Post-Game: Stars, Fallen

USATSI_9076505
(Jerome Miron / USA Today Sports)

The Calgary Flames finished their road trip off with a whimper tonight, spending the majority of the first half of the game in their own end and generally looking like a team that was wondering when they could sleep in their own beds. Ultimately, they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Dallas Stars after spotting them a 2-0 lead, and closed out their five-game road trip with a woeful 1-3-1 record.

Here’s how it happened.

THE RUNDOWN

In the FGD this morning, I worried that the Flames would get lit up after their bad effort in Carolina. They started off this game rather poorly, getting out-shot 10-3 and out-attempted 29-7. That’s more or less representative of how much time they spent in their own zone. They were lucky that Dallas missed the net so much and that Karri Ramo was sharp.

The second period was basically two periods: the first half where the Stars scored twice, and the second where the Stars were just fine letting the Flames run around with the puck because they were up 2-0. The Stars opened the scoring off a pair of nice individual efforts by Valeri Nichushkin – literally all the Flames players ran around after him in the offensive zone – and Jamie Benn, who deked around everybody and beat Ramo after Nichushkin went into the zone. A minute and a half later, Jason Spezza beat Ramo with a nice wrister to double the lead. Shots were 13-11 for Dallas, while attempts were 26-25 for Calgary.

The Flames had some momentum in the early third, as Dallas seemed to have fallen into the score effects trap of having the game well-in-hand. The game got interesting, though, as Joe Colborne went to the net and bonked in a no-doubter pass from Jiri Hudler from behind the net to make it 2-1. The Flames pushed but Dallas defended fairly intelligently – and honestly, Dallas had more dangerous chances after it went to 2-1 – and time ran out on Calgary’s comeback attempt. Shots were 9-7 Calgary and attempts were 21-15 Calgary, but outside of the first part of the period the Stars didn’t seem overwhelmed.

Don’t give a home team a 2-0 lead, kids. It’s really hard to claw your way back.

THE NUMBERS

(All Situations) CorsiFor% OZStart%
Colborne 54.17% 100%
Hudler 63.16% 100%
Granlund 37.5% 100%
Hamilton 45.24% 64.29%
Bennett 63.16% 60%
Giordano 61.7% 50%
Backlund 57.5% 50%
Monahan 47.5% 47.62%
Gaudreau 47.83% 47.37%
Frolik 33.33% 37.5%
Russell 39.58% 36.36%
Wideman 35.42% 33.33%
Engelland 17.65% 33.33%
Jones 12.5% 30%
Brodie 50% 27.78%
Jooris 57.14% 16.67%
Bouma 10.53% 0%
Stajan 19.05% 0%

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

Remember last night? When the Flames came out flat early and gave up a lead that they couldn’t bounce back from? Well, they did it again tonight against a better hockey club. They didn’t make life difficult enough for Dallas, and that meant they would’ve had to mount a heroic effort to tie the game.

They couldn’t, because it’s not last season.

Oh, and the power-play was 0-for-5. Again.

RED WARRIOR

Poor Karri Ramo. After giving up 3 goals in just over a period yesterday, he was full marks today and kept his team in it.

And give Josh Jooris some credit: he got killed in terms of zone starts yet was always moving the puck in the right direction.

UP NEXT

The Flames head home, but have one last big game before the All-Star Break. They host the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night at the ‘Dome.

  • FlamesFan1489

    No mention of Backlund with the giveaway on the winning goal? Also, Bennett is a beast, he deserves more than the point total he has on the season for sure.

    • Ari Yanover

      You were banned because you crossed the line and started spewing racist nonsense. Your comments are continuing to be edited because you are incapable of respecting the fact that you were banned.

      You’re free to dislike a player. You’re free to express your dislike of a player. You are not free to be racist about it.

      I’ll direct you back to this post: http://flamesnation.ca/2015/12/16/a-short-note-on-language

      You broke some very, very simple rules. You were banned. You’re free to appeal at some point, I guess, but the longer you fail to respect your very well-deserved ban the longer this is going to continue.

      Stop.

  • SSB1963

    I know this topic has been beaten like the proverbial dead horse, but, I would like to try and figure out why the regression? The same roster that did so well last year actually added to improve, so, you would like to think that they would actually get and play better hockey.

