Post-Game: Caps Douse Flames 3-1

The Calgary Flames came into tonight with a record above .500 and were facing a team that were coming off their first regulation loss of the season (against Edmonton, of all teams). The Capitals came into the Saddledome tonight and played with structure and, at times, poise and desperation.

In contrast, particularly in the third, the Flames looked like a team that that had lost their nerve during a 3-1 home loss on Saturday night.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames and Capitals played a fairly tentative first period until about the halfway mark. With Joe Colborne in the box for a “trip” on Alex Ovechkin – it was a knee-on-knee collision, but neither guy seemed worse for wear – the Flames cleared their zone, as they usually do. Lance Bouma rimmed the puck around the boards to Deryk Engelland in the neutral zone. Engelland bobbled the puck, Joel Ward claimed it and beat Karri Ramo for a power-play marker (that everyone probably wants back). However, the Flames responded late on a power-play of their own (with Troy Brouwer in the box for roughing Matt Stajan). Sean Monahan won a draw, and a few passes later, Dennis Wideman fired home his fifth of the year – he had four all of last season – to tie things up. The Capitals led the Flames in shots (9-6), shot attempts (14-10) and face-offs (10-9).

The Flames seemed to loose their ability to execute in the second period. Brandon Bollig sent a pass to nobody at the point, ending a period of offensive pressure and creating a Capitals scoring opportunity (that thankfully stayed away from the net). Joel Ward scored again, this time after a Flames line change; linemate Michael Latta shrugged off a Ladislav Smid check and fed Ward, who knocked in a loose puck in the slot for a 2-1 lead. The Flames got some nice pressure later in the period – particularly off some cycles in the offensive zone from the Gaudreau/Raymond/Backlund line – but they couldn’t get any good scoring chances and closed out the period trailing by a goal. Josh Jooris got nailed twice on a shift by Brooks Orpik – once from behind and once up-high – leading to a brief skirmish with Bollig. Both guys only got coincidental minors, which was odd, but at least they showed some emotion. Washington led in the second in shots (13-9) and face-offs (10-9), but the Flames had slightly more shot attempts (21-20).

The Flames lacked emotion and execution for the most part in the third, particularly after Nicklas Backstrom scored off a beautiful wrister early in the period to give the Capitals a 3-1 lead on the road. From then on, the Caps managed the game well; clogging up the neutral zone, forcing the Flames to chip and chase, and in many ways doing to Calgary what the Flames did to Winnipeg about a week ago. The Flames didn’t generate much and despite pulling the goalie and pressing, they really deflated after going down a pair. Washington led in shots (8-6) and shot attempts (18-15) in the final period, while face-offs were even at 10 apiece.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

Despite containing Alex Ovechkin’s line, the Flames were unable to find a counter to the structured defensive play of the Capitals. The visitors succeeded in dictating the pace and style of play to the home side, in short because they had the personnel, work ethic and nerve to do so. Outside of their power-play goal late in the first, the Flames weren’t ever able to get their legs going because Washington didn’t allow them to.

And two rough goals allowed by your bottom defense pairing are tough to come back from, especially against a team as good as Washington.

RED WARRIOR

It’s hard to really find a Flames player who stood out very much, but give the nod tonight to Matt Stajan. Matty Franchise was matched up against Ovechkin for a chunk of the game are fared well, and he took the most face-offs for the team and won most of them.

