Postgame: The Usual Result

On Saturday night, the Flames did what they do: beat the Edmonton Oilers.  The night after, the Canucks did what they do: beat the Calgary Flames.  After opening the scoring in the first period, the Flames allowed five unanswered goals to have their modest four game point streak snapped, falling 5-1 at the hands of the defending Western Conference champions, dropping the team back two games below .500.

What Happened

A very strong first period from the Flames saw them stay right with their high flying opponents, and at times carry the play 5-on-5.  They were rewarded for their solid opening frame with 86 seconds to go in the first, with Alex Tanguay scoring a goal from behind the red line, beating Roberto Luongo in the fashion we’ve seen numerous times before.  Tanguay’s fifth of the season had Calgary up on the Canucks after one period, killing off a long two man advantage in the process.

Things started to turn in the second period though, which shouldn’t be all that much of a surprise, because Vancouver is a very good team.  On their third powerplay of the game, Vancouver would even the affair with Kevin Bieksa’s point shot deflected on the way in by Blake Comeau, beating Henrik Karlsson for his second of the season at 5:13.  Late in the period, Chris Higgins would score his eighth of the season thanks to a nice shift from David Booth; he’d get the primary assist on the Higgins marker with 59 seconds left in the period.  The Canucks would win the scoring chance battle 5-3 in the second period, and they’d take a lead into the third.

Just 40 seconds into the third, the Flames would fall down two goals thanks to Booth’s fifth of the season, as his wraparound try went off the skate of T.J. Brodie in the crease.  Just 74 seconds later, a Jannik Hansen outside shot would elude Karlsson thanks to an odd re-direct on the way in; it’d count as Hansen’s seventh of the season and put this one away for the home side.  They’d tack on one more on the powerplay at 5:42 with Daniel Sedin sniping his ninth from the left circle taking us to our final score.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames lost?  Well, after a really strong opening 20 minutes, they just couldn’t keep up with their superior opponent.  Calgary got away from what has made them successful as of late, with far too many turnovers at both bluelines in the second and third period.  When you add that on top of a tired team and a very good opponent, things will go south on you in a hurry, and they did.

Red Warrior

I didn’t have much issue with Jay Bouwmeester’s game throughout, as I thought he was pretty strong.  He was one of the few Flames players to finish in the plus in terms of even strength scoring chances, and he was his regular workhorse self.  Bouwmeester played more than eight minutes shorthanded, and was pretty solid from start to finish.

Sum It Up

I didn’t think Calgary was necessarily terrible on this night, but they weren’t good enough for the majority of the evening against an opponent like Vancovuer.  The Canucks enjoy playing the Flames right now, and it’s because they’ve had so much darn success against them as of late, as Vancouver has won 11 of the last 14 games in this series.  The injury news on Karlsson is important, as he left in the third period with a suspected left knee injury; we’ll find out more on Monday.

  • stallsky

    Agreed Pat, angry at our effort and energy in 2nd and 3rd, I felt let down after last night, knowing Hank was getting the start kinda cued up this one in my mind, maybe alittle deception but after peter called it, Id rather see kipp tonight, that being said, thanks for sticking with the plan on keeping kipp fresh, think we get the w against Canes because. Bad blood for next meeting on Booth?

  • stallsky

    Karlsson was bad tonight. Not saying the Flames would’ve won with better goaltending, but it should have only been 3-1 at most. Wonder if we see Irving get called up depending on Karlsson’s injury.

    • amaninvan

      Last night we got a taste of what life might be like if those in the “trade Kiprusoff” camp get their way. Our goaltending has to be almost perfect for the team to succeed. A bad or even mediocre performance like Karlsson put up last night gives us zero chance of winning. I shudder to think what our record would be like if we dont have Kipper stealing games for us.

