POST-GAME: EL VIAJE MISTERIOSO DE THE CALGARY FLAMES

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The Coyotes came into tonight’s game second in the Pacific. Eating a Guatemalan insanity pepper would make more sense than this division this season.

Still, they have similar parallels to last year’s Calgary Flames team. Mostly in the sense of their overachieving currently (coupled with the sad state of the division). Still, not to undermine the legitimate talent they have, which created an enjoyable game with a disappointing outcome for Flames fans.

THE RUNDOWN

Without their All-Star captain, the Coyotes came to play and matched the Flames quite nicely. An unfortunate TJ Brodie penalty sent the ‘Yotes to the PP early on, in which the Flames’ penalty kill survived a shelling. To speak in platitudes: the Flames best penalty killer Karri Ramo showed up stopping Shane Doan on a sure goal.

Calgary would strike first as a Johnny Gaudreau powerplay marker would break the young all-star winger’s mini drought. However, an untimely Mason Raymond penalty sent the Coyote back to the man-advantage that resulted in Oliver Ekman-Larsson potting his 11th of the season.

During the intermission it’s likely John Scott studied replays and notes he had taken during the first period on how to play with Gaudreau. He also probably got a snack, probably a pocket-dog.

The second frame was a delicious cake, with layer upon layer of exchanged chances, and Karri Ramo highlight save sprinkles. Arizona started off the period with an exceptional fervency, dictating the majority of the first half. At that point, the pace of the period opened up giving the Flames some of their first real chances by the midway mark. 

Again, Ramo came to bail out his team (despite a large volume of rebounds) including a miraculous save on Anthony Duclair late in the second. During the intermission, John Scott texted Gaudreau asking him about working on some fighting drills for the ASG. Gaudreau did not respond to his texts.

Some concern at the beginning of the third period as Dougie Hamilton wasn’t on the bench or played for quite some time. Eventually he came back, appearing perfectly fine. Unfortunately early on the Coyotes would strike again as Stefan Elliot’s third of the season would beat Ramo to make it 2-1. 

The Flames comeback would not happen despite some late pushes as the Coyotes strengthened position in the Pathetic Division. They now hold a three point lead over the Canucks with 44 now.

THE NUMBERS

All statistics are 5v5 and are pulled from Natural Stat Trick. Regular ol’ boxscore here.

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WHY THE FLAMES LOST

Screening and tipping in pucks is a big one. Again, an underlying aspect that goes under discussed is how easily it is to get space or screen a Flames goalie. Both goals against Ramo were examples of this. Plus Louis Domingue put on a stellar performance too.

Other concerns: errant passes that don’t connect or go anywhere (lookin’ at you Mason Raymond), lackluster shot attempt differential (Arizona was 53.76% CF at even strength and outshot the Flames 33-26), and turnovers/giveaways. 

RED WARRIOR

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Karri Ramo because he put on a performance tonight. .939 SV% in all situations, .962 at even strength, and gave us a catalog of great saves. It’s hard to be bothered with his emergence as the de-facto guy in net if he keeps putting on these levels of performance.

THOUGHTS ABOUT THE OPPOSITION

  • Max Domi and Anthony Duclair have such fantastic skill and speed. By the time Dylan Strome makes this team (next season or depending on how Erie performs), Arizona will be a good spot. Plus you can’t forget names (that everyone should learn) that are coming like Christian Dvorak, Conor Garland, and Nick Merkley.
  • Louis Domingue played a hell of a game tonight. The former fifth-round selection in 2010 has stepped up admirably with Mike Smith being injured. He was flawless at even strength and posted a .962 SV% overall tonight.
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson is pretty under-appreciated at times. We’re living in an era of exceptionally talented defensemen where most teams have one or two or even three (see: Nashville). Tonight he was pretty great, jumping up in the rush, generating offence, and being sound in his own end. The broadcast team made note of it several times and it’s hard to ignore what he is.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Sharks are in town next on Monday. Another of the Trashcific’s teams looking to steal points while jockeying for a playoff spot. Calgary closes out their mini four-game homestand against the Panthers next Wednesday as the Fancy Cats are currently on an 11-game winning streak.

Tomorrow morning you’ll have the post-game embers on tonight’s loss. Sleep easy, sports fans.

  • TurkeyLips

    Reasons the Flames lost:

    – Majority of face-offs won by the Coyotes.

    – Our third D pairing blows harder than Hurricane Katrina. Other coaches know this and deploy lines accordingly

    – Russel continues to play like a goalie despite being a defenceman. Embarrassingly poor coverage on the second goal by him and his partner.

    – Wideman continues to disappoint. Obvious mistakes in the third. 8 more minutes than Hamilton. Weak.

    – Backlund should have passed. Greedy play 2 on 1 when #13 is on your flank. Poor instincts. You get this one WW.

    – Frustrating defensive game by the Coyotes.

    We really could have really used this win.

