Flames 2, Blackhawks 1 (OT) post-game embers: Johnny Overtime

johnny overtime haha look at brent seabrok being bad

Photo Credit: Sergei Belsky/USA TODAY Sports

The Flames deserved to win that game in regulation.

Instead, they won it in overtime, because:

  1. Scott Darling was very, very good, and,
  2. That’s just how they do this year.

Perfect in overtime*

* Technically, one of their six overtime sessions this season ended in a draw that they eventually lost in a shootout, but my main point here is that the Flames have yet to lose in three-on-three.

Every overtime, without fail, Bob Hartley sends out the same three players (when healthy): Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, and Sean Monahan. The logic behind this is easy to understand and accept: two really good defenders who can also score, and a kid hyped up as being a solid two-way player.

You may have noticed Joel Quenneville countered with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith; then followed up with Artem Anisimov, Artemi Panarin, and Brent Seabrook.

Hartley, on the other hand, sent out Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman, and Johnny Gaudreau for the second shift. While Quenneville went with two forwards and one defenceman, for Hartley, the story is two defencemen and one forward (although he has switched that up with two forwards and one defenceman on occasion, but he always, always, always starts off with Giordano, Brodie/Hamilton, and Monahan).

But since the Flames are 5-0 in overtime, it seems to be working for him.

Why are they 5-0 in overtime? Because Johnny Gaudreau, who is currently leading the NHL with four overtime points – two goals and two assists – plays for the Flames. You’d be hard pressed to name another player better than he is at this stuff. At this rate, considering the NHL’s new All-Star Game format, Gaudreau is a shoe-in for MVP that weekend.

Johnny Hockey embarrassed everybody

The Blackhawks method of defending against Gaudreau: stand there, let him take the puck from you and/or dance around you, have a delayed reaction of confusion, and accept that resistance is futile and you just got owned by one of the smallest players in the league.

Delving into his fancy stats for this one game sure is a treat, even if it’s just one game. All figures below are at even strength.

Okay, so when Gaudreau shared the ice with Niklas Hjalmarsson, he didn’t fare so well: 33.33% CF over 8:57. He was the player he faced the third most often, and even though he was buried with 11.11% offensive zone starts, that’s not so good.

What is good? Against every single other Blackhawk Gaudreau faced for at least three minutes, he had, at minimum, 60.00% CF.

Against Duncan Keith (10:15 spent with), who is widely acknowledged as one of the best defenceman in the NHL, he had 69.23% CF (22.22% OZS). Against partner Brent Seabrook (8:13), 80.00% CF (80.00% OZS). Against Jonathan Toews (9:07), who some will argue is one of the best players in the world, 75.00% CF (30.00% OZS).

Just one game? Absolutely. Incredibly awesome for that one game, though? Yes. Johnny is amazing.

Down goes Russell, up goes everybody else

When you lose a player mid-game, everyone else around him steps up. Russell, who only played in the first period, is currently considered day-to-day.

Russell wasn’t having a bad game when he was forced to exit. Of course, the Flames had a very good first period; during that, Russell had the primary assist on Monahan’s goal, as well as 66.67% CF over 6:03 minutes.

Deryk Engelland, with 14:28 played, had his seventh highest ice time of the season. He was sheltered – 83.33% OZS – but his 60.00% CF made up for it well enough.

But as decent as he’s been this season, that’s just Engelland in a third pairing role. Russell plays top-four minutes, and so, the other top-four defencemen had to step things up. And boy, did they ever.

T.J. Brodie 31:43 1:48 2:08 56.90 64.00 28.57
Mark Giordano 25:22 1:09 1:58 55.56 63.16 29.41
Dennis Wideman 24:55 0:44 1:12 47.37 48.65 71.43
Dougie Hamilton 20:45 2:13 0:00 60.53 63.64 66.67


  • What can be said about Brodie that hasn’t been said already? The dude is amazing. He was asked to deliver huge minutes, and he excelled.
  • Giordano was pretty good in his own right; his CF only dropped by 4.64% when away from Brodie over 7:44 of ice time.
  • Wideman had the second-most shifts (behind only Brodie, of course) in the third period with 12. I’m not entirely sure why; he was easily the weakest link of the top four guys. (Over 6:14 with Hamilton, he had 57.14% CF; without him, 41.67%.)
  • Hamilton was spread all around: 7:00 with Brodie, 6:14 with Wideman, and 4:48 with Russell before he went down. His numbers with Russell were the best, albeit they were the most sheltered, and they skew the WOWY stats (i.e. he’s being shown as better away from Brodie and Wideman thanks to the good performance he and Russell put up to start the game). 

If Russell has to miss time, that might very well be the Flames’ top four – assuming the potential recall doesn’t play his way into it (because if we’re being honest with ourselves, no way Engelland or Ladislav Smid should get big minutes).

It should be pretty clear who the Flames’ top three defencemen are, though: the three we assumed they’d be since the third guy was acquired.

Shoutout to Mason Raymond

Jiri Hudler was a surprise late scratch with the flu, and so, in drew Mason Raymond. Rather than mess with his lines, Hartley simply put Raymond up top with Monahan and Gaudreau. Raymond played 17:35, behind only his linemates in ice time, with 38 seconds of powerplay time thrown his way. 

He had four shots on net, again behind only his linemates in that statistic (Gaudreau had six; Monahan, five), and tied with Hamilton and Frolik. And his ES CF of 67.86% was behind only – wait for it – Gaudreau (70.97%) and Monahan (70.00%).

