Post-Game: Spectre of the Comeback Kids

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Coming home after a disaster of a road trip, the Flames legitimately more than any time this season needed to show up. With all that’s happened this season, the Flames had a four game winning streak at home coming into tonight which is kind of surprising to think about. Circling the Flames all day long was a very convincing theme that revolved around questions like this:

“How bad would the Flames get trounced at home by the league’s top team?”

The answer: they took a time machine back to last season, replaced the entire team with last year’s, and won the game.

THE RUNDOWN

The first period was the most cliche experience that is Calgary Flames hockey this season. 1:48 into the period Jason Spezza put an absolutely unforgivable goal past Ramo. If you looked up Karri Ramo in a dictionary, the very definition of that goal would be used. Remise that they were with surrendering the first goal, small bouts of actual life appeared thanks to veteran Matt Stajan and plucky rookie Sam Bennett. An unlucky bounce off Dougie Hamilton’s skate (seriously it was unlucky and he was trying) gave the Stars would finish the period up 2-0 with the Flames on the PP.

The second period started with the Flames looking to capitalize on their league-worst power play. Unfortunately, it was short-lived as Mark Giordano’s knack for penalties this season reared it’s ugly head. Thankfully the Stars didn’t capitalize and take it to the league’s worst penalty kill either. Somewhere, mid-period, the Flames started showcasing elements fans hadn’t seen in forever. Driven initially by the Ferland – Stajan – Colborne line, the team started generating chances but they yielded no goals.

The chances kept coming but eventually the wheels fell off the bus again as Mattias Janmark torched Ramo to make it 3-0 on a beauty wraparound goal. Even with that goal making it 3-0, the Flames continued to come at the Stars but they couldn’t buy a goal even if they had Safeway’s $1,000,000 Score and Win prize. 

The period ended with the following results, of which were very surprising:

  • Five posts hit in the period
  • Four high danger scoring chances
  • 14 scoring chances
  • 26 shot attempts for, 10 against

All scoring chances and shot attempt data is from even strength.

Riding the fervent push of what was likely score effects, the Flames continued their push in the third period with such ferocity that likely wasn’t considered possible. They were rewarded with their efforts, particularly Mikael Backlund who finally solved Antti Niemi. 1:50 later it would be Johnny Hockey himself with his sixth of the season to put the Flames within one goal. 

A John Klingberg delay-of-game call would send the Flames back to the man-advantage, with slightly better results than before but no PP marker. The Flames cemented their three-goal comeback in the third with Dougie Hamilton’s third of the season to send this to overtime.

In OT, the Stars found chances early but nothing really came of it for either team. The Flames best chance in 3-on-3 came from a Hamilton cycle-play that fed a Mark Giordano shot. In the shootout all three of Calgary’s shooters found the back of the net to finalize the comeback over Dallas.

THE NUMBERS

All numbers are even strength from Natural Stat Trick

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Glossary for terminology

WHY THE FLAMES WON?

Score effects coupled with a variety of factors. Primarily the Dallas defense was getting caught flatfooted, they had lapses in their own zone, and the Flames eventually capitalized on the chances that had avoided them for much of the season. Calgary managed to recover from a tire-fire level start to the game and kept at it. 

For all the pushing of narratives about wanting it more, never quitting, and finding ways to create chances they essentially did those things tonight. It was classic 2014-15 Calgary Flames hockey and the fans were justly treated to it. 

They overcame atrocious goaltending but they still lack regulation wins. Of the nine victories this season, three came in regulation.

RED WARRIOR

Literally we have a three or so guys to choose from here but we’re going with Mikael Backlund. We know he isn’t putting up huge numbers or anything close to the pace he should be at. Tonight he was an insane driver of play at even strength. His seven individual shot attempts, seven scoring chances (four were high-danger), and goal were a huge reason why the Flames’ comeback happened.

He did all that with 12:57 of ice time, 56% in the ol’ faceoff dot, and and four shots on net. His effort on driving the net and not quitting on that goal was crucial.

UP NEXT

The Flames have game two of five at home against the Boston Bruins. With a five-game winning streak at home now, they’ll look to defend that as Bruins are currently on a five-game winning streak of their own.

      • Derzie

        Oh for sure, I feel ya. It’s gotta be tough having to work so hard to make up for the lack of talent but it also makes the wins feel so good, I bet. Stay patient man, maybe you guys will get lucky with the lottery some day too.

        • KACaribou

          As a Flames fan and a follower of the oilers, I am amazed that in spite of all of the number one draft picks the oilers have, they are unable to put together a winning season.

          Your coach is aware (in comments made after the Leafs game) that some of your boys are just riding the bus and put in as little effort as they can to get through a game.

