Post-Game: Sabres Stifle Flames

It was bound to happen eventually, but the shoe is on the other foot now as the Calgary Flames out-played and out-shot the Buffalo Sabres by a hefty margin, but dropped a 4-3 road loss in upstate New York. As a result, the Flames are on their worst losing string of this season – at three.

Sure puts things in perspective, eh?

Despite putting a tire factory of rubber at Jhonas Enroth this evening, the Sabres netminder kept his team in it. At the other end, pucks just found their way past Karri Ramo via a combination of wonky defense and nice shooting by the Sabres forwards.

THE RUNDOWN

Nobody scored in the first period, but the Flames sure did their best to get the opening goal. They out-shot the home side by a pretty steep 11-6 margin, but couldn’t beat Enroth. (Spoiler: This will be a pattern.)

The teams exchanged goals in the second. Buffalo opened the scoring five minutes in as Matt Moulson tapped in a nifty Tyler Ennis feed (after a steal from T.J. Brodie) past Ramo to make it 1-0. By virtue of an extended two-man advantage – via penalties in rapid succession by Marcus Foligno and Nicolas Deslauriers – the Flames got a golden opportunity to tie it up, and they capitalized with a Mark Giordano goal to make it 1-1. The Sabres regained the lead soon after, as Foligno’s line took advantage of some zone time against Calgary’s third pairing (of Deryk Engelland and Rapha Diaz) and some quick passes later, Foligno made it 2-1. The Flames managed to tie it late via a David Jones goal that knotted it at 2-2. Calgary out-shot Buffalo 16-6.

The third period was another close one, except for the fact that Buffalo was much more opportunistic than Calgary was. Sean Monahan gave the Flames a lead early in the period off a Joe Colborne set-up. But that lead was erased by the Latvian Assassin, Zemgus Girgensens (trademark pending), and Matt Moulson added his second of the game a few minutes later to pull away. The Flames out-shot the Sabres 18-7, but Buffalo scored twice and Calgary scored just once, and that made all the difference in the world.

Calga-regression appears to be rearing its ugly head.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

They played well, but a combination of some occasionally shoddy defensive play, some bounces and a goalie that, for luck or for skill, could not keep the puck out of his net led to a one-goal road loss. (If you’re so inclined, Calgary’s PDO was 85.7 while Buffalo’s was 114.3. It’s one game, so the number doesn’t mean much, but it is what it is.)

Not to pin this entirely on the goalie, but when your offense generates three goals on the road and gives you an early third period lead, you should be able to close it out. Particularly against Buffalo.

RED WARRIOR

Joe Colborne had an assist and was a plus-one in 20 minutes of work in his return to the line-up. That’s good enough for me.

