Looking For Positives From Game 1

Well, the Calgary Flames got fed their own lunch last night at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks. They lost 6-1. The game was never close.

So, what positives can be gleaned from such a one-sided butt-kicking?

  • Both Matt Stajan and Mikael Backlund matched up well in terms of face-offs against Rickard Rakell. Stajan went 5-for-6 and Backlund went 3-for-5. It’s a start.
  • In terms of match-ups against Anaheim’s top two centers? Josh Jooris out-dueled Ryan Getzlaf (albeit in 3 draws) while Stajan drew even with him. Nobody managed better than a tie against Ryan Kesler, and Monahan got his proverbial head kicked in. Lesson? Maybe try to give Monahan easy draws or lots of offensive zone starts.
  • Score effects are still score effects, but Tyler Wotherspoon and David Schlemko got a regular shift for once. Wotherspoon played 14:32, easily the most he’s played this season, while Schlemko got 15:37. It evened out the wear and tear on the top four, and got Wotherspoon some reps in.
  • Josh Jooris played 17 minutes!
  • Sam Bennett scored another goal!
  • Again, score effects, but Wotherspoon and Schlemko both were in the black in terms of Corsi For, both at +7 on the game at even-strength.

And, uh, hey, there’s a chance that two guys that wouldn’t normally get into a playoff game will get to draw in if/when Hudler and Ferland can’t go for Game 2. Opportunity comes in many forms, and we’ll see if somebody takes advantage of this chance in Game 2 (if it comes to be that way).

Yes, I am completely aware that I am grasping at straws here.

  • RexLibris

    Have the Flames announced anything in terms of updates on Ferland, Hudler and Gaudreau?

    There was a lot of speculation during the broadcast about injuries.

  • prendrefeu

    I re-watched the game in full. I gotta say, if Jooris was able to put that early breakaway in the back of the net the Flames would have had a bit more of an edge and that might have swung emotions early on. Still though, Anaheim is a really strong team – this is nothing new, they’re certainly on a course to go far – and I hope the Flames can make the rest of the series competitive.

    Haven’t lost faith, never have all season, never will.

    Go Flames Go!

    • Parallex

      By the eye test, Backlund actually carried the play on a lot of his shifts. The shots he managed were by playing his way through the competition.

      I wish there was more positive stuff I could say. Bennett scoring was nice to break the shutout. Spoon playing 14 minutes was great for having another option. Johnny had flashes of brilliance (and miscues), but his support was lacking at times.

      Of the Bollig, Jooris, Shore line, only Jooris seemed to be getting anywhere, though Shore had a few good-ish shifts.

      Time to shelter the Johnny/Mony line, and if Hudler is out for game 2, play Jones or bring in Poirier to help add some grit. Another option would be Arnold, since Johnny knew his game. That gives you some toughness to help Johnny’s line make some progress, and add a RHS option at center.

      Probably over-thinking this, but Hartley needs to look at the matching that had success and adapt. Johnny spent the 3rd period studying the game, though he was burning inside.

  • First Name Unidentified

    The biggest positive to come out of this series (not just game 1) is that will give the Flames management a very good idea as to what the missing pieces are to make this a world-beating team. Certainly the D needs beefing up.

    GFG

    • Parallex

      I don’t expect much better results next game & I would hazard a bet that Flames win one at home & lose the other in a 1 goal affair. But it doesn’t matter. Whatever happens I am proud of the accomplishments of this team. We came into this year a bottom 5 team with lots of young players with potential. We are currently amongst 8 teams left competing for the Stanley Cup in May. What we learn from this is how much we have accomplished this year & how far we have left to go after year 2 of our rebuild. Treliving’s job is far from done. I also think it shows that Vancouver has regressed back to where Calgary have progressed to, but both teams would have trouble getting by the Ducks or Chicago, Minny or St Louis for that matter.

  • Parallex

    Positives… uh… nobody died?

    In all seriousness the only positive I think we can take from it is that the Flames should now have an idea on what doesn’t work… which isn’t as good as having an idea on what does but is still something.

    Couple thoughts on what might/should happen for game 2…

    1: Having now been pulled two games in a row I think we’ll see someone other then Hiller start a game.

    2: Whatever match-ups Hartley was trying for before will undoubtably be changed as much as is possible without last change, may even see the lines go into a blender even if the day-to-day guys can play (less likely).

    What’s done is done, time to regroup/rethink/plan and move on. GFG.

  • Parallex

    Last night was a great example where “skill AND size” dominates “skill only”.

    Two or three players injured or fearful of getting hurt, sheer size and aggressiveness dominating with little push-back and cheap stick-checks…it was painful to watch the Flames getting manhandled like skilled no-hit pee wees at a AAA midget game with contact.

    While the Flames are built around skill and speed, and team philosophies seem to be moving in that direction, skill and size is still how most contending teams are comprised eg. LAK, SJS, ANA, STL, CHI, BOS, NYR.

    The Flames’ have developed most of their skill core group. In order to compete with other cup-contenders we will likely see additional emphasis on hard-to-find skill and size players, with Hunter Smith, Kanzig, Carroll, and other 6’2″+ players being added to supplement Bouma, Ferland and Shore.

  • Parallex

    The positive that I saw was that every aspect of their game was bad. Nothing worse than nights when the goalie is great, but rest of the team is sub-par (i.e. Game 5 against Vancouver). Those games seem to come back to haunt a team in the next few games.

  • MonsterPod

    It’s nice to see the comments here recognizing the need for size — some size, that surrounds skill. If you can get both in one player, so much the better.

    When BB got here, he said the Hitmen were bigger than the Flames. This was my main problem with Feaster — he shipped out Regher and JBow on the back end and brought back Billins, Russell, and Cundari. That’s absurd.

    (Of course, we all love Russell)

    Now that we’re in the playoffs, size plays even more of a factor. If we don’t want to pursue the Anaheim, LA, or St. Louis model, then we can angle towards Chicago.

    (Monahan and Johnny are obviously closer to Toews and Kane, than to Getzlaf and Perry)

    But Seabrook is a beast. Backes and him were like two juggernauts last year round one. We need to bring size into our top 4 — that’s a top priority.

    (Oh, Johnny Boychuk. How I wish you didn’t sign on the island)

    I’m glad Baertschi is gone — talented but small.

    I think Granlund is also on the way out — same deal.

    I’m glad we drafted Poirier instead of Shinkaruk.

    And I’m still hoping to see Seiloff progress.

    Anyway, still a chance to steal one on Sunday. Hopefully the Ducks take us lightly and we make them pay.

    GFG

    • Parallex

      Agree the Flames need add blend size/skill players to complement their elite skill players.

      Also agree re Baertschi, Granlund …unless a smaller skill player has Elite or at least Top 6 talent then don’t get too attached to them as they can only be considered as replacement-level place-holders.

      Am looking forward to seeing the Flames develop additional skilled players who bring size, skating, sandpaper and hockey sense. For example how about 3-4 more Bouma’s and Ferland’s who can score 12-20 goals, play a heavy game and support our elite talent, with a couple on the D-line as well.

      And just to be clear am not meaning goons who are slow, poor skaters, rudimentary skill etc eg John Scott