Post-Game: Close But No Cigar

The very good New York Islanders made their lone visit of the season to the Scotiabank Saddledome this evening. And the Calgary Flames were, for the most part, up to the challenge. Unfortunately, a few minor defensive lapses against a better team resulted in a 2-1 overtime loss for the locals.

There are 22 games remaining in their regular season schedule. The Flames are now 26-30-4.

THE RUNDOWN

The viewing audience on television and in the Saddledome was treated to an eventful first period. The Flames were buzzing around early, and a really nice passing play between Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler was polished off by the Czech veteran scoring his 10th goal of the season off a really nice feed from Monahan to make it 1-0. Matt Stajan got walloped by Casey Cizikas in the Isles zone, prompting a fight between Cizikas and Lance Bouma.

Later on, Mark Giordano was walloped by Matt Martin after dumping the puck into the Islanders end, prompting another fight between Martin and Brandon Bollig. The period ended without any additional goals or fisticuffs, but the Flames largely kept the Isles to the outside. Shots were 12-12 and shot attempts were 22-14 for the Flames.

The second frame was a bit less wonderous, as the Islanders figured a few things out and the Flames seemed to lose a gear. In a sequence that was representative of the entire game/season thus far, Bollig fought Martin again early in the second – unfortunately negating a lengthy offensive zone stay for the Flames and a potential scoring opportunity. Whoops. The remainder of the period was rather back and forth, with the Flames spending more time in their own end but defending intelligently to minimize good chances. Nobody scored any goals, despite the Flames having 2-on-1 and 3-on-1 rushes late. The Flames had edges in shots (11-10) and shot attempts (21-15).

The Islanders pressed in the third, but the Flames held them at bay…for awhile. After the Flames killed a Joe Colborne tripping penalty, Matt Martin fought off Monahan and Giordano along the defensive zone boards and fed Thomas Hickey in the slot. Hickey’s shot trickled through Ortio and tied it up at 1-1. Neither team could score again. Shots were 9-7 for the Islanders, while attempts were also 21-15 in favour of the visitors. 

And so we went to overtime! It was a back-and-forth extra frame, with good chances for both sides. Just when everyone began thinking about the shootout, Josh Bailey scored with 17.8 seconds left to ice it (as he was left briefly unguarded by the Flames defenders).

THE NUMBERS

(All Situations) CorsiFor% OZStart%
Jones 50% 100%
Nakladal 60.87% 88.89%
Bennett 57.69% 83.33%
Wotherspoon 52.38% 81.82%
Hudler 61.11% 68.75%
Ferland 45% 66.67%
Gaudreau 64.29% 64.71%
Monahan 60.47% 61.11%
Colborne 50% 58.33%
Engelland 44.83% 53.33%
Hamilton 45.71% 50%
Bouma 46.15% 50%
Backlund 53.57% 50%
Brodie 56.06% 50%
Giordano 57.38% 50%
Bollig 60% 50%
Frolik 45.45% 43.75%
Stajan 43.48% 40%

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

Well, they were up to the challenge for the first half of the game, but they seemed to tire and get a bit sloppy in their execution of their defensive systems as the game wore on. A missed check here and some lapsed coverage there, and you have two goals.

And it’s a shame, too, because they were all over the Islanders early-on and Halak held them in it.

RED WARRIOR

Once again, Joni Ortio. He made 32 saves and was full marks on a few tough chances.

Johnny Gaudreau was also quite good, but wasn’t as noticeable in the second half of the game.

UP NEXT

The Flames have a recovery day tomorrow and are back in action on Saturday night, with a Retro Night tilt against the Ottawa Senators. Expect the Flames to look snazzy, the music to be awesome, and for several players to be suiting up as Flames for the final time.

  • brodiegio4life

    well hudler is raising his stock every game and with the big return ladd got and with him now off the market, I could see a fairly juicy return for hudler

  • everton fc

    We have a goalie! Finally… And too late…

    Wait until next year.

    If you replace Colborne w/Agostino, maybe Hamilton2 moves into Stajan spot on the 4th line… Hathaway and Grant are for real… If we can replace Hudler with a better/younger RW… If we could have two solid wings for Bennett (Ferland may be one – how did they look together, this evening?)

