Post-Game: Sometimes You Lose

The Calgary Flames hoped to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the Western Conference’s wild-card hopefuls tonight at Scotiabank Saddledome. At the end of a rather spirited goaltending duel, though, the pack may have gotten a break and caught up to them a bit.

Off a Zach Parise goal – hardly the best chance either team got on the night – which stood up as the only goal either team would score, the Flames dropped a 1-0 decision to the Minnesota Wild. It’s their 20th loss of the season in their 49th game.

Here’s how it happened.

THE RUNDOWN

Minnesota had a good first period. So did Jonas Hiller, for the most part. The rest of the Flames did not. The Wild out-shot your local hockey heroes by a 14-8 margin and the Flames just couldn’t win a draw to save their lives.

Second period shots were 10-4 for Calgary and the Flames began to get going a bit, but Dubnyk was sharp. The third period was similar, except the Wild seemed wise to Calgary’s “comeback” game and did their best to clog up lanes and keep things to the outside. Shots were 8-8 in the final frame and Dubnyk was sharp once more. The Flames got gradually better throughout the game – similar to the Buffalo game – but unlike the Buffalo game, they were playing a competent hockey club that made adjustments in the final period to keep things from slipping away.

It’s hard to get too bent out of shape about this game, though. It’s the kind of game that the Flames would’ve found a way to squeak out a goal late to tie it earlier this season. I was reminded of a great quote from Bull Durham: “Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.”

After winning so many of these tight, painful games throughout the season, it’s important to remember: sometimes you lose. The Flames lost tonight.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

They had a bad first period. They didn’t really get great chances until late in the second period. Oh, and they just couldn’t beat Devan Dubnyk. It’s hard to do much in a game if you can’t get any rubber past the other team’s netminder.

But, to be fair, the Flames got shut out for the first time in just about a year. That’s a pretty good stretch for a team that was expected to not have much firepower this season.

RED WARRIOR

The man in sweet Koho gear, Jonas Hiller, kept the Flames in it. The game could’ve been must worse for the locals without him in net.

ELSEWHERE

The Flames didn’t get much help tonight. The Jets lost to the Flyers, which is good. However, both San Jose (over Anaheim) and Dallas (over Ottawa) won, so the standings have tightened a bit around Calgary.

