Post-Game: Bennett Is Good, Flames Lose Anyway

Ryan Pike
September 25 2014 10:20PM

The Vancouver Canucks visited Calgary to face the Flames on Thursday evening. They had no Sedins. They were out-shot and out-played by the locals for the lion's share of the contest. But the Canucks weathered the storm, the Flames were unable to capitalize on their advantages and scoring chances, and the Canucks skated away with a 3-1 loss.

On the other hand, Sam Bennett appears to be quite the hockey player, and that's probably what people are more interested in.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames carried the play quite a bit during the scoreless first period. They had several instances of sustained offensive pressure, and the Stajan line (with Bollig and Hathaway) were able to retain possession and execute a full line change. That's skill. Unfortunately, their 20-3 shot advantage did not translate into goals. They also held a 27-12 shot attempt edge.

In the second, Devin Setoguchi took a penalty that negated a power-play. The Canucks didn't score on that power-play, but they did score soon after on a sustained possession from that advantage. With the Flames running around in their own zone a bit, Nick Bonino found Chris Higgins at the far post and set up a simple tap-in to make it 1-0. Sam Bennett undressed Canucks defender Kent Huskins but couldn't score. Late in the period, Nicklas Jensen tapped in a chance following a flurry around the Flames net to make it 2-0. But the Flames drew a penalty late and some nice passing led to Sean Monahan tapping in a rebound off a Sam Bennett scoring chance, making it 2-1. The Flames held a 26-12 shot edge after the second, as well as a 50-27 shot attempt advantage. But on the scoreboard? 2-1.

The Flames seemed to tire in the third, with Brad Thiessen in net for Jonas Hiller. The Canucks pressed the play a lot more, and the Flames made some gaffes. One, involving blown coverage by rookie Ryan Culkin, left Hunter Shinkaruk all alone to put a rebound of a Huskins shot behind Thiessen for a 3-1 lead. And with the Flames' inability to bury their chances, 3-1 was insurmountable. Despite some nice opportunities, including Bennett taking the puck up ice on a penalty kill and generating a nice scoring chance, the locals went down by a 3-1 score. Overall shots were 31-23. Shot attempts were 67-42. Both favoured Calgary.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

The Flames wildly out-chanced the Canucks early-on, but a combination of bad luck and Eddie Lack being in mid-season form meant that the locals couldn't press the advantage. The Canucks, on the other hand, were opportunistic and really took advantage of their chances.

RED WARRIOR

Sam Bennett led the entire hockey game with 7 shots. He also had a shot that got blocked and a pair of missed shots. And he created tons of chances via fighting through traffic, dangling the puck and all-together being good at the ice hockey.

Michael Ferland, Sven Baertschi and Bill Arnold (10 for 11 at the face-off dot) were also pretty good this evening. Heck, Dennis Wideman may have had his best game as a Flame. Yes, in the pre-season.

Devin Setoguchi, Ryan Culkin and Raphael Diaz were not that good. Diaz was -3 and Culkin was -2 with a penalty and was caught wildly out of position on Hunter Shinkaruk's goal.

SUM IT UP

The Flames drop to .500 in the pre-season via this loss. But they cannot stew about it for long, as they hop on a plane and head to Vancouver for a return engagement at Rogers Arena tomorrow evening. The puck drops at 8pm MT and the game airs on Sportsnet One (with the Canucks crew) and on radio via Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

Bennett WILL be making the trip to Vancouver, we're told.

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Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames since 2010. He's Senior Contributing Editor at FlamesNation, a Senior Writer covering the Flames and the NHL Draft for The Hockey Writers, and a correspondent for the Fischler Report. You can see his hand or the side of his head on TV sometimes.
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#51 Cccsberg
September 26 2014, 01:15PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

I listened to the game last night and so my views are tinted by that experience and will defer to those who watched the game. Up front who played well: the kids! Bennett, Monahan, Bouma, Ferland,Hathaay, Arnold and Sven. Who did not play well; the vets. Gouchi, Jones and Bollig. ON the back end who played well: TJB,Gio, Wides and Cundari as adequate. Who as bad? Diaz and Culkin.

Watched the game on TV. Agree with who played well. Disagree on vets, thought Bollig played decent, and Setoguchi had a few moments. Monahan overall good but did have two terrible DZ passes. Diaz with Culkin definitely the weakest D, mostly overmatched...

