Post-Game: The Crosby Show

The Calgary Flames have been in one or two games this season where they weren’t really in the game at all over the 60-minute duration. Tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins is the latest addition to that short list.

The Flames dropped a 4-0 decision to the Penguins on Friday night. They gave up a goal 5:46 in and never got back into it from there. They were shut out for the second time this season. They drop to 29-21-3 on the season.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames weren’t really in this one tonight. They were out-shot in the first two periods and held even in shots in the third when the Penguins, bless ’em, took their foot off the gas a bit.

The big difference-maker was Sidney Crosby, perhaps the world’s best hockey player. He picked Mark Giordano’s pocket and fed David Perron out front for the game’s opening (and game-winning) goal. He scored on a gorgeous play in the second, out-racing Paul Byron and scoring on a one-handed poke/deflection of a gorgeous pass from the boards from Chris Kunitz. And he scored again in the third on a partial break-away in the third to end Jonas Hiller’s night. Crosby and Kunitz were unreal tonight.

Simon Despres found Brandon Sutter – left along at the side of the net by Sean Monahan – on a gorgeous slap-pass deflection for the game’s second goal at the end of the first period.

The Flames weren’t particularly bad tonight, it’s just that Marc-Andre Fleury and the rest of the Penguins were better. Much better.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

Pittsburgh was better, plain and simple.

Calgary has been able to win games this year by sheer force of will. They’ve out-worked their opposition. They’ve taken advantage of their chances. And, let’s face it, a few good hockey clubs have taken the Flames lightly and lost to them.

Pittsburgh? Mike Johnston’s group was ready from the first face-off tonight, and as a result, Calgary was never able to get out of the starting blocks.

RED WARRIOR

Matt Stajan led the Flames in face-off percentage and was one of a handful of players to be even in a game where the Flames got scored on a bunch. He gets the nod tonight. Lance Bouma was also good, but Stajan was slightly better.

