Post-Game: Digging A Hole Against The Avs

(photo courtesy of Mark Anderson/

With just one win to show for their road trip, the Flames headed into the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado on Friday night to renew acquaintances with the Colorado Avalanche, arguably hockey’s hottest team. After making a trade to bolster their blueline, the Flames hit the ice to prove that the team has what it takes to beat good teams on the road.

Despite dominating play over the second and third periods, they learned a lesson about slow starts on the road.


The Flames started off slow on the road, with the Avalanche carrying play for the first chunk of the first period. The game appeared to change momentum via a fight between Flames pugilist Brian McGrattan and Patrick Bordeleau. The Flames had more jump immediately after the bout, then got scored on. A tremendous diving defensive play by Kris Russell was wasted, as the team failed to establish any coverage after he broke up Matt Duchene’s breakaway, and Ryan O’Reilly one-timed a shot past Karri Ramo to put the Avs up 1-0. The Flames carried the play for much of the rest of the period, but just couldn’t capitalize. Shots were even in the first at 8-8. Calgary led in Corsi events 19-6 and face-offs 12-9, but Colorado led in scoring chances 5-3 and goals scored 1-0.

The Flames got into some penalty trouble early in the second – with David Jones having a late first-period penalty carry over into the second. Then Mikael Backlund took a (borderline) holding call on the PK. With 11 seconds to kill a 5-on-3, the Flames lost a face-off and got scored on within nine seconds. Paul Statsny made it 2-0 Colorado. The penalty trouble continued, with the Flames getting int another 5-on-3, which converted into a 4-on-4 given some time and a Colorado penalty. Once things finally got settled out and the penalty boxes emptied, the Flames engaged their fore-check and made a push. The architects of the comeback were the brand-new trio of Mikael Backlund, Jiri Hudler and Mike Cammalleri. A nice tic-tac-toe passing play from Hudler at the point to Backlund beside the net to Cammalleri in the low slot led to a one-timer goal for #13, making it 2-1 Colorado.

The Avalanche pushed back and with the Flames playing a bit casual in their own zone, Nathan MacKinnon passed from behind the red line and found John Mitchell wide-open in the slot, and Mitchell buried it to re-establish Colorado’s two-goal lead. The Flames continued to push back, though. Jean-Sebastien Giguere mis-played the puck and the aforementioned Cammalleri line was all over it. The trio cycled the puck behind the net, with Backlund feeding Hudler who fed Cammalleri, who again one-timed it past Giguere to make it a one-goal game once more to close the second period. The Flames out-shot Colorado 14-11, out-Corsied them 26-24 and out-chanced them 10-2, but were beaten in the face-off circle 12-8.

The third period was pretty entertaining, with each team trying long outlet passes and both clubs seemingly alternating hemming their opposition in their own zone. The Flames came close, including several chances generated by Max Reinhart’s line (with Sean Monahan and Sven Baertschi) and the excellent Cammalleri line. With the net empty and the Flames pressing for a tying goal, the puck careened off the heel of Dennis Wideman’s stick…to Matt Duchene, who potted an empty-netter from center ice to close out the game 4-2 for Colorado. Calgary out-shot Colorado 10-8 in the third, also out-Corsing them 24-14, edging them in face-offs 9-6 and scoring chances 6-3. But Colorado was able to keep Calgary’s streaking forwards to the outside, which made the difference.


The Flames came out slow and let Colorado get out in front. The Avalanche are undefeated when they score first and have become very skilled and playing with a lead. In addition, when Calgary pressured them throughout the second and third, the Avs were seemingly content to let the Flames cycle the puck around the outside and use their size to box them out of the slot. The Flames didn’t generate a lot of chances from the slot, which was probably the difference in the game.

Oh, and they still haven’t scored a power-play goal since Mark Giordano got hurt.


Mike Cammalleri was so, so good tonight. 20:52 in ice-time, 7 shots, 2 shots that got blocked and 1 that missed the net. He also scored twice.

Honourable mention to Max Reinhart, who was superb in the third period, winning board battles, sliding past checks and looking every bit his father’s son.