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#52 Cccsberg
September 26 2014, 01:25PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

Monahan wasn't much better in the draws last night than Bennett was.

Fact is, faceoffs are almost irrelevant. Evgeni Malkin took about seven years to become merely "below average" at faceoffs. He had at least two 100 point seasons with a faceoff% in the vicinity of 33%.

It was one game. Relax. Faceoff prowess will come with time. In the mean time, Bennett controlled the game from center ice. In spite of his lack of draw wins.

Losing draws was definitely an area of weakness, and something to work on. Having said that, apparently Arnold was almost perfect. Agree with WW here overall.

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#53 EugeneV
September 26 2014, 01:28PM
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Shredder wrote:

Oiler fan here, and I'm not here to compare one prospect to another, because I haven't seen Bennett play...and I was kind of rooting for the Oilers to take him. But in defence of the german - he does have good hands, and while he's not fast, he's certainly fast enough, and he's very strong on the puck, with good vision & passing skills. I'm very happy with how he's been playing early - and his summer commitment to fitness seems to be paying off.

In 5 years, I think Bennett will likely have risen to a higher level of play than Draisatl in terms of overall offensive play. That's not to say Draisatl will be bad - I'll project him to be in the 60 - 70 pt range by that time - but I think we all knew Bennett was a potential #1 overall for a reason - he was going to kill it in the NHL at some point.

We in Oiler land happen to be further along in our rebuild than you guys, yet we had a bit of an issue: drafting solely for skill for years without thinking about size had left us with an improper mix. Plus Gagner was frustrated. So we drafted for need...and a 105 pt campaign by a sizeable German, whereby he showed plenty of good 5X5 play, backchecking, and strength on the puck, even though not dirty or rough in the corners, couldn't be overlooked. He doesn't quite have the skill that Bennett does, but we've already got Nuge who impresses more every season.

The battle of Alberta is getting good. It may not be this year, and chances are it's not next either, but we will see you $%^#ers in the playoffs soon enough.

I like you. A reasonable Edmontonian... who knew such a thing existed?

Seriously though, good comment.

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#54 Shredder
September 26 2014, 02:04PM
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EugeneV wrote:

I like you. A reasonable Edmontonian... who knew such a thing existed?

Seriously though, good comment.

Haha, thanks. That being said, as soon as the regular season starts I'm sure we'll all be going back and forth with ugly vulgarities, then after the season is over we'll look at each other and say "I'm sorry, I didn't mean that, Monahan/Hall isn't a douche. Since neither team is in the playoffs, let's go golfing".

And a week later we'll be going "just because you got 1st overall in 2015 doesn't mean your team is going anywhere, you suck!"

or "Connor McDavid is going to be a bust" - and then we'll cry ourselves to sleep.

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#55 Stubblejumper
September 26 2014, 02:27PM
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Regarding Hartley and his "Centre Dilemma".

Original Plan: 1C Backlund, 2C Monahan, 3C Stajan, 4C Bouma

Recap: Backlund hurt and out 3-5 weeks(?).
Action Plan Option #1: 1C Stajan, 2C Monahan, 3C Colborne, 4C Bouma.

New Issue: Granlund and Bennett looking great. What to do?? Bring in Granlund, likely for the season, and Bennett for 9 games while Backs heals
Option #2: move Colborne back to wing, bring in Granlund. 1C Stajan, 2C Monahan, 3C Granlund, 4C Bouma
Option #3: 1C Stajan, 2C Monahan, 3C Bennett, 4C Granlund

Interesting dilemma, interesting options.

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#56 Stubblejumper
September 26 2014, 02:37PM
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If Bennett starts the season with the Flames, the 9th game of the season would be played on Thurs Oct 23rd against Carolina.

If Bennett skips a couple games during the first couple weeks (which is quite possible, especially for back-to-back games), he could play at home against the Ovechkin and the Caps on Oct 25th and against Montreal on Tues Oct 28th.

Depending on Backlund's prognosis, Bennett's 9 games would nicely fit with covering Backlund and giving him 4-5 weeks healing time.

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#57 RedMan
September 27 2014, 10:46AM
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Is Backlund really injured, or are they holding him out for a trade????? :-/

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