Post-Game: Flames Beat Sharks (In Regulation)

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(Sergei Belski – USA Today Sports)

The Flames and Sharks went into the second period dead-locked at 2-2. From then on, the Calgary Flames stepped up and played a composed, mature final 40 minutes and skated to a 4-2 victory.

The game’s a milestone of many kinds. It’s just their fourth regulation win and their second win in seven games against the Pacific Division, but it’s also the seventh win in a row at the Saddledome for a team that’s starting to display some confidence and, dare I say, look a tiny bit formidable on home ice.

THE RUNDOWN

Man, the Flames got off to a great start. They scored first (and early), with Jiri Hudler grabbing a loose puck in neutral ice and leading the rush, feeding Markus Granlund for a nice wrister past Martin Jones to make it 1-0. Then? The Sharks started to stir. With the Flames having trouble clearing the zone in the first, they also had trouble clearing out the front of their net, and Chris Tierney knocked home a rebound that Karri Ramo couldn’t smother to tie it up. A few minutes later the Flames got a power-play on a Dainius Zubrus penalty, and Sean Monahan tipped home a Mark Giordano shot (on a nice set play where Sam Bennett was also stirring out front to confuse Martin Jones) to make it 2-1. However, the Flames took a penalty a few minutes later and it took nine seconds for Joe Thornton to tip a shot past Ramo to tie it up at 2-2. And that’s how it ended, with the Sharks carrying the balance of play in the opening frame. Shots were 14-9 Sharks and attempts were 26-17 Sharks.

The middle period was weird. Weird in the sense that the rhythm of the period seemed a bit off, and that Calgary played an astonishingly good 20 minutes of hockey. They retook the lead off a weird rush; Mikael Backlund had control of the puck, bobbled it and then regained control for a shot that seemed to catch Jones off-balance. Michael Frolik swooped in for the rebound for the go-ahead goal. Sean Monahan scored a goal a little while later off a really nice play in the high slot by Johnny Gaudreau, but it was called back on an off-side call after San Jose challenged. Either way, that was the end of the night for Martin Jones, who was replaced by Alex Stalock. But the Flames kept pouring it on, and after a really lengthy shift in the offensive zone that saw them get a lot of looks, Mikael Backlund scored on a wrister from the hash marks to make it 4-2. Shots were 16-10 Flames in the second, with shot attempts also going their way by a 28-17 margin.

There wasn’t a whole whack of chances in the final period, and the Flames did get hemmed into their own end too much, but they were good otherwise. In particular, there were a few sequences where the Flames hemmed San Jose in for awhile. The Flames took a couple of penalties late in the period, but their penalty kill was uncharacteristically good and killed them both – a late too many men penalty by the Sharks on a botched goalie pull for the extra attacker cut the last Sharks PP short. Shots were 9-8 Sharks and shot attempts were 19-11 Sharks, but a lot of those were on San Jose’s late power-plays.

THE NUMBERS

(All situations) CorsiFor% OZoneStart%
Bennett 67.74% 82.23%
Granlund 42.86% 77.78%
Smid 42.86% 71.43%
Engelland 36% 71.43%
Hudler 48% 69.23%
Wideman 49.02% 68.42%
Gaudreau 53.85% 66.67%
Giordano 56.36% 65%
Monahan 50% 61.11%
Frolik 57.69% 60%
Ferland 39.13% 60%
Colborne 37.04% 50%
Stajan 35.71% 50%
Raymond 56.26% 50%
Hamilton 43.59% 46.15%
Brodie 47.83% 42.86%
Backlund 51.61% 37.5%
Jones 27.27% 28.57%

WHY THE FLAMES WON

The Flames didn’t have a great first period. They kept letting San Jose back into it. They went to the room for first intermission and then came out and grabbed hold of the game. It was far from a complete or dominant final 40 minutes, but they didn’t get rattled, they executed when they needed to execute and they made the Sharks pay when the opportunity came their way.

And a big stick-tap has to go to their special teams: their power-play generated 12 shots and a bunch of near-misses, and their PK stepped up in the third and prevented the Sharks from gaining late momentum. They definitely want that first Sharks power-play goal back, but they’re probably quite happy the outcome of the game wasn’t really in question after the second period.

RED WARRIOR

Mikael Backlund was a spark-plug all night long. He executed well, created chances and had a goal and an assist, in addition to winning most of his draws.

T.J. Brodie, Sam Bennett and Johnny Gaudreau were also notably good.

UP NEXT

The Flames have improved to 11-14-2 and are back in action on Thursday night when they host Jack Eichel and the Buffalo Sabres in the fourth game of their five-game home-stand.

  • cgyokgn

    Had to listen on tune-in radio. What’s with the slash on Johnny by Burns and NO retribution. Instead the Flames go short handed. There was plenty of time to even up that score.

