Post-Game: Tamed By The Panthers

The Calgary Flames had a golden opportunity tonight, facing a team that had lost their last five games and heading into this game with wins in three of their last four games themselves.

But rather than assert themselves and take control of the game, the Flames were instead pulled into the muck by the Florida Panthers and due to some iffy defensive play in their own end at a key time, lost tonight by a 4-3 score.

The good news? At least they kept it close and didn’t give up an empty-netter late. The bad news? They let a chance to close the gap in the Western Conference playoff race slip through their fingers.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames probably aimed to come out of the gates with a bang. Unfortunately, their approach led to a fight and two Florida power-plays. Vincent Trocheck opened the scoring with Kris Russell in the box for interference (off a loose puck that Karri Ramo probably wishes he could’ve corralled). Less than two minutes later, though, David Jones teed one up and put it past Roberto Luongo to tie the game. However, as the period wound down, Reilly Smith beat Ramo off another rebound to give Florida a narrow 2-1 lead going into the intermission. Shots in the first were 11-9 Florida, while shot attempts were 18-15 for the hosts.

Florida increased their lead a few minutes into the second, as Aaron Ekblad beat Ramo with a nice one-timer to make it 3-1. It stayed that way for just a few minutes, as David Jones scored his second of the game. With Jonathan Huberdeau in the box for tripping Jones, the Flames finally evened things up, with Sean Monahan sliding from the high slot and knocked a rebound past Luongo to make it 3-3. Shots in the second were 12-11 Calgary. Shot attempts were 21-15 Florida.

The Panthers played a smart game in the third, doing their best to minimize high-danger scoring chances and make the Flames run around. Shots were just 7-7 and Florida had a narrow 16-14 lead in shot attempts – both reflecting their commitment to a low-event third period. However, a defensive gaffe by T.J. Brodie behind the Flames net mid-way through the period allowed Jaromir Jagr to scoop up a rebound and beat Karri Ramo for the game-winner. The Flames pulled the goalie and pushed, but just couldn’t beat Luongo late – or really generate a ton of late chances.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

This was the type of sleepy road game where it was bound to be determined by the proverbial “next goal.” The Flames couldn’t generate enough late chances to score that late goal, nor could they induce enough Florida mistakes to give them more chances (or to trigger a power-play), but they made just one too many mistakes in their own end and it came back to bite them.

The Flames weren’t awful, but they just weren’t good enough to take control of the game when it mattered most. And while I hate to throw the goalie under the bus, Karri Ramo’s lack of rebound control led directly to a pair of goals, which was enough to tilt the game.

THE NUMBERS

Player OZ Start% CorsiFor%
Hudler 61.5% 41.9%
Gaudreau 53.3% 45.7%
Grant 50% 60%
Jooris 50% 50%
Monahan 50% 44.1%
Wideman 50% 41.7%
Russell 50% 38.2%
Engelland 50% 33.3%
Hamilton 44.4% 42.1%
Ferland 44.4% 33.3%
Giordano 26.3% 50%
Brodie 25% 51.1%
Jones 20% 46.7%
Bennett 20% 45%
Frolik 20% 43.5%
Backlund 20% 40%
Colborne 12.5% 51.7%
Stajan 10% 43.3%

(All situations, sorted by offensive zone starts.)

RED WARRIOR

David Jones got buried in terms of zone starts, yet he scored twice and drew the penalty that led to the third Flames goal. He was good throughout tonight’s game, as was his line with Joe Colborne and Matt Stajan.

UP NEXT

The Flames (5-10-1) get tomorrow off and stay in the state of Florida, as they have a date on Thursday evening with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

  • Derzie

    The fact that we’re not so incredibly far out of the playoffs yet is an indictment of how lousy the conference is this year. Hopefully that doesn’t dissuade management from selling off some guys eventually rather than holding on to vets to make ‘a run.’

    Also, Joe Colborne in a nutshell tonight: brings the puck in the wing, fends off a few guys while skating around the net, hugging the boards, before flipping a pass to the D which goes past the blue line for an offside call. Lots of tools and gets people excited but all you’re left with is a blown opportunity. Sigh.

  • Burnward

    Alright, I’m done with these goalies.

    I still say this is where it all starts. You can’t trust any of them right now.

    Gotta do something. Might have to get creative, but gotta do something.

  • Burnward

    Nice to see scoring coming from ‘not Johnny’. Not that I don’t want him to score, but it was getting disconcerting that unless he was in on basically every goal we got not scoring. #positives

    Now if we could just get secondary scoring AND the Johnny and some average goaltending… Is it too much to ask for AVERAGE goaltending?

    We needed this one… The rest of this road trip is shaping up for a bloodbath. Somehow we gotta win 2 of 3 against 3 really really good teams.

  • Franko J

    It is tough to believe or am I a little bit skeptical foreseeing this team making the playoffsp>

    If the goal this year was to make the playoffs again, with the state of the goaltending and inconsistent play in their defensive zone has definitely hampered their ability to make the post season.

    That being said, at what point does Treliving make some trades or moves?

    Right now, with exception of a few players on this team there are several players who have forgotten the motto this team lived and indentified with last season.

    • RickT

      In regards to whether Treliving will make any deals.

      “We have under-performed. We will look tirelessly to correct it, but we don’t do things just for the sake of doing things — not if it hurts us long term. Right now our results are unacceptable, and we need to find a way to be better.”