SCORING CHANCES

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Team Period Time Note Home Away State
Away 1 12:24 Johansson 5 7 18 20 31 32 20 52 65 70 88 90 5v5
Away 1 10:10 Latta 4 6 17 25 31 86 42 46 52 70 87 88 5v5
Away 1 9:52 Fehr 5 7 8 23 24 31 8 16 19 44 70 74 5v5
Away 1 9:17 Backstrom 5 7 8 23 24 31 2 8 16 19 44 70 5v5
Away 1 8:43 Ward goal 4 6 11 13 21 31 25 52 70 83 88 92 5v5
Home 1 6:36 Monahan 5 7 8 23 24 31 8 16 19 44 52 70 5v5
Away 1 3:24 Backstrom 8 15 23 24 29 31 8 16 19 44 52 70 5v5
Home 1 0:58 Raymond tip 5 7 8 13 21 31 25 42 44 70 74 5v4
Home 1 0:39 Raymond 5 7 8 13 21 31 25 42 44 70 74 5v4
Away 2 19:54 Fehr 5 7 18 20 31 32 8 16 19 44 70 74 5v5
Away 2 19:07 Burakovsky 4 6 8 23 24 31 2 20 27 65 70 90 5v5
Away 2 15:26 Beagle 4 6 8 21 23 31 2 27 70 83 90 92 5v5
Away 2 15:25 Beagle 4 6 8 21 23 31 2 27 70 83 90 92 5v5
Away 2 14:19 Ward goal 5 7 17 25 31 86 8 16 19 44 70 74 5v5
Home 2 12:23 Backlund 11 13 15 21 29 31 2 25 27 70 83 92 5v5
Away 2 10:56 Ovechkin 5 7 18 20 31 32 8 16 19 52 70 88 5v5
Home 2 9:47 Backlund 4 6 11 13 21 31 20 44 65 70 74 90 5v5
Home 2 8:34 Monahan 4 7 20 23 24 31 2 20 52 70 83 5v4
Home 2 5:10 Smid 8 15 23 24 29 31 2 20 44 65 70 90 5v5
Home 2 4:56 Colborne 8 15 23 24 29 31 2 20 44 65 70 90 5v5
Home 2 4:45 Jooris 15 23 25 29 31 86 2 42 44 46 70 87 5v5
Away 2 1:05 Burakovsky 4 6 21 24 31 2 20 27 65 70 4v4
Away 2 0:28 Brouwer 4 6 11 31 32 20 27 52 65 70 4v4
Away 3 15:10 Beagle 4 6 11 13 21 31 25 52 70 83 88 92 5v5
Home 3 14:20 Giordano 5 7 11 25 31 86 8 16 19 44 70 74 5v5
Away 3 12:29 Kuznetszov 5 7 8 24 31 32 25 44 70 74 83 92 5v5
Away 3 8:13 Ovechkin 11 15 29 31 32 8 19 20 70 74 90 4v5
Home 3 8:05 Byron breakaway 11 15 29 31 32 8 19 20 70 74 90 4v5
Away 3 6:26 Backstrom breakaway 5 7 13 20 24 31 16 19 27 44 70 5v4
Away 3 5:26 Ovechkin 5 8 29 31 32 2 8 20 52 65 70 4v5
Away 3 4:44 Ovechkin 5 6 24 31 86 8 19 20 70 74 90 4v5
# Player EV PP SH
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 23:07 1 8 01:24 1 0 00:29 0 0
5 GIORDANO, MARK 18:08 2 7 02:57 2 1 01:57 0 2
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 21:35 1 8 01:07 0 0 01:09 0 1
7 BRODIE, TJ 19:22 2 7 03:14 3 1 00:48 0 0
8 COLBORNE, JOE 17:31 3 7 01:58 2 0 00:29 0 1
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 13:34 3 3 00:00 0 0 00:43 1 1
13 GAUDREAU, JOHNNY 14:17 2 2 02:48 2 1 00:00 0 0
15 SMID, LADISLAV 11:10 4 1 00:00 0 0 00:53 1 1
17 BOUMA, LANCE 07:30 0 2 00:00 0 0 01:17 0 0
18 STAJAN, MATT 11:32 0 3 00:00 0 0 01:17 0 0
20 GLENCROSS, CURTIS 11:29 0 3 02:23 1 1 00:00 0 0
21 RAYMOND, MASON 18:20 2 5 01:58 2 0 00:21 0 0
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 18:35 4 6 01:33 1 0 00:00 0 0
24 HUDLER, JIRI 15:21 3 6 02:23 1 1 00:50 0 1
25 BOLLIG, BRANDON 07:33 2 2 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
29 ENGELLAND, DERYK 11:37 4 1 00:00 0 0 01:22 1 2
31 RAMO, KARRI   7 16   3 1   1 3
32 BYRON, PAUL 12:26 0 5 00:00 0 0 00:53 1 2
86 JOORIS, JOSH 08:12 2 2 00:00 0 0 00:48 0 1
Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 3 6 1 6 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 6 8 5 8 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 2 6 1 2 0 1 0 0 1 3 0 0

ZONE ENTRIES

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SUM IT UP

The Flames lost a tough game to an opponent that played a smart, structured game and took advantage of their mistakes. They’re now 5-4-1 on the year. They don’t have time to wallow, though, as they’re back at it on Tuesday night against another tough opponent, the Montreal Canadiens. Puck drop is at 7pm MT and the game airs on Sportsnet Flames (and on Sportsnet 960 radio like always).

  • beloch

    The Flames actually had some quality possession time this game. Their passes were working well for most of the evening. Too well. It’s a struggle for every hockey team to find the right balance between passing plays and shooting, and the Flames clearly need to shoot more. They played well enough to have matched the Cap’s shots easily if they hadn’t gone so far overboard with the passing plays.

    This game probably would have had a more suspenseful finish if it weren’t for that raft of penalties late in the third. Bollig is going to be in Hartley’s dog-house for trying to start a fight behind the play when the rest of the team was getting set up in the o-zone. That was a particularly bad time and place for goonery. Stajan has nothing to be ashamed of for taking that slashing penalty though. It was a conspicuous BS call considering what the refs were letting slide by that point in the game.

    All in all, the Flames played fairly well this game, but Washington played better. The biggest thing I noticed about the Caps’ game was how little time typically elapsed between them gaining possession and firing shots at Ramo. We should probably expect the Flames to try to emulate this in the near future.

  • Skuehler

    The Flames played lots of dump and chase tonight. Not much sustained pressure down low or in the slot. Most chances seemed to generate from the points. That 3/4 pair looked pretty good in the o-zone. Nice to see Wideman regaining his stride and Russell seems to have quietly stepped up his game and playing with more confidence.

