Post-Game: Fit To Be Tied

The Calgary Flames entered tonight with an opportunity to beat the National Hockey League’s worst team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, and bump themselves somewhat closer to the slim hope of a playoff spot.

Instead, they played 60 minutes of inconsistent hockey along the perimeter (for the most part), made iffy decisions with the puck all game and gave up a couple goals on odd-man rushes caused by defenders pinching too deep. As a result? They lost 2-1 to the NHL’s worst team and have placed themselves in a six-way tie for dead-last in the NHL.

It was a loss that they totally earned by playing down to their opposition; the NHL’s worst team, who had played a night before in a different city.

THE RUNDOWN

The first period was a fairly low-event affair, with both teams doing a good job keeping each other to the outside and six scoring chances split between the two clubs. Midway through the period Boone Jenner was sprung on breakaway, but that was met with glove save from Karri Ramo. A rush went down the other way, ending with Jiri Hudler going top-corner on Joonas Korpisalo for the 1-0 lead. Shots 11-7 Flames and shot attempts 23-14 Flames. The Flames did have some trouble throughout the period managing the puck, losing it quickly in the offensive zone and having some trouble clearing their own zone.

The second period was not a good period of hockey. There wasn’t much flow to it at all. There were a ton of icings and off-sides, so it was very much a stop-start stretch, and the crowd was pin-drop quiet for much of it. The Flames tried to generate offense, but they continued to make iffy decisions with the puck. On one such occasion, Ladislav Smid got caught pinching and the Blue Jackets came back with the puck on a 3-on-2, ending with the trailing man William Karlsson putting a back-door one-timer past Ramo to tie the game. Shots were 10-7 for the Flames, and shot attempts were 20-12 for the hosts as well, but scoring chances were rather sparse and most of the shooting was from the outside.

The Jackets finally broke through with another tough one to give up early in the third period. The Flames had three carry-ins broken up the Jackets blueline, including Dougie Hamilton’s pinch leading to Kris Russell being left all alone on an odd-man rush and Karlsson scoring his second of the game on a far-post tap-in. The Flames pressed late but the Jackets defended well and the locals never got a scary scoring chance, and so the game ended at 2-1 for the visitors. Shots were 10-4 Calgary and attempts were a scary 32-8, but the Flames just couldn’t find the net enough to beat Korpisalo.

THE NUMBERS

(All Situations) CorsiFor% OZStart%
Backlund 78.79% 100%
Bennett 82.35% 100%
Ferland 74.07% 92.31%
Frolik 74.19% 87.5%
Stajan 58.82% 80%
Giordano 70.37% 72.73%
Hamilton 63.16% 72.73%
Russell 61.54% 71.43%
Brodie 67.31% 71.43%
Hudler 69.77% 70.83%
Monahan 70.45% 68.63%
Jones 62.5% 66.67%
Gaudreau 68.18% 65.38%
Smid 81.25% 60%
Engelland 84.21% 60%
Bouma 41.67% 42.86%
Colborne 58.82% 30%
Jooris 53.33% 30%

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

Their execution wasn’t great early, and it got worse from there.

Don’t get me wrong, they were buzzing around quite a bit and had a ton of zone time. But they failed to convert that zone time into high-value scoring chances, and their inability to do that early cost them later on when they had to press to generate high-value chances and instead gave up odd-man rushes the other way.

I don’t care who you’re playing against, you’ll lose if you do that too often. And the Flames did.

RED WARRIOR

Micheal Ferland was trucking around all game, throwing hits and trying his damnedest to generate some offense. He was a constant source of energy whenever he was on the ice. And for somebody coming off of a concussion, it was nice not to see him play tentatively.

Sam Bennett was also very strong tonight. In net, Karri Ramo was fine. The score not reflective of his play, and he made a few nice saves to keep things close.

UP NEXT

The Flames jump on a plane and head to Vancouver for the late game on Hockey Night in Canada tomorrow evening against Sven Baertschi and the Canucks.

OH YEAH…

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  • The GREAT Walter White

    I’m not worried. If being a Flames fan for the past few decades has taught me anything, it’s that this club usually has it in them to really make a push for ninth or tenth overall in the West, leaving them just a few points out of the playoffs

  • The GREAT Walter White

    The Bennett, Backlund, Frolik line was minus 2 in a 2-1 game with no power play goals.

    Please set Bennett free and play him with players who have game……

    (Still waiting to hear how many times Oiler Nation posted a picture of a tank last year…..)