SCORING CHANCES

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Team Period Time Note Home Away State
Home 1 17:40 8 1 4 8 36 44 57 17 21 25 29 31 33 5v5
Away 1 17:24 Raymond 1 4 8 36 44 57 17 21 25 29 31 33 5v5
Home 1 16:25 28 wraparound 1 26 28 51 55 63 5 7 8 23 31 32 5v5
Home 1 15:59 Moulson 1 26 28 51 55 63 5 7 8 23 24 31 5v5
Away 1 14:15 Byron 1 8 36 44 51 55 5 7 8 23 31 32 5v5
Away 1 13:00 Gaudreau 1 4 26 28 57 63 4 6 13 24 31 86 5v5
Away 1 12:47 Gaudreau 1 4 26 28 57 63 4 6 13 24 31 86 5v5
Away 1 12:09 Wideman 1 6 8 44 57 4 6 13 24 31 60 4v5
Away 1 9:43 Bollig off face-off 1 6 12 17 61 65 17 21 25 29 31 33 5v5
Home 1 3:23 Stewart 1 6 12 17 61 65 4 6 8 19 23 31 5v5
Away 1 0:07 Raymond 1 6 21 61 80 82 4 7 17 21 25 31 5v5
Home 2 19:11 65 1 6 12 17 61 65 4 6 13 24 31 86 5v5
Home 2 19:07 65 1 6 12 17 61 65 4 6 13 24 31 86 5v5
Home 2 19:05 65 1 6 12 17 61 65 4 6 13 24 31 86 5v5
Away 2 17:01 Jooris tip 1 4 21 57 80 4 6 31 32 86 4v4
Away 2 15:59 Glencross 1 6 17 28 55 5 6 13 20 24 31 4v5
Home 2 14:27 Moulson goal 1 6 26 28 61 63 5 7 17 19 25 31 5v5
Away 2 10:44 Byron 1 26 28 51 55 63 4 6 8 23 31 32 5v5
Away 2 8:29 Giordano goal 1 4 17 57 65 5 7 13 24 31 60 4v5
Away 2 7:24 Brodie 1 4 17 57 65 5 7 13 24 31 60 4v5
Away 2 7:17 Granlund tip 1 4 17 57 65 5 7 13 24 31 60 4v5
Away 2 7:11 Hudler 1 4 17 57 65 5 7 13 24 31 60 4v5
Away 2 7:09 Brodie 1 4 17 57 65 5 7 13 24 31 60 4v5
Away 2 6:50 Russell 1 6 28 55 63 4 6 20 21 23 31 4v5
Home 2 5:41 Ennis 1 6 26 28 61 63 17 19 29 31 33 60 5v5
Home 2 5:20 Foligno goal 1 21 44 51 57 82 17 19 29 31 33 60 5v5
Away 2 2:55 Jones goal 1 4 12 17 57 65 19 20 29 31 33 86 5v5
Away 3 19:47 Byron 1 4 26 28 57 63 5 7 8 23 31 32 5v5
Away 3 18:08 Glencross 1 6 21 61 80 82 5 7 19 20 31 86 5v5
Away 3 17:46 Bollig tip 1 6 21 61 80 82 5 7 17 20 25 31 5v5
Away 3 17:39 Diaz 1 6 21 61 80 82 17 21 25 29 31 33 5v5
Away 3 16:46 Monahan goal 1 12 17 51 55 65 13 24 29 31 33 60 5v5
Away 3 16:14 Gaudreau 1 12 17 51 55 65 4 6 13 24 31 60 5v5
Away 3 10:21 Granlund 1 36 44 51 55 63 13 24 29 31 33 60 5v5
Away 3 10:06 Jooris 1 44 51 55 63 80 4 6 13 24 31 86 5v5
Away 3 10:05 Hudler 1 44 51 55 63 80 4 6 13 24 31 86 5v5
Away 3 7:48 Gaudreau wraparound 1 26 28 51 55 63 5 7 13 19 31 86 5v5
Away 3 7:47 Jones 1 26 28 51 55 63 5 7 13 19 31 86 5v5
Home 3 7:30 Moulson goal 1 26 28 51 55 63 5 7 19 20 31 86 5v5
Away 3 4:07 Giordano 1 21 51 55 80 82 5 7 8 19 31 60 5v5
Away 3 0:07 Glencross 1 4 12 21 28 57 5 6 13 20 23 24 5v5
# Player EV PP SH
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 21:53 8 4 01:58 2 0 00:53 0 0
5 GIORDANO, MARK 22:44 8 4 02:54 6 0 00:40 0 0
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 21:32 8 4 02:33 3 0 01:52 0 0
7 BRODIE, TJ 20:45 8 4 02:19 5 0 01:07 0 0
8 COLBORNE, JOE 18:43 4 3 00:19 0 0 01:07 0 0
13 GAUDREAU, JOHNNY 14:17 10 3 02:50 7 0 00:00 0 0
17 BOUMA, LANCE 08:11 5 4 00:00 0 0 01:29 0 0
19 JONES, DAVID 10:54 5 5 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
20 GLENCROSS, CURTIS 10:15 4 1 01:53 2 0 00:19 0 0
21 RAYMOND, MASON 09:30 4 1 01:43 1 0 00:00 0 0
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 18:47 4 3 02:01 1 0 00:00 0 0
24 HUDLER, JIRI 14:26 8 4 02:50 7 0 00:00 0 0
25 BOLLIG, BRANDON 07:31 5 2 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
29 ENGELLAND, DERYK 08:27 6 3 00:09 0 0 00:48 0 0
31 RAMO, KARRI   21 11   8 0   0 0
32 BYRON, PAUL 18:00 4 1 00:19 0 0 00:52 0 0
33 DIAZ, RAPHAEL 09:50 6 3 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
60 GRANLUND, MARKUS 12:10 4 2 02:13 6 0 00:40 0 0
86 JOORIS, JOSH 14:31 9 4 00:19 0 0 00:53 0 0
Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 7 4 6 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 10 6 3 6 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 13 1 13 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

ZONE ENTRIES

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SUM IT UP

The Flames are, predictably, facing some tough times. The effort was mostly there, but a few gaffes and a few bounces spelled disaster and a 4-3 loss, their 11th of the season. The 17-11-2 Flames are back at it tomorrow night as they hop a plane and trek to the Consol Energy Center in the Steel City for a meeting with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Puck drop is 5pm MT for that hockey encounter.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Tends to be the way. I’m just glad it didn’t accompany Backlund’s return, specifically. Poor guy has had enough bad luck in his career already.

