Post-Game: Lightning Crashes

The Calgary Flames played an awful first period tonight. One of their worst all season. Heck, maybe one of the worst in several seasons. But then they bounced back and played good enough to win, but made enough miscues that they managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once more.

A bad penalty to Mark Giordano and a defensive miscue by Dennis Wideman was enough to cement Calgary’s 11th regulation loss of the season, by a 3-1 score to the host Tampa Bay Lightning.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames were baaad in the first. They didn’t get their first carry into the Lightning zone until five minutes into the game. Tampa dominated zone time, and somehow only held a 11-8 edge in shots and 25-13 edge in attempts after the period. Mercifully, the Flames didn’t give up a goal.

Maybe because they had seen the video of the first and were shocked at how listless they were, the Flames played a better second period – yet it was some defensive zone wonkiness that cost them. Brian Boyle bobbled the puck in the offensive zone, to Ramo’s left. Basically everybody on the road team thought the bobble was an attempted pass, which left coverage (and Ramo) more or less open to Boyle’s shot to make it 1-0. The Flames answered later in the period, with the team solving Tampa’s “box-out” defense by having Sam Bennett and Mikael Backlund arrange a sly tip-in play, with 19-year-old Bennett’s tip finding its way past Ben Bishop to tie it up. Shots were 15-7 for the Flames, who also led 24-14 in shot attempts.

The third was basically two periods. The Flames and Lightning played structured, smart hockey. It seemed that overtime was inevitable. Then Mark Giordano took a tripping penalty – it was borderline, but they had gotten some calls go their way over the past week, so you can’t use that as a crutch – and Steven Stamkos was left all alone at the side of the net on the man-advantage to make it 2-1. The Flames tried to press for an equalizer, but both Kris Russell and Dennis Wideman made defensive miscues that kept play in Calgary’s end. And finally, the superb passing of Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson had Wideman spinning around like a top, allowing Johnson the tap-in for the 3-1 lead. The Flames pulled their goalie but nothing came of it, and they fell for the second straight contest. Shots were 11-8 Tampa in the third, and attempts were closer with Tampa having a narrow 22-21 lead.

THE NUMBERS

Player CorsiFor% OZStart%
Bennett 59.26% 76.92%
Frolik 50% 69.23%
Wideman 43.59% 68.75%
Smid 20% 66.67%
Backlund 50% 62.5%
Hudler 52.78% 60%
Monahan 54.76% 52.94%
Gaudreau 53.49% 50%
Brodie 62.75% 44%
Colborne 47.86% 40%
Giordano 62.75% 40%
Stajan 43.75% 31.25%
Hamilton 41.67% 29.41%
Jones 42.42% 29.41%
Russell 35.56% 27.27%
Ferland 52.63% 11.11%
Grant 41.18% 0%
Jooris 42.86% 0%
(All situations)

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

They were just bad enough in their own end – with the Giordano penalty and the Wideman miscues – in the third period to lose. And they were extremely lucky to be tied after 40 minutes given how ugly their first 10 minutes of hockey were. Their defensive play in the opening frame basically gave Tampa Bay a lot of free power-play practice.

RED WARRIOR

Bless Karri Ramo, he deserved better than what he got. When the team was bad in the first, he was really good. You can’t hang this loss on him, and he made 26 saves to keep them in it until the bitter end.

Sam Bennett was also really good, as if that’s a surprise.

UP NEXT

The Flames hop onto a plane and fly up the East Coast, as they’ll face the powerhouse Washington Capitals tomorrow night in D.C.

SUM IT UP

  • DestroDertell

    Situation: Defensive faceoff down by one and two minutes left.

    Coach’s decision: Put Russell and Wideman back in.

    Result: TB take lots of shots and score.

    What a surprise.

  • Franko J

    Austin Matthews would look great playing beside Bennett and Gaudreau.

    I like Puljujarvi as well.

    I can’t see this team making it out of the basement in the Western conference anytime soon. Therefore I can only dream that Treliving can garner further picks and prospects through some trades. Especially if he can obtain a couple more later 1st round selections.

    I also like

    Julien Gauthier, Logan Brown and Max Jones.

  • Franko J

    Man, another frustrating loss.

    Yeah, they were awful for the first ten. But Ramo kept them in it, which is what competent goalies do. I really thought the flames played extremely well after that, and the forward lines are really starting to gel! Shoutout to jones, who is just a beast right now, and Hamilton was great with only a few flubs.

    But once again, another defensive miscue and another loss…

    Also, Russel-Wideman is an abomination. Like seriously.

  • Franko J

    Ew, what a night. And what deep fatal flaws in this team at the moment.

    To cheer myself up I watched the Oilers get drilled for a few minutes, but then remembered that I would like to curse them with the awful 9th-place-just-out-of-the-playoffs record. Even their vanquishing lost its shine, then.

    Sometimes sports aren’t much fun.