  • DestroDertell

    The reason why we won is that the Sharks beat themselves better than we did.

    Flames completely failed at generating plays in the offensive zones even though we spent a lot of time in there and the defensemen couldn’t prevent a zone entry to save their lives. Poor play by the PK unit were bailed out by Ramo. On the other hand, Sharks took 7 bad penalties.

    Not exactly what I would call a very convincing win.

    • RedMan

      Destro once again proving that if he doesn’t have a spreadsheet in front of him “to interpret the game for him” he’s completely lost.

      Flames had 7 PP’s because they were all over SJ and drew penalties with their relentless attack. SJ was overwhelmed and had no answer. The final 40 minutes were completely one sided, even a blind man could see that.

  • OKG

    What is this Corwick and Fensi you kids talk about?
    Is that a new app I can get for my iPhone?…(which takes me a week to figure out how to use after an update….)

  • cgyokgn

    Great effort, another solid game by Ramo, seven wins in a row at home for him and the team.

    The boys are really gelling, certainly resembling last year’s team of late in terms of style of play and commitment to the game plan.

    Its been a fun stretch of hockey and the reality that we’re only four points back of a playoff spots with games in hand certainly is motivation for the group.

    Go Flames

        • cberg

          Jooris has had looks, not like he’s getting overlooked. Colborne adds a different element and is much better than last year. He’s contributing along the boards, zone time and defensively on that shut-down line which btw is playing pretty darned good. The extra ice time I’m sure is the line-matching against other teams’ top lines….

  • MattyFranchise

    I take a lot of positives from this game. First three game win streak of the season. A regulation win. Flames protecting a lead fairly well in the third. Scoring from three different lines. Granlund’s goal + I thought a strong game from him in general. Ramo with a .939 save percentage and looked sharp on a number of S.J. chances. Engeland and Smid with 11/12 minutes of TOI and I thought looked solid. Now if we can close the home streak strongly and play .500 on a difficult road trip.

    GFG!!!

  • MattyFranchise

    All 6 teams currently outside of the playoffs and both wild card teams currently have more wins than the Canucks.

    Just think about that for a moment.

  • Burnward

    Few things:

    – Remember when Gaudreau was with BC, posting insane numbers but we still doubted him because we thought he was too small, weak to handle NHL action… Good ol’ days.

    – I like Russel, but i’m almost certain this team has a winning percentage of above .900 when he doesn’t play/limited to third pairing minutes (where he belongs.)

    – Why is Wideman on our first PP Unit. Our pp was better tonight,however. Flames/Bob Hartley will need to figure out our PK, and special teams in general, if we wanna stay in the pack.

    • FlamesRule

      Wideman is on the 1st PP because his of his shot. Billy Jaffe mentioned it during the game actually, we really don’t have a legit hammer from the point, we have an excess of mobility, but not a ton of heat.

  • Captain Ron

    Officiating in the NHL just drives me crazy at times. Every single fan, player, coach, usher and official was watching Johnny skating in the offensive zone with the puck when Burns slashed him on the back of the leg and no call. Yet some of the most tiny minor infractions get called at times by comparison.

    Probably my biggest beef with the NHL from a fan perspective.

    Entertaining game to be at tonight. Bennett, Granlund, Backlund, and Frolik in his limited time were all very good. The one shift where the Flames hemmed the Sharks in there own zone for a long stretch was outstanding. We need to see more of that. Solid win against a good team.

  • cgyokgn

    I didn’t have a chance to watch the game so had to settle for the highlights. I have to give the Flames a lot of credit for not wilting when they didn’t win the challenge and the goal was allowed and when they had a goal disallowed later in the game. It was a two goal swing in the Sharks favour but they kept pouring it on and eventually got those goals back so to speak.

    A really solid win. Nice that they finally got a PP goal; 1 for 7 isn’t wonderful but at least it’s a start. They also gave up a PP goal but, hey, they won the game and are starting to play with poise and confidence. They’ve now beaten three very good teams in Dallas, Boston and San Jose and have won seven in a row at home. Hopefully they can make the most of the rest of this home stand because the road trip is going to be tough. GFG!

  • MattyFranchise

    Matt Stajan was also very obviously high sticked, not sure how the refs missed that one, esp. that one that seemed to have been starting at Stajan the whole time.

    • FlamesRule

      I think the Flames had like, 7 PP’s so can’t really gonna complain about the refereeing tbh!

      Great team win, really thought they played well and just out competed the Sharks. Seemed like they were first on the puck, really hard on the forecheck (Ferland had some nice hits), won alot of puck battles, etc…

      One thing I cannot comprehend though, is Hartleys thinking in only playing Frolik 10:41 and Backlund 11:50. Frolik

      Backlund had a CF of 51.61% with an O-zone start of 37.5%, scored a goal and an assist, was a +1 and won 58% of his draws and you only play him 11:50? Thats bullshit.