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 12.25.52 AM

SCORING CHANCES

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 3.06.10 PM

Team Period Time Note Home Away State
Away 1 19:43 Koivu 1 4 6 13 23 24 6 9 16 29 40 46 5v5
Away 1 19:16 Parise 1 5 7 11 17 19 11 20 25 26 40 64 5v5
Away 1 18:41 Vanek 1 5 7 11 17 19 11 20 25 26 40 64 5v5
Away 1 14:16 Brodziak 1 7 18 25 32 33 11 14 21 39 40 55 5v5
Home 1 13:27 Monahan 1 13 23 24 29 33 6 14 21 24 40 46 5v5
Home 1 13:23 Colborne 1 8 21 29 33 86 3 6 18 22 40 46 5v5
Away 1 11:43 Koivu 1 5 6 13 23 24 9 16 29 39 40 55 5v5
Home 1 11:32 Hudler 1 4 6 13 23 24 9 16 29 39 40 55 5v5
Away 1 11:02 Parise goal 1 5 7 13 23 24 11 20 25 26 40 64 5v5
Away 1 9:59 Coyle 1 8 21 29 33 86 3 6 18 22 40 46 5v5
Home 1 9:38 Byron 1 5 7 18 25 32 11 20 25 26 40 64 5v5
Home 1 6:55 Bollig 1 4 6 18 25 32 3 6 18 22 40 46 5v5
Away 1 5:48 Zucker 1 5 7 13 23 24 9 16 20 29 40 55 5v5
Away 1 5:46 Zucker 1 5 7 13 23 24 9 16 20 29 40 55 5v5
Away 1 4:15 Scandella 1 5 7 8 21 86 6 11 26 40 46 64 5v5
Home 1 2:35 Monahan 1 13 23 24 29 33 9 16 29 39 40 55 5v5
Home 2 18:40 Hudler 1 5 6 13 23 24 18 20 24 25 40 5v4
Away 2 15:35 Koivu 1 4 6 13 23 24 9 16 29 39 40 46 5v5
Away 2 14:46 Pominville 1 5 7 23 24 32 6 9 16 20 29 40 5v5
Away 2 14:12 Neiderreiter 1 4 6 8 21 86 3 6 14 22 40 46 5v5
Away 2 9:29 Dumba 1 4 6 11 17 19 9 16 20 29 40 55 5v5
Home 2 7:47 Gaudreau tip 1 4 6 13 23 24 11 25 26 39 40 64 5v5
Home 2 7:40 Gaudreau 1 4 6 13 23 24 11 25 26 39 40 64 5v5
Home 2 6:09 Backlund 1 5 7 11 17 19 14 20 21 24 40 55 5v5
Home 2 5:38 Raymond 1 5 7 8 21 86 9 16 20 25 29 40 5v5
Home 2 5:28 Raymond 1 4 6 8 21 86 9 16 20 25 29 40 5v5
Home 2 4:57 Giordano 1 5 7 13 23 24 6 11 26 40 46 64 5v5
Home 2 3:57 Diaz 1 18 25 29 32 33 3 18 20 22 25 40 5v5
Home 2 3:08 Jooris 1 4 6 8 21 86 3 16 20 25 29 40 5v5
Away 2 1:56 Brodziak 1 5 7 13 23 24 6 21 24 40 46 64 5v5
Away 2 1:48 Vanek 1 5 7 13 23 24 6 24 26 40 46 64 5v5
Away 3 18:29 Vanek 1 5 7 8 11 17 11 21 25 26 40 55 5v5
Away 3 15:54 Deflection 1 4 6 17 86 3 20 22 40 46 64 4v5
Away 3 15:32 Neiderreiter 1 4 6 17 86 3 20 22 40 46 64 4v5
Away 3 14:44 Pominville 1 5 7 13 23 24 9 11 25 29 40 55 5v5
Home 3 13:29 Gaudreau 1 13 21 29 33 86 6 18 21 24 40 46 5v5
Away 3 11:51 Zucker 1 5 7 8 13 23 9 16 20 25 29 40 5v5
Away 3 10:45 Zucker tip 1 4 6 13 19 23 3 16 20 22 25 40 5v5
Away 3 10:42 Zucker 1 4 6 13 19 23 3 16 20 22 25 40 5v5
Home 3 9:57 Engelland 1 11 17 25 29 33 3 18 20 22 25 40 5v5
Home 3 8:03 Monahan 1 4 6 13 21 23 11 20 25 26 40 64 5v5
Home 3 7:16 Byron 1 5 7 18 25 32 3 6 18 22 39 40 5v5
Home 3 6:37 Bouma 1 4 17 18 19 33 3 6 11 24 39 40 5v5
Away 3 4:05 22 tip 1 4 6 13 23 24 3 6 18 22 40 46 5v5
Away 3 3:56 22 1 4 6 13 23 24 3 6 18 22 40 46 5v5
Home 3 0:52 Monahan 5 6 8 13 23 86 6 18 21 24 40 46 5v5
Home 3 0:11 Brodie 5 7 8 11 21 24 20 21 24 25 29 40 5v5
Home 3 0:09 Brodie 5 7 8 11 21 24 20 21 24 25 29 40 5v5
Home 3 0:04 Brodie 5 7 8 11 21 24 20 21 24 25 29 40 5v5
Home 3 0:03 Backlund 5 7 8 11 21 24 20 21 24 25 29 40 5v5
# Player EV PP SH
1 HILLER, JONAS   19 23   1 0   0 2
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 21:00 8 8 00:01 0 0 01:09 0 2
5 GIORDANO, MARK 24:49 10 13 01:21 1 0 00:51 0 0
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 21:13 8 9 01:12 1 0 01:09 0 2
7 BRODIE, TJ 22:36 9 13 00:45 0 0 00:51 0 0
8 COLBORNE, JOE 15:33 9 5 00:55 0 0 00:00 0 0
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 14:32 6 4 00:55 0 0 00:23 0 0
13 GAUDREAU, JOHNNY 17:45 9 14 00:57 1 0 00:00 0 0
17 BOUMA, LANCE 13:13 3 4 00:00 0 0 01:30 0 2
18 STAJAN, MATT 12:12 5 1 00:08 0 0 00:41 0 0
19 JONES, DAVID 14:35 2 5 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
21 RAYMOND, MASON 14:26 10 3 00:55 0 0 00:00 0 0
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 16:29 8 15 00:57 1 0 00:00 0 0
24 HUDLER, JIRI 15:01 10 12 00:57 1 0 00:00 0 0
25 BOLLIG, BRANDON 09:49 5 1 00:08 0 0 00:00 0 0
29 ENGELLAND, DERYK 10:33 6 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
32 BYRON, PAUL 11:52 4 2 00:08 0 0 00:30 0 0
33 DIAZ, RAPHAEL 11:49 7 2 00:41 0 0 00:00 0 0
86 JOORIS, JOSH 14:15 6 3 00:00 0 0 00:56 0 2
Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 6 10 6 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 9 6 8 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 10 9 10 7 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0

ZONE ENTRIES

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 3.15.49 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 3.15.59 PM

SUM IT UP

The Flames began their season series with the Wild with a loss. They’re now 26-20-3 and have 55 points. They’re back at it on Saturday night in another edition of the Battle of Alberta – and a must-win game for this group if there ever was one – when they host the Edmonton Oilers.

