Postgame: Tight

Other than the first ten minutes of this hockey game, Friday’s contest between the Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers didn’t see a whole lot of daylight for either side.  While Florida ran things early on, the Flames reeled things and had a lead into the latter stages of the third period.  In the end, this one went to a shootout with the Panthers scoring on their last two shots to come away with a 3-2 win.

What Happened

As referenced, Calgary’s start was not a good one, seeing Florida create the first six scoring chances.  The Panthers would convert on one, with Sean Bergenheim good for his fifth at 6:57 after a scramble in front of first time NHL starter Leland Irving.  Just over three minutes later, even with a lackluster start to this game, the Flames would draw even with Olli Jokinen scoring from the side of the net after a nice rush down the ice.  Jokinen’s tenth seemed to wake the visitors up, as Calgary was pretty solid from there on out.

The second period saw each team come away with opportunities and both teams had a good chunk of time with a two man advantage, however neither would score.  Scoring chances ended even at seven which was a pretty accurate barometer of the period, as things were pretty even throughout.

An early third period penalty to Florida’s Kris Versteeg gave Calgary their fourth powerplay of the game, and they’d convert on this one.  Olli Jokinen would feed a nice pass to Rene Bourque at the right side of the net, and he’d find a way to slip it through the pads of Jose Theodore for the first Flames lead of the game.  The remainder of the frame saw Calgary revert into a rather ineffective shell, helping the Panthers rack up the chances in the process.  Bergenheim’s second of the night at 15:25 tied this thing as Florida really had the Flames on the run, sending this one to overtime.

Both teams had quality chances in the extra frame with Calgary’s Chris Butler probably having the best opportunity to put this one away.  He was thwarted by Theodore and after a five minute extra frame it was off to a shootout.  With the Panthers missing their first two shots, Calgary had the edge with Alex Tanguay scoring on their opening opportunitiy.  But after Olli Jokinen missed, Dmitry Kulikov gave the Panthers new life allowing Theodore to stop Rene Bourque sending us to extra shooters.  Stephen Weiss was good on his shot, Rene Bourque was not, and this game ended in a 3-2 Florida win.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames lost?  On this night, I really do believe this one was a flip of the coin in a shootout.  While Calgary was soundly outchanced overall and at even strength, I never really felt Florida generated a ton of ten bell chances.  In between their two goals, the Flames were fairly solid and didn’t allow much.  I felt the Panthers were pretty solid start to finish, and they did a nice job chasing once down a goal.  In the end, this one probably should have been tied, so you take your chances in a skills competition.

Red Warrior

Hey, give Leland Irving some credit!  He wasn’t out of this world and nor did he face a ton of ten bellers, but after what looked like a shaky start, he wasn’t too bad.  I know he’s not a fan of the two goals that went in or what happened in the shootout, but for a first NHL start, I didn’t think he was terrible.  He was out of his mind nervous heading in, and reeled it in as the night went along.

Sum It Up

Well, it’s points in nine of their last 11 games and it’s also three straight losses!  I’ll leave that one up to you in terms of how you spin it, but the Flames weren’t horrible on this night.  They didn’t have much of anything to start and didn’t do a great job protecting their lead, but lets give some credit to the opposition tonight.  Florida played a decent game too and was just as deserving of the win as Calgary, and on this night, they did win.  The bad news?  The Flames are into Chicago, where they’ve lost their last 11 games.

  • It’s true the Flames didn’t give up a lot of grade -a chances (odd-man rushes and such), but the sheer volume of mid-level chances put them on the precipice.

    Flames ES play has been quite poor for 3 games in a row now.

  • Franko J

    @ Pat Steinberg

    They way I would spin it is, for the third straight game the Flames were outplayed and outchanced.

    In order for this team to win every player has to keep their feet moving and competing for the puck. And in the third period, when you have a team which struggles with face offs and the other team controls the puck, how can you win?

    Well Pat, on the bright side, the Flames got the point tonight and there seems to be some building blocks in the mix to get optimistic about. In addition it could be worse, think about being the overtime host for the Ducks this season. IMO I wouldn’t want that.

    Keep up the great work.