      • amaninvan

        Not disagreeing with you, but maybe that would be a blessing & we get some new future Regehrs & Iggy’s & Phaneufs. We really dont have any for sure future franchise players coming in our system. We have some promising good young players, who may get into elite categories but that would be long shot odds in Vegas. Lets face it, it may feel OK to win every other game but that wont get you a cup or playoffs in this league. We frittered the prime years of Iggy & Kipper & Regehr & frittered Dion away for nothing. You wont replace these guys picking 15th to 20th at the drafts. Its the way of the NHL & parity will see all teams needing to go thru 2-3 year cycles of yuch, longer if they are poorly managed.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I didn’t watch the entire game but…

    They played well, it’s too bad the score doesn’t show. Stempniak had a beauty chance on the PP but his stick broke. The set up to that play was nice.

    Jokinen had a breakaway so they had chances. That’s the most heartening aspect, too see them carry over a style of play that let them get chances off the rush.

    Killing that 5-3 was good to see. They really pressure the puck well up ice. However, it seems to be a rhythm killer to be on the PK so much. They have to win a draw too.

    I honestly thought that game was up for grabs and Calgary seemed deserving. Didn’t see the third but my guess it was a bad roll they got on early. Vancouver is lethal on offense.

    If they can keep their confidence to play with the puck up they should win more consistently.

    Their mantra of two outta three seems realistic given what I’ve seen from the way they’ve been playing especially the last two games.

    I hope they keep it rolling.

  • stallsky

    how painful was pp overall, should have a 3 pass into scoring area limit with shoot, too many overplays when shoots are avail. iggy does a double grip which is his giveaway to tendys so he needs to be hash marks ala stamkos for his one timer, this high point work with tangs and jaybo takes him outside front of net, put him lower, look at Olympics with crosby he scores goals on faceoff dot, sorry for the rant…

  • SmellOfVictory

    First was boring but effective, and the rest was pretty awful. The number of mistakes the Flames made as the game went on seemed to increase exponentially, to a point in the third where I almost facepalmed because of all the missed passes in their own zone.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I was at the game… not a bad first I guess. Karlsson was really rough. I thought Jokinen looked really tired.

    That kid Brodie has some nice speed though, so that’s a positive.

  • Franko J

    Opposite result and effort from last night. Shocked if the Flames would have won tonight.

    With this team being one of the older teams in the league with little depth after playing a 3rd game in the fourth night I found that their “legs” faded as game went into the 2nd and 3rd period.

    Secondly, the Canucks are in the “heads” of the Flames.

    Thirdly, the talent gap between Canucks and Flames was prevalent and on display once again.

    Kiprusoff can’t play every game and tonight is another example of a team collectively lost and lacking in confidence without him between the pipe.

    Is it me, or has Horak “hit the wall” for this season?

    Last year the NHL mantra was “head shots” this year it appears to be “goalie security”. Who is going to be the next goalie injured due to a player recklessly running the goalie? Obviously the players have little respect for one another and once again the NHL has to police the players again. My suggestion to resolve this issue is to assess a penalty shot along with a 2 minute “unlimited” powerplay. Punishment would be in the form a goals.

  • Captain Ron

    I know there were other reasons as well for the loss but I didn’t think too much of Karlsons game tonight. He seems a little too casual in his play. If we were to lose Kipper to injury or a trade I can see a pretty quick trip to the basement. You just don’t win in this league without good goaltending and Kipper provides that for us on most nights. Before we ever think of moving him we had better have a capable replacement in place. Time will tell if Irving is that guy.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Agree. I would think Iggy is more expendable than Kipper unless Leiland impresses if he gets the call. Also, why shouldnt the owners get the benefit of Kippers lower paycheques in the next 2 years. I dont know why, but I get the feeling Iggy wants a cup more than Kipper wanting to move for a shot at one. Not sure why I think that.

      • Captain Ron

        Funny that you mention that about Kipper and Iggy with their individual cup quest(s). I’ve also thought the same thing but I don’t know that I can explain why either. I also like the idea of having Kipper around at a lower price too but I wouldn’t be surprised if a decent offer came our way for him either. Considering how durable he’s been it might prove tough to replace him.

