Panthers 4, Flames 3 post-game embers: Woof

I don’t know what it was – whether it was an earlier game than normal, the general lacking atmosphere in Florida, or the fact it was a game between two bad teams – but last night’s game was kind of a dud overall. The Flames lost a game they could have won, and that was that.

Can’t let them get this close

The Panthers outshot and out-corsied the Flames, all the while getting better goaltending. But the Flames have something they need to focus on when it comes to defending, and that’s not giving guys opportunities from right within the crease.

HockeyStats.ca now has shot charts for each game. Here’s the breakdown of where each team’s scoring chances (defined as within the “home plate” area extending out from the net and to the faceoff dots, in the shape of baseball’s home plate). It’s not perfect, but it’s a pretty good illustration of what happened:

scoring chances cgy fla

Both teams had their fair share of chances, but the Panthers had far more dangerous ones. David Jones’ second goal doesn’t even count from within the home plate area (though he was just outside of it).

All four of the Panthers’ goals came from in there, though. Through a combination of bad goaltending and bad defence, the Panthers were frequently able to get up in Karri Ramo’s face and/or crease, and that’s something that can’t happen.

An NHL goaltender is better than this

The loss wasn’t entirely on Ramo, but he certainly didn’t help matters. He had no control whatsoever on the first two goals, which should have been stopped without question. They were chances that came in close, but they were also chances that Ramo originally had, and then lost.

He appeared visibly frustrated after the second such goal went in. The good news, though? He tightened up his game after, and actually prevented what would have been a couple of golden chances for Florida, including a very smart poke check to prevent what likely would have turned into a goal, and holding his leg very strong to prevent the Panthers from literally forcing the puck past him.

The third goal can be blamed on a poor, slow-to-react defence – none of the Flames were really in position to prevent the cross-ice pass, and ended up flailing wildly once the puck reached Aaron Ekblad’s stick for his one timer – except Ramo himself was slow to react as well, caught watching rather than anticipating the shot that went through a wide open net.

And the fourth goal was the direct result of T.J. Brodie’s turnover, and Jaromir Jagr subsequently outsmarting every single Flame on the ice, Ramo included.

Ramo did, ultimately, tighten things up as the game went on. But those first two goals were purely on him, and they can’t happen. Not at this level.

Where was T.J. Brodie at the end of the game?

Was Brodie’s turnover bad? Yes, absolutely. It turns out the Flames’ best player isn’t infallible after all, and is prone to his own mistakes (he was on the ice for the third goal against, too). So… I guess he’s human after all.

The problem here is that game-ending turnover or not, Brodie is still the Flames’ best player, or at the very least, the best defenceman. So, with the Flames down by one, why was his final shift over before Ramo was even pulled? He wasn’t benched after his turnover; he had four shifts following it. He still led the Flames with 24:28 of ice time. And yet, it was Kris Russell, Dennis Wideman, and Mark Giordano out there.

Russell and Wideman bleed shot attempts against, so having them out with an empty net while desperately trying to tie the game maybe might not have been the best response, even with Giordano there to support them. Wideman being unable to keep the puck in the offensive zone was pretty much the end of things.

The highest stakes possible, and your best player is on the bench. That doesn’t make any sense.

(Side note: Russell and Wideman were reunited for 4:39 in the game. Even though Dougie Hamilton is Russell’s main partner, it doesn’t look like he’s actually in the top four just yet, at least in terms of ice time.)

Third line, best line?

David Jones is now the Flames’ leading goal-scorer. Raise your hand if you saw that one coming; now put your hand down, liar. 

He scored goals four and five of his season last night to keep the Flames in it. The first was the result of Joe Colborne doing something very Joe Colborne: starting off a play impressively by carrying the puck into the zone, looking like he was creating a scoring chance, only to then ultimately flub it, but David Jones was there to pick it up and rifle it, so things still went well.

(Colborne had a few other impressive moments throughout the game. They were ones that were mostly the cause of him being big and skating around the outside with the puck, looking like he might be about to create something, only to… not. It happens a lot.)

