Post-Game: Back-to-Back Wins!

Tonight’s game had all the marks of a tough one for the Calgary Flames.

Detroit were rested, while Calgary had played the evening before and didn’t get into the Motor City until 2am local time. The Flames had lost David Jones, who had been a key part of their tough-minutes tandem with Lance Bouma and Mikael Backlund, and both Matt Stajan and goalie Jonas Hiller were playing their first games in awhile.

But because this is the 2014-15 edition of the Calgary Flames and this year has been strange fairly consistently, the Flames roared back from a 2-0 first period deficit with five unanswered goals and beat the Red Wings 5-2 at Joe Louis Arena.

They are now 36-25-4 on the season with 17 games remaining.

THE RUNDOWN

The game got off to a poor start. Detroit scored two goals in the first half of the first period, both from the stick of Justin Abdelkader, though one was a power-play goal. Did you know Detroit has the NHL’s best PP? Wanna bet Calgary figured that out pretty quickly? The Flames answered back with a power-play goal of their own at the half-way mark, with Sean Monahan netting his 24th of the season off a beautiful display of patience in the slot – waiting out both Jimmy Howard and two Wings defenders. Shots were 14-7 for the Wings in the first frame.

The Flames came out better in the second period, battling a bit tighter and taking advantage of a rather iffy performance by Jimmy Howard on the night. Six minutes into the period, Matt Stajan jumped on a big bounce a puck took after a Flames dump-in and sniped it past Howard to tie the game. Several minutes later, Hudler displayed his patience, waiting out a defender and then sniping a shot past a confused Howard to give Calgary the lead. Shots were once again tilted towards the home side, this time by a 15-8 rate.

Calgary came into the third in an unfamiliar spot – defending a one-goal lead on the road. Some nice board-work by Drew Shore allowed him to feed Mason Raymond for a nice shot that Howard wasn’t able to glove completely, giving Calgary a 4-2 lead. Jiri Hudler added an empty netter late and the Flames, despite playing their second game in as many nights on the road, recorded their second win in as many nights. The Flames out-shot Detroit 9-6 in the third period.

WHY THE FLAMES WON

Let’s not mince words – Jimmy Howard wasn’t great tonight. However, the Flames once again took what they were given. The power play scored. Outside of the first period, goaltending was excellent. They only allowed a single goal to the NHL’s best power-play. They out-shot an opponent in the third period while trying to hold onto a lead.

All-in-all, they may have been out-shot, but they did their best to stay in this game.

RED WARRIOR

Matt Stajan had a kid a few days ago and then scored the game-winning goal tonight, in his first game since February 20.

Honourable mentions to Jonas Hiller and the black and blue Kris Russell, who continues to be the back end’s heart and soul.

