Post-Game: Flames Open A Bakery, Turnovers On Special

The Calgary Flames were fortunate to have a two-goal lead after the first two periods of tonight’s game with Ottawa. They led 4-2 off a few fortunate chances by Johnny Gaudreau. Unfortunately, they played a tremendously sloppy third period of hockey and were victimized for a natural hat-trick from Mika Zibanejad and four unanswered goals to drop tonight’s game by a 6-4 score.

It was the best and worst of the 2015-16 season. Johnny Gaudreau did some cool stuff, but the team was an absolute mess in their own end and they paid for it.

THE RUNDOWN

The entire game had a weird energy, as if the Jiri Hudler trade filled the building with goofy gas. Neither team was particularly crisp or impressive all evening, but sometimes the sloppiness led to entertaining hockey.

In the opening frame, the Flames were quite good – particularly at 5-on-5. Oddly, they opened the scoring on the power-play on an interesting passing play. Joni Ortio rushed out to collect an errant pass, chipping the puck up to Mikael Backlund. Backlund strode into the zone, passed to Sam Bennett, who passed it to Joe Colborne in the slot for a shot that squeaked through Craig Anderson for a 1-0 lead. A little while later, Sean Monahan made it 2-0 with a nice span-and-shoot chance from the face-off circle that beat Anderson under the arm. But the Senators responded back on the power-play. With Michael Frolik off for high-sticking, Zach Smith tipped in an Erik Karlsson point shot to make it 2-1. Shots were 12-4 Flames, while attempts were 14-10 for the Flames.

The Senators pressed hard in the second, and the Flames probably spent roughly two-thirds of the period in their own end. However, Johnny Gaudreau made it 3-1, turning on the jets and beating Karlsson on a rush and beating Anderson top-corner. But the Senators pulled closer, as Deryk Engelland crunched a player along the boards but couldn’t grab the puck, and Curtis Lazar collected it and fed Nick Paul in the slot for a tap-in to make it 3-2. But the Flames came through with a big, late-period goal; with 22 seconds left, Monahan and Gaudreau went in on a rush and Gaudreau beat Anderson through some traffic to make it 4-2 after two. Shots were 13-13, but attempts were 28-19 for the Senators.

There were three goal reviews in the first half of the third period. All were for potential Ottawa goals. Unfortunately for the Flames, two of them counted. The Senators hit a cross-bar five seconds into the period, but it didn’t count. Unfortunately, Mika Zibanejad scored three goals in 2:38 to completely topple the Flames. First, he was left alone due to a defensive lapse by the home side, and went top-cheddar on Ortio with a nice snipe.

It was such a nice goal that they had to call Toronto for them to take a peek. Zibanejad scored again off a wonky play; the initial shot bonked off of Alex Chiasson as Bobby Ryan was cutting across the crease. Ortio followed Ryan, then realized that the puck bounced from Chiasson right to Zibanejad, who potted it in to make it 4-4. And the lead completely evaporated short thereafter, as Michael Stone’s initial opportunity after a Flames give-away at their own blueline was stopped, but the rebound went right to a sliding Zibanejad for the 5-4 lead. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored on an empty net with a minute left to make it 6-4. Shots were 13-9 Calgary and attempts were 25-15, but the Senators got too many juicy turnovers for that to matter.

THE NUMBERS

(All situations.) CorsiFor% OZStart%
Colborne 75% 88.24%
Gaudreau 62.86% 85.71%
Monahan 61.29% 85.71%
Brodie 60.71% 77.78%
Giordano 60.38% 76.92%
Jones 66.67% 75%
Nakladal 47.06% 75%
Bennett 55.56% 75%
Backlund 56.67% 60%
Hamilton 51.35% 50%
Bollig 35.71% 50%
Frolik 48.28% 50%
Ferland 51.72% 50%
Engelland 40.48% 41.67%
Wotherspoon 31.58% 40%
Jooris 47.06% 33.33%
Stajan 28.57% 33.33%
Bouma 26.09% 25%

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

I’ll let Flames captain Mark Giordano summarize it:

“Even in the second, we were really guilty of turning over the puck a lot and that’s as bad as it gets in the third. We gave that team the game that we should’ve easily won in the third.”

Just some awful, awful defensive play. They were beaten to all kinds of loose pucks in the second but somehow held it together, and then added unforced turnovers to their repertoire in the third period.

RED WARRIOR

Johnny Gaudreau had two big goals for his team and three points overall. Let’s give it to him, but also give a stick-tap to T.J. Brodie and his three assists.

QUOTABLE

I’ll give Bob Hartley credit. He had the opportunity to let his team off the hook and blame the loss on the video review result on the game-tying goal. He didn’t.

“Tonight there was one call that we thought there was interference, but at the end of the day we just don’t deserve to win. That goal was a huge goal, but I’m not going to blame the referees on the loss for one play when we basically gave momentum in the second and third period.”

THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM

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The Flames are five points out of last place overall and 12 points out of the last wild-card spot.

UP NEXT

The Flames (26-31-4) hop on a plane tomorrow to head for Philadelphia for the trade deadline on Monday afternoon and then a clash with the Flyers on Monday evening.

  • Captain Ron

    With last place place all but locked up again by the sad sack Oilers I remain hopeful that we can still slip down to one of the bottom 3 spots. May as well since they are that close already. Great year to have a shot at first pick.

  • freethe flames

    Watching the last two games has been enlightening and despite what the announcer of the game said (that if we solve our goalie problem things will be better0; there is a lot wrong with this team,

    Not to be obvious but we need a RW to play with Johnny and Monny. Yes Jones played well last night but he is not the long term answer. I’m not sure we have anyone in the system to fit that bill.