Team Period Time Note Home Away State
Home 1 19:29 O’Reilly 6 8 9 15 35 90 7 18 31 39 44 54 5v5
Home 1 18:34 Wrap around 2 5 7 25 29 35 6 7 15 23 31 47 5v5
Home 1 14:29 O’Reilly goal 11 16 26 35 61 92 15 23 27 31 47 55 5v5
Away 1 14:02 Baertschi 11 16 26 35 61 92 7 15 23 31 44 47 5v5
Away 1 11:29 Russell 16 24 29 35 55 61 4 6 15 23 31 47 5v5
Away 1 4:00 Brodie 2 5 9 15 35 90 7 18 31 39 44 54 5v5
Home 1 1:09 MacKinnon 6 8 9 29 35 92 6 18 31 44 47 54 5v5
Home 1 0:18 Johnson PP 6 26 29 35 61 92 4 7 13 18 31   5v4
Home 2 18:52 Stastny goal PP 6 26 29 35 61 92 7 18 31 44     5v3
Home 2 17:21 O’Reilly PP 2 6 9 15 35 90 7 18 31 44     5v3
Away 2 14:28 Monahan 5 9 15 35 61 90 7 23 31 44 47 59 5v5
Away 2 13:53 Cammalleri goal 6 8 24 35 55 58 18 27 31 39 54 55 5v5
Home 2 12:44 Mitchell goal 7 16 25 29 35 61 4 6 23 31 47 59 5v5
Away 2 10:19 Backlund 9 15 16 35 61 90 7 11 13 24 31 44 5v5
Away 2 10:15 Cammalleri goal 9 15 16 35 61 90 7 11 13 24 31 44 5v5
Away 2 5:56 Hudler 6 8 9 15 35 90 7 13 18 24 31 44 5v5
Home 2 3:54 Parenteau 2 5 9 15 35 90 7 18 31 44 47 54 5v5
Away 2 2:43 Backlund 6 8 11 26 35 92 4 6 11 13 24 31 5v5
Away 2 2:24 Cammalleri 6 11 16 26 35 92 4 6 11 13 24 31 5v5
Away 2 0:36 Hudler 5 8 24 25 35   4 6 13 18 24 31 4v5
Away 2 0:14 Stajan PP 5 8 24 25 35   4 6 13 18 24 31 4v5
Away 2 0:03 Hudler PP 5 8 24 25 35   4 6 13 18 24 31 4v5
Away 3 18:44 Cammalleri PP 16 24 25 35 61   4 6 13 23 24 31 4v5
Home 3 13:49 MacKinnon 2 5 7 25 29 35 7 23 31 44 47 59 5v5
Away 3 12:42 Jones 9 15 16 35 61 90 7 18 31 39 44 54 5v5
Away 3 12:22 Brodie 9 15 16 35 61 90 7 18 31 39 44 54 5v5
Home 3 11:32 Hejda 6 8 11 26 35 92 4 6 11 13 24 31 5v5
Away 3 6:50 Hudler tip 5 8 9 15 35 90 4 6 11 13 24 31 5v5
Home 3 3:54 Mitchell 2 5 7 25 29 35 7 18 31 44 47 54 5v5
Away 3 2:36 Hudler 6 8 11 26 35 92 7 11 13 24 31 44 5v5
Away 3 0:17 Cammalleri 5 8 9 15 35 90 4 6 11 13 18 24 5v5


# Player EV     PP     SH    
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 20:25 5 2 02:39 4 0 01:34 0 1
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 22:32 5 4 02:39 4 0 00:50 0 0
7 BRODIE, TJ 22:21 9 5 00:00 0 0 03:00 0 3
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 13:23 7 1 00:50 0 0 00:36 0 0
13 CAMMALLERI, MIKE 17:48 8 1 02:00 4 0 01:04 0 1
15 JACKMAN, TIM 06:47 2 2 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
18 STAJAN, MATT 19:19 6 4 01:15 3 0 02:57 0 3
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 14:23 3 4 00:34 1 0 00:00 0 0
24 HUDLER, JIRI 17:51 8 1 02:39 4 0 00:00 0 0
27 SMITH, DEREK 09:50 1 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
31 RAMO, KARRI   14 9   4 0   0 3
39 GALIARDI, TJ 15:02 4 1 00:06 0 0 01:53 0 0
44 BUTLER, CHRIS 22:24 9 5 00:00 0 0 02:16 0 2
47 BAERTSCHI, SVEN 15:00 3 7 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
54 JONES, DAVID 15:35 4 4 00:33 0 0 00:00 0 0
55 O’BRIEN, SHANE 09:30 1 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
59 REINHART, MAX 11:17 1 2 00:00 0 0 00:22 0 0


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


Despite a great effort tonight, the Flames head home with just two points on their four-game road trip and bring a 6-9-2 record home with them. They probably deserve a better record with their strong play in the majority of their games.

Ladislav Smid joins the team tomorrow and practices on Sunday. The Flames are in action next on Tuesday when they host the San Jose Sharks at the Saddledome. The puck drops at 7pm MT on Sportsnet West and the Fan 960.

  • beloch

    McGrattan mysteriously goes missing from the chances sheet for the second game in a row, and now Colrborne too? /twilightzonetheme

    Another brutal opponent down. The next game has got to be easie… ACK!!! It’s the Sharks! Man, I hope the schedule gets easier soon!

