POST GAME – Present? Tense.

Oh. Right. Meaningful hockey is absolutely the most nerve-wracking thing ever. 

The Flames beat the San Jose Sharks for the third time this season on the road and moved back into second place in the Pacific Division. That is only the essential information though. This game was certainly a ring-a-ding-dong-dandy.There were times in this game where it was literally painful to watch for me and I am sure I am not alone. It felt…nice. Somehow. 

Also, the Flames won in front of their dads which is pretty darn adorable. It warmed the space where my cynical heart used to live.

Flames won 4-1, come check out how after the jump!

WHAT WENT DOWN

There was a last minute lineup switch before the game started with Paul Byron coming out of the lineup as he had the flu. That meant that David Wolf played his second NHL game after a reasonably successful debut. Some of you, I will not name names, are not big Paul Byron fans.You are mistaken and I will bare-nuckle brawl anyone disagrees. However, David Wolf is also good. So let us take this out on who truly deserves it, Brandon Bollig, who also sat tonight with an illness.

That does not matter tonight though! The Flames started the first by having to kill off a powerplay from San Jose’s top-ten PP, which they did in impressive fashion and generally did a good job getting through the opening minutes of the first without any disasters.

The Flames were able to generate some very good zone time halfway through the first, with the line of Colborne, Wolf, and Jooris looking particularly good. Then, the Flames drew a penalty and held the puck for over approximately an hour (including almost scoring on their own net, as is customary). On the ensuing powerplay, the Flames were unable to generate any substantive pressure, a fact that would surprise few due to the fact that David Jones was present on the powerplay. That being said, I have become quite a fan of shoot-happy Rafa Diaz on the point.

The Flames were able to open the scoring. Mason Raymond drove the puck into the Sharks end, made nice move to the middle and fired a wrister past Niemi. A really nice goal. Overall, Raymond’s play over the last few games has taken a quantum leap after breaking his goalless slump:

The first ended with the Flames up 1-0 in one of the best first periods they have had all season. The Flames out-shot the Sharks 9-7 in period one.  

Both teams had some very good chances early in the second period and the pace was certainly… tense. I know this because I am reasonably certain I was sweating just watching this game. The Flames were able to extend their lead to 2-0 off the stick of top-six wizard Lance Bouma who banged in the rebound of a Giordano point shot (which followed a nice faceoff win from Backlund). 

It looked as thought the Flames were going to be able to hang on to their two-goal lead heading into the third after an exceptionally close-checking end to the second. Both teams swapped unsuccessful powerplays and the Flames were forced to call their timeout after a pair of icings. Lance Bouma had to eat a point-blank clapper in the final 20 seconds as well. Everything is hunky-dory. Or not.

However, after a late icing call and with one second remaining, half human half wookie Brent Burns fired a puck past Hiller to draw the Sharks back to within one. A really nasty break for the Flames with only moments to go in the period. The Flames held the edge in shots 19-18 heading into the third. 

The Flames flew out of the gates in the third and drew a powerplay about four minutes in. Largely the PP was pretty ineffective until Johnny Gaudreau, who was not having his best night, was able to find Hudler who put it top-shelf on the only shot of the powerplay. Excellent pass, great shot, 3-1 Flames. That’s five goals in five games for Hudler versus the Sharks this season. Those are five pretty important goals as well I’d say. 

The Flames then began to hang on for dear life and with about five minutes to play in the game, a very strange penalty was called on Mikael Backlund who was playing a very solid game. Thanks to a few really clutch stops from Hiller, the Sharks went 0-3 on the PP.

David Jones netted the empty netter and the Flames held on for a big 4-1 win at the Shark tank. 

THE RED WARRIOR

First off, I’d say Jonas Hiller was exceptionally good in this game. I figured that Ramo would get the start after Hiller was pulled against the Penguins but, as was mentioned several times throughout the night, Hiller was solid, calm, and steady for the Flames. Hiller also was a big part of the Flames’ three successful penalty kills against a very good Sharks PP. Excellent job sir.

