Post-Game: (Left) Sharks Left Laying

It was yet another playoff-like game for the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night, as they went into battle with a divisional foe in the form of the San Jose Sharks. Despite playing a fairly solid game, and keeping the Flames on their heels for portions of the first and third periods, it was the Sharks that were left laying this evening.

By virtue of a very strong stretch in the second period, and an otherwise fairly solid game from the whole team, the Calgary Flames beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 at the ‘Dome. The Flames have moved into a tie with the Sharks for second place in the NHL’s Pacific Division, and hold the tie-breaker by virtue of having more wins.

THE RUNDOWN

The first period was as even as you can imagine a 20-minute span of hockey without any goals. Each team had good chances. Each team scrapped hard. Shots were tied at 10-apiece. Nobody scored. The tension was high.

The flood-gates opened in the second. The Flames opened the scoring mid-way through the period. Kris Russell finally got his first of the season, leaning into a shot that careened off a defender’s skate and past Alex Stalock. They doubled their lead shortly thereafter on a power-play, as Johnny Gaudreau entered the zone, wheeled around the net and found Jiri Hudler out front of a tap-in. I believe that makes it three consecutive games for their power-play converting for a goal. Four minutes later, Mason Raymond added another one off a nifty feed from Joe Colborne to make it 3-0. Shots were 11-10 for the Sharks, but the Flames had all the offense.

The Sharks pushed back in the third, though their cause was helped by a puck-over-glass penalty to Deryk Engelland. They out-shot Calgary 8-3 as the Flames firmly embraced the score effects. They were content to chip the puck out of the zone and ride out the clock. John Scott scored the lone goal, knocking in a weird bounce past a sprawling Jonas Hiller. That was as close as the Sharks got, and the Flames actually got robbed – twice – on potential empty-net goals.

WHY THE FLAMES WON

Quite simply, they took advantage of their chances and did what they could to minimize the Sharks’ big guns. Aside from Calgary’s offensive outburst in the second half of the second period, the game was pretty even. The difference-maker(s) were Hiller’s 28 saves and the team’s trio of goals. Instead of wondering what was happening when then the game was presented to them, they said “Thanks!” and took control of the game.

That probably wouldn’t have happened a year or two ago.

RED WARRIOR

It took awhile, but Kris Russell finally got a goal. Let’s give him the nod.

Honourable mention to Jonas Hiller.

SCORING CHANCES

Team Period Time Note Home Away State
Away 1 19:31 Pavelski from Thornton, save 1 5 7 11 17 19 4 8 19 32 68 80 5v5
Home 1 19:07 Jooris from Byron, save (4v5 PK) 1 4 6 32 86 8 12 19 32 39 88 4v5
Away 1 15:25 Karlsson from Nieto, save (4v4) 1 4 6 11 86 27 32 52 68 83 4v4
Away 1 14:45 Irwin, save 1 5 7 23 25 32 8 19 20 27 32 52 5v5
Home 1 12:36 Jones from Backlund, save 1 5 7 11 17 19 12 27 32 39 52 83 5v5
Home 1 3:45 Jooris from Hudler, save 1 4 6 23 24 86 12 32 39 44 83 88 5v5
Away 1 1:19 Nieto from Couture rebound, save 1 4 6 13 23 24 12 32 39 44 83 88 5v5
Away 1 0:37 Pavelski from Thornton, miss 1 4 6 13 23 24 8 19 27 32 52 68 5v5
Home 2 19:45 Bouma from Backlund, save 1 5 7 11 17 19 4 8 19 32 68 80 5v5
Away 2 19:20 Burns from Pavelski, miss (4v4) 1 5 7 23 32 8 19 32 44 88 4v4
Home 2 18:46 Hudler from Brodie, save (4v4) 1 4 7 13 24 12 32 39 52 80 4v4
Away 2 16:14 Pavelski from Thornton, miss 1 18 25 29 32 33 4 8 19 32 68 80 5v5
Away 2 14:55 Nieto, save 1 4 7 8 21 86 12 32 39 44 83 88 5v5
Away 2 10:03 Couture from NIeto, save 1 4 6 13 23 24 12 32 39 44 83 88 5v5
Home 2 8:06 Hudler from Gaudreau, goal (5v4 PP) 1 6 7 13 23 24 4 12 27 32 39 5v4
Away 2 6:34 Hertl from Goodrow, save 1 5 7 8 32 86 4 15 32 48 88 89 5v5
Away 2 6:33 Sheppard from Hertl rebound, save 1 5 7 8 32 86 4 15 32 48 88 89 5v5
Home 2 5:15 Bollig from Byron, save 1 4 6 18 25 32 4 20 32 50 80 81 5v5
Away 2 3:09 Marleau from Thornton, save (5v4 PP) 1 7 17 18 29 8 12 19 32 39 88 4v5
Home 2 1:58 Raymond from Colborne, goal 1 7 8 21 33 86 4 32 48 52 81 83 5v5
Home 2 0:02 Backlund from Bouma, miss 1 5 7 11 17 19 12 32 39 52 83 88 5v5
Away 3 18:49 Tennyson from Burns, save 1 5 7 8 21 86 15 32 48 52 80 89 5v5
Away 3 18:18 Hertl from Sheppard, save 1 8 21 29 33 86 4 15 32 48 88 89 5v5
Away 3 17:14 Scott from Hannan, goal 1 18 25 29 32 33 20 27 32 50 80 81 5v5
Away 3 6:32 Marleau from Nieto, miss 1 4 6 13 23 24 8 12 32 39 44 88 5v5
Away 3 3:55 Marleau from Hannan rebound, save 1 5 7 18 25 32 12 27 32 39 52 83 5v5
Home 3 2:49 Backlund from Hudler, save 1 5 7 11 17 24 15 32 44 48 81 88 5v5
Home 3 1:44 Brodie from Bouma, miss (6v5) 1 5 7 11 17 24 8 12 19 39 68 88 5v5
# Player EV PP SH
1 HILLER, JONAS   9 16   1 0   1 1
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 18:08 3 6 00:00 0 0 02:39 1 0
5 GIORDANO, MARK 23:50 5 7 01:04 0 0 01:16 0 0
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 17:43 2 5 01:03 1 0 02:53 1 0
7 BRODIE, TJ 24:32 7 8 01:55 1 0 03:32 0 1
8 COLBORNE, JOE 08:54 1 5 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 16:48 5 2 01:53 0 0 01:30 0 0
13 GAUDREAU, JOHNNY 13:06 1 4 01:06 1 0 00:00 0 0
17 BOUMA, LANCE 15:24 5 1 00:00 0 0 01:58 0 1
18 STAJAN, MATT 08:21 1 3 00:00 0 0 01:58 0 1
19 JONES, DAVID 14:07 3 1 01:38 0 0 00:00 0 0
21 RAYMOND, MASON 08:50 1 3 01:38 0 0 00:00 0 0
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 15:10 1 6 01:21 1 0 01:50 0 0
24 HUDLER, JIRI 17:23 4 4 01:21 1 0 00:11 0 0
25 BOLLIG, BRANDON 08:11 1 4 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
29 ENGELLAND, DERYK 09:12 0 3 00:00 0 0 01:40 0 1
32 BYRON, PAUL 11:20 1 7 00:00 0 0 02:04 1 0
33 DIAZ, RAPHAEL 09:33 1 3 01:56 0 0 00:00 0 0
86 JOORIS, JOSH 10:33 2 6 00:00 0 0 02:29 1 0
Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 3 5 2 5 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
2 6 7 5 6 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
3 2 5 2 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