  • CofRed4Life

    Why can’t Hartley see how terrible the Russell/Wideman pairing is? They always end up in their own end, and it’s getting so annoying to watch them out together at all, let alone at the end of the game! Come on Jack Adams winner, show us you actually know what you’re doing!

  • DestroDertell

    Had the pleasure of being at this game thankfully only paid 60 bucks for lower bowl seats. Gotta say Dougie Hamilton is a trainwreck out there. Wanna thank some of the guys who noticed my 6 year old cheering them on in the warmup.
    Hudler,Jooris,Colborne,Bennet,Ferland

  • DestroDertell

    November 12th and I took my first crack at the draft lottery simulator…. Usually that’s a treat I save for after Xmas. Good news, Flames won and pick first!

  • hulkingloooooob

    ramo didn’t lose this one.
    1st goal smid did cartwheels, brodie was caught pickin his nose (with stamkos!) and wideman coughed up a must clear.

    it’s official. there is a virus in our D!

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I only got a chance to watch the 3rd, and the Flames were mostly good, unless you’re a bottom 3 defender. Also, it’s got to be time to demote Monahan. I’m not sure I understand his issue, but it sure is starting to look like a lack of effort. Ramo was good enough to win this game, but his defense wasn’t.

    • MontanaMan

      I don’t know if I’m reading Monahan correctly, but he appears slow out there. Slow on his skates, slow to move the puck, slow to take the shot and slow to read the play. Slow.

  • YWC

    Listen the first teo periods on radio. It made me appreciate how good Russel is in defence as I hear his name evertime when we are in our own zone.

    I think the problem for Russell is not his defence but his atttempts to clear the puck out. When he gets to the puck he doesn’t know what to do with it and just clears it out to nowhere or to the opposition.

    • MontanaMan

      But to be fair, it’s not Russell’s fault that the puck is in the Flames end. Watching the game last night, everyone can take blame for that. Missed assignments by everyone on the ice, wingers not getting the puck out when they should, etc. Yes, Russell needs to take his share of the blame but the entire defensive system is breaking down and all 6 players on the ice share the responsibility.

    • Cfan in Vic

      For me, the thing with Russel is that he knows he’s good at blocking shots. Because of this, he commits to the block way too early, and about 90% of the time. Instead of breaking up a play, he’s playing 2nd goalie.

      I have no problem with his ability to block shots, but it has to be secondary to breaking up plays, and he just doesn’t think that way.

  • Cfan in Vic

    I would break the first period down into 2 halves, much like the 3rd. The first 10min, the Flames were garbage, and barely touched the puck. The next 10min, they played quite well, and had a few good chances. That’s why the shots in the first don’t appear lopsided. It was actually a close period after all was said and done.

    In the second period the Flames pretty much dominated, but couldn’t capitalize enough. I think Monahan had around 3 great even strength scoring chances and couldn’t make it happen.

    The third was definitely calculated play by both sides, but that Gio penalty completely sunk the team. It was almost a forgone conclusion when they scored.

    I’m appalled how many shifts Russel/Wideman got. There is absolutely no excuse for that anymore. It’s as if Hartley sees incremental improvement from those guys, when put on separate lines, and figures that translates into them being better together for some reason. Maddening.

    Ramo was good. At least that’s nice to see.

    Smid was stuck in mud all night. He sure didn’t appear that slow when he was last in, when I seem to remember being impressed with his skating compared to last year.

    Another frustrating one. Add it to the long list.

    • Cfan in Vic

      This Russell/Wideman utilization over Hamilton is nothing short of mind boggling. BT is Hartleys boss. BT just invested huge into Hamilton, assets to acquire & a contract to match. Yet Hartley is playing him like a young kid with no NHL experience. If I was BT, I would be thinking my coach is trying to make me look like an idiot. I just don’t get it???There is something missing here no one is privy to. I am sure BT has conversations with his coach, especially when the performance & results coming up for the 1st quarter are so dismal.

      • Cfan in Vic

        I completely agree.

        Over on Ari’s thread, I reiterated the same thing about Hamilton’s lack of usage. In fact, I’ll add the shunning of Ortio to that same list.

        BT paid big bucks for Hamilton in the off-season, and now that he’s settled in, he’s getting pushed out of the way for more Russel and more Wideman. Ortio has BARELY played this season, had one bad game behind a dreadful defense, and he can’t even get a start in a back-to-back against two good teams. BT signed him to a ONE-WAY contract last year for a reason. He needs to play to find out what they’ve got. If BH is so quick to give him the death sentence now, why were they so afraid to put him on waivers earlier, and loose Byron instead.

        Those two guys don’t seem to be on the same page at all these days…

  • RKD

    Wides getting stripped of the puck and then got totally deked out. He’s been awful defensively, he’s got no hockey iq out there and can’t make a decision. Russell has also been brutal this year, he’s nowhere close to what he was last season. Gio doesn’t look the same, they are going to be in a world of hurt.