  • Well look at it this way, if the Flames keep going into OT/SO, eventually they’re gonna win. If they got at least 1 point every game + 18 wins in OT (which would be brutal if they played every game into OT) that would equal 100 points, which = playoffs. Just saying! Trying to play Mr.Optimist around here. 🙂

    • Truculence

      Umm, yeah, don’t get too optimistic about those. It’s the juniors and there have been tons, and I mean tons, of players who accumulated 80-100 points in a season and were miserable failures at the professional level (Bryan Cameron and Ryan Howse anyone?). And remember, all the aforementioned are 19 years old, not 17. Baertchi will definitely make it to the big show because he is a complete player, and Reinhart has great hockey sense which may translate into a good career as a second or third line center capable of doing heavy lifting. Ferland and Holland are 50/50 in my opinion. Holland is not a natural finisher, while Ferland is a big physical presence with scoring upside, but his shooting and skating are strictly average. Both project more like bottom-nine forwards, although Ferland may continue to develop into a power-forward along the lines of Lucic (we can only hope).

  • Truculence

    Really was rooting for Irving once the 3rd was past the halfway point. There was a group of us watching and were somewhat amazed that the Flames were winning at that point and thought it would be a good positive for the team to win a game for once with the back-up in net…in his first NHL start to boot. It wasn’t meant to be, but at least no one can come away and blame the goaltending.

  • Truculence

    I dont get how howse plays his first season of pro hockey and is suddenly considered a washed up prospect. Your not the first to say it but holy cow flames seem to have written him off for not setting the ahl on fire. I seriously don’t get it. The season isn’t half way through and we are all getting ready to take him out back lassie style.

    • Truculence

      Buddy, the guy has 0 points and has been god-awful. I would know, as I live in Abby and catch 3-4 games a month. Guess what, those reports about his terrible skating were all true, and the bigger men at this level have limited his ability to get into the scoring areas to release his vaunted shot. His defensive awareness has been non-existant. There is still a 1% chance the guy turns into Brett Hull by suddenly acquiring formidable hockey sense to go along with an elite shot to become a great player, but don’t bank on it.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    With his draft status & strong play in the A, Irving should project higher long term for the Flames. I think a tandem of him & Henrik a couple years from now would be quite solid. Let them battle for the #1 spot after Kipper is gone. Hopefully we can trade Kipper for a good return while his value is high. Trade deadline this year preferably

  • Truculence

    ok back in the summer we said we gotta blow it up…well that didn’t happen, i understand the reasoning. samething now, we need to blow this S*** up. too many guys being paid 3 mil a season to do nothing. I’m starting to believe Jay was never the guy, and shouldn’t have been the guy. i can’t believe how we lucked out when Dallas took Hagman although i’m sure theres stuff about that deal that i don’t know or can’t remember.

  • Franko J

    @redd3vil

    Hagman went to the Anaheim Ducks, which was good fortune for the Flames because if Anaheim didn’t grab him off waivers from the Flames they would have not gotten Blake Comeau.

    Seperate Note:

    As for Ryan Howse, he may not be living up to expectations right now, however with Troy Ward he will get the proper tutelaging, support and coaching. Remember Howse is only one year into his pro career and the focus from Troy Ward is to improve Howses’ strength and conditioning. As for his skating ability, well some have the given talent while others have to work at it. If Howse wants to make it to the NHL it will be up to him to improve that aspect of his game.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      Howse, to me, doesn’t give the impression of committed athlete. He’s young and dumb ie immature.

      This guy needs to get pro athlete fit just to instill the discipline, work ethic and mental toughness he could do without in junior because of his talent. There aren’t anymore 16 year olds to play against in pro hockey. Now he’s going against men who will do anything to make a living playing hockey (meaning outworking guys like Howse).

  • RexLibris

    Turris for Rundblad and a 2nd. That’s a heck of a lot more than the 4th round picks most fans here were offering up for him. Personally, I think Phoenix wins this deal. Rundblad is a good young player and Ottawa is still in their “rebuilding” window, so a 2nd round pick is good value, with the right scouting.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    The best indicator of how Calgary is playing is their effectiveness in making the first pass out of their zone.

    Against the Panthers it was horrible. I’m not sure if it was just the d making terrible plays or the forwards not helping out but that was ugly.

    Calgary iced the puck so much that when coupled with an inability to win a face off meant too much time in their end.