Hiller

Kris Russell blocked six shots which is crazytown. Good work sir but no R.W. for you. Brodano were good again tonight but that is hardly news. In his second game, David Wolf looked very good again and has already shown me more than Bollig this season. We are excited here at FN to have rare home-video of David Wolf’s birth. So cute!:

Special mention to the Flames centremen in general, who hung tough with the Sharks in the dot and won several key draws. I thought Monahan was generally solid as well tonight. Mikael Backlund, save for the very, very bad penalty he took late in the third period played an exceptionally good game. Backlund is runner up.

However, how could it possibly be anyone but ol’ fancy pants Lance Bouma, who continued to march towards his expected 20 goals this season with this beauty: 

Well, maybe it wasn’t a beauty but they all count. Bouma finished the night with two points, three shots, 16:23 mins (including 4+ mins of penalty killing), and a blocked shot. Good for Lance, he played phenomenal tonight. 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, BASIL?

Fantasy sports_Smaller

This win has to feel real, real good for the Flames who have simply owned the Sharks this season. The Flames won all three games in San Jose which is truly remarkable. The Flames have vaulted into second place in the Pacific Division (even though there are some games at hand) and have a relatively comfortable cushion in the Wild Card race. The Flames have also reached 30 wins, something that I am not ashamed to admit I thought may be close to their final win total this season. Damn, it feels great to be wrong. Times are good. 

standings

However, the Western conference affords little opportunity for complacency. The Flames will need to keep putting together mini-streaks if they want to avoid sliding into the mud of the wild card race.The Flames next game is on Thursday against the LA Kings, with another massive opportunity to put some more space between them and the pack chasing down the wild card spots. This is fun.  

