Post-Game: Flames Overcome Leafs, Absent Friends

It had all the trimmings of an American Hockey League clash.

The Calgary Flames, without Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Lance Bouma for disciplinary reasons, faced a Toronto Maple Leafs team missing five regulars. The Flames played fairly well early-on and spotted themselves a lead – having an edge of up to 4-1 at one point – and then clung on for dear life en route to a bowling shoe ugly 4-3 victory in front of a very blue (and partisan) crowd at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

The ugly ones count the same as the pretty ones, but the Flames are probably just gonna dispose of tonight’s game tape.

THE RUNDOWN

The opening period was rather back-and-forth, and punctuated by special teams play. The Flames shuffled their lines throughout the period, which made things a bit chaotic. With Matt Stajan in the box for holding, Michael Frolik floated a flip-pass over the Leafs defenders to Markus Granlund, who skated in alone and beat James Reimer short-handed to give the Flames a 1-0 lead. The lead was short-lived, though, as Patrick Holland tipped a Frankie Corrado pass past Jonas Hiller to tie the game up just 56 seconds later. However, the Flames answered back late in the period with a power-play goal of their own, as Mikael Backlund tipped a Dougie Hamilton offering past Reimer to make it 2-1 at the intermission. Shots were 10-9 Toronto, while attempts were 22-19 Toronto as well.

giohit

The Flames kept chugging along in the second. Micheal Ferland got a tap-in off a nice feed from under the red line from Joe Colborne to make it 3-1. After an icing, Granlund won a face-off back to Hamilton, who beat Reimer with a wrister from the point to make it 4-1. However, Josh Leivo blew past Deryk Engelland and sprung a 2-on-1, and with Ladislav Smid playing the pass, Leivo wristed one past Hiller to make it 4-2. Shots in the second were 10-13 Toronto and attempts were 24-16 Toronto.

Toronto ate Calgary’s lunch in the third period. I’d wager that roughly 80% of the game took place in the Flames end. They defended intelligently early-on, but much like a boxer who takes a lot of shots early in a fight, eventually they got worn down and gave up nice and nice chances. Ironically, the Leafs goal was from a muffin of a shot from outside the face-off dot from Jake Gardiner that found a way past Hiller’s glove hand to make it 4-3. But despite the Flames pretending they had a penalty to kill for roughly the, uh, third period, they held on to win. Somehow. Shots were 13-3 and attempts were 28-8, both for Toronto.

THE NUMBERS

(All Situations) CorsiFor% OZStart%
Nakladal 100% n/a
Hudler 52.38% 73.33%
Smid 30.43% 66.67%
Engelland 18.52% 66.67%
Granlund 41.38% 60%
Bennett 37.14% 45.45%
Hamilton 43.9% 41.67%
Ferland 30.3% 38.46%
Bollig 52.38% 33.33%
Russell 43.18% 31.82%
Backlund 35% 27.78%
Colborne 28.12% 27.27%
Frolik 33.33% 23.08%
Giordano 31.91% 22.73%
Stajan 34.78% 22.22%
Jooris 25.93% 20.83%
Brodie 28.26% 10%
Jones 18.18% 0%

WHY THE FLAMES WON

It’s probably overly generous to say that the Flames won. They survived. The Leafs aren’t a good team. And the Flames were better than them in the first, they were about even in the second, and they were basically holding on for dear life in the final frame.

RED WARRIOR

Y’know, let’s go with Dougie Hamilton, as he had a goal and an assist and was generally skating around quite nicely.

And Markus Granlund was also pretty good before the whole team started playing lousy in the third period.

UP NEXT

The Flames hit the road for a pair of crucially important Pacific Division battles. They visit the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night and the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever been so embarrassed by a win.

    Awful possession against a borderline AHL team, poor face-off ability, bad shot totals.

    Not to mention, why the hell did Nak get only 2 shifts? This is going to look just great with the next import free agent we try to attract.

    Worst part is, because we won, Hartley will defend all of his terrible decisions tonight.

    The disaster twins were not good, and I don’t buy the BS that Hartley doesn’t want to try a new guy at this “desperate” time. Nak has been up for a stretch against three terrible teams, and played less that two minutes (to my knowledge) tonight. Let him play. If Hartley actually thinks this team has playoff chances (which they don’t), he’d give Nak a shot.

  • It Was In!