SCORING CHANCES

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Team Period Time Note Home Away State
Home 1 19:43 21 13 21 26 35 52 55 1 7 13 23 24 29 5v5
Away 1 17:52 Ferland 18 20 27 35 41 65 1 7 18 25 29 79 5v5
Home 1 16:56 Abdelkader goal 2 8 28 35 40 72 1 4 6 8 11 13 5v5
Home 1 16:03 DeKeyser 13 21 26 27 35 65 1 7 13 22 29 86 5v5
Home 1 12:10 Abdelkader tip 8 35 40 55 72 90 1 4 6 11 17 5v4
Home 1 11:49 Abdelkader goal 8 35 40 55 72 90 1 4 6 18 86 5v4
Home 1 10:17 15 2 14 15 28 35 90 1 4 6 18 21 22 5v5
Away 1 9:35 Monahan goal 20 35 41 52 55 1 4 6 13 23 24 4v5
Home 1 8:34 Jurco 2 13 21 26 35 52 1 4 6 13 23 24 5v5
Home 1 6:50 Datsyuk 13 14 21 27 35 65 1 3 13 23 25 33 5v5
Home 1 6:39 Nyquist 13 14 21 27 35 55 1 3 13 23 25 33 5v5
Home 1 5:53 Cole 8 27 35 40 65 72 1 7 8 11 17 29 5v5
Home 1 5:29 Tatar 13 21 26 35 52 55 1 4 6 13 23 24 5v5
Away 1 3:43 Ferland tip 2 18 20 28 35 41 1 3 18 25 33 79 5v5
Home 1 3:22 Cole 8 35 40 52 55 72 1 7 13 23 24 29 5v5
Home 2 19:24 Abdelkader tip 8 27 35 40 65 72 1 7 8 11 17 29 5v5
Away 2 18:43 Gaudreau tip 13 21 26 35 52 55 1 4 6 13 23 24 5v5
Home 2 18:20 Tatar 13 21 26 35 52 55 1 4 6 13 23 24 5v5
Home 2 18:16 Tatar 13 21 26 35 52 55 1 4 6 13 23 24 5v5
Home 2 18:02 Jurco 15 21 26 35 52 55 1 4 6 13 22 23 5v5
Home 2 18:00 Tatar 2 15 21 26 28 35 90 1 4 6 13 22 23 6v5
Away 2 17:21 Diaz 20 27 35 41 65 1 7 8 11 21 33 4v5
Home 2 14:43 15 14 15 28 35 65 90 1 7 18 25 29 79 5v5
Away 2 13:58 Stajan goal 13 21 26 35 52 55 1 4 6 13 18 25 5v5
Away 2 6:52 Hudler goal 18 20 35 41 52 55 1 4 6 13 23 24 5v5
Home 2 6:21 Cole tip 8 27 35 40 65 72 1 7 8 11 17 29 5v5
Home 2 4:59 Datsyuk 13 15 21 35 52 55 1 4 6 13 23 24 5v5
Home 2 2:25 Datsyuk 13 21 26 35 52 55 1 7 13 23 24 29 5v5
Home 2 1:39 Nyquist 14 15 27 35 65 90 1 4 6 8 11 17 5v5
Home 2 1:32 Sheahan 14 15 27 35 65 90 1 4 6 8 11 17 5v5
Away 3 18:12 Raymond goal 2 15 26 35 52 90 1 3 21 22 33 86 5v5
Away 3 17:23 Hudler tip 2 20 35 41 55 1 4 6 13 23 24 4v5
Away 3 14:12 Raymond 2 14 21 35 40 55 1 7 21 22 29 86 5v5
Home 3 12:47 Nyquist 13 14 21 27 35 65 1 4 6 8 11 17 5v5
Home 3 12:11 Tatar 2 8 13 21 35 55 1 6 7 13 23 24 5v5
Away 3 10:46 Hudler 15 26 28 35 65 90 1 7 11 17 24 29 5v5
Away 3 6:45 Backlund 13 14 21 35 52 55 1 4 6 8 11 17 5v5
Home 3 2:49 Zetterberg 8 13 15 21 40 65 1 3 13 23 24 29 5v5
Away 3 1:07 Hudler goal 8 13 21 40 55 72 1 3 6 11 13 24 5v5
# Player EV PP SH
1 HILLER, JONAS   10 23   3 0   0 3
3 SCHLEMKO, DAVID 13:01 3 3 00:00 0 0 00:34 0 0
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 22:39 4 11 02:57 2 0 00:36 0 3
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 21:30 5 12 02:57 2 0 02:02 0 3
7 BRODIE, TJ 21:09 3 9 01:33 1 0 01:26 0 0
8 COLBORNE, JOE 16:39 1 7 01:57 1 0 00:00 0 0
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 16:07 3 7 02:21 1 0 01:37 0 1
13 GAUDREAU, JOHNNY 18:21 4 15 02:33 2 0 00:00 0 1
17 BOUMA, LANCE 14:56 2 6 00:00 0 0 01:44 0 1
18 STAJAN, MATT 10:04 3 2 00:00 0 0 00:59 0 1
21 RAYMOND, MASON 10:39 2 1 02:19 1 0 00:00 0 0
22 SHORE, DREW 10:45 2 3 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 1
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 17:01 2 13 02:09 2 0 00:00 0 1
24 HUDLER, JIRI 14:46 4 10 02:11 2 0 00:00 0 0
25 BOLLIG, BRANDON 10:50 3 3 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
29 ENGELLAND, DERYK 18:21 3 9 00:00 0 0 00:34 0 0
33 DIAZ, RAPHAEL 09:21 2 2 01:33 1 0 00:00 0 0
79 FERLAND, MICHAEL 08:56 2 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
86 JOORIS, JOSH 09:25 2 1 00:00 0 0 00:52 0 1
Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 3 12 2 10 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
2 4 11 3 10 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
3 6 3 5 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

ZONE ENTRIES

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SUM IT UP

Against all odds, the Calgary Flames are now guaranteed to come back from their own personal Death Tour with a winning record, having gone 4-2-0 thus far (with wins against New Jersey, Philadelphia, Boston and Detroit). They’re off tomorrow before completing their Brier road trip on Sunday evening against the Ottawa Senators.

