Post-Game: Game 6 (Or Crazy Town)

The Calgary Flames punched their ticket to the second round in a highly-entertaining Game 6 against the Vancouver Canucks in the Scotiabank Saddledome! The final score was 7-4, but in so, so many ways, that doesn’t begin to reflect how crazy this game actually was.

The Flames are off until Monday now, when they’ll begin to prepare to face the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Semi-Finals.

THE RUNDOWN

If something could go wrong for the Flames in the first half of the first period. They generated a bunch of chances in the first couple minutes, but couldn’t bury anything and seemed to get a bit flat after the initial adrenaline dump. Then, just 2:36 in, the Canucks scored off a ginormous rebound from Jonas Hiller. A Chris Higgins shot was saved, but Brandon McMillan buried the rebound to make it 1-0. Following an uneven Flames power-play, the Canucks went in on a 2-on-2 rush; Calgary’s defenders got crossed-up, and Jannik Hansen scored with a wrister to make it 2-0. That spelled the end of Jonas Hiller’s night, but not the end of the onslaught: with Sam Bennett in the box for slashing, Radim Vrbata tapped in a gorgeous cross-zone pass from Daniel Sedin to make it 3-0.

It was 10 minutes of the most tentative, shaky Flames hockey I’ve seen all year: bad passes, bad penalties, bad defensive play and an inability to bury chances.

Michael Ferland scored late in the period off a turnover by Luca Sbisa to Matt Stajan, and Stajan’s pass found Ferland on an odd-man rush to make it 3-1 at the end of the first. Shots were 9-7 Calgary in the opening frame.

The second period was wild. Wild in the sense that Calgary was quite good in the offensive zone, when they got there, but still a bit sloppy in their own end. The good news is that the Flames tied up the game fairly rapidly. Just a minute into the period, off a Canucks icing Sean Monahan won a draw and went to the net. The initial chance by Hudler was stopped but Monahan knocked in the rebound to make it 3-2. A few minutes later, Jiri Hudler found Johnny Gaudreau at the side of the Canucks net with a gorgeous pass for the tap-in to tie it up at 3-3.

However, the shaky, shaky play continued. After the Monahan goal, the Flames began a period-long tendency of being completely, entirely unable to clear the zone. Yes, even when they had the puck on their stick. The Flames burned their time-out on one such instance, and they just kept doing it all period long. One such instance led to a tired bunch unintentionally screening Ramo, who was beat by a wrist shot with eyes from the point by Lusa Sbisa to make it 4-3. The Flames had chances to tie it up again, including a few on a power-play where they never really got a zone set up but kept creating chances off the rush. But alas, they went into the locker room down a goal after 40. Shots were 11-9 Calgary in the middle period of regulation.

The Flames began the third in much the same manner they spent the bulk of the second: in their own zone, trying desperately to muster a clean zone exit. However, they did end up generating some rushes. On one such rush, the physical play of the Hudler line generated a Nick Bonino penalty, which resulted in Calgary’s first power-play goal of the game – and the game-tying marker. Gaudreau had a scoring chance that Ryan Miller completely bit on, allowing Hudler to calmly roof the rebound to tie the game. The remainder of the period was back-and-forth, with the Flames finally breaking through five minutes left, as Matt Stajan jammed home a rebound following a Michael Ferland scoring chance to give Calgary a slim 5-4 lead. The Canucks pulled Ryan Miller and attempted to tie it up, but the Flames added a pair of empty netters – from Jiri Hudler and Michael Ferland – to skate away with a massive 7-4 comeback win at home.

Shots were 13-6 Calgary in the final frame (and 33-22 overall in favour of the locals).

WHY THE FLAMES WON

Because, like so many times this crazy season, the Flames simply kept coming at the Canucks. They did not play a complete 60 minutes, but they kept attacking and attacking the Canucks – both physically and with the puck – and wore them down over the course of the game.

By the time the game ended, the Flames were rolling four lines and two defensive pairings and outside of the top line, were completely content to grind the Canucks down to size and fight them in the muck.

RED WARRIOR

Goodness, a lot of players did well.

