Post-Game: Flames Win Game, Lose Brodie

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(Candice Ward / USA Today Sports)

It was a bittersweet evening at the Saddledome tonight, as the Calgary Flames played three pretty composed, smart periods of ice hockey en route to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes to kick off the home-stretch of the 2015-16 season.

Of course, the win was overshadowed somewhat by the loss of defender T.J. Brodie with a lower-body injury. Despite having to play the bulk of the game with five defenders – including seventh defender Ladislav Smid – the Flames never let the Hurricanes creep back into this one and coasted to the finish.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames had an uncharacteristically good first period. They were skating. They were hitting. They were making smart decisions with the puck, and all of those factors colluded to produce a few good scoring chances at even-strength. Eddie Lack had to be sharp in Carolina’s net early-on. The Flames broke the deadlock in another unusual (for them) way: on the power-play. With Ron Hainsey in the box, a nice passing play left Dougie Hamilton all alone and his shot trickled through Lack for a 1-0 lead. But it would not last: as the goal was being announced, Elias Lindholm beat Karri Ramo with a nice wrister to tie things up. The Flames kept at it, though, and Michael Frolik even generated a pair of nice scoring chances late in the period – while the Flames were killing a penalty. Shots were 11-8 for the Flames and shot attempts were 19-14.

The middle frame had its good and bad. The bad? The Flames took a trio of “oh crap, he got past me” penalties and gave the Hurricanes three power-plays (one of them spilled over into the third). The good? Their penalty kill was good. After a couple kills, the Flames generated a power-play of their own and scored again off a really nice 52-second sequence of offensive cycling and pressure, culminating in Mark Giordano wristing the puck past Lack – in about the same spot on the ice that Hamilton scored from in the first. And 38 seconds after they re-took the lead, they increased it by way of some nice puck retrieval off of a aborted shoot-in. Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler fore-checked and created a turnover, then Gaudreau tucked in the rebound after Monahan’s initial shot to make it 3-1. Shots were 9-6 for Calgary in the second, while they also had a slim 22-19 edge in shot attempts. The period wasn’t as close as it seems, though, as the Flames had an 8-2 even-strength shot edge (18-10 in attempts).

The Flames weathered an early storm in the third, killing off the remainder of their carry-over penalty from the second period. Almost immediately after that kill, some effective puck retrieval and a nice passing sequence led to a tap-in goal for Monahan to make it 4-1. From there, the Flames pressed from time to time, but for the most part they played smart defensive hockey and kept Carolina to the outside for the remainder of the game. Score effects were in full force, as the Hurricanes out-shot Calgary 15-4 and out-attempted them 25-10. But it didn’t matter, as the Flames had this game well in hand.

THE NUMBERS

(All Situations) CorsiFor% OZStart%
Colborne 76.47% 83.33%
Hamilton 64.1% 75%
Bouma 45.45% 71.43%
Hudler 76% 66.67%
Gaudreau 70.37% 66.67%
Monahan 75% 60%
Jooris 41.94% 54.55%
Russell 46.67% 46.15%
Smid 44.44% 44.44%
Bennett 45.45% 42.86%
Giordano 36.84% 38.89%
Engelland 42.11% 38.46%
Frolik 40.54% 30%
Backlund 38.71% 25%
Stajan 21.74% 25%
Jones 20% 25%
Ferland 37.5% 20%
Brodie 45.45% 14.29%

WHY THE FLAMES WON

Well, they were a lot better in all three zones than Carolina for the first two periods, and then were able to keep the Hurricane to the outside in the third. The Flames didn’t get panicky, and they never got hemmed into their own end, and they generally played smart, composed hockey, even after Brodie went down.

It was as complete a game as they’ve played all season.

RED WARRIOR

Sean Monahan had four primary points – a goal and three primary assists – and the Flames only scored foiur times, so I think you can make a good case that he was pretty crucial to the team’s win this evening.

Also good tonight? More or less everybody, but particularly Michael Frolik (a beast on the penalty kill) and Karri Ramo (during a few late-game sequences where Carolina showed life).