    Some good things are happening of late. Here’s hoping the light is closer, at the end of the tunnel, to playoff runs and continued success.

    • PrairieStew

      There are no significant improvements coming from the players you suggest. Colborne has 0.431 ppg this year, slightly above his career average of 0.398. Agostino is at 0.867 ppg in the AHL this year which translates to 0.381 ppg in the NHL. He’s maybe faster, and a little cheaper – but only 2 years younger than Colborne. A wash at best

      Freddie Hamilton is 8 years younger than Matt Stajan and significantly cheaper, but I doubt he is better than Matt is now. Freddie has 33 points in 46 games in the AHL this year which is his highest scoring rate since turning pro, but that translates to only 0.32 ppg in the NHL. Better than Stajan, yes, but Freddie is getting first and second line minutes in Stockton, and wouldn’t get the same volume of ice time filling Matt’s shoes.

      Hathaway is not ever filling a top 6 role in the NHL. 20 goals total in a four year college career. Half a point a game through his first 107 games in the AHL. Only 18 months younger than the player he is most compared to in Lance Bouma who has been and NHLer for 3 years ( maybe 4 if not for the knee injury), he’s a bit part at best.

      Derek Grant is scoring over a point per game this year in the AHL, but in only 30 games 30!! IN his 256 game AHL career over the previous 5 seasons he is at less than a half a point per game. This is not a player that has taken a huge step, he’s just hit a hot streak.He is less than 100 days younger than Joe Colborne, soon to turn 26, there’s probably not alot of development left there.

      What the Flames need to do is to try to turn these marginal NHL assets like Colborne into players with more potential. Granlund for Shinkaruk was a good start. Adding Joe or Jooris to a trade shipping out an expiring UFA might upgrade the return from picks in the upcoming draft to players about to turn pro , ready to contribute.

    • McRib

      I don’t think Mantha is the prospect he was a few years ago, scouts have always had concerns with how soft he plays for his size and I think the AHL has really brought that out in him. Part of me wonders if he is the next Joe Colborne 6’4″+ but might as well be 5’11” considering how soft he is. That said Hudlers return is just a bonus for me, considering he is a rental player at best. So that return wouldn’t be the end of the world, I mean he is 6’5″ and did score 120+ points in Junior… But I’m hopeful for something more appealing.

  • ApolloRising

    Our rookies are out playing our vets since being replaced. No surprise there. I hope management, especially Hartley, is paying serious attention. These guys should have been playing since the start of the year.

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    Seems like the fan participation has really gone down on the Flamesnation? I’ve noticed this in the last month ,is this to do with the flames falling out of the hunt for a playoff spot?

    • MattyFranchise

      Probably part of it. The mandatory sign in came in around that time too.

      Flames Nation is probably one of the more popular blogs on the we the web although if you look solely at the post count and not the quality of the comments then calgarypuck has a lot more traffic.

      Unlike Oilers Nation this is not the go to place on the web for casual fans (read: don’t really care about advanced stats) for Flames fans to discuss the team.

    • The GREAT Walter White

      Seems like Train#97 postings have really gone down on the Flamesnation. I’ve noticed this the last month, is this to do with the Oilers falling into last place in the league for the 10th straight year?

      WW

    • Canrock 78

      I personaly don’t like the haters and trolls. As the Flames have done more losing than winning the haters have had plenty to work with.
      Remember the old saying if you can’t beat them join them? Well I can’t do it, I won’t second guess every decision the Managment team makes. They know more about hockey than I ever will. So to answer your question the fans are sitting back watching the haters are hating.

      To you personaly I would think with all the crap you spewed about how great the Oilers were going to be and how your McDavid and Nurse were going to tear up the league. I would not go back to the boards you so often violated.

  • Muffin

    Really liking Naklaspoon also. They made some mistakes, but you can really tell the compete is there with them.

    Also, gotta do something with Colbourne. The dude has 0% hockey sense, but all the other tools. It’s really a shame, but playing him this much really isn’t helping his trade value or the team.