SCORING CHANCES

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Team Period Time Note Home Away State
Away 1 17:11 72 tip 1 5 7 17 18 19 26 29 41 51 71 72 5v5
Away 1 14:27 Crosberry 1 5 7 11 17 19 7 14 29 39 58 87 5v5
Away 1 14:15 Perron goal 1 5 7 11 13 24 7 14 29 39 58 87 5v5
Home 1 12:23 Raymond 1 5 11 19 21 33 4 27 29 40 58 5v4
Home 1 10:26 Jooris tip 1 5 7 8 13 86 4 14 23 29 47 71 5v5
Away 1 8:04 Malkin 1 4 6 11 19 32 26 29 41 51 71 72 5v5
Away 1 5:02 Scrum 1 8 21 29 33 86 7 13 16 23 29 58 5v5
Away 1 1:52 Despres goal 1 4 6 13 23 24 4 13 16 23 29 47 5v5
Away 2 19:14 Perron 1 5 7 11 17 19 4 14 29 39 47 87 5v5
Home 2 19:06 Giordano 1 5 7 11 17 19 4 14 29 39 47 87 5v5
Away 2 16:23 Kunitz 1 5 7 13 23 24 4 7 14 29 39 87 5v5
Away 2 16:23 Crosby 1 5 7 13 23 24 4 7 14 29 39 87 5v5
Away 2 10:57 Deflection 1 5 7 13 23 24 4 7 13 16 27 29 5v5
Home 2 10:07 Backlund 1 5 11 19 21 33 4 27 29 40 47 5v4
Home 2 9:27 Diaz 1 5 11 19 21 33 4 7 13 16 29 5v4
Away 2 8:03 Crosby goal 1 4 5 8 32 86 14 29 39 41 51 87 5v5
Away 2 7:42 Pouliot 1 4 6 11 17 19 26 29 41 51 71 72 5v5
Home 2 7:21 Bouma 1 4 6 11 17 19 4 13 16 23 29 51 5v5
Away 2 5:28 Kunitz 1 4 7 8 13 86 7 14 29 39 58 87 5v5
Away 2 5:24 Kunitz 1 4 7 8 21 86 7 14 29 39 58 87 5v5
Home 2 3:47 Diaz 1 5 11 21 24 33 4 27 29 40 58 5v4
Home 2 2:42 Monahan 1 5 7 11 23 24 4 27 29 40 58 71 5v5
Away 3 19:05 Perron 1 5 6 11 32 29 39 58 71 72 87 4v5
Home 3 15:57 Gaudreau tip 1 8 13 23 29 33 27 29 38 40 41 51 5v5
Home 3 15:45 Colborne 1 8 13 23 29 33 27 29 38 40 41 51 5v5
Away 3 14:42 Crosby goal 1 5 7 25 32 86 4 14 29 39 47 87 5v5
Home 3 13:46 Hudler 11 13 24 29 31 33 13 29 41 51 71 72 5v5
Home 3 6:22 Stajan 8 13 18 29 31 33 4 27 29 38 40 47 5v5
Home 3 6:18 Byron 5 7 17 31 32 86 16 29 39 41 51 87 5v5
Away 3 5:29 Perron 5 7 17 31 32 86 14 29 39 41 58 87 5v5
Home 3 4:06 Bollig 18 19 25 29 31 33 4 27 29 38 40 41 5v5
Home 3 2:46 Jooris 5 7 17 31 32 86 7 14 29 39 51 87 5v5
Home 3 2:44 Jooris 5 7 17 31 32 86 7 14 29 39 51 87 5v5
# Player EV PP SH
1 HILLER, JONAS   6 15   4 0   0 1
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 18:51 1 6 00:00 0 0 02:10 0 0
5 GIORDANO, MARK 15:28 6 10 05:41 4 0 03:50 0 1
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 17:59 1 3 02:35 0 0 02:35 0 1
7 BRODIE, TJ 17:00 6 11 02:19 0 0 03:25 0 0
8 COLBORNE, JOE 10:48 4 4 00:02 0 0 01:06 0 0
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 12:51 4 5 05:26 4 0 01:16 0 1
13 GAUDREAU, JOHNNY 14:06 5 6 02:34 0 0 00:00 0 0
17 BOUMA, LANCE 13:05 5 5 00:00 0 0 02:31 0 0
18 STAJAN, MATT 09:19 2 1 00:00 0 0 02:13 0 0
19 JONES, DAVID 12:02 3 5 03:30 3 0 00:00 0 0
21 RAYMOND, MASON 09:04 0 2 05:26 4 0 00:00 0 0
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 12:32 3 4 02:32 0 0 00:56 0 0
24 HUDLER, JIRI 13:50 2 5 04:28 1 0 00:07 0 0
25 BOLLIG, BRANDON 07:53 1 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
29 ENGELLAND, DERYK 11:20 5 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
31 RAMO, KARRI   6 1   0 0   0 0
32 BYRON, PAUL 10:56 3 4 00:00 0 0 01:53 0 1
33 DIAZ, RAPHAEL 11:49 5 1 05:25 4 0 00:00 0 0
86 JOORIS, JOSH 11:07 4 6 00:02 0 0 01:58 0 0
Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 2 6 1 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 6 8 3 8 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 8 3 8 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0

ZONE ENTRIES

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SUM IT UP

The Flames have two days off after tonight, and they’re heading towards a big divisional clash with the San Jose Sharks on Monday night in Silicon Valley. They’ve got to shake this loss off quickly, because Monday night could be huge for Calgary’s playoff hopes.

  • mattyc

    Penguins commentators were going on and on about how hard the Flames skated in the morning skate, how they left too much on the ice in the morning….don’t know how many times I’ve heard opposing commentators make that observation this year. Usually its analysed as showing how prepared Calgary is.

  • Truculence

    Baby Flames lost, as well. Poirier been pretty meh over the last few games. He only has one shot in the last 3 contests and no points.

    He`s only twenty, of course, and playing as a rookie in a pro league. He will get better, but I think I will have to temper my expectations. Having watched him this year, it appears his upside at the NHL level is that of a 2nd line winger with good two-way ability -most likely not an elite first-line winger.

