Post-Game: California Dreaming

The Calgary Flames, having lost in 16 previous visits to Anaheim’s Honda Center, headed back to the O.C. with visions of victory in their head. However, a sub-par start to the game put the Flames behind the proverbial eight-ball and the visitors left Disneyland without their prize once again.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, as the club ended up playing a pretty solid game, albeit for 45 minutes.


The first period was mostly Ducks. And by that, I mean, it was almost entirely Ducks until Tim Jackman interjected himself into the game (and then out of the game).

The Flames spent a lot of time hemmed into their own zone early, including a stretch where Monahan, Baertschi, Hudler, Butler and O’Brien were stuck in the defensive end for an entire shift. The Ducks finally capitalized on all this pressure when Ryan Getzlaf took advantage of a small gap in coverage by Lee Stempniak to find Dustin Penner at the side of the net to go up 1-0. It was a beautiful pass, but a play Stempniak probably wants back.

The Ducks scored again a little while later, with Kyle Palmieri stealing the puck from Chris Butler – who attempted a clearing pass to Lee Stempniak that went off a leg or a stick and bounced back towards the Flames zone – and used Shane O’Brien to screen Joey MacDonald. This put Anaheim firmly in the driver’s seat at 2-0.

Tim Jackman was tossed from the game with about five minutes left in the first after butt-ending Sami Vantanen in the chest while going for a line change. As per the NHL rulebook, a butt-ending penalty calls for five and a game. While you’d expect this to sink the Flames entirely, their penalty kill was energized and a wonky Chris Butler clearing attempted ended up on the stick of Lee Stempniak, who took the puck in on a breakaway and beat Victor Fasth to bring the Flames within one. The Ducks out-chanced the Flames 7-3, out-shot them 10-7 and out-Corsied them 24-12 in the first. Anaheim also had a disallowed goal late, which was probably legitmate but stricken by a quick whistle.

The Flames generally carried the pace of the game from then on out, sometimes utilizing a more defensive posture, sometimes driving towards the net. They weren’t able to score in the second period, as passes in the offensive zone appeared to take weird bounces and their power-play just couldn’t get going at all. Late in the period, the Ducks made them pay for their lack of execution. T.J. Brodie coughed the puck up on the neutral-zone boards on an attempted pinch play, allowing Jacob Silfverberg to set up Teemu Selanne for a break-away goal to put the Ducks up 3-1. The Flames out-chanced the Ducks 7-5, out-shot them 11-8 and out-Corsied them 16-14 in the second.

The third period continued the push for the Flames. Coach Bob Hartley, working with a short bench, completely changed up his lines. That approach paid dividends early on, as the Flames held in an attempted clearing pass by the Ducks, leading to a Kris Russell point shot that was neatly tipped into the net by Jiri Hudler, bringing the Flames back within one for the second time (Joe Colborne got an assist!)

The Flames continued to press hard, trailing by a single goal. They pulled the goaltender late but just did not have enough in the tank (or on the scoreclock) to tie it up. The Flames out-shot the Ducks 17-4, out-Corsied them 29-9 and out-chanced them 10-1. Nevertheless, the Flames suffered their first regulation loss in 2013-14 and their 17th consecutive defeat in Anaheim.


Mikael Backlund had an excellent game, despite not putting up any points. He played 21:36 (only Hudler and Stempniak played more), had a team-high five shots and was a noticable presence all night. The only negative may be his awful 37% winning percentage in the face-off dot.

Honourable mentions to Sven Baertschi (for maybe his best three-zone game ever), Ben Street (53% in the face-off dot) and Mark Giordano (for rushing back to prevent an empty-netter late).


Their first 15 minutes were just terrible. After the Jackman penalty, though, they smartened up and basically took the game over. Had they played better in the first 15, there’s no way they would’ve lost.

Their power-play was also just not very good. They had four man advantages and not only couldn’t create any offense, but they arguably had more offensive pressure on their penalty-kill (and they scored a short-handed goal). The Ducks had four shots on goal on Calgary’s four power-plays, while the Flames could only produce six. That’s not a great sign.

Lastly, their puck luck appeared to diminish from previous games. They didn’t get the bounces, and the bounces they did get they couldn’t capitalize on. Over an 82-game season, you’ll have a few games where things just don’t go your way. This was one of them.


# Player EV     PP     SH    
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 18:27 10 4 02:12 1 0 00:55 0 0
5 GIORDANO, MARK 15:07 2 1 05:48 3 0 05:13 1 4
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 19:08 8 4 05:48 3 0 04:39 0 4
7 BRODIE, TJ 14:26 4 1 02:12 1 0 02:21 1 0
8 COLBORNE, JOE 08:10 4 1 00:00 0 0 00:12 0 1
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 13:29 3 2 03:59 2 0 04:08 0 2
15 JACKMAN, TIM 02:11 1 0 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
16 MCGRATTAN, BRIAN 03:53 1 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
17 BOUMA, LANCE 12:09 7 4 00:27 0 0 01:55 1 0
20 GLENCROSS, CURTIS 15:43 2 3 04:01 2 0 01:02 0 0
22 STEMPNIAK, LEE 13:34 3 2 04:14 2 0 03:55 1 3
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 11:32 5 3 03:46 2 0 00:00 0 0
24 HUDLER, JIRI 16:46 4 3 06:33 3 0 00:00 0 0
35 MACDONALD, JOEY   15 9   4 0   1 4
38 STREET, BEN 12:38 3 4 00:00 0 0 00:37 0 1
39 GALIARDI, TJ 11:21 5 2 00:00 0 0 02:11 0 1
44 BUTLER, CHRIS 11:32 4 4 00:00 0 0 00:52 0 0
47 BAERTSCHI, SVEN 14:37 6 2 01:00 1 0 00:00 0 0
55 O’BRIEN, SHANE 11:26 3 4 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0


Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 3 7 2 4 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0
2 7 5 6 4 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
3 10 1 7 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0



One streak ended, another streak continued. Calgary continues to be snake-bit in Orange County, but their undefeated (in regulation) streak has been extinguished.