ZONE ENTRIES

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 3.38.28 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 3.38.43 PM

STANDINGS

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 12.09.32 AM

The Sharks and Canucks play tomorrow night. Somebody gets two points. So either the Sharks get to 63 points and break the tie, or the Canucks win and get up to 61 points. Either way, the Flames won’t be in second place after tomorrow, so enjoy it, everybody.

SUM IT UP

The Calgary Flames now boast a 29-20-3 record and 61 points, good for (temporary) sole possession of second in the Pacific by virtue of tie-breakers with 30 games to go. They play the first of their final 30 on Friday night when Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins visit. The puck drops at 7pm MT on Sportsnet West.

    • Burnward

      Don’t mistake that for lack of support. The city is firmly behind the team. The issue is $45 oil and if you’re in the patch you know the current state. Every major company is laying off hundreds if not thousands of staff so forgive fans if shelling out $200 for a hockey game isn’t a priority right now.

  • jeremywilhelm

    It’s nice to see the Flames learn that they don’t have to limit their scoring to the 3rd period.

    That’s two games in a row now, that they’ve used the 3rd period to defend leads rather than having to come from behind.

  • jeremywilhelm

    last 30, just go 16-14-0 and the team is most likely last seed in the playoffs.

    2 games above .500? With some crafty adds at trade deadline we could be well above that mark.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      That may be the minimum, as per you, but they haven’t played that poorly all year and now’s not the time to start. They need to keep building on what they’ve done all year and focus on continuing to spread the scoring solid D play. If they do they’ll be looking at home ice potential…

  • Danomitee

    This team in the last couple games doesnt look anything like the team from the rest of the season. Getting a lead and then playing defence? What is this?

  • ChinookArchYYC

    The Flames are a significantly better team than they were last year and at the beginning of this year. They are defensively responsible, play a team game and the offence is, in a word opportunistic.

    Great time to be a Flames fanatic!

  • RedMan

    Amazing effort by the boys. I don’t know how this season is going to end, but enjoying every second of it. Haven’t been this proud of the team since the ’04 regular season and playoff run.

    Eagerly anticipating Lambert somehow putting this recent surge into a negative spin, and working his M.O to be a piss to our flame.

    Does he:

    a) Keep talking about how the Flames are only setting themselves up for a very dramatic Leaf-like fall?

    b) Say how this is all going against advanced stats and that we as fans should be ashamed for enjoying this. We should be worried and paranoid as to why the team keep inexplicably winning.

    or

    c) Take a big-picture approach and bemoan the Hiller signing as the beginning of the downfall for this team. Because you know, Connor McDavid.

  • Toofun

    I thought Diaz had a very strong game last night. Engalland is still scary bad out there.

    The Flames broke out of their own zone really well last night. Tape to tape passes and good skating through the neutral zone. Overall they looked to be the stronger team out there.

    Nice to see them playing so well with a tough schedule ahead for the rest of the month.

  • Greg

    Excellent choice of cover photo for the article. 🙂

    Not even 2/3rds of the season done, and we’ve already banked more points than either the Sabres or Oilers are on pace to get all year.