  • Burnward

    We need a top six right winger are defense is fine goaltending has been good but having nobody to play with JH or mony and a second line not producing we’re way to easy to shut down

      • TurkeyLips

        I realize your statement is the sentiment of most fans… BUT to play devils advocate, Drouin has 40pts in 89 games. Benette has 15pts in 40 NHL games. So far SB is pacing as a 30pt guy in the NHL.

        Hardly “younger better” than Drouin. In fact, his PPG is worse.

        I wouldn’t make the trade, but its not as wildly offside as you suggest.

      • SydScout

        Argh Captain, if you’re (you’re you’re you’re) gonna hate, yet your spelling right.

        Btw – I agree with you.

        On topic – this was the most enjoyable loss all year. Backs should consider an assist a goal (he won’t score goals unless it’s an open net but boy can he create space). And I can’t wait to see Sam B at C. He’s not a winger. He’s so so ready to have skill on both flanks. Kid is still a young fella. Patience will be a virtue with this one.

        And boy oh boy I miss the Dome!

        • Captain Ron

          You’re right. I realized the grammar error after I posted the comment but I have had a couple brews and was too lazy to bother editing the mistake.

          You meant to say “get” right? Good natured humor intended.

          Honestly though what world are we living in that we are comparing players like Bennett and Drouin at this point in time and trying to predict their futures in the NHL. Then suggesting potential trade scenarios based on points alone at this stage in their careers. It is stupid if you ask me.

  • RickT

    Few notes from ole’ Muffin:

    -I’m a backlund fan, but come on man, score a goal when we need it. Dude had all sorts of looks and takeaways but it always ends up being a soft wrist shot from the top of the circle right at the goalies chest.

    -Despite 2 penalties, Brodie was still Brodie. And Gio is back, and is playing some of his best hockey right now.

    -Top line is flat right now, they clearly need a spark. Ferland up there at the end was rewarding, but it would need some work for sure. Ferly is playing fantastic however and the points will start rolling in sooner or later.

    -Our fourth line is looking and playing awesome.

    -I actually have confidence in Ramo, which is amazing because October…

  • Captain Ron

    As I watched last nights game it became even clearer to me that we are at least 2 high end forwards short; even if both Ferland and Bennett start scoring. We miss Frolik and he would certainly help but he is not the high end forward we need. We need to make a trade for at least 1 significant upgrade on the rw and that means we will have to give up an asset or a high draft pick or both, we will not get an upgrade trading pending UFA’s or packaging a group of our misfits.

    • Brent G.

      I agree with your assessment. The Flames are realistically 3 top 6 players away from being more than a marginal playoff team. A trade would be great, and there is some available young talent to focus on. The challenge I have is I’m not sure Calgary has the means of acquiring these players.

      For example, who on the flames could be traded to acquire a player like Drouin? You’re not going to trade Bennett, Johnny or Monahan obviously; the top 3 D have to be off limits as well. Given BT just traded his 2015 1st, I find it hard to believe he would trade his 2016 1st. Do we really think we could get a player like Drouin with a package of Granlund, Russell, etc?

      Unfortunately, I think we need to be patient and focused on drafting because we aren’t busting at the seems of expendable talent. We are currently challenging for a playoff spot because of the weakness of our division not because of the strength of the team.

      • Kevin R

        Yeah, we are missing another rainmaker in the top 6. Problem is, we really don’t have any hot, coveted prospect depth down in Stockton. That’s kind of alarming, but also, kind of the price we paid to accelerate our rebuild a bit with Dougie Hamilton. I totally understand & approve the move BT made, especially because we made the playoffs which diluted the picks by being in the middle of the pack. But imagine if we had our 1st & those other two 2-nds, the prospect depth would probably look a lot better but our blue line would have had us flatlining this year. I just don’t think it would be in our best interests to part with our 1st this year. I love our team but I just am not convinced they are anywhere near capable of a deep playoff run. Like Capt Ron’s love/hate relationship with this team, I love how far we have come with pieces of it but not liking many other things. I just think we will be a .500 or slightly better, team in the 2nd half which will not get us in the playoffs. I just hope we see management & coaching decisions accordingly. It sure has been disturbing to me to see that teams are starting to watch the Anaheim book on how to smother this team & I’m disturbed we haven’t got the power yet to break out of this strategy against us & punish them back. It’s hard, especially with some of the very exciting talented players we have, to take a step back & keep a rebuild mentality.

    • Captain Ron

      I would definitely say one high end winger for sure.

      Perhaps, along with Ferland, it’s time to thrown Bennett on that top line with Gaudreau as well? Creates a hole on the wing though…….

      Trading for a high end young player while not giving one up is impossible. Well, almost, but can Treliving pull out another Hamilton type deal? It’d be very tough.

      Ghost of Lambert. As much as some don’t want to hear it, one more high pick in this draft would really help what ails the rebuild.