          How long will it take for Chiarella to pull the plug on the oilers “core” and get a number one d-man, a number one goalie, and some beef up front?

          Eberle and RNH both -8 plus/minus and 2 assists in total on the 5 game road trip…But as Craig Button pointed out, it is more than just a 5 game road trip…there has been over 400 games since Taylor Hall started playing and several more number one picks and they are still at the bottom of the NHL.

    • Canrock 78

      Some days I would like to take you out behind the barn and tune you. We can’t do that any more So the NDP says! But I appreciat you coming and appreciating the flames effort good on ya.

    • beloch

      Sam played a shift in the OT loss to AZ. He promptly lost the puck resulting in an AZ two on one. AZ didn’t score there, but eventually went on to win. I love the kid, but with the team needing every point it can get at this point (they can’t officially thrown in the towel on the season yet: “earned not given” #neverquit etcetera, etc.) 3 on 3 overtime hockey and it’s defensive responsibilities might be too much to ask of a 19 y.o. rookie with 25 games of NHL experience. (not that HE would ever back down from the challenge)

      And seeing how there’s been so much “Artley” bashing, a tip of the hat to the coach. I like the two D out during 3 on 3…haven’t seen any other teams do this exclusively. From what I’ve seen, 3 on 3 is all about puck possession–right up the alley of Calgary’s mobile D– and if you lose the puck you better be able to defend. Calgary is 5-1 in games decided in OT.

  • KACaribou

    Backlund was in full beast mode tonight and got rewarded for it. That should give him about a 60% chance of staying off the fourth line for next game.

    Colborne has some sick hands. The rest of the night he was largely invisible. All the tools to be a top line player; maddening.

    Ferland was the best player on that line by far and I’d love to see him ride shotgun with Gaudreau and Monahan for at least a game. Such potential in that guy.

    Ramo……ugh. I’m sure every team has the same book on him. Wait for him to drop, over the shoulder. He almost got beat that way twice more tonight.

    Gaudreau is simply an elite hockey player.

    Hamilton was pretty great tonight even without the goal. Fans dumping on this kid are idiots. His ceiling is sky high.

    Fun game for sure, but the Flames were lucky too. Yes, they were better in the second and dominated the third, but spotting three goals to the other team is not a formula for success.

    • jonahgo

      Did you actually just take a cheap shot at Ramo who once again made big save after big save in clutch moments late in the game and OT when the team needed it most. Something no other goalie has done this year.

      I guess you prefer Hiller and his league worst SV% and horrible play rather than the guy that has been giving us solid games night in and night out and actually putting up W’s.

      Horrible/negative unnecessary take that has gotten predictable and boring, we get you hate Ramo, you trashed him all summer and leading up to the season, but give it up already, Hiller is done and Ramo has been head and shoulders the best goalie this year…enough with the negativity, especially after an unbelievably positive night for the team beating the best team in the league!

      • Canrock 78

        Two of the three goals were awful. Dallas hit at least five posts that beaten him clean including two in a row on the same play. The win felt great, but the game could have been impossible out of reach half way through. As is, Dallas helped the cause by taking their foot off the gas.

        As for the “all summer” remark…..I have zero clue what you are talking about. Never happened. I was one of those who preferred Ramo over Hiller though didn’t agree with bringing him back because of the three goalie issue.

        But, don’t let reality get in the way of your rant.

    • KACaribou

      I basically agree with your comments other than the Hamilton comment.

      Dougie Hamilton was as advertised tonight. His D play was solid and he even hit a few guys. He’s a big man and strong. You could tell tonight and I look forward to him playing like a big man from now on. He was a 1st pairing D-man tonight. His play was dynamic. Best player on the ice. It was great to see.

      However, fans were not idiots to dump on him in very many of his earlier outings. He was quite frankly terrible and often.

      Tonight I think we saw the team we have been waiting to see all season. Dominating the best team in the NHL though? Incredible.

      Sounded like Johnny Hockey and Monahan were sick too, so they were very commendable.

      I can’t help but watch Ferland every time he’s on the ice and he is as you say.

      I thought Hudler has been starting to come around. What has happened to him this year? His play last night reminds us why he was top line RW.

      Brodie was incredible. Gio played a hard-nosed game which was nice to see. I liked Smid too for that reason and few errors too. Jones was Jones. Frolik was Frolik. Granlund is fitting in nicely (get a place).

      Ramo saved the day, but let in two bad goals to begin with or it may have been an easy win for the Flames.