  • Karri Ramo came in and was rock-solid in relief.
  • Matt Stajan was 59% in the face-off circle and scored the series-clinching goal.
  • David Jones had three assists!
  • Michael Ferland had two goals and three points!
  • Sean Monahan had three points, as did Johnny Gaudreau!

Y’know what? Let’s go with Jiri Hudler, who had a pair of goals and a pair of assists and really sparked the top line.

THE GAME IN TWEETS

SCORING CHANCES

Coming soon!

SUM IT UP

The Calgary Flames, who made the playoffs on a wing and a prayer, are off tomorrow. Then? They get ready for the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and what’ll likely be another multi-game war with the very talented Anaheim Ducks.

We’ll have more breaking down this round and setting up the next match-up coming very soon.

  • Frank Miron

    Congrats Flames! What a game to have the top line return to the drive they finished with in the regular season. They generated 10 POINTS in this game alone!

    Nice going Matty! We hope to see more of the same in the next series.

  • MattyFranchise

    And we have a new Eliminator (hopefully). Stajan’s first NHL Playoff goal is also the series winner. I can’t think of a more deserving player than Stajan to have that happen to.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    Raymond has to sit for Byron. Bollig (what a waste) has to sit for Bouma. Hartley is a magician. The war between analytics and intangibles seems to go on forever the closer we get to the Stanley Cup. Today’s comeback is the best game of hockey I’ve seen in a dog’s age. Unlikely heros spring from the most unlikeliest of places. From battles against sobriety to untimely deaths in the family, and the captain trying to fix a torn bicep before schedule. A coach that is so Zen he must have studied public relations under Bruce Lee. Are Getzlaf and Perry and Kesler any worse than the Creepy Twins and Vrbata? Perhaps. 44 years as a Flames fan who used to wear a Willi Plett jersey in the coral. As oil prices slump and the Saddledome breaks down I see a fan base that rivals no other rink on the NHL. Kudos to this website that keeps us all on the straight and narrow. No pandering, the writers here lay the facts bare, which only makes our trip to Disneyland’s magic kingdom all that more surreal. Go Flames Go. Good work Flames Nation. Oh yeah, the deadbeat in Atlanta that interjects once in awhile can burn in a ring of fire.

    • MontanaMan

      You lost me at “Bolig is a waste”….he only brings leadership, toughness, grit and confidence to our younger players…..you cannot win with 12 pretty forwards….chemistry is critical….I assume you are also an England trasher….too bad you don’t appreciate what it takes to win in the NHL let alone the playoffs….

    • Franko J

      Absolutely Nick. Bollig has been integral to the flames success. His five minutes every game watching Ferland surpass him as an uninitiated rookie made all the difference. Pardon my memory, but did he even drop the gloves? Stajan threw more punches than him. You like Bollig, and I think that is sweet, but he won’t help us beat the ducks.

      • Franko J

        I’ll go with Harley’s decision to play Bolig his 5 minutes…after all they are advancing to the 2nd round of the NHL playoffs with him in the lineup…geez I winder why the best coach in the NHL continues to play him?? ….yes too bad he doesn’t drop his gloves as you suggest and hurt his team in a critical playoff game…..

    • Burnward

      Absolutely Nick. Bollig has been integral to the flames success. His five minutes every game watching Ferland surpass him as an uninitiated rookie made all the difference. Pardon my memory, but did he even drop the gloves? Stajan threw more punches than him. You like Bollig, and I think that is sweet, but he won’t help us beat the ducks.

  • RKD

    Wow! Great win, though my impending heart attack would appreciate a little less drama in the win.

    In a game where there were so many great moments, I would also like to give kudos to the unsung hero of this series, Matt Stajan.

    I admit to being one of the people who thought it was his time to go at the trade deadline, and I will now admit that I was totally WRONG.

    Great series by Staj.

    Would also like to mention one moment that even Ryan forgot to touch on that was absolutely VITAL to the win tonight.

    How about huge props for Ramo’s stick check on the Sedin breakaway with the flames up by one goal.

    Stellar play by Ramo.

    Enjoy this night guys, you all deserve it!

  • MontanaMan

    Congrats guys! Great game last night, and a very emotional win. Spotting the Sedin’s a 3-0 lead, then pulling it out from under them was a great way to move on.