Raymond looked like he belonged, maybe even better than Hudler. He’s probably tired of being a healthy scratch, and he showed it.

Shoutout to Joe Colborne

A handful of you were grumpy with me last time, when I gave shoutouts to Matt Stajan and David Jones for their play on the third line last game, and left out their other linemate. That wasn’t intended to slight Colborne; I just wanted to focus specifically on Stajan and Jones, who have been partnered up a while now (further back than this season), and have really found their games with one another and become assets to this team. They’re two of the older guys on the Flames; two guys where everybody has stopped talking “potential” and “development”, so that’s why they got the shoutout.

That said, Colborne is complimenting their line well (as did Micheal Ferland in the playoffs, so Stajan and Jones were already the existing common denominators). Observed a couple of times through the game: Colborne was winning board battles. He was nullifying some of the best players on the Blackhawks, retrieving the puck from them, and starting rushes, all from winning board battles.

If he can keep that up, then that’ll be good. If he can continue playing the rather simple style his linemates have that’s proven effective thus far, then there won’t be any reason to take him off their line. Let’s keep that up.

  • MontanaMan

    The thing that strikes me about Gaudreau that makes him successful is not his skating, his vision, his passes or his hockey sense which are all at a high level. What makes him successful is his competitiveness. He never gives up on a puck, he battles with the best and he clearly hates to lose and loves to win. And you can’t teach that.

    • Flames Fan in Edmonchuck

      This a thousand times, look at a guy like Joe Colburn, all the size and tools in the world, no compete… I’m tempted to fantasize about what if Johnny Hockey was 6 inches taller and fifty pounds heavier, but honestly being smaller growing probably created this fire in him….

      • ChinookArchYYC

        I don’t know what games you have been watching lately but to say Colborne does not compete is rather far fetched, he has really grown in that area as time has gone on. If you want to say if he competed as hard as Johnny he would be even better then I would agree.

        For those knocking Wideman for his game last night go back and give your head a shake and quit being haters for the sake of hating. He hit, he defended and he at least twice blasted the puck in the third period so hard that he deserved a goal. If he keeps shooting the puck that way his goals will come. Should Hamilton have played more probably but don’t trash guys when they play well.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Shout out to Kari Ramo. He seems to have found his game of late and played a controlled and positionally sound game last night. I’m no longer afraid everytime an opposing player direct a shot on net.

    On Colburne. He’s been good since being placed on the 3rd line, where he belongs. So, I’ll extend props to Bob for finally figuring that out. PS I think I like Joe Colburne the hockey player now. That took a long time.

    Is Johnny Hockey’s Rusuan translation “Artemi Panarin”. They have very similar skill sets. How good would that have been to see him in crimson?

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Johnny Gaudreau is the quickest shiftiest little s.o.b. I’ve ever seen. To undress one of the best defensmen in the league like Duncan Keith the way he did.

    And his competetiveness. Unreal.

    I have to admit I love watching him play, except against my Oilers.

  • Kevin R

    Thanks Ari for the Colborne shout out. I may get cranky but my heart is always in the right place :-} Personally, watching these 3 guys, whether they are 3rd or 4th line, give them 10-12 minutes a game & they are a solid unit. Stajan & Jones have really benefitted Colborne. My only complaint is being a cap bean counter, their salaries are too high for the role they need to play. Now if Jones & Stajan & Colborne made around the 1.5 mill range each or roughly about 1/2 of the cap hit the line currently has, well that would be about perfect.

    @ Montanaman I posted on here last year the same thing. Watching Gaudreau at the games was like going in a time capsule & a few players came to mind regarding his vision on the ice, Gretzky & Hakan Loob. You can’t teach what I have seen this kid do on the ice. I hope BT can get this kid inked to an 8 year deal before it’s obvious he’s a generational category player. Man did we ever luck out getting him so late in the draft.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    That was an entertaining game. I feel like this win could turn our season around if we stay consistent, good confidence builder.

    Anyone else kind of glad that Hudler was missing?
    if only Wideman could get injured(recall 3 brutal turnovers in the slot) he was doing his damnest to lose it for us. Also besides the bad penalty Hamilton took, thought he looked great last night. Hopefully Hartley starts giving him more minutes than Wideman.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Looking at the enhanced stats section of the NHL.com website, Calgary’s Corsi % close has risen from 45.25% last year to 48.32% this year – significant progress in my mind. Oddly enough, last year we had a +25 goal differential good for 8th in the league… this year we are dead last with a -25 goal differential. What has sunk us? A sub .900 save % and an 8.62 shooting percentage.

    You have to think our goaltending will continue to improve and pucks will start going in. I said at the beginning of the year that if we could get to a 49% corsi close this year, but barely miss the playoffs, I would consider it progress.

    • ville de champignons

      Without Russell on the ice the Flames are over 50% CF and I believe score adjusted Corsi. They are a good team that required (s?) better personnel deployment. Not average; actually good.

      Offensively Russell has looked better, but he’s still a disaster in his zone.

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        Agree totally. Better deployment would take this team to another level. Hartley is getting there, but it seems to take him a while.

        Imagine what a solid, consistent, above-average goaltender would do for this team. If they can find that in the next couple years all of the young guns will be hitting their prime right about then. Could be deadly.

  • RKD

    The Flames are elite in 3 on 3 this season, way too much skill out there. They capitalize on their chances and bury them in the extra frame. Johnny hockey has been their MVP by a country mile and then some.