    It is kind of damning, though, that J-Bo and Iggy only yielded a potential second-liner and a bunch of bottom-six forwards.

    We really have to cross our fingers and hope that Bennett is the elite first line center we have been dreaming about, as he,Monahan, and Backlund will have to drive the bus without any elite defensive prospects on the horizon. Gaudereau is great and all, but small, skilled wingers like P Kane are usually useless in the playoffs without strong, two-way centers like Toews to drive possession and scoring chances. Monahan and Bennett will have to realize their ceilings or we will only become a mediocre team, rather than an elite one in a few years.

    p.s. I was wondering what the Nation community thinks of a trade that sent Glencross, Porier, and a second to Winnepeg for E Kane?

    • X Man

      As far “wondering what the Nation community thinks of a trade that sent Glencross, Porier, and a second to Winnepeg for E Kane?”…

      GAWD NO! …I for one would be rippin’ mad if they traded Deryk Engelland for him straight up…

      Have you heard the way his teammates have been talking about him!?

      They threw his clothes in the shower!…

      The guy is a sleazy, classless, soulless, wannabe gangsta, thug…

      Not to mention a 6 million dollar a year third liner….

      Not at all what any NHL team needs… (Except maybe Edmonton)…

        • Burnward

          Problem is, the return Winnipeg will want, quite frankly, I would rather pluck off the older M Richards & give up assets we can afford to lose & pry a shinny nugget out of LA. Stajan for Richards & their 2015 1st gets Kings a better price 3rd line C & 2.5 mill in cap space & we upgrade Stajan for the next 3 years & then buyout Richards at that time with 2 years left where his actual salary is only 3.0mill. In fact he may be marketable enough to a team like Ottawa that likes to ride just over the Cap floor & we can trade him at that time for 5th rounder.

          • supra steve

            Exactly. A lot of teams would take a chance on Evander Kane (I hope the Flames aren’t one of them), but the issue is what you have to give up to bring that cancer into your dressing room. I think the Jets, sadly, will need to wait and then drop their ask considerably before they can move him.

        • X Man

          The flames have been winning due largely in part their character, integrity and attitude… It is a very much team sport, after all, and they’ve been playing well as a team…

          That’s one of the things I love of but this incarnation of the flames… The genuine humanity and virtue of guys like Giordano, and Gaudreau…

          To bring in a guy like Kane could very likely spoil the soup, as he seems to have done in Winnipeg… Don’t you think?… I’m guessing there are at least a few GM’s who have no interest in bringing a guy like him onto their teams… Look at what’s become of Sean Avery….

  • mattyc

    Well at least Byron was consistent & missed another freaking breakaway. Good teams are getting ready for us & I don’t know if we were that bad but I have never seen this team cough up the puck as much as they did tonight. They were waiting for our stretch passes all night & they were on our D mega quick on the forecheck. That was a tough one to watch.

    • Burnward

      I agree completely that the Pens were ready for us and pressured us all night. That directly led to their first goal. Drifting off a player at the side of the net and a great tip-redirection resulted in their second. And two breakaways by Crosby with perfect passes to him resulted in the last two.

      In spite of that we also had our chances, including at least two beautiful set-ups by JH in close with gaping nets that the Pens were able to tip away at the last minute, a beautiful tipped shot from the slot that just missed the net and a couple point blank shots that also just missed the net. Fleury was very good, but also very fortunate, the Flames could have easily had several goals, and most likely should have. Sometimes that how she goes.

      The main thing I would take from this game is this: you’ve got to stop their speed into the zone and disrupt their flow. Either assigning somebody like glue to Crosby all night, or by pounding them into the boards every chance you get and irritating them consistently. That’s how teams in the East do it (aka Boston, NYR…) and we failed to do last night. The hitting was not that prevalent. We tried to match speed versus speed on Crosby (i.e. Gaudreau and Byron) a few time but Crosby shrugged JH in the post and skated by Byron. Anyways, an interesting game.

      • Burnward

        I sure liked that Duprees, he hits & was solid on D for them. Wonder what it would take to pry him out of Pitt.

