Post-Game: Capital Gains

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(Geoff Burke / USA Today Sports)

Earlier this season, the Calgary Flames were utterly embarrassed by the Washington Capitals 6-2 at home. Tonight, roughly a month later, the Flames played a composed, mature game. They let the Capitals back into it a bit in the third, but they played well enough to win.

And thanks to overtime, they did, by a score of 3-2 over the Capitals. The win represents their first points from their current four-game road trip – they’ve captured two of a possible six points thus far, and improve to 6-11-1 on the season.

THE RUNDOWN

The opening frame was fairly even, with each team showing some fatigue – and as a result, shyness to engage – from the previous night. The Flames held a slight 11-9 shot edge, and shot attempts were even at 20-20.

The Flames played a pretty good second period, though Washington slightly out-shot them (10-9). Michael Frolik opened the scoring on a nice little play. The puck was floated into the neutral zone and Mikael Backlund nearly forced a turnover by a Capitals defender. Sam Bennett collected the puck and drove into the Capitals zone. After battling for the puck a bit, he cut towards the net and put a beautiful cross-ice pass to Frolik at the slot for the tap-in goal to make it 1-0. And just like that, the Flames had a lead on the road going into the third period.

And the Flames, shock of shocks, extended their lead early in the third period off a nice effort by Sean Monahan in front to make it 2-0. Then? It all went side-ways for awhile. And by “awhile,” I mean the remainder of the period. (Shots were 15-7 Washington and attempts were 32-8 for the Capitals, if that’s any indication.) Brandon Bollig took an additional roughing call during a skirmish that involved a fight, giving the Capitals a power-play and some momentum. They didn’t score on that man-advantage, but later on Michael Latta scored on his own rebound as (a) Ramo couldn’t swallow it up and (b) the Flames defense couldn’t shove Latta off the puck. Anyway, nice effort from Latta to make it 2-1. The Capitals kept pressing, and eventually the Flames left Jay Beagle out front for a nice pass from Andre Burakovsky for the tying goal on a tap-in. And so, we went to overtime!

They went back and forth a bit in overtime. Brodie and Monahan went in on a 2-on-2, and Brodie’s beautiful pass found Monahan, who beat Philipp Grubauer with his shot for the 3-2 win.

THE NUMBERS

All Situations Corsi For% OZ Start %
Gaudreau 41.46% 75%
Hamilton 47.62% 75%
Hudler 40% 71.43%
Russell 41.67% 61.11%
Monahan 45.71% 60%
Wideman 52.94% 58.82%
Backlund 48.65% 50%
Bollig 52.94% 50%
Frolik 42.86% 50%
Bennett 45.45% 50%
Grant 47.37% 42.86%
Ferland 42.86% 40%
Brodie 37.31% 33.33%
Giordano 34% 31.25%
Engelland 47.83% 25%
Jones 33.33% 22.22%
Stajan 28.95% 21.43%
Colborne 40% 20%

WHY THE FLAMES WON

Well, they were really good for the first 40 minutes. Then? They let the Capitals back in. But despite being not-amazing in the third, the Flames gave themselves enough rope that they were able to get it to overtime, where they’ve been magical this year.

Was it an ideal game? Nope. But in a game between two teams that both played last night, in different cities, the team that won was gonna be the one that made fewer mistakes. The Flames played a flawed game, but made fewer mistakes than Washington and captured the win.

RED WARRIOR

He’s definitely been fighting it lately, so it was nice to see Sean Monahan step up tonight with a couple of key goals. Granted, he didn’t play an amazing game overall, but he was clutch around the front of the net and did what needed to be done. (He was also 59% at the face-off dot, which is huge.)

And as much as I hated the decision to start Karri Ramo again tonight, he was pretty good.

UP NEXT

The Calgary Flames close out their road trip on Sunday night when they face the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.

      • DestroDertell

        Allow me to tell you Russell is -11 while Hamilton is -8. Not that +/- should ever be used to evaluate players – only Fen/Corsi Close is a worse stat to do so.

        Hamilton is not just “getting better”, he has been playing well for a while now. But then again, you don’t have to be playing well to be better than Russell – just avoid being a tire fire.

        • ChinookArchYYC

          I don’t understand the need some fans have in taking an extreme position when taking about hockey advanced stats. What’s wrong with examining available data to to see if you can glean a new understanding about the effectiveness of players, teams and systems?

    • DestroDertell

      Oh Russell…. Why do we have to ride the Austin train with him? Hamilton has been really good for a month. It’s depressing to watch Gaudreau be buried by WR.

      Backlund Bennett Frolik. Wow. I LOVE Bennett, but Backlund is really fun to watch. The 960 buries this guy but he always, always has the puck. Always defends. Always hussles. I’ve become a fan the last few games.

      How Baertchi doing? Anyone watch?

      • mk

        Baertschi is going along at about a .5 ppg, as usual. He still spends way too much time on the perimeter – he is creating some offense but fails the ‘eye test’ for grit and effort. He is not consistent either: looks great (the top 6 player he was tabbed to be) and other times doesn’t look like anything, is completely invisible.

        In short, nearly the exact same he looked while with the Flames. The fans and media here are starting to ask questions about whether the issue was with him rather than the regime in Calgary. Its a strange feeling to be hearing it all again from a completely different set of people (I live in Van).

