOUMA, LANCE 08:59 1 1 00:00 0 0 00:25 0 1
22 STEMPNIAK, LEE 18:59 5 9 00:00 0 0 01:19 0 0
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 16:33 4 8 00:59 0 0 00:00 0 0
24 HUDLER, JIRI 18:22 6 8 00:28 0 0 00:00 0 0
29 BERRA, RETO   15 14   0 0   0 2
32 BYRON, PAUL 12:35 3 0 00:00 0 0 01:02 0 2
39 GALIARDI, TJ 11:47 1 2 00:00 0 0 00:22 0 0
44 BUTLER, CHRIS 14:38 5 5 00:00 0 0 01:02 0 2
54 JONES, DAVID 12:13 7 3 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
60 GRANLUND, MARKUS 11:32 3 0 00:59 0 0 00:00 0 0
Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 8 3 8 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 5 9 5 7 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
3 3 4 3 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

RED WARRIOR

Let's go with the kid, Markus Granlund. With David Jones out for roughly half the game, Granlund got more ice-time. He made some nice plays on both sides of the puck, and capped off the night with a nice feed to Mark Giordano for his first NHL point.

SUM IT UP

Calgary drops to 23-31-7 this season. There's 21 games remaining this season. The next one is on Wednesday night, at 7:30pm MT, when they host the Ottawa Senators. In addition to the game, there's also the three-ring circus fo the NHL's trade deadline to worry about.

We'll have even more trade deadline preview content tomorrow, followed by in-depth coverage and analysis of the circus itself on Wednesday.

Oh yeah, and the game, too.

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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 loudogYYC
March 04 2014, 01:13AM
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@mattyc

I don't mean to be negative, but I'm just not seeing what you see. Colborne strikes me as a player who has a ton more to give but I just don't see it enough. I hope he has a Backlund light bulb moment and starts using his tools more before the season's over.

Regarding tonight's game, the Flames played hard and smart enough to stay in it and that's all I can ask for this season and next. I'm really glad Cammalleri got a goal and his swagger back, that'll do him a lot of good in California or Phoenix ;)

This might be our last chance to take on some bad contracts in exchange for top 60 picks. I kinda hope we land Booth or Erat and flip them for whatever at the next TDL. We'll need established vets next season regardless of how many of our kids seem ready for the NHL.

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#2 Jeff In Lethbridge
March 04 2014, 12:14AM
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byron plays a bigger game then his actual size. im liking him. colborn too... starting to grow on me. Monahan may be a keeper as well... we'll see. too bad for jones, he was starting to look comfortable in a flames jersey

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#3 Derzie
March 03 2014, 11:00PM
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Pith & Vinegar. It's Pith.

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#4 Christian Roatis
March 03 2014, 09:16PM
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That picture is me at the deadline waiting for trades.

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#5 mattyc
March 03 2014, 09:29PM
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Colborne's been quietly putting together a pretty solid stretch of hockey.

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#6 schevvy
March 03 2014, 11:44PM
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According to the chance sheet McGrattan played 37 seconds of PK time. Why?!?

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#7 ChinookArch
March 04 2014, 05:41AM
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@loudogYYC

And speaking of kids ready to play. How good was Granlund last night? He plays without the puck as well as he does with it. He showed great vision and confidence on a couple of different shifts and has a great 'heavy' shot.. It's too small of a sample size to crown him an NHLer, but he'll be one soon.

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#8 piscera.infada
March 04 2014, 06:17AM
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@loudogYYC

"I don't mean to be negative, but I'm just not seeing what you see. Colborne strikes me as a player who has a ton more to give but I just don't see it enough. I hope he has a Backlund light bulb moment and starts using his tools more before the season's over."

I know, I know, we love to hate on Colborne for no other reason than he played a few games at centre slotted above Backlund on our depth chart. However, this is one of those few times where I have to ask if you've been watching the games? (Obviously you have...).

Since he's been moved to the wing, I think we've seen tremendous growth in Colborne. The kid's been all over the ice on most nights, he wins battles along the boards, leads the rush in the neutral zone, his d-zone coverage is improving, and his vision even seems to get better. He's been using his size and reach to his advantage more often, and generally seems to play a "bigger" game - the thing everyone "wanted" from him to begin the season.

You bring up the Backlund comparison, but these are two completely different situations - let's keep in mind that before this season, Colborne had played a whopping 16 NHL games (16! and people still can't give him some goddamn breathing room?), Backlund on the other hand has played 170 games prior to this season (you may be waiting a while for that Eureka moment).

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#9 Burnward
March 04 2014, 07:21AM
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Totally. Colborne has been great since the move to the wing.

His growth and Bouma's have been awesome to see. Young, cost controlled kids who are playing hard and proving to be a handful most nights.

He can play on my Flames any day.

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#10 Parallex
March 04 2014, 08:43AM
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@Burnward

I wouldn't say "great" but he has been better then when they kept him at center. Hopefully he continue to carve out a spot as a big net presense type RW in the mold of Moss when he was here.

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#11 mattyc
March 04 2014, 08:49AM
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@loudogYYC

Pretty much what piscera.infada said. I've also been impressed with his cycle game. He's using his size a lot better to recover pucks. He's definitely got further to go, but he's looked better on the eye test, and has been on the right side of the chance count more lately too.

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#12 Primo
March 04 2014, 08:52AM
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I'm in the camp of Colbourne needing more development time. He has sweet hands and is still learning at what it takes to be a pro in this league.

I would include a clause in his contact that would see him go to Peter's Drive-in a minimum of 4 times per week and gulp down those milk shakes and cheeseburgers. This kid has great size and needs to bulk up his frame.

Let's show some patience with him he will be just fine!

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#13 loudogYYC
March 04 2014, 12:59PM
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@piscera.infada

Well said, man. I guess my expectations were a little higher than what I've seen. At 24 he's still got time and room to improve.

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