        Jibmeister: Diaz has been actually not bad on PP but I see him as a smaller cheaper version of Wideman. If we have a disastrous road trip coming up (this year has been going so good I am waiting for another kind of bad run coming, hope Im wrong), I wonder what we could pry out of Detroit for Wideman? They seem to be very hungry for a blue liner & Wideman has been playing pretty good that selling high on him wouldn’t be a bad thing, especially if Diaz can replace some of that threat on the power play. If we have a real good road trip, then I think I will be thinking playoff mode & then we need to keep pieces & not sell off (other than maybe Glenny & Ramo to maybe Rangers?) This road trip is the the biggy litmus test. Hard to believe we are playing such critical games in February.

  • beloch

    Even good teams get creamed now and then. Let’s all pause to give thanks that the Flames are one of the league’s “good” teams and this kind of pasting isn’t a regular occurrence, as it is for some other teams. Heck, even by the Flames’ own standards from previous seasons, 4-0 isn’t all that bad, especially when Sid “the kid” Crosby put up three points! Hopefully other teams will say the same thing about Gaudreau and Monahan after being charbroiled by the Flames in the years to come.

    On the other hand, this game should serve as a timely reminder that this is not the season for the Flames to sell their future and “go for it”. As Treliving has stated, the team is still rebuilding and any trades he makes need to be smart in the long-term. The Flames best players are young and years from their peak. Whether the Flames make the playoffs or not, the current priority is the develop the core that will compete for the cup in the years to come.

  • jeremywilhelm

    To look at the positives, despite the loss, Flames and especially the young players got valuable first hand experience about the compete and skill level of one of the top eastern conference teams, that will be useful going forward.

    Quick stats recap on tonight’s Adirondack game: Utica Comets scored on empty netter and went on to win the game 4-2 against Adirondack with the help of 2 power play goals, but it seems to have been pretty even game otherwise. Ortio stopped 30 out of 33 shots on goal, Granlund roofed a great wrist shot from high slot and led the team with 8 shots on goal (Granny has now scored 5 goals and 4 assist in last 8 games in Addy), Shore scored his first goal as an Adirondack Flame (has now 5gp 1g 2a). Sven and Acolatse got helpers on Shore’s goal.

  • amaninvan

    You know it’s been that kind of game when the guy with the least amount of ice is your Red Warrior

    After watching the best player on the world put on a clinic Friday night, I’m sure the Lambert’s of the world will be going on full steam about how one generational player can completely dominate and dictate a game, and why the Flames should be tanking and hoping like hell a Mcdavid lands on our laps as a result. Hard to argue with that one after this loss. I’m not saying I agree in the tank theory, far from it. But damn that Crosby is an exciting hockey player and those Penguin fans are extremely lucky to be able to watch him every game.

    • Burnward

      Providing of course, that McDavid is as good as Crosby. Looks like a good bet, but we’ll have to see. Agreed on no tank.

      Also, I wonder how big the difference between McDavid and Bennett is?

      20 points a season in the NHL? 30 points?

  • I am huge fan of Gio and think he’s a big reason for the Flames success but he was absolutely dreadful last night. One of the those games that every puck he touched went to the opposition and his decision making was frightening. Good part of it is that he’d be the first to admit it and will bounce back quickly. And then there’s the centres, including their faceoffs and defensive zone coverage! Best to not review that game tape.

  • RKD

    Sidney Crosby is a Flames killer, just like Hartley said, he put on a clinic. He is the best hockey player in the world bar none. He took over the entire game, this guys plays on a whole different planet. The Flames were not even in this game. They’ve got a long way to go, this wasn’t just one bad game. This month will be tough. Why Paul Bryon was matched up twice against Sid is beyond me.

  • Rockmorton65

    While I want to see the Flames win every game, I’m not crying too hard after this one. Dominated but not embarrassed. It’s nice to get an honest assessment of where this team stands right now. We are good yes, but Pittsburgh is on another level.

    Losing to a team like the Pens can be healthy. Like my dad used to tell me, “Everyone gets their ass kicked from time to time. What are you going to do with it?”