UP NEXT

The Flames are back in action on Friday night as they welcome the NHL’s worst team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, to town.

  • Denscafon

    I was at the game and brodie actually played a shift or 2 after blocking that shot. He didn’t look that great though honestly during those shifts. Hopefully it’s not a long term injury since he was able to skate and play after.

    • Willi P

      Uhh ….at 7:44 of ice time and 2.5 minutes less ice than the next “least” ice time of jones I would suggest they weren’t showcasing Joe at all. It would suggest lack of confidence in Colborne.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Flames scoring comes from the top line. Other lines are invisible. Canes badly outshoot the Flames in the 3rd. Nothing to write home about in this win except if you Monahan.

    • wot96

      I don’t think the other lines were invisible – they played their role.

      Bennett/Backlund/Frolik were buzzing all night and putting considerable pressure on the Canes. They didn’t show up in the box score but I think they impacted the game.

      As for the “bottom” two lines, they more or less held the Canes off. That’s good – especially when your top two lines are winning the possession and scoring battle.

      While I didn’t think the goal Ramo let in was overly strong, he stopped everything he should have stopped. That’s good too.

      A good game all around.

  • Willi P

    The Flames controlled the play for all of the game except for about 6 minutes. After the lead got to 4-1, they stopped driving the play a bit and focused on shorter shifts. Monahan was a beast. Hudler played like it was a contract year. We hit the post at least twice.

    Smid and Engelland were surprisingly OK. Maybe I focused on the bad stuff, but I didn’t see Russell do anything right last night. Simple clearing – turnover at the boards or open ice. Skate it out – turnover at blueline. Short or long breakout pass – picked off. Forward with a partial breakaway – goal against.

    The only times that Carolina had a chance were on the Stajan penalties. Three of them!!! Matty was brutal on the dot as well. 27%. He could use a game off.

  • The Last Big Bear

    So now that McDavid apparently just won the Stanley Cup against Columbus, I suppose we’re just playing out the rest of the season for draft position?

    • Willi P

      Too bad the oilers don’t play Columbus for the rest of their games at home!

      McDavid has 10 of his 15 points against teams that are out of the playoffs…

        • Flames Fan in Edmonchuck

          Yes the Soilers are an amazing team. McBruised had a great game against the Flames with Bennett in the lineup. -2, zero points, zero shots, 2 PIM. Awe, so sorry they couldn’t even beat the Flames with league worst goaltending at that point.

    • Willi P

      He got more coverage when he was injured than most NHL superstars get when they go on scoring tears. The hype machine continues. “McDavid with a spectacular move is stripped of the puck by a brilliant play by a Norris defenseman”. “McDavid forces his will on a trembling opposition

      • Avalain

        So with that in mind, don’t you think people are talking about him enough? Can we get back to the game that the Flames played?

        McDavid scores a goal and 2 assists. The next day Monahan scores a goal and 3 assists. Awesome!

        • Flames Fan in Edmonchuck

          I agree. How about that Johnny Freakin Hockey. Back to a p/gp pace. If he dips below that, he has a bounceback game. Even if he doesn’t score a lot on the road, he manages to put up 2 points in a home game to make up for it. Just need to get Monahan and Bennett to pick up the slack on those nights. Can’t depend on Backlund to score much. As much as people say Backlund is perfect for Bennett, I look to the number of missed shots by Backlund as missed opportunities. A center that could finish those plays bumps Sam up to Monahan numbers or better.

          At Some point, it would be nice to see Sam, Johnny and Frolik on a PP unit. Put Monahan, Hudler and Ferland out for the 2nd unit. Backlund is what he is, a good defensive player that retains possession enough to give to others to finish the play. Not a bad thing, but you really want your top offensive players with other top offensive players.

    • RedMan

      Personally, I hope the Flames play to their abilities and give management and fans a realistic assessment of the roster. Whether that means we end up with a top 5 or not.

      It would also be great to see their young players show progression. As someone who has expressed niggling worries about Monahan here before, it was good to see him have such a strong game. Hopefully he can keep it going.

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