    When Calgary got the lead on Bourque’s weak PP goal it looked like they went in a defensive shell. What I saw was a continuation of not being able to transition with a good first pass.

    So many times the Flames D had the puck on their sticks in their end and had time to make a play. They couldn’t connect.

    Right now only two D are playing well (defending and moving the puck): Bouwmeester and Brodie. Butler is inconsistent.

    Without Gio, Smith needs to pick his game up. I like him and his poise but he’s taking too long right now. His greatest strength is turning into a weakness (controlling the puck) it’s such a fine line. He just needs to be a little quicker.

    Brodie is playing amazing. Against Tampa and Florida he made a couple of plays under pressure that made you stand up and take notice. Brodie is playing with confidence, poise and decisiveness and it needs to be rubbed off on the others. He wants to make a difference, make plays so he’s playing to win instead of playing not to lose. Sutter has to play him more, Calgary needs to play their playmakers. Just by watching Brodie make plays will make the others better-give them confidence. Sutter is keeping Brodie’s minutes down because Sutter wants his D to play not to lose, to play safe. Also physically Brodie is still a kid and he does sometimes put the puck in an area blindly. Live with the mistakes or play him with a stay at home vet (instead of Carson).

    Backlund, Tanguay, Bourque and Horak are invisible 5 on 5.
    Comeau is taking these big round trips in the offensive zone. While it’s good he’s protecting the puck he needs to attack the middle of the ice and get a shot when he’s skating toward their net instead of waiting to come around and headed toward our net.

    Basically, poor transition play is preventing the Flames from entering the offensive zone in any kind of consistent threatening manner. As such you don’t see anymore shots of the rush. What is happening is they are dumping it in the corners and the play dies, so no shots off the cycle. When they do have control of the puck in the offensive zone they are reluctant to take it to the net.

    Special teams and goaltending are giving them a chance but their overall game has taken a step back especially the D (except for Bouwmeester and Brodie).

  • Franko J

    @ Jeff Lebowski

    I totally agree the Flames struggle to connect from D to forward and the transition game suffers because the tape to tape passes are either fumbled or misplaced. In addition, the last three games there has been very little back pressure from the forwards in creating turnovers, thus opposition players are either entering the offensive zone freely or creating havoc for the D.

    As for Ryan Howse, he may be immature in understanding what gift he has been given to play the game of hockey, but he is not the only player to waste their talent due to a lack of effort and drive.

  • Franko J

    Darryl Sutter coach of the Kings.
    Well let see if it is true, in the meantime it will be interesting to see which Sutter brother will have more points by the end of the season. Darryl Sutter King on Tuesday, maybe Brent Sutter pauper after Jan 1.

    While Sutter was a bad GM, he was a pretty darn good coach.

    Turris for Runblad and 2nd round pick.
    Phoenix does it again. Trade a player of little value, in exchange for future pick and good young defenseman to build with.
    Amazing how a team which is owned by the NHL can have good success and fortune.

    • RexLibris

      I was wondering about that, between the Sutter brothers who would finish the year in a better position. While I think the Kings have more to offer by way of talent, there are some problems there in the head office and I’m not convinced that those players want to continue playing for Lombardi. I don’t think they want to leave L.A., but the GMs act is probably starting to wear a little thin by now.

      What I don’t understand (is that the title to Dean Lombardi’s official biography?) is, personal relationships and familiarity aside, why pick Sutter, a coach who has been away from the bench for a number of years, over someone who has had more recent experience and, frankly, about the same level of success? Someone like MacTavish would likely have been a more respected choice. What’s the worst that can happen? Would he make Dustin Penner play worse?

      Yeah, that Turris trade speaks volumes for Maloney and Murray is definitely not the GM I would want rebuilding my organization. While moving a pick for a project like Filatov isn’t, in itself, a bad move, and neither is moving a depth position at D for another project in Turris, it was probably too early in their rebuild to be trading picks for stalled prospects like this. The Filatov move lost them a pick and ultimately gained them nothing. While Turris has to at least peak as a 2nd line centre for this trade to be considered even.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Lombardi wants to turn the season around. With the money spent on salaries the Kings are probably banking on home playoff games.

    He picked Sutter because he knows him, Sutter will get effort out of a roster. Lombardi couldn’t risk taking a chance on an unknown to him regardless of their experience.

    I think Darryl will get them in.