    Washington looked solid.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I was at this game too. I listened to the post game on radio and the coaches and Gio spelt it out.

    They were just a little off, Engelland got an unlucky bounce and against a vet team, the caps took advantage.

    It was hard for CGY to get any speed to their attack early.

    BUT I’m proud of the way the Flames kept going. Sometimes it seems like it’s a struggle, bobbles etc. They tried to find a way back in and when Byron got a good break to get in, it was just unlucky (he did everything right – opened up the legs).

    I don’t know if mentioned at any time, but Brandon Bollig played like a pro tonight. Me and my bro noticed. Big time. Glad he’s here.

    A little sharper, learn from it and build.

  • Skuehler

    At the game tonight. The chipchura, ward line dominated the flames. Guadreau, backlund and the other guy looked good. Outside that, no one else did. Monahan looked like he didn’t belong. Jooris really did. The caps outclassed from start to finish.

  • Derzie

    I think we need a piece on a scorecard for BT and what he has done so far. There’s Hiller which is pretty nice (but likely Burke’s Anaheim connection) but this Engelland thing is really distracting. He’s terrible AND expensive AND long term. And then there’s Adirondack. Oh my.

  • Grant

    Was at the game, the Capitals weren’t good. The Flames were worse. I didn’t think the Capitals dictated play at all. They were given free ice. This was the worst effort by the Flames this year.

    Also, those 3 goals should never have been scored. First the Engelland gaffe. Then Engelland skated right by Ward in the slot because he was too puck focused. And lastly, I think Ramo wants that Backstrom goal back. He looked angry at himself. Backstrom didnt get a great shot away, and Ramo had a good look and whiffed.

    That’s two straight so-so games for Ramo. While he made that big OT save against Drouin against TBay, he gave up two rebounds for the tying and winning goals, and the first one especially can’t be made at this level. Overall he’s been fine, but since he’s the first guy to level off I wonder if we see Hiller pick the ball up and run with it from here.

  • jeremywilhelm

    No need to sugar coat anything. The Flames played like hot garbage from the outset and lost justly. Sad effort, honestly. Agree that Engelland should be waived, and for the love of all that is good and holy, put Johnny Hockey on the ice.

  • loudogYYC

    Let’s not forget Washington’s new coach. Trotz has come here before and made the Flames look like they were stuck in mud. I don’t like his system, but it works.

    We needed a game-breaker and it didn’t happen on this night. The next 5 games are gonna be tough so I really hope this game serves as motivation moving forward.

  • Grant

    Wideman strikes again, If BT believes in this rebuild I hope he trades Wideman at the deadline and get something for him.

    Sidebar, Michael Ferland has 7 points in 8 games and is somehow a plus 6. Very good news! Granlund has been very good also.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Agree that the Backlund line was the only line creating anything last night. That said, I’d still like to see a couple of games of Gaudreau – Monahan – Colborne and then Raymond – Backlund – Hudler and finally, Stajan as the third centre with Glencross and Jooris.

    Glencross, btw, looks awful. Please Calgary, do not re-sign.

    Wideman is putting up points, but still isn’t great defensively. Fine, as long as we can trade him, that’s all that matters.

    Engelland is a very poor player and not just because of a gaffe last night. Watching that Carolina game, he has the puck, very little pressure on him, two players wide open waiting for his pass. What’s he do? Bangs it off the glass to deep centre ice where it’s promptly collected and skated back into the zone. If this is what BT has to offer, ugh.

    By the time the trade deadline passes, I expect to see Ferland and Granlund on the team.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      I think Backlund has more to give. Like an extra 2%. He’s not as on the puck, or aggressive in his skating nor is his passing as crisp as he’s shown. He’s not meeting his own standard of play yet, IMO.

      I’m not worried about him. He’s low maintenance but he’s looked only ok. NAS he was showing signs but maybe it’s the changing line mates(?) that’s the only game so far, for me, where he showed what last year was like.

      He’s had 11 games now (1 preseason) and out of those 11 I wonder how many he’s been pleased with.

      I’m a huge fan of his. Always will be but we are all waiting …

      I recall a game last year against PIT. He was tasked with Crosby. He showed fire. We know it’s in him.

  • Burnward

    Last night was a bit of a stinker. But that’s expected with this group. That they’re still around .500 at this point is something that I’m content with.

    Small victories this year, big wins coming.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    With regard to the AHL, boy does Baertschi look like he’s struggling. 8 games, 1 assist and a -9. The kid has so much talent, but a real confidence issue. I’m a proponent of analytics, but this is one thing that analytics can’t measure.

      • The Last Big Bear

        Plenty of people think that Sven Baertschi is a likely trade candidate.

        But people are slow to agree with you because you are an idiot and a troll, who has no interest in actually contributing to the conversation.

      • Burnward

        I believe you are correct, finally! I’m a Flames fan and Sven fan and a change of scenery is the best approach.

        Same advise for the Oilers with Yakipov. He is not going to cut it in Edmonton and perhaps the NHL!