  • Derzie

    Engelland was useless, again. Diaz was manageable. Please play Wotherspoon.

    Engelland can’t even get the puck to the net, can’t skate, can’t position himself. In other words, he’s Shane O’Brien

    • piscera.infada

      I know, I know, it’s bash Engelland party up in here, it always is, because ya’ gotta hate someone…

      Frankly, I thought it was his best game as a Flame last night. Granted, that’s not saying much at all, but he was actually leading the rush more effectively than the majority of the defensemen last night minus Brodie. Sure, that probably says more about the other guy’s nights than it does about Engelland. However, I only saw one time where his foot-speed was exposed, but I place that play on the winger’s weak pass back to the point.

      All I’m saying is don’t be blinded simply by derision. The guy played well last night. But yeah, sounding like a broken record is much, much easier.

      Go ahead though shoot the messenger though, I’m just calling it like I see it. I – like the majority of this site – don’t like Engelland, but I can admit he isn’t the devil reincarnate, and he certainly isn’t O’Brien (or Sarich) 2.0. Your number 6 (should be number 7, if that…) defenseman was the second best Flames’ defenseman on the ice last night. That’s why you don’t get a goal on the board for the first time all season.

      Aside from Engelland, I thought the Gaudreau-Monahan-Hudler line looked very good last night. Colborne looked good. Jooris was largely over-matched.

      The fourth line looked pretty good, but I would love to see Raymond moved to the fourth, Byron out and Sven on that third line, because Backlund looked lost out there. I don’t think he really “fits” with Jones and Bouma, but Bouma-Backlund-Sven would have speed, some defensive responsibility (Bouma-Backlund), creativity in the offensive zone (Backlund-Sven), and a good forecheck (Backlund-Bouma).

      All in all though, I don’t think the Flames played that poorly, but Minnesota played almost perfect on the back-end. The locked that neutral zone down and didn’t allow the Flames to enter their zone with much speed. The few times they were able to, Dubnyk made some nice stops. Nights like this happen for all NHL teams, just have to move on.

      • mattyc

        My impression of the Backlund line was that Backlund was great at possessing the puck, but whenever the puck goes to Bouma it dies on his stick. I have a lot of time for Bouma, but I think he’s more suited for a 4th line role.

        Also thought the Monahan line looked really poor defensively (although they were also the only line to get any substantial offensive chances).

        Also thought K. Russell played well, he makes a consistently good first pass.

        • “Also thought K. Russell played well, he makes a consistently good first pass.”

          That’s interesting. I was at the game sitting up in the 2nd level and from that vantage point, and the people I was with and I all thought K Russell’s play did not look very good at all. Maybe it was just one bad play that influenced us.

        • piscera.infada

          I don’t think Backlund was effective at all last night. I would also imagine the numbers back this assessment up. Sure plays died on Bouma’s stick, and I agree he is better geared towards a fourth line role.

          Russell was good, but again, dude needs to get pucks on net. It seems as though he almost afraid to shoot sometimes. He’ll have a lane to the net and instead of just tossing the puck on net, he whips it around the boards–It works sometimes, but gives possession away other times.

          My major gripe with last night was the times the fourth line seemed to get out there. I mean, end of the second period, you’ve had the puck in Minnesota’s zone for three minutes straight, and you play the fourth line for the entire final minute of that period? Likewise with about 2:30 left in the game, you’ve got Bollig and Stajan on with Johnny. Don’t get it at all.

          As for the first line, I thought they were great offensively, and I’ll agree there was something to be desired offensively. That was the exact concern I brought up when everyone was begging for a the Gaudreau-Hudler-Monahan line though. They’re going to be great in the offensive zone, but the two wingers are too small to break a cycle down-low, and Monahan doesn’t accelerate fast enough to make up for that a lot of the time.

          Defensively, it’s a minor concern, as eventually Monahan is going to figure it out, ditto for Gaudreau, but it’s definitely something you don’t want against an Anaheim, LA, Chicago, or St. Louis.

          • “hat was the exact concern I brought up when everyone was begging for a the Gaudreau-Hudler-Monahan line though. They’re going to be great in the offensive zone, but the two wingers are too small to break a cycle down-low”

            Totally agree and I’d just add that Hudler is relatively small for a centre too.

          • piscera.infada

            Monahan’s the centre. But yeah, he’s just not quick enough to cover for the wingers when they get beat on the cycle. It’ll come though, he’s still very young.

          • mattyc

            Thing with the numbers, is over single games, they’re affected by your linemates. Backlund’s possession probably takes a hit with Bouma (where do we find WOWYs again?!)

            My impression of Russell was good. I know the possession numbers don’t really like him though. I think that’s partially a product of constantly fighting an uphill battle when he’s on. He plays probably tougher minutes than he should because the bottom of the lineup is a tire fire.