SCORING CHANCES

Team Period Time Note Home Away State
Home 1 19:06 Karlsson, miss 8 19 27 31 68 88 1 4 6 18 20 21 5v5
Away 1 9:54 Gaudreau from Engelland, save 12 27 31 39 83 88 1 4 13 23 24 29 5v5
Home 1 5:58 Hertl from Thornton, save 19 27 31 48 52 68 1 6 7 11 17 19 5v5
Away 1 5:09 Raymond from Bouma, goal 4 31 41 48 50 57 1 4 6 17 18 21 5v5
Home 2 19:28 Marleau from Nieto, miss 4 12 31 39 41 83 1 4 6 13 23 24 5v5
Home 2 15:56 Marleau, save 4 12 31 39 83 88 1 4 6 13 23 24 5v5
Away 2 11:50 Bouma from Giordano rebound, goal 4 8 19 31 41 68 1 18 20 21 29 33 5v5
Home 2 11:10 Pavelski, miss 8 19 27 31 68 88 1 5 7 18 20 21 5v5
Away 2 10:41 Jooris, save 31 48 50 52 57 80 1 8 29 33 45 86 5v5
Home 2 10:29 Hertl from Wingels, save 31 48 50 52 57 80 1 8 29 33 45 86 5v5
Away 2 10:04 Giordano from Bouma, save (4v5 PK) 8 12 19 31 39 88 1 5 7 17 18 5v4
Home 2 9:51 Couture from Pavelski, save (5v4 PP) 8 12 19 31 39 88 1 5 7 11 86 5v4
Home 2 9:50 Pavelski from Couture rebound, save (5v4 PP) 8 12 19 31 39 88 1 5 7 11 86 5v4
Home 2 7:10 Desjardins from Hannan, save 4 10 15 27 31 81 1 6 11 20 21 33 5v5
Away 2 5:56 Giordano from Hudler, miss 12 31 39 41 80 83 1 5 7 13 23 24 5v5
Home 2 0:51 Couture from Nieto, save 4 12 31 39 41 81 1 4 6 13 23 24 5v5
Away 3 19:26 Gaudreau from Monahan, save 4 12 31 39 41 83 1 4 6 13 23 24 5v5
Away 3 19:10 Bouma from Monahan, goalpost 4 12 31 39 41 83 1 5 7 17 19 23 5v5
Away 3 14:41 Hudler from Gaudreau, goal (5v4 PP) 10 27 31 80 83 1 4 6 13 23 24 4v5
Home 3 13:42 Pavelski from Thornton, save 8 19 31 52 68 88 1 5 7 17 18 19 5v5
Away 3 8:25 Bouma from Jones, save 19 27 31 68 81 88 1 5 7 11 17 19 5v5
Away 3 7:32 Bouma, miss 27 31 48 50 57 88 1 5 7 11 17 19 5v5
Away 3 5:51 Backlund from Hudler, save 8 19 31 52 68 80 1 4 7 11 17 24 5v5
Home 3 4:05 Hertl from Irwin, save (5v4 PP) 31 48 50 52 68 80 1 5 6 17 23 5v4
Home 3 3:20 Nieto from Dillon, save 4 12 31 39 41 83 1 5 7 19 20 23 5v5
Away 3 1:16 Backlund from Jooris, miss 10 15 31 52 80 81 1 8 11 29 33 86 5v5
# Player EV PP SH
1 HILLER, JONAS   11 10   1 0   1 3
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 17:30 4 4 01:39 1 0 01:43 0 0
5 GIORDANO, MARK 17:41 4 3 03:33 0 0 02:45 1 3
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 16:54 2 6 03:03 1 0 02:48 0 1
7 BRODIE, TJ 20:45 5 4 01:05 0 0 03:54 1 2
8 COLBORNE, JOE 10:42 2 1 00:09 0 0 00:36 0 0
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 12:07 4 2 02:56 0 0 00:57 0 2
13 GAUDREAU, JOHNNY 12:53 3 3 02:47 1 0 00:00 0 0
17 BOUMA, LANCE 12:19 5 2 00:00 0 0 04:04 1 1
18 STAJAN, MATT 15:01 2 3 00:00 0 0 03:00 1 0
19 JONES, DAVID 11:37 3 3 02:47 0 0 00:00 0 0
20 GLENCROSS, CURTIS 13:39 1 4 00:09 0 0 00:00 0 0
21 RAYMOND, MASON 12:05 2 3 02:56 0 0 00:00 0 0
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 15:39 4 4 02:47 1 0 02:01 0 1
24 HUDLER, JIRI 13:49 4 3 02:56 1 0 00:00 0 0
29 ENGELLAND, DERYK 12:31 4 1 00:00 0 0 00:50 0 0
33 DIAZ, RAPHAEL 11:02 3 2 02:24 0 0 00:00 0 0
45 WOLF, DAVID 07:36 1 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
86 JOORIS, JOSH 08:08 2 1 00:09 0 0 01:22 0 2
Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 2 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 4 8 3 6 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0
3 7 3 6 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
  • Scoring_guru

    What’s amazing is that if the Flames would have won at least 4 of those games in December when they went on the 8 game loosing streak, they would be only 4 points behind the Ducks….yeah I know….woulda, coulda, shoulda….

    • everton fc

      They’re only 8 back now. That’s not much if they win a few more of these road games. And the Ducks lose a few, of course.

      Shoot for the Division Title!

  • Nick24

    Screw it, I’m drinking all the Kool-aid! Lance Bouma is a top-six forward, Johnny Gaudreau is going to win the Calder trophy, Giordano is going to win the Norris and Hart trophies, and the Flames are going to win the Stanley Cup!

    I BELIEVE, GO FLAMES GO!

  • cgyokgn

    Hartley has done a good job of flushing the last game (ahem, 4-0 loss to the Pens) and getting the team ready to play the next game. They learn from the last game but don’t dwell.

    The next 5 games are vs teams in the playoffs or in the playoff hunt, then the Flames have a very tough 7-game road trip vs Eastern teams, and we know the Flames don’t play as well vs the East.

    So… I’m starting to believe that they will make the playoffs but they may still just squeak in. Too soon to tell. I’m sure Hartley will just be focused on the next game: another must-win vs the Kings in their rink. Go Flames Go!