    Good luck in round 2.

    GO FLAMES GO!

  • Burnward

    My favourite part about this team is how they are doing it.

    Respect is earned, never given.

    I think this morning these boys have earned plenty of it. And about damn time after that ridiculousness all season with Corsi, PDO etc.

    Go Flames Go!!!!

    Hungover, but proud as hell!!!

    • Like you I get a little frustrated during the season when there is so much emphasis judging players based on stats that really have stood the consistency test. I especially hated when a guy like Lambert spins it into a weekly negative troll session against a team I have more passion for than he does in his writing. But there were several times last night where we just couldn’t get possession of that puck or get that puck out of our end. I love the courage of our team & how they achieved so far this year & hope there are even more achievements in store for the next round. I will not sell this team short on anything this year. One thing I do agree with Kent & Ryan is that if we want to become that perennial powerhouse contender, we have to be better at possessing the puck. You know what, who cares right now, this team is in the 2nd year of their rebuild, we didn’t sacrifice anything to go on this playoff run, in fact we sold a piece. That’s the freaky thing, we added extra picks to a great draft coming up & even better is we have had some young players step up that how do we not pencil in guys like Bennett & Ferland in our starting lineup next year. But we have some nice shiny prospects we can use with some of these extra picks that maybe we can move up this draft & get us another real nice shiny piece. This playoff run is going to give BT some phenomenal options going forward. So yes the writers on this site are right, next year our expectations should include a better possession game. I think they are on the right track to do it. Cant wait for next round!!!!!

      • Burnward

        I don’t dislike the stats, I should say up front. They’re a good analysis tool.

        But when a team has success all year playing the same system, it’s hard to hear the same story reiterated.

        Hartley put in place a collapse and counter style based on the strength of their talent.

        Their collective heart and will makes up for a couple shots a game.

        This is a good hockey TEAM.

        Go Flames Go!!!

        • RKD

          I agree with you in that sense. It pisses me off when Lambert only points to their Corsi and PDO and says that they’re not a very good team. All stats advocates I’ve heard from say that analytics is just another evaluation tool for players, but that you should still watch the game and use the ‘eye-test’. Its clear that Lambert doesn’t watch the Flames’ games, he just looks at the box score at the end of the night, and writes his weekly article based on that.

          People who present analytics like Kent, Ari, Ryan, Taylor, Byron, etc. do are people who I’ll always be willing to listen to, even though I may not always agree with them. They are fans and commentators that love the game and want another way to view the events of a hockey game. That enthusiasm and innovation should be admired, not scorned or ridiculed.

          My 2 cents.

          What a game, I heard Steinberg on OT and I agree 100% with him: The Flames MVP in this series was TJ Brodie!!

          • RKD

            I completely agree with you. I absolutely welcome and appreciate people/writers with different opinions that bring up their concerns. Especially if it was something I hadn’t thought about. If that person offers an issue and a solution, then there can be an intelligent discussion about the issue. All of the other writers do this on a regular basis, except for Lambert. This is where Lambert fails every single time and what infuriates me beyond belief.

            Lambert spouts off the exact same drivel and insults Flames fan for cheering on a hard working, exciting team that has a lot of heart. But he fails to offer any intelligent insight into issues and provide any suitable solutions. Well unless you call tanking and developing a losing culture a solution (which is an absurd suggestion). Even in that situation he fails to explain why tanking would be beneficial over creating a winning culture, drafting properly and developing young talent.

            Losing teams can’t just magically turn on a winning switch and suddenly be good after years of playing poorly. The best example is Edmonton. I don’t need to go into much detail there, we all know their 1st overall draft picks haven’t helped the team. And the constant losing has created a toxic environment that has been exceptionally difficult to fix. A more recent example is LA. While not terrible by any means, they did however coast by during the season. Then when it came to turn on this magical winning switch, they were unable to do so. Resulting in the Flames and the Jets both taking playoff spots over the defending Stanley Cup Champions.

            It’s hard to take anyone serious that clearly doesn’t watch the games he’s reporting on. Stats can be very helpful, but they have to be used in conjunction with other metrics to be effective in telling the whole story. Two stats don’t dictate whether a team is going to win or lose during the current season or the next. It doesn’t matter how many times Lambert writes the same insulting articles about the Flames, he’s still wrong. Repetition of the subject just makes him look insane.