    Ferland has not lived up to our expectations but has shown signs of being able to play with Bennett, again leaving us short a RW; this could be Frolik but it is so tempting to keep him with Backlund.

    THe Backlund/Frolik line need a a lw who is defensively responsible and has some offensive upside. We may have this on the farm with either Agostino our Shinkarik but for now I woud give the nod to Agostino.

    The current left over forwards can be cobbled together to make an effective checking line but with little offensive upside but I personally would like to see that line made up of kids. I really think the world of
    Stajin and his intangibles but he will soon be passed on the depth chart. Bouma has had an injury filled year and has not been as good a two years ago(I’m ignoring last year as it seems to be the outlier) Jooris has fallen out of Hartley’s good graces, Colborne can be an effective 4th liner but Hartley seems to want him higher up in the line up and Bollig is Bollig enough said.

    For me that tells me that this team that we iced last night is 4 forwards short of being good and two of these need to be higher end RW.

    On the backend we love Brodino and why not, Hamilton needs to play with a physical partner who can play. England has been better this year but he cannot be the long term solution for our second pairing. Nor is Russell. Nak and Spoon have been relatively effective as the 3rd pairing and I wonder if either of them might make a good partner for Hamilton.(Spoon perhaps)
    This team needs at least one better physical defender who can play in the top 4.They have 20 games left to see what might work. Someone else suggested trying TJ and Dougie(the future top pairing), Nakldal and Gio, and Spoon and someone from the farm with Eng’s as the 7th.

    Goaltending; don’t overpay on the trade market but find someone. There are guys available. Also if we play better in front of a goalie maybe someone will develop.

    Coaching: There is a lot of dislike of Hartley on this site for his misuse of players and I agree with much of the criticism but I am leary of the coaching circus that the Oiler’s have used as well. Change the toys he has available and maybe he will act differently.

    It’s year 3 of the rebuild last year was fun but lets be realistic there is still much to be done. At least 4 new forwards(2 high end RW), a stud stay at home defenseman that scares other teams, and 2 NHl goalies. BT your job is to find them either through trade, UFA or draft and development.

    Good luck.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      By the time your wish list is checked off, the likes of Monahan, Gaudreau and Bennett will be extinguished Flames.

      There is also a little hitch called a salary cap. This team is going to be pan handling for at least the next couple of years with big contracts waiting to be signed and bad contracts waiting to expire.

      This team spent all of Iggy’s career to find a centre who could complement him. Conroy was the best it could do. Your wishlist is way beyond what the Flames or most teams could accomplish in a reasonable time.

      For what you are asking, a lot of it has be homegrown. At present, I don’t see anything remotely similar to what you want in Stockton.
      Flames don’t have a lot of attractive pieces to deal.

      If n the next few years you get 2 or 3 of those pieces, consider your wishlist more than satisfied.

      • freethe flames

        I can’t agree with you Johnny, Monny and Bennett as well as Gio, Brodie and Hamilton will be here a while (they are already signed long term or shortly will be). The cap is an issue but will be helped by stopping to sign 5-7 defenceman for $2+ m(at the end of next season we will be free of Wides, Smids and Eng’s $11 m cap hit). I think you can find or develop a #4 stay at home defender for between $4-5m, and the 5-7 are guys you develop or claim of waivers. Spoon looks like a good 5-7 and the young guys in the system could probably fill the other spots for less than Smid is making combined.

        The weakness on the homegrown front is at forward, I still hold out hope for Poirier, Mangipani, Shinkarik, all could still develop into offensive forwards but none are sure things. So that means draft someone with high end potential(looks like we draft in that wheelhouse this year), package some guys together with some picks to get a RW and our wait for FA although that group does not look inspiring.

      • Kevin R

        WTF, you are sounding like you are describing the Oiler’s future. Oilers like to wait to trade their most hopeful young guys until they are only capable of getting 3rd round picks back. Yakupov should get more than a 3rd but then that’s why he won’t get moved until he has another meh season next year & his contract is expiring. For the last 10 years Oilers have had nothing less than top 10 picks & these players will want to get paid. So add another top 1 again this year & your destiny will be year after year of players you have to move because you can’t afford them. & here is another nice little tidbit for you. You guys have just burnt 1 year off of McDavids ELC & were rewarded with another 30th place finish. 2 more years to go & then welcome to the biggest contract a player has ever signed in Edmonton. Will probably eclipse Kane & Toews deals & then we can talk about this little hitch called a salary cap.

  • Greg

    I hope they go back to Ortio for the next start. Give him the same rope they gave Ramo and see what he can do with some extended play time instead of banishing him for 3 months after every bad game and wondering why he can’t seem to establish any consistent confidence.

  • Muffin

    Frustrating game. I really don’t think anyone expected the flames to struggle THIS much this season. Regression, sure, but not in the bottom 5 in the league..

  • MontanaMan

    I have read the past month and again today, that the Flames are rumoured to be interested in Tyler Bozak. Wondering how he would fit into the Flames roster, who’s spot he would take and who they’d be giving up for him? Is it reasonable that if the Flames acquire Bozak, Backlund’s days are numbered?

  • The retro night videos, booing Phaneuf whenever he had the puck, and that it was a tied, 1 or 2 goal difference all night made the game seem better than it actually was for those of us watching at the Dome. No matter had bad the Flames play defensively was there was hope every time Johnny stepped on the ice that he’d get his hat trick goal to win or tie it (until the empty better).