  • Scoring_guru

    I like Byron, his speed and his usefulness on the penalty kill. However, I hope Wolf stays in the lineupin his place (and Bollig continues to sit). He adds much needed size when he play against the Pacific teams. The open ice hit he threw tonight is also usually absent from the Flames’ game.

    The first period shift where they hemmed the Sharks in showed his tenacity on the puck. In the first game he played he hit the post, so he can chip in on the scoresheet. Burke made a savvy signing last year. With Glencross, Wolf, Jones, Bouma, we will not be pushed around by the Pacific teams. I think he tips the balance for Calgary in the right way.

  • If you bring everyone up to 55 GP (and assume everyone wins their unplayed games) the Flames would be lined up to play Vancouver in the first round. That would be fun!

    However, the margin of error is still razor thin, the Flames would only be 2 points out of the first runner up and 3 points ahead of 10th.

    Central:

    1. Nashville – 80

    3. St. Louis – 76

    4. Chicago – 71

    Pacific:

    2. Anaheim – 77

    5. Vancouver – 67

    6. Calgary – 65

    Wild:

    7. Winnipeg – 64

    8. Minnesota – 64

    ———————

    9. San Jose – 63

    10. Los Angeles – 62

    11. Dallas – 60

  • Nick24

    A well deserved win. I like how coach Hartly always brings a positive vibe to the team. A crappy lost to the Penguins but a stellar win against the Sharks. Coah of the year right there

  • amaninvan

    It’s time to reward Lance Bouma with a new multi year deal. And a new letter on his Jersey.

    And hey BT…While the pen is out, please shut the trade talk down once and for all by giving Backlund whatever he wants, for as long as he wants, as long as it means he has the Flaming C on his sweater for a long long while.

  • Danomitee

    Never thought I’d say this but we could we play the Sharks a few more times next season? Maybe toss the kings in there too, really anybody but hte ducks

  • amaninvan

    Well well well what’s all this Wolf is good stuff? Haha A far cry from most people scanning the signing last year and shrugging their shoulders.
    I for one am not surprised at all. You combine that size and German work ethic with an edge and a bit of skill? Yeah you’ve got a player.

  • amaninvan

    Time for the Flames to enjoy the day off with their Dads and then go and give it to the Kings who returned from an Eastern Conference road trip…

    Go Flames GO!

  • Craig

    I like wolf, and I thought he had a pretty good game. Definitely an improvement over Bollig, but his skating and conditioning are still a little off. Probably because he hasn’t even been practicing and then jumped right in tonight. Love his tenacity though.

    Let’s hope that Wolf permanently keeps Bolligs spot. Someone has to sit with glencross back and it better be the worst player we have. Bollig actually brings nothing to the team.

  • RedMan

    I’m curious about the ice-time report – seemed coach was able to roll four lines quite consistently. Each of the four lines had great shifts and great pressure.

    • everton fc

      I’ve posted this before, but Ferland’s production has dropped off the face of the earth since he was returned to Addy. I think the same of him; if I’m not mistaken, he’s scored only one point – a lone goal – since he was returned to the farm. That’s not good, and not “him”.

      Any Adirondack fans have any thoughts?

  • mattyc

    maybe unpopular opinion, but I wasn’t very impressed with Wolf. He had one good shift at the beginning of the game, but his (lack of) speed became a liability (see his penalty, where he couldn’t make the blueline on what should have been an easy out of the zone). Bob Harltey also seemed to have agreed with me: Wolf played one shift after the 33rd minute of the game (2 in the entire 2nd half). I think we’ll be seeing Byron back in on thursday.

    Edit: to add something positive, the Backlund-Bouma-Jones line absolutely crushed it last night.

  • PrairieStew

    Looking at those standings – did anyone else notice that Calgary, Vancouver and San Jose all have nearly identical home and road records ? In fact all of them have slightly better road than home records. Home ice might not mean much.

    • Sobueno

      I think the reference in the article was to the fact that we’ve won 3 games in their barn, but you’re right – 4 out of 5 games overall (ie. they beat us in Calgary once)