  • crapshoot

    I was so sure that Glencross tied it with a few seconds left. All alone in the slot with lots of time. That would have been fantastic, but I guess we’ve had enough of those…

    Anyway I’m pretty sure that this is the best possible way to “regress”. Close games where the flames dominate and play pretty damn good but the bounces go the other way. Luck is gonna turn again, and the team is progressing overall possession-wise.

    Hoping for a nice game in Pittsburgh tonight. Let’s get back in the win column boys!

  • Mullen7

    Yes indeed, defensive gaffs (and also that second goal that was allowed by The War Room)you brought the Flames back down to Mean Middle Earth. One thing not mentioned was how many of those “gaffs” belonged to Brodano, especially Bro’s giveaways & coverage lapses. Call it like it is, Those two seemed to be leading the regression tonight.

  • RedMan

    So when the Flames were winning (when advanced stats said they should be losing) they were lucky……

    The last 3 games that the Flames lost (and according to advanced stats should have won) they were unlucky…….

    I have a better way to predict who is going to win the game: who ever has the hot goalie any given night will win!!!

    Put your pens back in your pocket protectors advanced stats geeks; this enigma has been solved…..,

    WW

    • Kevin R

      God bless you my friend, you posted exactly what I wanted to & I spit out my coffee reading this. Yeah basically, what I am concluding, the more you possess the puck, the better the underlying numbers are, but that correlates with the more you have the puck, the lower your shooting percentages are so you are therefore “unlucky”. So Sabres have been on fire for the last 8-9 games, why haven’t we heard about regression for them? No, it was nice shooting by the Sabres. Go figure.

      I was kind of afraid about getting all our injured guys back at once. But it seemed to disrupt the chemistry & magic the young guys seemed to have had on this latest streak. Oh well. The silver lining in all this is that we still need to stay the course & be sellers of some of our vets in Jan/Feb.

      Last night they were buzzing but not the way the were when they were winning. With the exception of the Monahan goal, they just weren’t finding the open guys in great shooting positions when they had the opposition defenders running around. Not sure why this is happening other than the fact that you put in 3 new forwards, you are are going to be mixing at least 3 lines that were working great.

  • RedMan

    Parade route planning is on hold until further notice. Make it a quad of loses and a fall from a playoff position after the Pens pummel the Flames tonight.

  • icedawg_42

    This is the problem I have with advanced stats. If I woke up this morning without having watched the game, and did nothing but look at the stats, I’d be thinking “wow, the Flames certainly got ripped off by a hot goalie here”.

    The problem here is that I did watch the game, and the team did not pass the stink test. They didn’t deserve to win that game really in any phase. Very sloppy in the defensive end, everyone is talking about that. What no one’s talking about is that they don’t look dangerous in the opposing end. Even when they scored, those opportunities were not “dangerous”. No one was going to the slot, no one getting to the net. Shots from the outside. Buffalo made the Flames pay dearly on stuff like that. Players going hard to the net, backdoor plays etc. It was the same thing in Toronto.

    Possession doesn’t mean much if you don’t make it count. This is ok if you want to be the Oilers, and possess the puck but never be dangerous.

    This probably sounds a helluva lot more angry than I really am, but what Im trying to say is that this “regression” will continue until that glaring problem is addressed. You can’t just shoot from the outside, put the puck into a goalie’s chest and expect that 6 shots will go in on 40. That’s what makes goalies look “hot”

    • Burnward

      For sure.

      But, it’s not even Christmas yet…so it’s nice that BT is getting a real sense early on to his team. I’m sure he sees the same things. If he doesn’t address that, then we’ve got some issues.

  • FeyWest

    Can we please not use this “calga-regression” term it’s sooo bad, come up with a more creative.

    Back on topic: I couldn’t see the game but was listening to the game on the radio, thought we should have had a better fate but we hit the Sabres at a poor time. What are they 8 in their last 10? They beat friggen LA!

    It was bound to happen though, a rebuilding team is going to hit some rough patches but given what they’ve shown in the first 1/3 of the season, we just need to weather the storm and we’ll be back in it. The theme this year is “Never Say Die” tonight’s going to be a hard fought game!

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Ramo looked… um … like he knew he was playing the Sabres and just kinda showed up.