Jones’ second goal was the result of a stretch pass from Matt Stajan, whom the Panthers were kind enough to create a nice, big, open lane for. 

The third line had some of the best possession stats on the night, and that was with really, really poor zone starts. Also: two goals. They had a quiet game against the Penguins, but were effective against the Panthers when not many else were.

Johnny Gaudreau remains amazing

No matter how brutal this season may or may not get, the Flames do provide something to look forward to each and every game, and his name is Johnny Gaudreau.

He’s had a few plays this season where he enters the offensive zone, and just kind of spins around the opposition to get the puck in deeper and set up a scoring chance. That happened again last night. It’s like a lot of players in the league just have no idea how to defend against him, and it’s awesome. 

If only he’d scored when Vincent Trocheck was busy celebrating what he thought was his second goal, but Erik Gudbranson had the stellar play to prevent him from even getting a shot off (though the chance was still created).

Gaudreau was the only forward to play more than 20 minutes, with 21:44, and he led the way with four shots on net. He’s legitimately the Flames’ best forward (though as Sam Bennett, who also played rather well and was also unfortunate to not get on the board, continues to grow, he should challenge him for that title).

There’s still a lot to like on the horizon, it’s just we have to get through this year first.

    • Rock

      Is that Hamilton out of position don’t bash Hamilton on here these guys have a love affair for Hamilton. No wonder he can’t block shots he is not in position to block shots hahaha

        • Rock

          I think defense is played In front of the net not chasing the opposing player to the front of the net hockey genius. Russell is in front trying to defend by the photo

          • cberg

            If you click on the pick you’ll actually see the expanded version where it clearly shows Hamilton covering his man at the side of the net, genius. He wasn’t out of position. What else you want to be negative about?

          • MontanaMan

            You’ve clearly never played the game so it’s difficult to have an intelligent conversation. Suffice to say, defencemen do end up behind the net often. If your check has the puck in the corner and moves behind the net, you move with him. Watch a game and learn.

    • Rock

      Is that Hamilton out of position don’t bash Hamilton on here these guys have a love affair for Hamilton. No wonder he can’t block shots he is not in position to block shots hahaha

  • cberg

    Hartley’s love affair with Russell has gone from baffling to irritating to beyond irritating. I truly do not understand how an NHL level coach through his own eyes, let alone one armed with video analysis and analytics, can’t see how poor of a defender the guy is. I hate picking on coaching, but along with poor goaltending, poor defense and poor scoring this year, the coaching has not exactly helped the cause either.

  • Greg

    My kingdom for a .900 goalie. Flames are 4-1 when their goalie let’s in less than 10% of the shots they allow. Is that too much to ask?

    They are 1-9-1 when they get sub .900 goaltending, which probably isn’t surprising, until you realize that’s 11 out of 16 games in which they’ve had abysmal goaltending.

    Is there any stats that show how much sv% is purely goaltending vs how much is the team playing in front of them? Otherwise, I’m hanging this entire season on our masked men.

  • Bobloblaw

    At some point we have to ask why we keep playing the same system (dumping in the puck with the Goalie pulled) and the players( Russell, Wideman and Ramo )that are clearly not working and the person responsible for those decision
    S.

  • jonahgo

    i thought colborne had a pretty good game, and the underlying stats suggest he did too. while he didn’t make gaudreauian plays with the puck, he had a couple good zone entries and seemed to maintain possession well. his ice-time was limited, which i think works in his and the team’s favor.

  • Trevy

    On paper, the Flames have a strong enough team to at least match what they accomplished last season, especially with their new additions and added experience in the post season. Hartley and staff are very competent and would never allow any complacency, therefore again, they should be better. The difference is the one rare and albeit, critical mistake Treliving made to start this season and that was to carry 3 goaltenders. I believe there was an original plan in place and it has now backfired. Now the defence are running around aimlessly trying to do too much to compensate cause they don’t really trust their goalie, whoever he may be that night. This is causing a ripple effective from the goaltender out and throwing the whole system out of whack.