    • RexLibris

      Sure. In practice.

      Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one.

      The Flames played the Avalanche well on the road and were solidly outshooting them. They were beat honestly by a hot goalie and a strong team. No shame in that. The Sharks are a different team, and a different result could very easily be in store.

    • EugeneV

      Brutal opponent? How do you mean?

      Colorado picked first overall (McKinnon) just this year, and play Corey Sarich 18 min/game. How do you mean brutal?

      The have 2 second round centers (Statsny & ROR), and a first round center (Duchene) plus they traded for a bust #1 overall Dman

      Rebuild complete? for The Av’s, yes.

      Shows you don’t have to suck every year during your rebuild, so I’m not too worried about the Flames having to bottom out.
      Rebuilding for the Flames could just mean starting over without #12 and #34 and Dutter; while maybe drafting quality players, and then developing them properly.

  • Can anyone tell me why the Flames didn’t go after Meszaros from Philly. M’s Cap hit is $4m vs. Smid’s $3.5 and Meszaros look like he has more offensive upside and is somewhat bigger.

    Only benefit I see in Smid is he is signed for 3 more years whereas M is UFA this year.

    Smid 27 vs Meszaros 28, so not much difference in age?

    Theories please?

    Also, I don’t see Flames moving Wideman, Gio, Brodie or Russell as one poster suggested — Hartley like offence from D and he has that when Gio is back. Smid and Butler 5-6, SOB 7, Breen, D. Smith and Billins back to Abey when GIO is healthy.

    If Sieloff is healthy he could replace Butler and WSpoon next year? Cundari too small and maybe trade bait? Feaster/Burke willing to sell off prospects that don’t fit.

    Anyone read D rakings another way?

    • beloch

      Last season, Meszaros faced the easiest QoC (-0.479) of any flyer, averaged 14.31 minutes TOI/60, and had an on-ice Corsi of -25.16.

      Smid faced the second toughest QoC (0.561) of Oiler defenders last season (and the toughest this season), played 16.58 minutes/60, and had an on-ice Corsi of -13.27. [1]

      Meszaros was a bottom pairing defender who got his head bashed in worse by buttery soft competition than Smid did on the top pairing against top competition. Smid’s possession will probably improve if he’s not asked to play on the top pair. Meszaros…

      If the Flames had to choose between these two players they absolutely made the right choice. Maybe Meszaros has a sweet slap-shot or something, but he’s a damned liability as a defender and the Flames have enough of those.

      Given that Philly is currently in cap-space hell and Meszaros contract is up at the end of the season, the Flames should consider offering Derek Smith in trade for Meszaros and a pick or prospect. Philly gets a crap defenceman who’s actually paid crap and $3M in cap-space while the Flames get a pick or prospect. Worst case for Meszaros is that he winds up in the AHL.

      [1] Stats are from behindthenet

    • seve927

      I am not sure that we can determine that Feaster did not “go after” Mezaros. Philly may not have been willing to trade him, asking price might have been too high, timelines didn’t work. I think that nobody on the outside really knows what conversations GM’s are having. We cannot conclude that the Flames haven’t inquired about players because a trade doesn’t end up happening. It takes two to Tango…

      • RedMan

        I think we CAN be sure if there had been…

        if there had been ANY discussions, we now beyond a shadow of a doubt that it would have been accurately reported on by Eklund… 😀

  • EugeneV

    McG fight sparked the team, we must have watched two different games. His fight was ill timed and was meaningless. The Av’s were having defensive zone face off after an icing they were tired and we were fresh. The puck is dropped the fight occurs, they get to switch lines and after the next faceoff go down and score immediately. they then score later and then we finally wake up. Haryley puts backs, Cammi, Hudler together and we get some offence. Cammi scores down 2-1. Next possession whose on the ice for one of his few shifts and falls asleep in the defensive zone your friend and mine McG and now we are down 3-1.

    I have to say I really liked the backs/cammi/hudler line they were awesome. The kid line also created some chances and time of possession but did not capitalize. Colborne played with Mcfighters and really did nothing.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I really don’t like being negative, but I just get the feeling that Hartley does not start the HBC line against SJ, and that Backlund gets pushed down the rotation again.

    I also don’t see the point of dressing both Jackman and McGrattan, so when does B. Jones come back from exile? Maybe with the last string of losses, Hartley will make player selections that will actually help the team win and theoretically provide a longer term employment for himself? Well I hope anyway.

  • beloch

    Coaching is a difficult job; it’s a lot easier from where we sit.