        • flamesburn89

          I’ve watched a handful of Canucks games so far this year and I agree that Baertschi has been OK. Just Ok. His defensive game is improved by my eye, as he’s capable of creating some turnovers with a savvy stick. He still lacks some jump and effort in his game though. He seems to shy away from contact, and sometimes changes when the puck is heading towards his own net. Willie Desjardins seems to have the same problems with him as Bob Hartley did, which is why Baertschi’s already been a healthy scratch a handful of times this season.

          Looking at the analytic numbers, Baertschi is actually having a pretty decent season. He’s played only 127:48 TOI at even strength this season, but he’s outscored guys considerably more established at the NHL level. His ESP/60 sits 7th on the team at 1.88, higher than players like Burrows (1.60), Sutter (1.40), Horvat (0.64), and Vrbata (0.57). Baertschi also sits 5th on the team’s forwards list in terms of CF% at 49.5%.

          As it stands, Baertschi looks like he’ll settle in as a 40-50 point guy, likely becoming a second line scoring winger. He’ll likely never become that 60 point, 1st line LW that many, myself included, envisioned him becoming when he was first drafted, but still projects to be a low-end 2nd liner. Looking back, Treliving seems to have gotten decent value with the second round pick he acquired for Baertschi at the deadline last year.

          I’ve talked to some Canuck fans I know who’ve been extremely disappointed with him, while others have said he’s actually been good. One of them who’s liked his game sent me this link awhile back, if anyone wants to give it a read.

          http://www.vancourier.com/pass-it-to-bulis/dispelling-six-myths-about-sven-baertschi-1.2102909

  • FlamesRule

    “And as much as I hated the decision to start Karri Ramo again tonight, he was pretty good.”

    Hartley wanted the win – Ramo gets the start. Makes sense to me.

  • DestroDertell

    Brodie with 29:23 of ice time. He has supplanted Gio as the team’s top defenceman.

    Regarding reducing Hamilton ice time, I’ll give Hartley the benefit of the doubt.

    The same thing happened with Backlund earlier on, and now Backlund has been hot of late.

    Hopefully he can reignite Hamilton in the same way.

    • Craig

      Do not give Hartley the benefit of the doubt, playing Backlund on the fourth line was a stupid move that never should have happened. Yes Hartley started playing Backlund with actual line mates, but in no way should he get credit for igniting him, he mismanaged an asset for half the season so far. Now we see him mismanaging Hamilton, in favour of a player that has been a tire fire this year in Russell. Don’t believe that just because Hartley is a NHL coach that he knows more, he clearly has no idea what he’s doing when it comes to player management.

      • Bobloblaw

        Totally agree and the Ortio fiasco will blow up in our face soon as well.If he’s not ready yet how is sitting on the bench going to help,next stop losing him on waivers for nothing.

  • beloch

    The Flames played two excellent periods and about 3-5 minutes of the third. Then they didn’t generate a single corsi event in their favor for a full fifteen minutes! This is pretty horrible, but it should be remembered that the Flames were on the second half of a brutal back-to-back and Washington had score effect on their side. Still… 15 minutes without a single shot directed towards the opposing team’s net… Geez!

    Ramo delivered a quality start the night after being defeated in Tampa Bay. That’s friggin’ impressive. Playing the same goalie in back-to-back games is almost always a disaster. You have to be concerned that Ortio didn’t get the start tonight, but playing Ramo was apparently the right decision.

    Next stop, Chicago!

    • Byron Bader

      Impressive to get the win against a very good team but this is my sentiment exactly. They were very, very good until they went up by two. You know Washington is going to come but to not generate a single thing for 15 minutes is no good.

      Washington worked it around from behind the net to the point in a circle for 15 minutes and we couldn’t do anything about it.

      At least they regrouped for overtime.

  • RKD

    A big two points, but i didn’t like the Flames blowing the two goal lead in the third period. Pretty huge game for Monahan and great to see him score two tonight, but he needs to get going consistently and be that 200 foot player we are used to seeing. I need to wait until this team hits .500 and then see what they can do after that. First task is to get to .500.

  • DestroDertell

    Another OT win! Good game guys!

    I don’t know about anyone else, but this seems like the Flames have been playing games at a record pace…and this is not an Olympic year…

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Wow, pretty tepid response from the FN here. On the road in the second game of a b2b against a legit powerhouse and they pull out a win, and this is it?? Consistency is still lacking, but I’m pretty pleased after a solid effort and 2 pts tonight.

    Sure the Caps were playing a b2b too, the Flames didn’t dominate shot attempts and Ovi didn’t play his best game, but there were lots of positives here.

    Brodie was strong defensively and always a threat, Dougie has turned the corner after a rough start, Ramo is providing the first sign of solid tending the Flames have had all season, Bennett is consistently dangerous and Monahan looks to be picking up where he left off in April.

    There’s still lots of room for improvement and results haven’t come yet, but if they continue this trend the points will follow.

    FGFG!

  • RickT

    I’m shocked at how much Stajan is fighting the puck these days. He can sometimes have Backlundian numbers, but the last few games he’s struggled a bit. I wonder if there is a nagging injury. I’ve really liked his game the past few seasons, he’s been a great soldier for the Flames – a perfect mentor for the kids.