            Re: Byron. Guys, whether Paul Byron stays in the lineup or not is not one of the bigger problems the flames have. He’s probably an effective 4th liner, but we need about 3 more top 6 forwards before we go nuts about making noise in the playoffs.

  • everton fc

    “A Byron Breakaway” is now my go to phrase for unrealized potential.

    “You should have asked for her number!”

    “I know, what a Byron Breakaway.”

  • everton fc

    Perhaps Byron and Engelland get jettisoned to L.A. for Richards (play at LEFT WING), McBain and a #1 pick. I’d take that deal. I know it may take more, so add Raymond to that deal. We need defence.

  • beloch

    Dubnyk just played 120 minutes of hockey while giving up just one goal to both of Alberta’s teams combined. How does Matt Hendricks look to you now MacTavish?

    • SSB1963

      Easy to throw rocks from afar! Dubnyk last year was beyond horrible not even close to the player he was the year before. Besides that Nashville, Phoenix and Montreal all had a crack at him (backup) and let him go. Kudos to Sean Burke though for getting his game back on track. BTW Hendricks has done exactly what MacT had hoped.

  • RedMan

    Flames played OK, both teams showed good compete and sign of legit skill. Flames have some guys that are strong candidates for upgrades, i.e. stajan, raymond, bollig and Diaz/Engeland.

  • scoopz

    I thought Raymond showed some jump last night, actually. He had three shots in two shifts at one point in the game and seemed noticeable due to his hustle.

    Colborne looked good again last night. He forechecked hard and created some chances as well.

    Byron played with some pop, too, but these missed breakaway opportunities are really starting to wear thin on me. He had to whole glove side open.

  • mattyc

    Re: Byron. Even if he never scores on those chances it isn’t a negative per se. Obviously it would be better if he scored, but those are still chances for, and he gives up very little at his own end. (I’d probably pull Jooris or Bollig – or even Raymond/Jones lately, before Byron).

  • mattyc

    I thought it was a fun game to watch. Backlund did not look good…..RAymond jumped out yes. Brodano seemed to struggle a bit? We had a lot of silly turnovers it looked like or pass interceptions…

    • Derzie

      Honesty is not rewarded with praise if it involves Backlund. To be fair though, Backlund was hindered by his linemates, not the other way around. He’s a very good player but he cannot do it alone.

    • Dayzz

      Understandably so, there have been a lot of haters going off on Byron lately (myself included). But to be fair to the guy, I don’t think he’s a bad hockey player at all. He is consistently one of the team’s better puck carriers, and definitely generates a lot of scoring chances (key word: chances, not goals unfortunately!) without giving up many in his defensive coverage. His ability to carry the puck and weave through traffic is among the better players on this team (which really helps with zone entry; something this team needs to work on after watching last night’s game). The only thing is that its incredibly frustrating to see him get all these breakaway opportunities and not cash in, especially in tight games like the one last night. Still, considering how much the writers here preach about regression towards the mean, we all have to realize that eventually things will start going better for him and he’ll at least start finishing more towards the average rate of scoring on breakaways (whatever that is). For now though, I think its best to sit him out for a couple games and let Sven and the other call ups get some action in. Who knows, maybe sitting out for a few games will set something off and he might come back and actually produce. We know its worked for other players before, and we have time prime examples in our own roster (Johnny!!!!).

  • Byron Bader

    Was at the game. What stood out to me is how bad Bollig is. I saw him in the first game of the season and thought he was ok. I even wrote about it in the comments. For a 4th line scrub he looked pretty decent. That was probably his best game at the NHL level. Kruger et al. must have thrown Bollig on their shoulders to make that 4th line look so great in Chi City.

    Everything he does leads to the puck going the other way. Ferland can do what Bollig does on the 4th line and be more effective.

    On at least 3 occasions he had the puck in the offensive zone and there was a wide open guy standing 10 feet away from him and he instead shot right at the legs of a fleet Minnesota players and the puck went the other way. Is that a lack of hockey sense? I don’t know. But the easy play that would have generated something would have been to tap it to the open guy. Very frustrating to watch.

    • I agree with the negative comments about Bollig. And from the highlight reel of the January 29 game at flames.nhl.com it also looks like he was the one who coughed up the puck to the Wild in the lone goal by Parise too.

  • Derzie

    Engellund (Wotherspoon), Bollig (Wolf) & Raymond (Sven) are moves that need to be made. Bouma needs to be on the 4th line. He’s offensively ineffective against tough competition. Hudereau needs all the ice time they can muster. Smid & GlenX need to stay on the sidelines. Showcasing a player for a trade is a myth in the era of extreme scouting and stats. Teams know if they can use Glencross or not when he gets healthy. They’ll either bite or they won’t.