  • Franko J

    @ Captain Ron

    I don’t think Feaster will trade Kipper unless he has another Bonafide starter between the pipes for the Flames. The one thing he learned from his tenture with the Lightning was you cannot compete in this league without goaltending. When he let Khabibulin leave the Lightning, the team sank pretty fast and couldn’t recover. Look at the Wild and Predators, most games are won by the goalies.

    • Captain Ron

      Totally agree Franko. The Wild and the Preds are the prime examples. To some extent Hiller did that last year for the Ducks too, along with Thomas in the playoffs.

  • stallsky

    Franko, most of them have hit the wall several times this year. Let the kid work his way through it, even the vets go thru the dog days of a hockey winter. Brodie made mistakes but he is a lot further than last year. Hopefully Backlund starts to develop some hands. not suprised by this loss at all. Next 6 games(Carolina,Colorado,Edm,Nash,Tampa, Florida) are not that bad, very doable to get 4 wins & hopefully we get to .500 after the Dec 16th game. If we play like Saturday, we can be successful with these teams. Hope we see more of Saturdays efforts.

    Gio’s injury is a huge blow for us. I know we beat Edmonton & the likes of Smith & Brodie really stepped up. I also want to point out to the real bad JBO bashers that he has really stepped up his game, as well as minutes. Yeah he’s over paid but I think we’re going to get our monies worth out of him in the near future. Anyone else sense a feeling of the last defiant stand before we start ticking the countdown to playoff elimination. The heat is really on these players & Feaster is awful crabby, because he must know whats coming if they fail.

  • Vintage Flame

    This team didn’t do what it was supposed to tonight. I know they were on the back end of the back-to-back, but they played a different game than they did last night against the Oilers.

    Karlsson got burned on a couple of tipped shots, but he also played pretty soft tonight. Hank is going to have to claw, scrape and scramble to earn his wins for this team, tonight he just wasn’t up to it.

    My one question is, if Hank is hurt for a period of time, and the Flames end up bringing up Irving, do you get him into play as quickly as possible?

    At least one game right away, or do you try and ease him in. The Flames have a brutal schedule this month and Kipper just can’t play the whole month.

    • jeremywilhelm

      They had to play a different game than last night though. I said it last night and i’ll reiterate it. If they played the way they played last night, tonight. They would have lost 10-1.

      The score and the hitting covered up the fact that the Flames were still a clusterfuck in their own zone last night. And tonight it was much the same. Van is very quick to move the puck into scoring areas. Calgary is very slow to lock those areas up.

  • jeremywilhelm

    To me, there is really no reason to be upset. When it all comes down to it. A good team beat a bad team.

    The Canucks got better this offseason. They lost no one of interest and gained a great player in Booth.

    The Flames are rolling with half an AHL level defense. What did anyone think was gonna happen? The team could have played out of their minds and still lost this game because, well, they are a badly built team.

    I think Karlsson has proved that he isn’t even an NHL calibre backup. The guy is a terrible goalie. And he is being massively exposed by any team with an ability to pick a corner or adjust the trajectory of a puck because, well, his positioning and reactionary motions are weak at best. I like the guy, he is quite the character. And hell, if the team is willing to concede this season is a bust, let him play. But he isn’t helping the team win and it is blatantly obvious the Flames hav become scared to play him in any situation that they think there is a possibility of victory.

    I sure hope Irving gets some time to play because he deserves it.

  • Franko J

    @ Kevin R

    Very true, most Flames have hit the wall this year. I think with another year of development Horak will only get better.

    As for the D without Gio, I think they have all “sucked it up” and have actually played with a physical edge, however, tonight it seemed after the 1st period they were skating with lead feet. Couldn’t get to the loose pucks.

    I agree the next 6 games could very well be the “last defiant stand” for this team as it is for this season. Unfortunately, like Davy Crockett at the Alamo, I doesn’t seem too encouraging.

