February 22 2017 02:00PM
Since Jiri Hudler in the 2014-15 season, the Flames have had a fair bit of trouble with finding a right winger to play with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. Hudler was magic with the duo in the year the Flames went to the playoffs, but he fell off a cliff the following season, and then he was traded.
That line has had a mostly rotating cast since, with multiple other forwards getting the call and none of them really working out.
One of those guys was Micheal Ferland. In the 2015-16 season, he played 144:47 5v5 minutes with Gaudreau and Monahan. The line had a CF of 53.8%, but their GF was a mere 45.5%. They looked great, but they weren't really producing tangible results, things didn't stick, and the Flames had a miserable season, anyway.
Against the Predators the Flames continued to have a not-miserable if inconsistent season, kicked off with Ferland back on that line and scoring two goals to show for it.
February 22 2017 08:00AM
That game was a roller coaster of emotions. It had everything: big leads. Devastating comebacks. Fights. Big saves. A Micheal scoring two goals and a Mikael scoring another two, with two Michaels out there along for the ride.
And two points - while giving up another point to a team the Flames are in direct competition with.
Well, you can't say it wasn't exciting.
February 21 2017 11:00AM
There had to be a casualty of just trading picks for Michael Stone.
That casualty, evidently, was the only player on the roster who doesn't require waivers: Garnet Hathaway, who has been returned to the Stockton Heat.
It's not necessarily an indictment on him that he got sent down, it's just the easiest move to make for the time being - that and, well, he only averages 9:08 a game.
February 19 2017 08:00AM
The game reset for overtime.
That was a bad first goal on Brian Elliott, there's no denying that. That said, the Flames outplayed the Canucks the entire way, and to an extent that you can't simply brush it off with a cry of "score effects!" Not with the amount the Flames pushed, and definitely not with all of those penalties they had to kill.
And they wouldn't have been pushing as hard as they did in the final minutes if they weren't down 1-0. The Canucks scored a goal Elliott shouldn't have let them; the Flames broke Ryan Miller's dam in the final six seconds.
After that, it was a matter of overtime. Three-on-three play makes mistakes deadly. Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik got caught on the wrong side of it. It happens, and the Flames were able to crawl away with a point to keep them just barely relevant. (They're ninth in the West with a winning percentage of .525. The Kings are at .526.)
February 18 2017 02:30PM
On Jan. 24, Elliotte Friedman offered up some thoughts about shift lengths in his 30 Thoughts column. Specifically, it was about how much time Erik Karlsson spends on the ice over the course of a single shift (#17):
A year ago, Karlsson played the most in the NHL (2,375:55) and had the longest shift length (1:04). But he was tied for 72nd in shifts per game and 34th in overall shifts taken. It’s not like he’s stapled to the bench, as his overall time is eighth. But he’s now second in the NHL in shifts per game, going from 27.1 to 32.2 per night. His length has dropped to 0:50, which is 38th. He’s agreed to stay out a little less, but the trade-off is minimal as they put him out there more.
What does this have to do with the Flames? Well, shorter shifts generally result in more effective shifts. And Johnny Gaudreau has gone from being tied for 64th among all forwards in average shift time in 2015-16 to fourth this season.
That's quite a jump, wouldn't you say?