    Treliving is an amazing upcoming GM that will make the odd mistake. The question is how is he going to fix it. Well, Ramo eventually goes to Stockton to create some quick needed stability, however with Hiller’s injury, suddenly the forward progress has become murky again. Everyone knows to build a team, it starts from the goaltender out. I completely believe BT has been trying in vain to find a bonafide number 1 goaltender or at least a fact simile but this will take time until other teams become desperate to make a move as well. In the meantime, with back to back games coming up, you can be sure that Ortio will get his chance again and hopefully he seizes this opportunity and runs with it, otherwise he may be the next one heading to Stockton and round and round we go.

  • MontanaMan

    Mr. Treliving… Stay the course! Despite the fact that you have made critical mistakes in your early tenure I still have confidence in your abilities. I recognize that not all your moves will be the right ones but now you need to have patience and not screw up. Your up against the cap which can mainly be attributed tom your mismanagement and to some degree that of Mr. Feaster. The ridiculous contracts that both Ramo and Hiller have will expire at the conclusion of this season. As well David Jones will be off the books. That will leave you with over $13M of flexibility just for starters….Your ability to manage the Hudler, Russell and Raymond situations will be closely watched. Of course our expectations will be a few nice draft choices that will help in this early stage of rebuild.

    Keeping Hartley in the fold is important. Suggest you bring in a credible “defensive” experienced coach and waive goodbye to Jacques Cloutier, that former little goaltender, but never a defenseman.

    Keep an eye on the Stockton situation and give your high level prospects some injury call up opportunity. Oh, since the Pacific is weak this year keeping an eye on the playoffs is still a strong possibility but not at the expense of giving up young prospects. Give Gillies and MacDonald the time they need to develop and in the offseason work the phones for an experienced credible veteran goalie…..best of luck!

    • Bob's Hockey Stick

      Tough loss & we can be 6-7 games below .500 by the time this trip is done. We have to win at a 65.1% clip to match our point total from last year. Not holding my breath. Yes. Treat this year as you would for a rebuild. We have a cap crunch coming up next summer that was discussed in detail. So any deals need to look toward the future & to manage the cap.

      Ramo & Hiller are not doing themselves any favours to getting themselves in the longterm plans of this team. Assumption, neither will be resigned.
      Their are no goalie fixes & any potential available goalies have price tags that are just pure unacceptable. Except for maybe 1. & the price tag may be palatable. Leafs seem to have soured on Bernier. He’s a RFA & having a so so season in Toronto, so resigning him may be pretty reasonable. Leafs are desperate for picks & prospects & could care less picking up salary. Granlund doesn’t seem to be getting a chance in the Flames top 6 but on that Leaf team he would probably slot in & do OK there. Add a 2nd round pick or Wotherspoon, who is getting leap frogged here but is still a decent prospect & make them take Hiller back. They can let him walk at the end of the year or knowing the Leafs, they would try to sell a dirty jock strap for a pick at the TDL & there may be a market for Hiller then. I then would fly with Ortio & Bernier next year & let Gilles ripen for at least 2 more years in the AHL. The net result of that gives you the $$$$ to resign either Gaudreau or Monahan. Doesn’t solve our 3 headed goalie monster but will clear the water a bit going into next year.

      • Derzie

        You look at how highly rated Bernier was in LA and really have to wonder if he could regain his form with just a simple change of scenery. TO sucks the life out of a lot of players.

        • everton fc

          Well, you never know, Bernier could become for us what Duby did for the Wild. These goalies all have talent, you get him in the right mental zone & a deal like this could really turn out. We just can’t part with anything you can’t afford to lose. I would rather BT wait until next summer to find a goalie & we just coast the remainder of the year with what we currently have before giving up what Tampa would want for Bishop or Anaheim would want for Andersen. Both would be pretty big additions, but the cost……..