  • Sobueno

    Haha Pat, just want to say I love the first picture. I have a 3 month old son, and it totally reminds me of him. Whoever captured that pic must have had some good timing.

    In terms of the game, not too shocked or upset. It’s clear that Van has a higher talent level, and we played Karlsson to boot. Just looking forward to (hopefully) positive change this off-season!

    With the ongoing discussion concerning trading either Kipper or Iginla, I think I’d lean a bit more towards trading Kipper if we shipped out only one of em’. It seems like he could be a bit more attractive with his lower actual cost over the next couple years to potential future ownership, and he’s been playing well this season so trade value is up. He is also getting up there in the age category, and not all NHL goalies turn out like Timmy Thomas, so his future value to the Flames by the time they get the requisite turn over to be a contender could be significantly lower. Granted Iggy is not getting any younger, but he would likely be easier to slip into a supporting role than Kipper. There are the likely issues of less teams looking for a starting goalie, and finding a sufficient replacement (definitely unsure whether Irving will be around the org very long), but that’s just something Feast will have to work out as GM. Usually at least one or two decent/acceptable goalies available as UFA’s each year. My apologies if this if just further beating the dead horse…

  • Sobueno

    butter threw in the white towel before the first puck drop, his decision to start kung fu all but sealed the fate.his start was basically conceding before the start. back to backs bla bla bla, so much for every game matters. the battle of alberta has become the flames personal stanley cup. beat the oilers and we have accomplished something. the absence of gio, mvp gio was magnified by the echl talent on the backline.feaster has to pull the trigger now if these slugs are to make a serious push for 8th. as previously mentioned good team beating bad team.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I liked your Red Warrior, Bouwmeester was really good and very consistent. Fortunately, I was only able to catch the last 1/2 of the game (the wrong half). I won’t be to critical of playing Karlsson, as Kiprusoff needs to get rest, particularly in back to back situation. Karlsson is not a good goalie, he goes down early and stays down – not good. He makes the cut as the Red Goat for the night, no one was nearly as bad against the Canucks.

    This rebuild or whatever it is will require a quality back up. Is anyone available that would be a good #2?

    • icedawg_42

      I guess you have to give Irving a shot at this point. I didn’t watch any of the game last night but from everything I’ve been hearing, the outcome and the game itself was pretty much what we should have expected. It was mentioned before in this thread, but the Flames just aren’t in the same class as the upper echelon teams. We see it whenever teams like Boston, Washington, Vancouver, Pittsburgh all come through here. They just don’t have the talent level to compete.

      • icedawg_42

        dawg, perhaps the flames need to go outside the organization and find a capable number two goalie, promote from abby, or deal kipper for an adequate short term replacement in a package that would bring long term gains. or continue with the tower and accept the fact that they are no where near playoff calibre.

  • T&A4Flames

    Re: Horak; I think he’s been fine. He’s not putting up a lot of points but he’s looked pretty good defensively. His faceoffs % has dropped as well I believe.

    Re: Karlsson; I don’t think he deserves too much criticism, I would like to see him have a chance to play a few in row and get a rythym going before I say too much. It’s trial year for a lot of our young guys (& probably a write-off re: PO) so let him play.

    RE: JBo; he has been solid, yea a little overpaid but now that Gio is down, I’m sure we are all pretty happy we have a durable, solid defender.

    If Karlsson is down for a bit I hope we see Irving sooner rather that later. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Ortio; you never know what an excited kid may do. Also, playing with his hero in Kiprussoff may be good for his development as well.

  • BobB

    You google Henrik Karlsson news and it comes up that he has been put on the IR with a sprained right MCL. Actually, as I typed this it’s on the main page.

    I had the same injury in my left leg when a guy fell on it. Mine was a grade 2 tear and I don’t have the same resources devoted to my recovery but it took me two months.

    I imagine, with it being a sprain and it being an NHL resource pool, it shouldn’t be more than 3 to 4 weeks. He could be back for Columbus (the 27th)

    Irving has been called up and I bet Irving he gets 1 game vs either TB or FLA.