They require nine more victories to secure a playoff spot with 17 games remaining.

  • Derzie

    I love the back pressure by all Flames forwards as well as tremendous commitment in the defensive zone. I switched over to the Oiler game. What a difference. Once the puck starts going towards the Oiler end, Eberle, Yakupov, etc completely stop skating and just hope for a turnover.

  • beloch

    Russel had just three blocks tonight, which I suppose can be excused since he accounted for a full third of the team’s blocks in Thursday’s blockfest. He’s probably put on about five pounds in bruises this week!

    Schlemko and Diaz finished well ahead of any other blueliners in possession, thanks to a small number of relatively easy minutes. They can shoulder a bigger burden. Engelland, on the other hand, was absolutely murdered by the top competition he played against and dragged Brodie down in the process. It’s probably time to shuffle the pairs again. Engelland should not be playing more than 10 minutes a night and Brodie needs a partner who isn’t named Derek Engelland.

    • Derzie

      No doubt the skilled puck danglers of Detroit were causing fits for everyone, especially to start. I think after Hartley called that early timeout the forwards really focused on applying back-pressure which really slowed down the Detroit attack.

      Excellent, excellent effort and win for the team. They play inspired.

      • Derzie

        Obviously intelligent hockey coaches and management like Hartley and BT are in total disagreement with yours and Belochs thoughts…..the Flames record speaks for itself…

        • DoubleDIon

          Engelland’s record speaks for itself. Schlemko or Diaz are both better options. Ideally Schlemko as he is a bit heavier.

          You can like the team and coaching staff and still disagree with the odd head scratcher. Engelland isn’t mobile enough to play against top 6 forwards.

    • Styxx

      Beloch…Any thoughts from you around Engelland’s intangibles? Seems like the Flames are having a very successful season…they keep on winning with him in the lineup. Would appreciate your thoughts…please no fancy stats…talk hockey, include chemistry, desire, toughness, leadership, heart……hope I have not overwhelmed you or taken you out of your comfort zone?

      • RedMan

        Can you even describe his “intangibles” bobbyO? Is he a leader on the team? I would say no. What has he done to show heart? Block shots? Not more than anyone else on average. Is he tougher than the other dmen? He likes to go for hits more but I would say it somwtimes puts him our of position. So even without “fancy stats”, the eye test shows that englland should not be playing so many minutes.

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        This debate is getting tiresome. Advanced stats are legit and are here to stay – they’re on the friggin NHL website for crying out loud.

        Did anyone see Hartley’s post game comments? Did you hear the part where he talked about how the Flames are not a good possession team and that is why they have to block a lot of shots? He also said he monitors those possession numbers every day and is completely aware of them and their importance.

        The team knows they have to improve possession metrics and will continue to work at it. Does that mean they cannot win games as a poor possession team? Clearly not based on the year they are having – Hartley has been a big part of that.

        I’ve heard it said by some writers on this site that most coaches do not influence the outcome of the game. I am starting to believe more and more that Hartley is one of the coaches that does. He has not received enough credit this year for what he has done. He has a great pulse on his team – that timeout last night was perfectly timed. Schlemko in the shootout is just another example

        Bob knew what he had to work with this year and he came up with a team plan that would allow them to be competitive despite poor possession. Then he got his leadership group to buy in and pull the rest of the team along. His plan includes:

        – Shot blocking – Counter attack with speed – Penalty infraction minimization -Drawing penalties with speed – Top of the league physical conditioning allowing for more energy late in games – Healthy competition and effective use of two competent goaltenders – oh and work yer friggin tail off!

        This list is not exhaustive but has been effective. The difference between Calgary and other poor possession teams is the list above and the teams willingness to stick to the game plan. I give Hartley a ton of credit for this.

        #HartleyforJackAdams

  • Derzie

    Sam Bennett scored an empty net goal and garnered an assist as Kingston came from behind from 2-1 with 3 unanswered goals in the third period to win 4-2.