    In our preseason predictions I suggested that we would start well and then taper off. Which is exactly what has happened! I also suggested we would be in a number of close games and that the season would seem to get hard in a hurry, this road trip is much of what we should expect when we play the higher end teams. This team has had a tough schedule so far with our only easy game coming against Columbus. Everyone else we have played is either playoff team from last year or a team that has had a serious bounce back season and is playing way above preseason expectations. I supect we will see some wins when the schedule balances itself out after all we do get the Sabres, Oilers, Panthers, Jets and the other bottom feeders as well(we should be thankful we are not in those markets where many of the palyers are just mailing it in)Considering the injuries we have had I am not overly disappointed by the season or the teams effort.

    I have to say that I am impressed with how hard Hartley has them playing most nights and the fact that for the first time in years they play entertaining hockey. I actually like the trades made by Feaster/Burke; both give this team some much needed size.

    What bugs me about this team right now is it’s emphasis on winning and not enough with player development, with all the injuries to date I would have expected to see some of the skilled young forwards up to replace the skilled vets. Instead we get a steady diet of grit, vets replacement players MCg and Jackman neither of whom can play a regular shift or special teams. This to me is a waste of development time. Again and again we hear about merit and it’s used to deal with backs and Sven but not with the vets and then it’s ignored based upon call ups. Based upon merit and ability Bouma and BJones should be playing ahead of McG and Jackman. The only thing that management might be doing is allowing the fruit to ripen a bit. (Knight and Ramage getting some time to be pros a bit longer)

  • SoCalFlamesFan

    Does anyone think that McG and Jackman are on the team as a kind of internal fortitude generator for the rookies? If they get in trouble these guys bail them out. I mean Baershi is about as tough as my mennonite grandmother (though I noticed him looked better on the backcheck this game).

    • BurningSensation

      From my experience with grandmothers (Mennonite and otherwise) they are – by far- the toughest human beings on the planet.

      When I heard the stories about what my sweet slightly addled Oma (Dutch for grandmother) did during the Nazi occupation I had my mind blown.

      We should hope that Baertschi etc., get to be as tough as our grandmothers.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    On an unrelated note, another game and another game-winning goal for Emile Poirier. The man is a machine.

    And boy am I disappointed the Flames didn’t draft Zach Fucale’s 0.887 save %. They must be kicking themselves now.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Someone needs to find out how the Ducks scout goalies, because whoever does it is a genius. I’m starting to wonder if anyone anywhere can reliably score on John Gibson. He’s the next perennial Vezina Trophy candidate, write it down.

    Hopefully Jon Gillies is the guy who challenges him, haha. Or Joni Ortio. I’m not picky.

  • Heat win 4-3, Ferland with 2 and a fight, Street2a. Granlund scores, BJones with an assist, Ortio wins again. Billings 1a after being sent down. Heres hoping that some of this happens at the NHL this season and it should at least be given a chance based upon merit!!

  • beloch

    Report out of the Flames is that Stemp might be able to play on Tuesday.(Breen too) I wonder what would mean for the line up? If it was me I would roll my four lines; keep the kids together, Backs/Hudler/Cammi, Stajan/DJ/Stemp, and Colborne/TJG/Bouma. I suspect we will likely see Rhino sit so that one of the Vets can have a presence against the sharks.

    • beloch

      Maybe switch Galiardi and Stempniak. Stempy and Jones are the only right shooting wingers on the team (well, except for #GoonSquad) so they’re probably not on the same line.

      • ChinookArchYYC

        I never thought of who shoots which way, one of those details I worry less about versus who I think would play well together. So I would defer to your argument.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      The Sharks are a big team, I’d be shocked if both Jackman and the dancing bear are not in the line up. Unfortunately, both Rhino and Sven will likely get press box seats, if Stempniak is back. I’m curious about Colburne’s lack of minutes in the last 2 periods against the Av’s. I’m not sure if he’s the next kid to get the tough love treatment from Hartley, or if he got hurt? Regardless, it hopefully means Backlund is back on a line not diminished by either Jackman or McGrattan.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Heat win 6-3, seven wins in a row. Billings 2nd(2 pts) (star, Knight 1st star (1g,1a)
    Ferlund into empty net.
    Olsen with the winner from Knight and Spoon.
    As said earlier Granlund on a ps.
    Joey the goalie with the win.
    They head off on along road trip.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Just a reminder that tomorrow is Remembrance day and instead of worrying about line combos, d pairings, starting goalies, and prospects we should have our minds elsewhere. Take some time to remember the Boys who went over the top, dug trenches and went underground in WW1, the young men who landed at Dieppe and Juno, fought in Italy, liberated the Netherlands, served in the Mercahnt marine, flew in air, POW’s. The 28 in Korea. All peace keepers over the years, policemen serving as part of the UN. We have men and women who are broken and shells of themselves because of their sacrifice, remember them and there families. Hockey can wait. Lest we forget! Lest we forget! Take a few minutes and remember them, my family will.