Yes, the Flames are back after the Olympic break and began their sprint to the lottery by being shutout at home for the fifth time this season and the eighth time overall. The Kings beat the Flames 2-0 and even though the Flames didn’t play awful, they weren’t able to generate enough offense to beat a vastly superior club. That being said, the Flames did beat the Kings twice this season already. Also, man the Kings are boring.
The highly anticipated Fantastic Flame Finnkids looked pretty decent tonight, though Granlund only played 7:14 but managed 2 shots and was 2-4 in the circle. Ortio allowed two goals on 24 shots and generally speaking gave the Flames a chance to win. I hope that Granlund will be given more of an opportunity to show what he can do throughout the duration of his call up, and I am not sure seven minutes with Westgarth is the most advantageous spot for him.
Find out the nuts and bolts of the Flames loss after the jump.
pic via HockeyBroad
Joni Ortio’s first big league period began rather appropriately for an NHL goalie, by cursing Dustin Brown. Three minutes into the first, Kris Russell blew a tire in his own zone and Brown was able to bang one in past Ortio. A really crappy break to start his NHL career.
The Kings score, like, never so letting them score an early goal was not a great strategy for the Flames. The Flames were able to push back after the early goal and had two or three real good chances to beat Quick. Conversely, the Kings really didn’t have any great chances, just the run-of-the-mill, throw the puck at the net and try to knock the goalie in with the puck type goals that the Kings do well.
The Flames won 28% of their faceoffs in the first so, that’s not great. The Flames did outshoot the Kings 8-7 after the first.
Early on in the second, the Flames were able to get some more pressure on Quick but most of it from outside the dots or from the point. The refs let a lot go during the first part of this game but after a Mikael Backlund/Mike Richards shovefest, play went to four-on-four where the Flames looked real good. Sean Monahan made a nice play towards the slot on one-on-one coverage and just barely missed glove side on Quick. The Flames generally looked real good through large stretches of this game but weren’t able to beat quick early on and were forced to chase for the majority of the game against a very strong defensive squad.
With five minutes left in the second, the Flames got the man advantage from a Drew Doughty delay of game penalty. The Flames then had, in my opinion, their best possession PP of the season, though it was unsuccessful. The Flames held possession in the Kings zone for the ENTIRE 2 MINUTES. That should be worth three goals for the Flames. Two minutes after that, Jordan Nolan took a triple minor and gave the Flames an extended look on the PP. This powerplay looked distinctively more Flamesy. Unable to get much pressure in the early minutes of the man advantage, Joe Colborne was given a phantom call for the suggestion of a slash on Quick, negating the powerplay and bring the period to a close.
Shots were 15-6 for the Flames in the second period and the Flames largely dominated the second period. Ortio was largely untested that period again though he was having a bit of trouble gathering rebounds on shots from a distance, perhaps a sign of nerves even though he apparently is immune to them. Granlund looked good in the second, despite being tied to Kevin Westgarth. I really liked Granlund and Byron together as it looked as though Byron’s speed was complemented by Granlund’s puck distribution but it could be just because I am a big Byron fan in general. I wonder what they would look like with Lance Bouma instead of Westgarth…
Entering the third, the Kings were 16-0-0 when leading after two, so it didn’t exactly look great for the Flames. Ortio made a nice reaction glove save off of Dustin Brown early on in the first. Brown was easily the most dangerous Kings forward in the game, using his surprising speed and undeniable doucheness to torment the Flames all night.
On that topic, three minutes into the third, Brown threw a puck in front of the net and Dwight King pushed home a rebound through Ortio to make it 2-0 Kings. Despite the fact that King wasn’t tied up in front by Giordano, I think Ortio probably would have wanted that one back.
After a hip-check somehow led to a tripping penalty to Voynov, the Flames had their last best chance to get back into the game with a powerplay with 13 minutes to play in the third. On that powerplay, undeniably the best chance was for Trevor Lewis who managed to absolutely make a mockery of the empty net in front of him by missing it by about a foot, a gift from Slovenia’s finest son, Anze Kopitar.
The Kings then began to suffocate the Flames who were unable to gain clean entries into the Kings end for the majority of the third period. The Kings outclassed the Flames in the third and showed why they are a menace in the Western Conference, when they get a lead (hell, a goal) they generally win. Shots ended 25-24 for the Flames.
THE RED WARRIOR
This one is tough because there were a lot of Flames who had good games, but no one really had a great game. Galiardi looked pretty good at times and I thought Brodie had a pretty strong game as well. Honourable mention to Ortio for making his debut and for playing pretty well overall.
However, captain Gio, as he has been all season, was very solid tonight and even generated SIX shots through his almost 27 minutes of ice time tonight on net which is amazing. He also had this nice hit on Justin Williams in the second:
SUM IT UP
pic via agiamba
The Flames played quite well tonight and generally drove play for large sections of the game. However, they didn’t score when they had the chance and we smothered by a maddeningly solid Kings squad, backstopped by Quick and in the third, couldn’t manage any real push to tie the game. I thought that Granlund looked good in his limited ice time, though it would be nice to give him north of 10 minutes in a game and maybe some specialty teams at some point. Perhaps that time will come after the roster undergoes a makeover in the next six days.
Ortio looked decent, had some trouble with rebounds at times and will not be pleased with the Dwight King goal. With Ramo’s return still uncertain, I wonder just how much more ice he will get before he is returned to Abby, unless of course they decide to send Berra down upon Ramo’s return. However, given Berra’s contract status, Ortio would have to seriously impress for that to happen.
Not to be outdone on this painful slide to the entry draft, the Oilers lost 3-0 to the Wild tonight and it just so happens that both of tonight’s losers will face each other in the battle of Alberta on Saturday night. Yes, these two Titans will slug it out for the right for a cabin with an ocean view on the Titanic. Also, pride.