      Treliving has been getting more call of late after their slow start.

      “Oh, yeah … you get a whole lot more friends,” Treliving said. “I don’t know if they’re trying to cheer me up or throw me an anchor as we’re sinking. Emotion can be a dangerous thing in our business. You usually make poor decisions and you’re not in a good position when things are going like this. Am I aggressively trying to improve ourselves? I do that every day. But when you are in the position we are, you can do things that can have long-term implications.

      “We’re banging on every door we can, but we can’t mortgage the future.”

      • Franko J

        I like what Treliving is building and striving towards for the Flames. I certainly think priority # 1 is continually improving the team. I like the fact that he has the long term perspective in mind. Yes some things have not panned out so far this year, but I want to see how the young guys handle adversity and see what kind of fight is in them with the ups and downs throughout the season.

    • cberg

      Playoffs certainly still within reach, but NOT if their play continues as it has been. Very disappointing last night but the Panther’s 2-man forecheck was a killer and when we got our chances we could not convert.

      The question of when the team makes some moves is a good one. On the one hand it could be perceived as “giving up on the season”, but I think you’ve got to look at it as “improving the team on the ice”. To get there its going to have to be a while yet to be convinced certain players aren’t cutting it (on a consistent basis) before we move them.

      At this point I could probably only list 3-4 players I would put in that category. Those would be Raymond, Bollig, Ramo, Hiller and possibly Wideman, Russell and Hudler. All the rest are doing pretty well so far. Colborne, Smid and Engelland could join that group although they’ve played pretty well so far this year.

  • Franko J

    The three-headed goalie monster headed into the season was something that should have never, ever happened to anyone.. EVER. But it did. It happened to us. Brad Treliving let it happen. Brian Burke let it happen. It cost us Paul Byron, whom while I don’t believe to be an all-star or world beater by any means, was still something that we lost for nothing. Now I’m not an NHL GM or anything but I’d consider that bad asset management. I know our defense has been bad, but seriously, the goalies have been worse.

    After seeing some of the comments tonight during the game, it has become painfully clear the irony or the situation we fine ourselves in. We make fun of Edmonton for not having a starting goalie, between Delauriers, Faasth, Scrivens, and now maybe Talbot (exception being Dubnyk) when really, who have we had since Kipper? Hiller was traded by Anaheim when they considered him no longer useful, and he’s been barely treading water so far as a Calgary Flame. Ramo, backup. Ortio, unproven at this level. Gillies inexperienced . McDonald way too young.

    I’ll I’m saying is that something needs to be done. I don’t know if this season is salvageable, especially after tonight I MEAN ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME THE FLORIDA PANTHERS. If we intend to “be competitive” we’re going to need someone between the pipes who can be counted on to steal a game every now and then (hello playoffs), not someone who’s going to give up at least one weak goal per game.

    I firmly believe that Jon Gillies is the future. But the future is not now. We need a goaltender. Bad. And we need to get rid of one of Wideman or Russell. This asinine concept of keeping people like Bollig, Engelland, and Smid up over people like Granlund, Kulak, and possibly even Nakladal is not something championship teams do. It’s not something the Calgary Flames can afford to do without risking the sanity of their fans or players.

  • Franko J

    What I saw last night was absolutely atrocious ice (the puck was bouncing around like a golf ball on the cart path), Brodie owned by Jagr (hard to admit when I’ve had TJ on my jersey for the past 4 years), our team outmatched physically (seemed to lose most battles and were very tentative to initiate contact particularly when it came to sacrificing along the boards to either help a puck get outta the D zone or keep a puck in the O zone), and let’s bookend it with that terrible ice.

    • cberg

      Agree completely. Losing most of the board battles was uncanny. It seemed like Florida had a much bigger team than ours because it was either long reach poke it away or just out-muscle the Flames. A couple of their D, Kulikov and Gudbranson looked like world-beaters… and that was their 2nd pairing…

  • Franko J

    I wonder what coaches are available right now. I’m ready to get rid of Hartley, He had one good year with this team. Maybe finish the season with him but its time to move on. I wouldn’t mind Randy carlyle, he managed to get the leafs in the playoffs.

    Not hard to play against anymore, nobody hits(accept maybe 3 players), crash our crease without being touched, bully us between whistles cause no one is big enough to stick up for themselves that’s why i think bollig is constantly in the line-up, same with england. Burke is right were to small. Look at Winnipeg there players can score and stick up for themselves. Bennett is the only skilled guy that gets in the dirty areas(Thought he had a mediocre night). Without Gaudreau we wouldn’t have made the playoffs last year, might not even have a win this year yet without him.

    • T&A4Flames

      First off, hell no to Carlyle! 2nd, I find it amusing that you go off re: or size but then state we wouldn’t have made the PO’s without Gaudreau. You’re right on that last note. And nobody was expecting us to make the PO’s with or without Johnny. As for size,me have Ferland being worked in to our growth and when Bouma is back he’ll add a similar element.

      Last year was fun; it was a great ride. The kids learned many lessons but we need to remind ourselves that we are in fact, still rebuilding. Our expectations sure did climb after last year but they need to be tempered with being in only year 3 of the rebuild. Get a goalie, sure but DO NOT let it get away from the plan. If it makes us better now, great but it absolutely must be a move to benefit the future.