They’re back in action on Saturday in the Shark Tank. Let’s hope they play more like they did in the third and less like they did in the first, because the San Jose Sharks are legit-undefeated (forget the "regulation" stuff) and quite the good hockey team. Saturday’s contest is the 8pm game on Hockey Night in Canada.

  • Willi P

    #15 and #44 should be in the press box next game. Not sure what #15 (butt end) was thinking but would give him one chance to redeem after watching the team play for a while.#44 is a train wreck and helped the Flames lose this game. They might get a draft pick if they trade him now.

  • Willi P

    1st period was a little rusty but the team got much better as the game wore on. Cundari and Knight should get called up, sit Butler and Jackman while playing Ramo in net.

  • loudogYYC

    Loved Backlunds game tonight, his head is always on a swivel and he’s always supporting the play, moving the play forward. This kid’s gonna be gold very soon.

    Our 3rd defensive pairing belongs in the AHL. Mistakes happen and that’s ok, but Butler and O’Brien make mistakes from the moment they step on the ice. I think Meszaros is an upgrade on any of those 2, and Philly would likely give him away at this point. That should be a bigger priority than face-offs.

    • everton fc

      Bingo. This would allow Russell to take Butler’s spot in the 5/6 role. Move Smith (or one of the kids in Abby – Breen perhaps) into O’Brien’s spot.

      The 4th line will look different when Cammy and Stajan return. Patience is hard. I see Bouma/Street/Colborne as the 4th line, if Colborne can become a RW. Street seems a smart, natural centre. And he wins the odd faceoff.

      Everyone’s ready to move Butler, with much less vile towards O’Brien. Has he actually looked better than Sarich? O’Brien, that is….

      • piscera.infada

        I won’t lament the Butler hatred or the questions as to why MacDonald is starting games, but what I do disagree with is the notion that Russell has been anything less than a very pleasant surprise in the 4d role.

        Sure, he’s not the most ‘shut-down’ of defenders, but that guy has been great in transition and exceptional in the offensive zone. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that type of poise on the blueline is something the Flames have been sorely lacking for most of a decade. Even Phaneuf and Bouwmeester (our so called “offensive minded” defensemen) panicked horribly when the puck was on their stick at the offensive blueline. That is something a team can’t be lacking in today’s game. You must have a player back there that can make quick decisive plays with the puck. Russell has impressed me.

        • piscera.infada

          Have to agree on Russell, excellent skater, makes good outlets and can push the puck. He looked horrible early in preseason, but he was paired with a with Kulak.

          Third pairing needs help, O’Brien is painful to watch playing the offside-constantly losing the puck and Butler isn’t good enough to make up for it. They need a decent right D. I would like to see Ramage.

  • RedMan

    Backland and Baerstchi were excellent.

    Monahan invisible.

    Glenncross is not on his game at all. completely innefective.

    Colbourne finally had a couple noticable shifts.

    Buttlers bad pass started it all…

    I know Stepniak missed his man that led to that goal but couldnt Macdonald have blocked the pass across the crease?

  • RedMan

    i would honestly trade butler for a literal bag of pucks at this point. i can only assume his marching orders are to make sure the flames get the first overall pick.

    • RedMan

      We can’t trade Buttler, he is a valuable plug that may be needed to help us fail at the end of the year into a bottom 5 finish. Just sit him, no one will trade for him.

  • palooza

    I just don’t understand why Butler is still on this team. We have a very small sample size, but wouldn’t Cundari be a better option? What about Breen. We know what we are getting in Butler, just trade the guy for a 7th round pick, and develop some younger kids. I literally cringe every time he and O’Brien come on the ice.

    Also, I am starting to lean towards sending Monahan down. Love the kid, and he is going to be a stud in this league, but once Stajan is back, where does he fit?

  • CDB


    Jackman’s butt end turned the tide that game. Flames were much better after being short handed for 5 minutes.

    Toughness prevails…..

    Wow has Butler regressed from when he first arrived in Calgary. Brodie’s turnover was bad, but it’s a young player trying to do too much at the offensive blue line. Butler, a veteran, coughing one up at his own blue line is inexcusable.

    Flames were out goaltended. Generated plenty of quality chances. Ramo has to start next game.

    • piscera.infada

      I like Jackman but that was a STUPID, SELFISH thing to do. Why doesn’t he butt end a fellow enforcer like John Scott or Colten Orr instead of a small FINN? Flames have enough toughness without Jackman or McGrattan playing 3-4 minutes a night! One of them needs to go!!! Bouma, Breen, Glencross etc.can handle the tough going…we need more skill!!!!

  • SoCalFlamesFan

    On the positive, overall I liked the play of the Flames. Outplaying, outshooting, outchancing a much better (on paper) team. Unless we keep MacDonald in net we will not finish bottom 5.