Post-Game: Flames get two points, lose two players

For the third straight game, the Calgary Flames were the better team.

For the third straight game, the Flames got some points out of it.

The locals were full marks once again, getting out to an early lead against a really good Nashville Predators club and holding on for a 3-2 overtime victory on home ice. The revelry was soured somewhat by the in-game departures of T.J. Brodie and Sam Bennett with upper-body injuries.

The Flames improve to 28-34-5 on the season.

THE RUNDOWN

After a bit of a sluggish start by both teams, the Flames were superb in the opening period. After a sleepy opening five minutes, they began skating and making crisper passes and then all heck broke loose. On a lengthy offensive zone sojourn, the Flames actually heard the buzzer and the clock was rewound by about 30 seconds because Johnny Gaudreau scored a goal that went off the back-bar and out so quickly, it took Toronto looking at the tape to notice it. While they were announcing that goal, Gaudreau skated around a falling Nashville defender and scored again to make it 2-0.

The Flames played fairly well the rest of the way and didn’t give up too much. They led in shots 14-9 but trailed slightly in shot attempts 25-23.

Nobody scored in the second period, as Johnny Gaudreau became Johnny Passing rather than Johnny Shooting. The Flames led comfortably in shots 10-4 and attempts 21-14, and did a great job disrupting Nashville while dealing with some extended absences from T.J. Brodie and Sam Bennett during the frame.

The Predators finally got on the board mid-way through the third. After the Flames finally failed to efficiently clear the zone – something they’d been good at to that point – there was a pile-up of bodies in front of Joni Ortio and Mike Fisher set up Anthony Bitetto (sneaking in from the point) for his first NHL goal on the wide-open net. The Predators kept pushing and eventually tied it up with a little bit left in regulation, as Fisher beat Ortio on another net-front scramble to make it 2-2. Shots were 13-9 Nashville and shot attempts were 20-13 Nashville, because score effects. (Oh, and Nashville’s a good team and probably remarked after the second, “We’re down two goals to Calgary!?”

So went to overtime. And Gaudreau? Well, he got caught out on a long shift, but managed to collect the puck and set up Mikael Backlund for a one-timer for the 2-1 victory.

THE NUMBERS

(All Situations) CorsiFor% OZStart%
Bennett 50% 100%
Nakladal 51.72% 71.43%
Gaudreau 63.64% 64.29%
Monahan 54% 62.5%
Colborne 42.42% 57.14%
Wotherspoon 50% 57.14%
Hamilton 52.94% 56.25%
Stajan 36% 50%
Hathaway 56.25% 45.45%
Giordano 50% 45%
Ferland 63.33% 44.44%
Jokipakka 46.15% 43.75%
Jooris 42.31% 42.86%
Bouma 39.29% 42.86%
Bollig 36.84% 42.86%
Brodie 40.74% 40%
Frolik 39.29% 40%
Backlund 58.62% 30%

WHY THE FLAMES WON

Well, they out-played the Predators for two-thirds of the game, and managed to score. They defended well on the penalty kill and were generally very defensively responsible at even-strength. They held on for dear life in the third period, but they played well enough to deserve a couple of points, and they managed to generate enough dangerous scoring chances to get those points.

RED WARRIOR

Johnny Gaudreau had two goals and three points tonight, so he’s the natural answer. He was superb.

But hey, Joni Ortio was sharp throughout, and Jyrki Jokipakka played with a bunch of different people in a bunch of different situations and was rock-solid throughout. He may be the answer to the gap in the Flames top two defensive pairings.

THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 10.45.01 PM

The Flames crept up a bit in points, but Toronto won so it’s not like they lost much ground at all.

They’re six points up on last place, and 13 points behind Colorado for the last playoff spot. Their “tragic number” for elimination is any combination of 8.5 Flames losses or Colorado wins.

UP NEXT

The Flames are back in action on Friday night as they host a Pacific Division rival in the Arizona Coyotes.

  • freethe flames

    Last nights game is the classic Good News/Bad News story.

    Good news we won/ Bad News we won.

    Good news we played well/Bad news some people think we have arrived(hopefully no one in management)

    Bad News Bennett and Brodie injured (hopefully short term)/ Good news we will likely need to use an emergency recall and get to see someone from the farm for free.

    Watching the game I was totally entertained. I was happy with the defencemen. If these were our top 6 to start next season I would not be disappointed.

    Upfront we are still 2 or 3 skilled guys away. However build from the 4th line of say: Bouma/Jooris/Hathaway could be fun. 3rd line Colborne/Backs/Frolik (each could score +15 goals), 2nd line(Shinkaruk/Agostino/Ferland)Bennett/(mystery man or Poirier?)1st line Johnny/Monny/(mystery man/Ferland?/POirier??). With Stajan as the emergency 13 forward.

    Goalies are voodoo to me. I liked Ortio the lst few guys and I liked Ramo before he got injured but I am not convinced that either of them get us back into the playoffs.

    Well wishful thinking that the wholes can be filled from within. Probably need to be drafted or acquired via trade of FA.

  • The Fall

    Tough to read Hathaway. Of course you want to love the effort and effectivemness. He is driving play and keeping the puck deep in the offensive zone. I worry if he is wreckless, like this is just him sprinting to the finish to make a splash.

    Can he keep that style of play consistent.

  • The Fall

    It is night and day how the Flames are playing in their own end. With Russell and Wideman gone the transition game has improved greatly.

    BT need huge credit for Russell trade. Not only did he get amazing return for an ineffective UFA, but he sent Russell to a team that will support his style. Both parties come out looking better off.