  • Derzie

    Are we not entertained? No, we are not. Watching a team overachieve, win or lose, is satisfying. Watching a team underachieve, not so much. Somethings wrong. The goalie mess is the obvious, the Hartley playing lesser faves too much is obvious. After that, who knows. The NHL is so tight that trades are mostly garbage for garbage or picks for garbage. No one is willing to give up contributing players or promising prospects. It’s all about building your own. Quick fixes are hard to come by. The league is too tight. Too few goals? How about too few trades of worth.

  • Derzie

    I don’t know but Gio he seems to look tired this year, I thought he was a work horse last year. Hardly notice him except when he is pulling the puck out of our net. Little worried, 6 more years after this year and already looking like his age is catching up with him. Would of been great trade bait, but too late now.

    Only a hand full of players I would be willing to keep on this team going forward (Monahan, Gaudreau, Brodie, Bennett, and Hamilton). Everyone else including coaching staff would have no issue getting rid of.

    So far the only thing i’ve like from BT is drafting bennett, signing brodie, and getting hamilton(get off his ass and stop camparing him to bowmeester, him and brodie will be are top pairing for years to come. 6’5″ defencman that skate well don’t grow on tree’s). Think he payed a little to much for Frolik, too much for England, Raymond, Bouma, and Ramo. Back to rebuilding. 🙁

    • Derzie

      Gio in my view does not look tired….he is playing like a 32 year old. Expect his skill set to digress from here on in based strictly on age. Regardless he can still play and is recovering from a lot of injury time this past season as you know…..You also say “Back to rebuilding”…who said it ever ended? This is year 3 of rebuild..have patience…still a long ways to go. Your expectations appear to be very high based on last years performance.

      • Derzie

        Gio still one of our better defenders, don’t get me wrong. But he does look like he is regression a bit already and hasn’t even started his new contract yet which is worrisome. I expected to be a least a bubble team this year having no cap space is a sign of going for it not rebuilding. Also worst start in franchise history, that’s hard to believe considering the teams we had in the 90’s, don’t think anybody should be to pleased with this team so far. We need a goalie in worst way, that would cover up a lot of gaffs in our play.

        • everton fc

          Agree. As you well know his term and dollars are market driven. If you don’t give your most valuable asset both then someone else will. The sad business side of hockey….

    • cberg

      Wow, it is so amazing the number of people ready to pull out the knives and basically throw the whole team and management under the bus when the initial results aren’t there like we thought they should be.

      This suggestion here, only willing to keep 5 players going forward…. Adding 2-3 keepers every year would basically result in a never-ending rebuild that would make the Oilers’ 10 years of futility look like a master stroke of genius. No Thanks!

  • First Name Unidentified

    Both Jones and Colbourne are being showcased. Should fetch something by the trade deadline.

    Hartley has me completely baffled by continued usage of Russell and Wideman in critical situations. Also i think bennett and gaudreau should get back together

  • Derzie

    Vincent Trocheck was busy celebrating what he thought was his second goal

    This was actually my favourite part of the game (which is really more of a commentary on how dull the game was than anything else; also I missed most of the first period).

    I was watching like “What the heck is Trocheck doing? Doesn’t he realize the play’s still going?”

  • Bob's Hockey Stick

    Bernier is a Leaf. Every time we have dealt with the leafs in trades we have come out with the short end of the stick. Let’s avoid repeating that pain. I believe Hiller and Ramo both be gone at years end when there contracts expire. At this time I really would not be suprised if Flames cut ties with Ortio at seasons end as well.

    What we need is a goaltender who inspires confidence and not over the hill. fits with the core age group.Who that is is anyone’s guess.

      • OKG

        Nah, if I’m right, Tod Button is a genius and I’m just a fan who doesn’t evaluate players based on stats as a relatively young third liner on a deep, balanced dump and chase team.

        *looks at Brodie and Gaudreau*

        …Wait, Tod Button is already a genius.

    • MontanaMan

      Nothing like playing guys on their wrong wing. Johnny Hockey played a few games on RW, but didn’t look good there. Monahan on RW? Granlund on RW?

      What 2017 1st overall are you targeting with a lineup like that? By the way, what about the guys signed to contracts like Raymond, Stajan, Bollig? How much are you re-signing Jones for?