  • Derzie

    I just watched the 1941 movie Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Spencer Tracey and Ingrid Bergman. The Flames have nothing over Jekyll and Hyde. This can demonstrate their split personality in one game, never mind from San Jose to Dallas. Again they seem to match well against speed and skill. When I saw Granlund, Hudler and Raymond together they looked dangerous. If kept together, they may have finally found a combination that works for Granlund and Raymond (and his $3M + cap hit) and reenergizes Hudler.

    I’d love to believe the Flames are turning the corner, but I’ve believed that two many times this season only to realize that Dr. Jekyll is going in circles chasing his own tail. But killing the 4-3 penalty in OT and all three Flames scoring on the shootout makes me want to believe again. Spoiler: Jekyll and Hyde does not end happily. I hope season ends far more brightly and that tonight’s comeback is the START of something meaningful! I’d really like December games to have meaning.

    GFG!!!!!

  • jonahgo

    nice, even ES distribution of ice time among the forwards. i would think that the flames’ forward group is well suited to rolling all four lines consistently.

  • RKD

    After that start I thought for sure we were in for another beating. Dallas expended a lot of energy and got the lead early then the Flames became super aggressive hit 5 posts in the 2nd period and then carried it over into the 3rd. They dominated Dallas in the last 40. What a goal by Backs, a gritty goal on a 3rd effort to put it in. Johnny hockey follows it up and then much maligned Dougie Hamilton ties it up. Reminds me of the comeback against the Kings when Gaudreau got the hat trick. Don’t know why the Flames can’t play this aggressive in other games. This home stand is massive.

  • jonahgo

    Hartley post-game…

    “Games like this, it brings back the taste of last year, of those comebacks,” Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. “You never want to get down in a game but gosh, those comebacks feel good. The boys were having fun in the room. The music and everything. … For me, that’s the best part of coaching and the best part of being in a team sport. You see those emotions, you see finally the rewards for hard work. I was very proud for the boys.”

    Love it! What a great game, on the edge of your seat and engaged down the stretch, great game and effort by the boys against the NHL’s top team!

    This type of character win can instill confidence and change a team’s season. Lets keep the momentum rolling!

  • Derzie

    Backlund as warrior? Oh good lord. Way to stink up a perfectly good post-game summary. The players gave the fire hat to Hamilton (as they should have). Stajan was very good and Brodie was other-worldly. Colborne, Johnny & Mony were gold in the shootout. Backlund was good but come on. Is he your cousin or something?

  • beloch

    The Flames had 12 shots and 2 goals in just over 3 minutes at the start of the third. That’s not just score effect. That’s rage and lust for revenge after the hockey gods pissed on them for the entire second period.

    Comebacks are awesome.

  • Franko J

    Oh man, can TJ Brodie can skate. I thought in the second and especially in the third he controlled the pace of the game with his ability to push the play from his skating.

    When this team is physically engaged and skates they gain confidence.
    Great to see some perseverance and tenacity from the Flames tonight.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    “Fans dumping on this kid are idiots.”

    The statement is a bit strong, but I can understand the sentiment. Fans need to step back and really examine what they perceive. My bet is that unfounded expectations of the player and the impact he would have on the team drive most of the frustrated comments. The second is the mainstream media. 8 of 10 guys I talk to regurgitate what they hear on tv and the radio. Few fans appear willing to formulate an independent opinion of there own.
    Hamilton was down right bad for the first 10 games, but you could see all the tools. He’s been at least good in every game afterward. He’s going to be much better in the coming months and years.

    • piscera.infada

      He’s worn the ‘A’ at home since the start of the season. He was made an alternating alternate with Wideman (I believe), where Wideman wears it on the road.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    Damn, that 3rd Dallas goal broke me. I was a broken fan. I was watching Jessica Jones on Netflix before the post-goal high lights were done. I guess that’s just one more reason why I’m not an elite professional athlete and they are.

  • RedMan

    Nice effort by the flames in spite of the goaltending. Smid gave us some honest hard working minutes with a couple of crushing hits as expected. That man needs to be rested from time to time so he can showcase is offensive abilities more often.

  • Cfan in Vic

    Just a few things to add:

    I wouldn’t point at score effects when it comes to this win, as the Flames started dominating at the beginning of the 2nd, at a 2-0 score. It was mostly just unfortunate that they were down 3-0 at one point, and they didn’t take their foot off the gas at all.

    Smid was actually pretty good. Although he seemed hesitant to join the rush (rightly so), when he did, he was moving pretty good. A pleasant surprise.

    Brodie has reached wizard status. Plain and simple, the man is amazing.

    Ramo cheated soooo hard on that first goal, I almost puked in my mouth. I’ll even let the wrap around goal slid, but the first one was sickening. It was nice to see him seal it up after the 3rd one, though. He definitely deserves some credit.

    Whatever “flu” these guys had last night, they need more of it.