      Frolik only had a 57.69% CF with an O-zone start of 60%, scored a goal and was a +1 and you only play him 10:41?

      smh Hartley. smfh.

      • everton fc

        The guys on the bubble when Bouma returns:

        Bollig/Raymond/Jooris.

        The first two should be sent down. Granlund won’t be moved. He’ll be a 20-goal scorer on this team, “down the road”.

    • KiLLKiND

      I would like to think that you are wrong. Raymond and Bollig have been scratched more than Jooris, and Granlund has played every game since he came up. He was also singled out for his good play in the first two games.

      Bollig has not played in the recent winning streak. He or Raymond is going to be waived before Granlund is sent down. Raymond is only playing right now because any callup would be very few games with Bouma coming back next week.

      If Hartley was reluctant to play Granlund or was playing him less than 10 minutes a game, I would be inclined to agree with you. Hartley is playing him a lot, likes his play, and will do what he can to influence BT.

      • aflame13

        Only reason I trashed your comment was because you included Bolig. I’m thinking off the top of my head, but the guy has been way more detrimental than helpful this year. Takes way too many penalties and doesn’t give enough in return. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, anyone.

        • cberg

          You aren’t wrong.

          Bollig has a good wrist shot but isn’t usually in the right place to unleash it. Instead, he’s usually off being rugged with someone. Bollig hurts the team in two ways: cap space and a contract slot. Sure, sure, the Flames don’t need either, right now. But next year they may well regret both.

          Engelland has played much better this year and he played well last night. He’s overpaid so good for him – that’s not his fault.

          Ramo, on the other hand, is an adventure, every single time the puck gets close to him. I was at the game last night and I still have no idea how some of those pucks stayed out. Maybe positioning just sufficient to get the job done, which is all you need, I suppose, or maybe just karma paying him back, a little. Either way, any team that needs to rely on him will find itself unnecessarily stressed about its goaltending because Tim Thomas he’s not..

      • Brent G.

        Ramo has a save % at .902 and GAA of 3.00.. Just because he puts together a couple of good starts definitely doesn’t absolve him of those terrible terrible numbers.

        I agree on Engelland but I can specifically remember two separate games where the Flames were doing just fine, Bollig jumps over the boards and takes a stupid penalty; everything fell apart shortly after. If he weren’t signed by the flames I’m pretty sure his nhl career would be over at this point.

        • cberg

          Ramo’s been playing WAY better since his first 5-6 game or so, specifically once he got the ball and he’s running with it. He’ has been much more controlled and stays in his net much better than last year. The start , poor letdowns, i.e. Winnipeg but overall he’s doing fine.

          Bollig has had his share of bad penalties, but to be honest a few of the calls were pretty marginal and not seriously more so than a bunch of other stuff not called (reference non-call on high stick vs Stajan and slash on Gaudreau last night).

  • RKD

    That San Jose beat down game woke this team up, they started strong and got up early. They played a solid 3 periods and didn’t have a let down, getting 6 points from their blue line was big and that’s how they won games last season. Gio is starting to look like himself again, we need secondary offense from guys like Backs and Frolik. After the Sabres and Rangers, let’s see if they can play like this on the road.

  • KiLLKiND

    Looks to me Ramo may earn himself another year. He started off pretty awful then was given that run when Hiller got hurt built up some confidence and got into a rhythm. Lately he has looked better than average more often than not lately. Resigning him wouldn’t be the wost idea but there will most likely be better options availble

    Someone we are all pretty familiar with Berra is looking pretty good this year and the Avs have a 3 goalie problem of their own. Berra, Pickard, and the other wife beater. I’ve seen people some think Calgary should get Varlamov and I don’t think I would want him over other goalies that are available. I think the Avelanche will have Pickard backing up Varlamov next year and Berra has developed the way some thought he could. He was always really athletic he just had to tone it down and he has now. He could be worth a really cheap contract. Cuts down on cap space in what is an impending cap crunch for Calgary.

  • Burnward

    Bollig should go the way of Setoguchi and many others as their time came to an end in the NHL. If Semin is now an AHL player and Glencross could not get a contract, then by all accounts Bollig should never play in the NHL again.

  • cberg

    Haven’t had a look at the stats but from the eye-test Colborne seems to be doing quite well on the face off dot…I was at the game against Boston and he was first in even though he wasn’t playing center. Maybe this is keeping him in over Jooris etc.??

    On a different note it drives me nuts when Johnny gets slashed and there is no reaction from the team….however I also don’t want Bollig to play. If I were Ferland, or Engelland, and I wanted to stay in the line up I would have minimum stink gloved, push and shoved Burns on my next shift, or at maximum gone batsh*t crazy on him in the final 50 seconds of a two goal win.

    Also, don’t know if the camera’s caught Johnny’s penalty against Boston but he absolutely skewered Marchant after he cross check Monny…loved it!