    Sam Bennett now has 8 point (4-4) in 4 games since being sent to Kingston…

  • Jeremy

    Just wondering Ryan, your 9 more win comment. Is that a guarantee or a supposition?
    Do 2 ties equal a win? Are you saying we need 94 points? or do we need more? I think we’re in a dogfight and need not to think of minimums. There’s a lot of hockey left.

  • DoubleDIon

    FAR HARDER TO CRACK FLAMES’ LINEUP IN 2015-16 THAN 2014-15

    Wow, another gutsy win against Detroit, a really good team. To get 96 points Calgary needs to go 10-7 for the balance of the season–9 are at home, 8 on the road. There are some very winnable games including Toronto, Edmonton,Columbus and Arizona. They also play Dallas and Colorado twice who by the time Calgary meet them will likely have extremely low playoff chances.

    Looking ahead, my guess is Shore, Ferland and Poirier are going to rotate in and out of the lineup for the balance of the season. They add size, skill and energy even if they are prone to rookie mistakes. If that statement’s true, an amazing total of seven rookies will have had significant ice time at forward this year (Shore, Poirier, Ferland, Gaudreau, Jooris, Granlund). That total does not count shorter cups of coffee (Wolf, Reinhart, Knight , and the Baertschi fiasco).

    If 2014-15 was a year of great fluidity, with numerous roster spots up for grabs, I think 2015-16 will be almost the opposite. Here is how I see the 15-16 depth chart: Center–Monahan, Bennett, Backlund, Shore; Left Wing–Gaudreau, Raymond, Bouma, Ferland; Right Wing–Hudler, Jones, Colborne, Jooris/ Poirier.
    While my rankings may be debatable and shift, I don’t see many of these players being displaced. Byron and Stajan have their use. I don’t see that Bollig fits particularly as Ferland matures.

    On D the top four are set: Gio, Brodie, Russell and Wideman. Engelland stays to protect the smaller players and he’s signed for three years. I suspect Wotherspoon finally gets his legitimate shot next year. I’d love to see Calgary pick up a strong number three-four in free agency or by trade at the draft. Schlemko has looked solid in this three games so far. He was up to over 13 minutes against Detroit–Hartley is putting more trust in him. He may be a good 6-7.

    If my analysis is correct, Bennett, hopefully Wotherspoon and a fresh # 3-4 D are the new players we see next year, with perhaps Ortio in goal. In other words, the team we are seeing in the later stages of this season is fairly close to the team we see next year with a few tweaks.

    I like its composition. It has speed, size, physicality. We are much closer than at the beginning of this season to having the size to play an Anaheim or LA, the speed to deal with a Chicago except if your name is Ryan Lambert. Goaltending should remain solid. As the players like Monahan, Bennett, Poirier and Gaudreau mature, we could be a threat to win a round or two of playoffs as early as next year.

    Any thoughts?

    • DoubleDIon

      I can’t really disagree with what you said…..a year of stability after a year of change.

      I think Stajan stays…may be Shore replaces Colborne at RW (trade Joe), Wotherspoon makes the team…

    • I like where your going with this. I would suggest a stronger emphasis towards building the defensive depth. That would start at the draft table but I also see a selective swapping of assets to make this happen…Moveable assets Colborne, Jones, Byron, Reinhart, Diaz, Hiller (if Ramo signs)….

      I also see the addition of a star forward in order to compliment the rebuild and this will involve a combination of trading assets, drafts and perhaps taking on a bad contract. This player along with the current foundation will be the springboard to a sustained playoff run in future years….

      • RedMan

        This seems more likely, though @calgarycandle not too different… I totally agree the focus needs to be enhancing our D and upgrading to elite level on the wings. That could be just 2-3 specific players added along with many of the current players we’re seeing today.

        We have lots of depth, with more coming from college and the Junior ranks. Of the potentially elite-level adds in 2015-16 the only ones I see next year are likely Bennett, Ortio and Poirier. Of the potentially very strong players I think may make it next year are Granlund, Arnold, Wolf and Wotherspoon. Beyond that we have a glut of players that could also come and be good players but likely not impact players, at least not at this point. These would include Selloff, Culkin, Reinhart, Agostino, Van Brabant, Hanowski and I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few.