    If Nakladal couldn’t get more than 2 shifts in a game against an AHL team, while the Flames were shorthanded themselves, then he will never get a chance with the Flames. Thanks Bob

  • RealMcHockeyReturns

    I get the feeling Bob is getting frustrated and realizing that his Jack Adams aura is gone. He seems to be bitter and lashing out at others in his exasperation.

    Like he knows his time here is almost up, there will be no new contract and he is bitterly lashing out at his players and team. My opinion anyways

  • It Was In!

    To be fair–what if Hartley had played Nakladal instead of Smid or Engelland, but then Nakladal played just as badly as, oh, I don’t know, Engelland or Smid??

    Boy would his face have been red! I’m glad he avoided it.

  • MattyFranchise

    From most reports Nakladal is the best defenseman on the Heat this season but this somehow doesn’t make him worthy of trying out on the NHL team at at least 3rd pairing minutes?

    I mean, I would put him in a second pairing situation just to see but failing that Bob could have at least tried him with Engelland who, now that he is playing appropriate minutes for his ability, has been the Flames most consistent defenseman for the balance of the season.

    Instead he plays 2 shifts in a game against a team tied for worst in the league who just lost their best defenseman in a trade the day of the game.

    Oh, and let us not forget that this was during a game where there were only 11 forwards.

    At least Russell didn’t lead in ice time among defensemen again.

  • RKD

    Nakladal 1:45 are you kidding me? When Smid and Engelland are -2. Putting a guy in for less than 2 minutes is just plain dumb. If you want to see what you have in him, you got to play him. Gio smoking Kadri was a sweet hit, Kadri kept his head down. What a clown he is telling Gio he’s dead for that hit. If Kadri was so made he should have fought Gio, but he’s probably too chicken.

  • Hubcap1

    Bob Hartley is pissing me off. I sincerely hope he’s fired soon. I’m beyond done with him and his idiotic moves.

    Nakladal is a UFA! You are not making the playoffs! Good god. Play the man and see what you have…ecspecially against a team low on morale and with significant injuries.

    AND don’t give us the b.s. of you felt more “comfortable” with engelland and smid??? WHAT?

    THEY WERE -2. THEY LOOKED LIKE COMPLETE FOOLS OUT THERE. What are you saying Bob?? Just leave. Please.

    • FeyWest

      Phil you are an idiot. Do you think there is a reason at age 28 that Nakladal has never played a game in the NHL? 29 other teams did not miss on this guy. If he goes it is no loss to anyone, everyone in the NHL know what you have a KHL or AHL player

      • everton fc

        Can’t tell if a guy can make the jump if he doesn’t play, but I get the point here, that Nakladal’s closer to 30 than 25, and has not played on this continent, professionally – perhaps for a reason…

        Still… Give him 10 minutes. See what he does. Though it’s clear to me Hartley and the staff still believe we can squeak into a wildcard spot, and with games in hand, this fan thinks you shoot for that ever-drifting horizon.

  • Hubcap1

    Ok everyone has had their Nakladalapoloza over his first, er, game.

    But what is more telling about this refusal of Bob to play him is the fact that the reunited pair of Smid/Engalland got abused just like almost every other time they are paired together.

    Bob can’t say he doesn’t know him by now, he was here all training camp, for a stretch earlier in the season (so in practice everyday), and now here again and dressed on the bench but not played.

    Seriously, if he were really that bad why would the Flames have called him up.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Whom did Hartley shame more, the carousing frat brothers or Nakladal, who by all accounts has been doing everything that has been asked of him since coming to North Americay?

    As for Nakladal being used sparingly, the red hot rumour is that during the 1st period, he sucked a rum and butter sweet and when Hartley thought he smelled booze on Nak’s breath, it was good night Prague.

    Are the Flames the only pro sports team in North America that wears a home jersey that has the city’s name on the front of it? As I get it, when teams wear a jersey with the name of their city on it, it is used only for road games. Why do the Flames wear their “Calgary” jerseys at home? Is it a slap at traditionalism, like getting a tatty, or is it a bold fashion statement similar to that boy band years ago that used to wear their pants ass backwards?

  • Toofun

    It was a perfect opportunity for Calgary to ease a new defenseman into the line-up against an AHL quality opposition, before two important games later in the week and ahead of some trades at the deadline.

    Instead, the coach plays him two shifts, publicly humiliating him and crushing any confidence he may have built up ahead of the game.

    Absolutely ridiculous and terrible player usage and development.