    • ClayBort

      The fancy stats are better this year, as they should be with Hamilton and Frolik in the fold, and young players a year older. However, their current numbers would project the team to be somewhere 9-12 in the conference, not a far cry from where they actually are. Flames rode very high shooting percentage last year, and frankly should have been a bottom 5 team. This year it is still highish, but not near as high, and goaltending has been below average (leading to a PDO that makes much more sense than last year).

    • Ari Yanover

      This is just one part of the story, but it definitely plays a factor into the regression.

      Here’s the Flames’ shooting percentage the past couple of years:

      2013-14: 9.19%

      2014-15: 10.52%

      2015-16: 9.12%

      Pucks were going in for them all last season, resulting in a pretty good year. But in the years before and after, they’ve been closer to league average than top of the NHL, resulting in, well… this.

      It’s a chaotic, random game. That worked in their favour last season, but that season was an aberration.

      That’s why we tend to look at corsi stats. Goals are rarer events than shots; corsi, or shot attempts (shots + missed shots + blocked shots) are more common than just shots. The good news is the Flames’ corsi, thus far this season, has gone up like 3% from last season, so they are improving – it’s just not visible on the scoreboard, but hopefully one day will be.

      • MattyFranchise

        2013-14: lost a lot of one goal games
        2014-15: won a lot of one goal games

        Anaheim was in a similar circumstance to start this season after winning a record number of one goal games last season. Regression hit them like a ton of bricks as well. Lucky for them they’ve had above average goaltending all season while the Flames… have not.

    • Pizanno

      Last year the flames were not really as good as they’re record showed. They were a very lucky team that benefited from a well above average shooting percentage. They are still rebuilding.

    • flames2015

      I think a lot of it can be attributed to a lot of players overachieving. Just as an example, No one had the books on Johnny yet and the dynamics of our top line. They were able to do a lot more than they have this year. By the the playoffs in the 2nd round, they were starting to get completely shut down. It’s good now that we have a good second line that’s contributing now but adding new players also takes an adjustment period and it perhaps took longer than we thought witg Dougie and having Bodie out and also that goaltending tandem to start the season didn’t help at all. I think Hartley is to blame for player execution and his inability sometimes to adjust the teams style of play to their opponent. Eg. The dump and chase, going back to that game vs Anaheim where we got shut out 1-0. It’s was the same type of play for all 3 periods with no adjustments. I’m a fan of what Hartley’s done during his tenure for the past few years but he needs to utilize his players better.

    • Derzie

      The answer lies somewhere in what changed: Hartley given an award for playing favorites, Dougie, Frolik, Byron, contracts awarded, contracts upcoming,Ferkland-mania, Smid healthy, Schlemko, expectations. Or it’s bad luck (rolls eyes and gags a little)

      • piscera.infada

        I’d also add “not scoring every goddamn time the goalie is pulled” to that list. Last year, it seemed like there was a string of games where if the Flames were down by one or two and they pulled the goalie, they’d at least take that game to overtime (and often won). This year, as far as I can recall, they haven’t done that once. All tolled, that’s a big swing in points right there. It’s also firmly in the 180-degree luck change camp. They’ve fallen more closely to league-average in that area, than being what I would wager was bordering on historically ridiculous last year.

  • ClayBort

    Pretty dreadful game all around. I don’t think Russell did much for his trade value with scouts in the stands. Also, if the Flames continue to slide taking it in the teeth like this, I see no way the Flames could bring back Hartley to coach the last year of his contract. Silver linings.

    Oh, maybe we will get something for Colbort after all. Yippee!

  • Pizanno

    Quickly losing interest here. How teams can be perennial playoff contenders and ours, save for a well-documented “success-in-spite-of” year, can continue to underwhelm. When was the last time the Flames were dominant, where the playoffs were a given? 2005? Before that? 1994? Trying to remain positive about the so-called rebuild. How do you rebuild something that was never really built in the first place? Build a good team already, Calgary Flames. I want dominance!

  • Boyzinthehud

    So much doom and gloom.

    I actually thought the boys showed a lot of heart tonight and would have tied it if it weren’t for 5 or 6 ten-bell saves by Niemi.

    But I’m glad they couldn’t tie it up. This is a young group and they are learning a hard lesson right now, you can’t just show up halfway through a game and expect a comeback every time.

    They will probably miss the playoffs this year, and there are some legit holes in the roster but you can’t question this teams compete. You also can’t question their potential. This is all part of the process of building a contender.