        Coming into Stockton next year are likely Klimchuck, Gillies, Carroll, Jankowski, Smith, Hickey(?), Rafikov, Kulak, Mattson(?), Ramage, Roy and Deblouw.

        Beyond that we’ve currently got 10 picks in a very strong draft to add to the system, and I suspect/hope we’ll add to that number with more trades coming up, or bundle several players for specific upgrades around the draft. Either way, we’ve got a lot of new bodies coming and a glut already here. Something will have to give, and the Flames have a bunch potentially moveable, including Byron, McGratton, Jones, Stajan, Colborne, Diaz, Smid, Engelland, and either Hiller/Ramo.

        With the current level of players, systems and coaching we probably have a good shot at playoffs next year just adding Bennett and Poirier over a full season, but to go from there we’ve got to add better quality for our current quantity. Of names that have been kicking around out there as available I’m thinking someone like a Kessell from Toronto who is a good age fit and definitely elite-level talent and speed. Of course attitude and lacklustre defensive coverage being a minus. I’m sure there are others out there, though none come to mind off-hand. On D there are several higher-end UFAs potentially, i.e. Boychuk.

        All together I think next year will be very busy, probably even more so than this year, which started last summer with a raft of vet signings that I don’t think we’ll be doing again this upcoming summer. Its time to clear out some vets and bring in some more of our youth.

        • beloch

          With Bruins signing Krug & Smith, I have no idea how they are going to manage their Cap. As our players mature, we need to keep valuable cap space available for our own homegrown players. One player I think could add to our forwards is Erickson. Reasonable hit & would really add to our top 6. He could be a valuable piece to any playoffs next year & I don’t think his price tag would be that bad. Wonder what Boychuk would want, would he come for Wideman type of money? Him & Erickson & Bennett, Porrier would make this team a lot better.

          • Bean-counting cowboy

            Would be careful on Erickson…likely yesterdays news. His goal-scoring has steadily declined over 5 seasons from peaking at 36 (08-09) and 29 (09-10) in back-to back years, to 10 goals in 61 games last year and 19 goals projected to the end of this year.

            Really no difference between Erickson and Jones, they’re both the same age (29 and 30), with Jones playing a harder forechecking game more in style with the Flames.

            Raymond plays the same sniper role as Erickson, and projects out at 25 goals this season.. 6 more than Erickson.

            We may be better off growing our own rather than looking outside as we have in the past. Flames are currently 11th place in Goals For this year, and adding Poirier etc plus further development of others like Bouma (12G!) would be a better approach?

            Following are the full 82 game goal production totals of the younger roster players who may have room for further growth:
            Monahan – 30 goals; Gaudreau – 21; Jooris – 19; Backlund – 16; Bouma – 16; Granlund – 11; Colborne – 10;

    • RedMan

      Although I agree generally I think we’re likely to see a handful of trades this summer as the team continues to deal with the extra bodies we have, not to mention the glut of RFAs on the farm and the influx of new players into Stockton. I would expect 6-8 players potentially changing by Christmas this year…

  • Styxx

    If the Flames decide they want to add an experienced defencemen capable of filling the 3-5 slot the following UFAs who may fit this bill are available this July:

    Johhny Boychuk, Paul Martin, Christian Ehrhoff, Barrett Jackman, Mike Green, Francois Beauchemin, Johnny Oduya, Anton Volchenkov, Cody Franson, Bryce Salvador, Chris Butler (just kidding!)

    They would all likely cost $4-6M and want 3-6 year deals.

    • RedMan

      Literally none of those players interest me. They’re all either declining, overrated, or Cody Franson.

      My argument against Boychuk is the same as it was this summer: He’ll help, but for how long? At what cost?

  • JC333

    Why is it that when a team wins when they are behind, people always say” scored unanswered goals”?

    Sportsnet headline: “Flames score 5 unanswered goals to rally past the Red Wings”

    Does this mean that they were never expected to comeback after a 2-0 deficit?
    Don’t they know the 2014-2015 Calgary Flames yet?

    • All it means is that they scored 5 in succession. An “answer” would be when the other team responded with a goal (or more) of their own.

      It doesn’t have anything to do with if they were behind or not, although that’s usually when it’s brought up because it shows that they were down at one point (implying they weren’t playing well) but turned it on and performed a comeback (started playing better compared to the other team).