            My point is, the Flames have done an amazing thing in only two years of rebuilding. They should be celebrated for doing incredibly well and developing their prospects properly. Something the Flames lacked for decades. Now that the organization accepted scouting, drafting and youth developments was a serious issue, they’ve been able to take steps to fix that problem. With absolutely wonderful success. It’s a testament to how effective and important that area is in the NHL. Sure there are areas the Flames can still improve, that doesn’t make them a bad team, like Lambert continually tells us. Just enjoy what the Flames have done in this wonderful season. The Future is incredibly bright for them!

            Go Flames Go!!

            /Rant Over/
            Apollo

        • Burnward

          I meant to say above when the Stats have “not” withstood the consistency test. I guess the point is, we shouldn’t be going on now about how the possession game sucks while we are in the middle of success. I think the stats & possession topics will be more embraced & reasonably discussed in the summer. & yes, what you say is correct. Hartley has devised a game plan that was best suited to help achieve the success of what was perceived as a team full of unproven rookies & yeoman place holding veterans. Yes this is a good hockey Team & when we start possessing the puck more than any opposition we play, we are going to be a powerhouse.

  • Franko J

    Just read this line from the Vancouver Province…

    Best Ferland quote yet…

    “Who needs defense in the playoffs? Or forwards supporting the break out? Over rated. Give me blind passed through the middle any day of the week.”

    “If you’ll excuse me, I need to have a little cry in the corner for a bit, where I expect to be hit by Michael Ferland.”

    from off the Stanchion Post game review in the Vancouver Province

  • Avalain

    Way to go Flames!

    As well as moving on to the next round to meet Anaheim, I like the other benefit that the 2nd rounder from Vancouver for Sven B is locked into the ~ 48-52 range by the Flames themselves. I hope Washington is dropped by NYI so Glencross’s pick is in the same range.

    Go Flames Go… Yah Baby!

  • The GREAT Walter White

    Another great stat: the GREAT WW was easily the drunkest human being in Calgary last night! even too drunk to post on FN…

    Did anyone else notice that “clutch” Backlund was a -2 last night in a 7-4 victory?
    Or do we just comment on how great his possession numbers are?

    WW

  • The GREAT Walter White

    The thing that makes this victory that much sweeter is knowing that Ryan Lambert was wrong again! Never in the history of the sport has there been a writer so completely out of touch with the team he is supposed to be following. I’ve never seen someone be so consistently wrong about everything. Statistically, he should have gotten something right by now. But that’s okay, he can keep writing those atrocious smear articles about the Flames and I’ll keep laughing at the idea that he thinks he knows anything about hockey.

    GO FLAMES!! My prediction: the Flames take the series in 6 or 7.

    • Burnward

      Not really. Colorado had a decent playoffs too, they just lost in 7 games to a really good Wild team. It was only until this year where they fell back down to earth.

      • MattyFranchise

        I posted this over at oilers nation. It applies here too:

        No, what I am suggesting is that the comparisons between this years Flames and Toronto/Colorado didn’t make much sense to me after the midpoint of the season and it doesn’t make sense to me now.

        Are the Flames getting lucky? Probably. Are there other underlying factors that contribute to their success? Most definitely. Does anyone know what they are? It seems not since because all anybody seems to say is ‘well look at Colorado and Toronto, they lucked into the playoffs.’

        This comparison that people keep throwing out just remind me of the people that are so into the stats movement that they probably just look at spreadsheets instead of watching the games (ie Ryan Lambert).

        All I’m saying is that the Flames are different than the Leafs or the Avalanche just like the Avalanche and Leafs were different teams than each other in their respective seasons of unreasonable success (ie full season vs lockout season).

        Anyway, I am a big stats guy, I’m very interested in the information that they provide. I just refuse to chalk up a team’s good season (when it shouldn’t have been) to just pure luck. Because seriously, the Flames just lucked themselves into eliminating the Stanley Cup champions, getting a divisional spot, and then beat an evenly matched team in the Canucks to get into the second round.