    Also, forget ‘lost one for Austin’, how about ‘showing up tardy for Puljujarvi’?

  • SSB1963

    Just, please, could we not cheer for tanking like Oilers’ fans. I’m all for a good draft pick if it comes our way, but the loss of dignity in Edmonton as the fans looked and looked and looked for the next messiah has been pathetic.

  • Boyzinthehud

    Could an option be trading a package like Hudler and Russell for a guy like Loui Eriksson in Boston? Doesn’t look like they can afford to re-sign him, and he would be a perfect power forward/ option to play with Monahan and Johnny…. Also I think a guy like Zbynek Michalek from the coyotes would be AWESOME with Hamilton… Just a solid stay at home dman who would come (relatively) cheap.

  • RKD

    I know Gaudreau and Monahan are great players on this team but they should not be given a free pass for their successes in the past. Where are these guys on the road? Johnny hockey really struggles to score on the road but at home he’s like a different player. It starts with your best players. If these two do can get it going on the road the other players would follow their lead. Stat line last two games for Gaudreau and Monahan all zeros across the board.

    • cberg

      Like I’ve said elsewhere, on the road the opposition has the opportunity to match up their best D and defensive players against the Monahan line and take away Gaudreau’s space and outlets. It is no surprise that Bennett is much better on the road and Gaudreau much better at home. It all has to do with the opposition and who they are able to play against who.

      In addition, the RW spot on that line has been pretty mediocre, at best all year. They need to find that RW (Ferland looked decent and could develop into that guy) that ideally is both tough, good on the boards and crashes about enough to get the other team to back off a bit and think twice about slashing and hacking. Of course, they also need great hands and shooting skills and be fast because they’ll get lots of opportunities. Our best options at the moment are Ferland (injured) and perhaps in the future Poirier seems to have many of the prerequisites so we’ll see down the road.

      Of course you could change the centre but that’s a whole different discussion. In any case, we will be way ahead as soon as we develop a strong second scoring line which is starting to happen anyways.

    • The GREAT Walter White

      Nobody is giving Johnny and Monahan a free pass. They are the top line and our fortunes rise and fall with their success. I have trouble faulting a player that gives 100% every shift, but often has players not anticipating plays. If Johnny is heading to the boards to scoop the puck, then you better be looking for a pass from him. Or at least backing him up.

      Where is the rest of the team scoring? Has Bouma or Jooris or Stajan or Jones or Backlund scored recently?
      If the top line gets the most attention, where is the 2nd through 4th lines in scoring?

      BTW, when you say their stats were zeros across the board, I assume you don’t count shots.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    What would it take for the Flames to be a serious player in the Stamkos’ sweepstakes?

    Does Monahan plus the 2016 first round pick plus any 2 players in the minors or junior get it done?

    Would the Flames have to sweeten the pot and add their 2017 first rounder?

    Are their any players on the Flames’ roster not named Johnny, Bennett or Brodie whom the up-against-the ceiling Lightning want?

    How about expanding the deal and making it Stamkos and Drouuin for whatever bagatelle the Flames can cobble together?

    Would Stammer even agree to sign a long-term deal with the Flames? Calgary is not exactly the place to be for NHL superstars. If he did say, “I wanna be a cowboy,” what’s it take to keep him for a few years? What about $50M over 5 years? That would still allow him the chance to have one more massive payday before he hangs them up as he would be about 31 when the 5-year contract ends.

    Does Stammer even make sense for the Flames?

    • everton fc

      A valid question – would anyone here move Monahan and other parts worthy of Stamkos talent, for Stamkos??

      The challenge we face – all Canadian teams face – particularly Edmonton and Winnipeg, but also Calgary, is the economy. Particularly at the provincial level.

    • The GREAT Walter White

      No to Stamkos. The price will be too high, the signing will be too much (IF he resigns here) and quite frankly; I don’t think he has been as good since he broke his leg. Still very good, but not as good as before.

      Drouin is much more interesting to me; much cheaper to get, much cheaper to keep under contract. If the price is right I think we take a chance on him. Remember when Seguin had a bad attitude and was traded for a discount? He seems to have turned the corner ok…

      WW

    • The GREAT Walter White

      It was Backlund with the winning goal give away . It was Backlund with the late 3rd period penalty. That Bennett served in the third for him . Backlund is playing like Bollig, trade him. Bring up Grant