    Brodie looked… um … kinda the same.

    Colborne looked good and Stajan wasn’t in the lineup so hard to blame the loss on the “returning vets” narrative.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Not the best effort I’ve seen, but not a bad game. The percentage of cross crease passes that translated into Buffalo goals was the most luck-driven aspect of the game. Every time they swept it in front, someone would appear from the woodwork.

    This season is just a stepping stone, and as long as every game is close(entertainment factor) then losing is fine.

    I’m interested to see the lines for tonight, and how they respond.

  • Burnward

    The Flames play that same game ten times, they win 8 of them. Same as the TO game.

    It’s how they react now that things have stopped going their way that’s going to be interesting.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    I rather have a crappy corsi and win the game. PDO be damn!

    I hope the boys don’t start getting desperate and just throw garbage shots on net. It’s stupid to hear things like in order to score goals, you need to shoot more and crash the net. Time to calm down and make plays, and take better shots. Don’t make the goalies look good.

    • Burnward

      On thing I’d be telling Gio and Wideman is to look for those down low secondary looks.

      They get a lot of chances from the high slot area. If one guy just slides off to the side a bit they might catch the D expecting that shot.

  • First Name Unidentified

    Random thoughts:

    1) i have zero problem with these kind of losses where at least the game was entertaining. a “W” will be a bonus. However “w” will be hard to come by going forward into the season.

    2) Gaudreau is getting better each game, he looks scary with the puck.

    3) I am ready to eat crow and say that Jooris looks like a legit NHL player. Not sure in what role but he can definitely be in the lineup on a regular basis.

    4) We should swap Sieloff and Wotherspoon as our third pairing right now because the games are going to get tougher and more intense as we head further into the season which will not be too favorable for either of those kids and will increase chances of injuries (which are bound to happen in an 82 game format)

    5) What happens if/when Gio gets hurt? “Eichel – here we come?”

    6) Despite having a stellar start to this season I still hope that we can pick a top-5 this draft. Because we need more young talent.

    • Burnward

      This entire season has already been a win. Unless the wheels completely fall off, everything else is delicious gravy!

      Jooris is playing like he should have been a late first round pick. Crazy.

      • SSB1963

        Besides Gaudreau, the performance of Jooris and Granlund has been a really positive surprise this season. Granny seemed to slow down after a hot start but seems to have picked it up again too, here’s a look at their possession stats in past 4 games:

        5v5 CF% in past 4 games:

        team.. Jooris Granlund

        Buf… 56.5% 79.0%

        Tor… 56.4% 60.7%

        S.J… 45.8% 68.2%

        Col… 58.6% 52.2%

  • BitGeek

    On the plus side, if this is the start of the regression, I think it’s better to happen now so that management doesn’t go out and do anything stupid like become buyers at the trade deadline. I’m happy for the success the Flames have had till now, but theres plenty of work still to be done.

    What I really like is that their underlying numbers are starting to improve and if this continues they won’t need luck to help them win games.

    Finally it seems like the underlying numbers are starting to improve at the same time that Hartley is sitting the enforcers and thus improving our 4th line. I really like where this is going.

  • Burnward

    this can’t be considered regression as the flames are outplaying their opposition. Regression would be the Flames still being out shot and outplayed but losing. This is actually progression and the wins will come. I can’t wait for the Pens game tonight. the flames will be hungry for a Win

    • First Name Unidentified

      Can we please all stop sounding like Leafs fans circa 2013/14?

      This is the definition of regression. SV% and shooting% have both started to trend downwards. Their PDO has steadily dropped, regressing to the mean = regression.

      The biggest difference has been goaltending which has now regressed from elite levels to basically average or lower. But they’re also now not getting the scoring they were at the beginning of the season.

      The good news is this is still a rebuilding team with lots of room and potential to grow. They’ve built up a good cushion and if they can avoid these prolonged losing stretches can still be a playoff threat for the balance of the season.

      There is a lot to be excited about with regards to this team. Ignoring the obvious flaws is just drinking the koolaid.

  • Burnward

    I bet Hartley gave Stajan the night off so he’d have a rested, veteran center ready to go against Pittsburgh.

    I’m guessing he sees lots of Crosby tonight.

  • SSB1963

    Haven’t read through all the comments so this may have already been brought up, but wouldn’t Calga-regression be when the Flames play terribly possession wise, and lose as a result of that? This appears to be continued progression from an analytics point of view (albeit against those guys!) and to use the technical analytical term, poor luck (look it up).