        Quite frankly, I am getting a little tired of hearing about luck.

  • MWflames

    Wow, just remebered we haven’t seen playoff bouma yet! He deserves playoff games as much as anybody (inc gio) on this team. I bet he’d be similarly physical as ferland in the playoffs…

  • karimeeloranta,

    Deadbeat from Atlanta here hoping you are well. I usually go into the office on Sundays after church and have a little downtime so I decided to respond. How are you? Recovering from a hangover perhaps? I think I will call you Solid Citizen and you can call me deadbeat. Deal?

    If you think being a fan of a team for 43 years, 35 of which are from 2000+ miles away is easy, by all means give it a go. It was especially difficult in the 20 years between them moving and the advent of the internet. But, you are free to do so and I hope you can and will stand the test of time.

    I have been arguing not against stats, but for the team, this team especially. And for that, some person named Justin banned me from the site. No foul language or ad hominem attacks mind you, I simply did not agree with his analysis and the general tone of this site. For that, banishment for me.

    So be it. I have seen much in my life all over the world, much of it not of a good nature.

    The constant negativity here combined with an overwhelming sense that they must be right because “look at the numbers!” left me wondering what team and what game they were watching.

    I pity them actually. I have enjoyed this team and this game for most of my life and I will continue to do so.

    Kudos to the crowd last night for getting behind the boys! Kudos to the boys themselves for never stopping and always listening to their coaches and themselves, not the pundits and the “experts”. Kudos to the city of Calgary for supporting this team. . .I wish to this day my city had supported them better. Kudos to me for never leaving this team. . .Semper Fi! And kudos to you for being a fan.

    Back to work for me. . .that is, after all, what us deadbeats do.

    Be well all. Go Flames!

  • RKD

    I can’t think of a better experience for our young players than this. Having this winning culture in the dressing room, we can look forward to some amazing years. These young guys are not only learning how to win, they are leading the way!

  • MattyFranchise

    I find it fascinating that those who swear off this site and then attack the writers continue to chime in time and time again. “Never again, except this once.” Uh yeah, only a handful of us have work or religious commitments or other personal sacrifices unfamiliar to the rest of the fanbase.

    Ludicrous and smug.

    This is being posted from Kuwait, a hard place to watch a hockey game. I think this website does a great job at offering readers in-depth analysis of the team that mainstream media gloss over. I don’t see the need to tear down the writer’s efforts; go somewhere else if you want to wave the pom-poms.

    Bollig. Yes, we need more of him with Engeland manning the point.

  • karimeeloranta,

    You are the one who began to call people names. . .I still have yet to call you anything except Solid Citizen.

    I never implied that I was the only one with any commitments; I was responding to your characterization of me as a deadbeat.

    Ludicrous and smug is, I think, an apt characterization.

    I have been to Kuwait too. . .many other places also. What do you want? A medal?

    This site banned me for disagreeing with an opinion. In my book, that is worth a response or two, perhaps more. . .sorry if you do not like that.

    In closing, enjoy yourself and I wish you well. Call me whatever you wish.

    I will continue to respond whenever I feel like it if you do not mind. If you do? Well. . .

    Be well all and Go Flames!

  • McRib

    Honestly the reason why the Sedins advanced stats looked so good this series is because Hartley coached our players to play them to the outside. In game five no Flames player would chase the Sedins in the defensive zone and just let them pass it around the parameter all game. It looked like the Sedins dominated all game then they flashed the shot totals on the screen and I almost laughed after getting “dominated” for a period the Flames were out shooting Vancouver heavily in the third. This is where a basic advanced stat like possession fails, everyone in the league knows the Sedins can’t penetrate the middle, let them pass it around outside and don’t chase which will open up ice for them to feed a teammate.

    • Please don’t take this for adoration because I dislike watching the Sedins as much as the next Flames fan but they are pretty incredible. I am in awe of how they just know where each other are at all times and they can put the puck on the stick of almost any player they play with. It is really that player that is the issue and how they can’t seem to think as fast or be ready when the puck arrives. I am surprised they stopped sending Vrbata out with them. He seemed to have great chemistry.

      The Sedins dominated when they were out there and without some big saves or a few good sticks in the way it could have gone another way.