    WW

    • Kevin R

      Walter, at the game last night & & when awakened at different times in that 2nd period, we totally agree that Bennett needs to get his own line & get a high end player to play with him. Backlund is totally fine on the 3rd line. Frolik is valuable from his versatility that he can fit on the 2nd line when needed. But, until we get 2 elite lines, this team aint winning nothing. That was horrible last night, losing like that to the 30th place team at home in a “must” win situation is………..well no where close to playoff bound.

  • Derzie

    3-7-1 since Jan 6. With 6 of those 8 losses by 1 goal.

    Myself? I’m not upset at all, this is not a playoff team and the roster desperately needs that blue chip talent that can only be acquired by a top 1 or 2, hell even 3 draft pick ( of which they’ve never even sunk too in franchise history)

    As this team is not a playoff caliber team anyways , I am strangely fine with the team playing the games tight enough to remain competitive/in each game without going on some pointless hot streak to work their way out of the lottery pickture.

  • Kevin R

    That’s a really grim assessment of the game. They absolutely dominated this game, especially the third period. Their execution was off though, and Korpisalo was incredible.

    I thought you guys at flamesnation would love this game. High corsi, solid effort, low shooting percentage and a loss to fall into last place for a team that needs more top end talent. Plus Hudler doing what he can to increase his trade value.

    Oh man Pulujarvi would be a welcome addition.

    • cberg

      Pretty much agree, although I thought the write-up was bang on. The one thing he left off was Columbus dominated the Flames in physical play and hits. That was likely one of the reasons we were off. Also saw little of Gaudreau, I think they had him covered like a wet blanket.

    • Trevy

      I love when fans from a team on the verge of tying the record for pure and utter incompetence start boasting about their team. When your amount of first overall picks adds up to our highest pick ever, shouldn’t it be the Oilers who are dominating the league and not in last place in the league again? What’s your excuse?

    • cberg

      I thought flames fans said at the start of the year that they had the best defence in the league? IMO, it’s their weakness. We told them all last year that it was pure luck that they somehow made the playoffs with that lineup. Besides Johnny hockey and Brodie, the flames are a very bad team. Regression… I hate to say I told you so.. But, I told you so. GCG!

  • RKD

    They can’t score to save their life, very disappointed to see them lose to the Blue Jackets who were on a back to back. Treliving needs to move vets by the deadline and get some assets back. They didn’t tank last season, but this is the season to do it. Not on purpose but there’s no way they can make the playoffs when they have to play teams like the Kings and Ducks three more times each before the season is over.

  • FlamesRule

    Columbus is 13th overall in goals scored (the Flames are 19th) and they are tied with six teams, including Calgary, with 47 points. The writer of this article referring to the Blue Jackets as the “worst team” in the league THREE times in the first three paragraphs is excessive, unprofessional and ignorant. CBJ may have the worst goaltending in the league, with their starter missing a ton of games, but I would argue that the Flames may be the worst team in the league.

  • Aussie Flame

    Does any one remember when corsi was the be all end all and shot quality didn’t matter? Now we have the corsi, but don’t have the high quality scoring chances.

  • RedMan

    Last nights games is so similar to so many games this season in that the Flames do so many things well but lack offensive punch. HUdler, Bouma and Jooris(if the later 2 were scoring at half the rate of last year where would we be in one goal games) are so far below last years scoring numbers and that is so reflective of this teams lack of offensive talent. Until there is a significant upgrade of offensive talent throughout the lineup this team will struggle.

    How do we move forward? Is there any prospects with offensive talent in the system. Grant is now the leading goal scorer in the AHL so maybe he adds depth scoring. Maybe Poirier can live up to his potential. Agostino is having a good AHL season and Mangipani is having another good season in the OHL and has promise. Drafting this year in the top three would also really help for next year.

    Maybe a line up that looks like this down the road could add some offense:

    Johnny/Monny/Poirier
    Ferland/Bennett/Mangipani
    Bouma/Backland/Frolik
    Agostino/Grant/Jooris

    That’s not including a top 5 pick. I would think that would be more exciting that what we had in the line up last night.

  • RedMan

    Man, im not sure i can handle all the Oiler fans who are pointing out that the flames are now as bad as the oiers have been for 10 years… I mean, that cuts! We are now as bad as the Oilers? At least it makes the oiler fans happy… makes them feel like they’ve achieved something!

  • RedMan

    Pierre-Lucky Dubois will be a nice addition. 6’3″ 200+lbs 2 way winger, should be able to slide In beside Bennett. Best player on ice at chl prospects game