POST GAME: Coyotes. Ugly.

The Arizona Coyotes are the Frasier of hockey teams, you’ll watch it if it’s on but … ugh. Why? 

Did we really have to watch this game to know what happened? The Flames lost 4-1 in a vintage Flames/Coyotes game. The Flames didn’t play poorly, the Coyotes didn’t play great. The Flames lost a game they probably could have won but weren’t robbed by any measure.

Did I watch the game, or did I write that previous paragraph in August 2002? Who knows? Probably not you. Probably not even me anymore… The names and scenery change, but the Plotnikov remains the same. Read all about it after the jump!

WHAT WENT DOWN

The first period was a snoozer, but it’s our fault if we expected any different. Joni Ortio made a few pretty nice stops late in the first to keep the game scoreless and that’s the way it stayed after the first. The Flames didn’t have many good chances and neither did the Coyotes. Time passed. Somewhere, dogs barked and children played.

However, the second started VERY WELL. Despite the fact that the Coyotes had a powerplay, Michael “Elven Prince” Frolik busted up an Arizona zone entry and handed a tap-in to Mikael Backlund for the shortie. A beautiful play all around from Frolik who has been rock-solid all season for the Flames even if his offensive numbers haven’t been huge. Backlund is now only three goals away from his career high of 18 goals and three points shy of his career high of 39 points. Have a look at the goal here:

However, to be sporting, the Flames afforded the Coyotes a shorthanded goal as well. Boyd Gordon batted a cross-ice pass out of mid air to beat Ortio, who had been exceptionally solid prior to that (and was hardly to blame for the goal). Have a look courtesy of the best follow on twitter, @myregularface:

The Flames controlled play for large stretches in the second but were unable to convert and the period ended 1-1. Micheal Ferland, sadly the victim of a gypsy curse and playing on the top line with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, had at least two good scoring chances but couldn’t beat Domingue. Also, this occured:

He’s practically a swan out there. It was also a fitting metaphor for the second half of the Flames game.

Early in the third, Kevin Jokipakka took a holding call and the Flames were, again, unable to kill a penalty at a key moment in the game. I am not sure who, outside of the coaching staff, can be blamed for the abysmal penalty killing this season but it is certainly a lingering problem. Antoine Vermette finished off a nice bit of passing and the Coyotes went ahead 2-1. 

Late in the third, Sean Monahan just missed wide on an odd man rush for the Flames and the Coyotes went back the other way and iced the game. Joni Ortio kicked a Shane Doan shot out to Brad Richardson who whacked it past Ortio and put the Coyotes up 3-1.

Despite a late powerplay, the Flames weren’t able to mount a serious attempt at a comeback and lost by the score of 4-1 when the Coyotes buried an empty netter. 

THE RED WARRIOR

Though I thought  Mikael Backlund was good again, I think that the obvious choice from a listless Flames performance was Frolik who generated scoring chances consistently for the Flames and did all the work on the lone Flames goal of the night. 

The line of Agostino, Backlund, and Frolik was an intriguing line heading into tonight’s game and I thought they were clearly three of the best forwards all night for the Flames. Hopefully Agostino can get a long look with the big club, he’s certainly deserved it.

THE ABYSS WILL ALSO GAZE UNTO THEE

Tankstandings2

    • Kevin R

      Maybe Hartley wants to push BT’s buttons so he can go after a probable coaching job in Montreal. But this was a real big lotto pick loss. So at least we have that.

    • McRib

      I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again… I have never in my life seen a team dragged down so much by the bottom 3-4 defenders in my life. We beat Nashville handily without Engelland… But most nights this year he has had 18+ minutes.. He is soooo terrible (21 minutes tonight)!!! He makes me miss Corey Sarich. Even when he has a decent night on paper he still is in his own zone making everyone else on our team tired because they are constantly hemmed in. He is such a detriment to this team… At least he is “big”. If we want to tank we need to pair Engelland-Smid back together.

    • cberg

      Hamilton is likely lower minutes than others because his defensive coverage has been and continues to be one of the worst on the Flames D. In the slot he continues to be lost, puck-watching and ineffective. Offsetting that, he is getting more physical and better on the boards, moves the puck well and really adds offensively. He is young and still improving, so I’m not down on him, more like frustrating.

      This blogger narrative that he is somehow getting cheated out of minutes, or the coaches are stupid or have a love-in with someone else are all laughable. When Hamilton starts playing solidly on both sides of the puck, and consistently, there is no doubt his minutes will also rise.

        • Rock

          Anyone that believes Hamilton is good at defense is not watching the game again tonight -2 missed assignments. Getting points as a defenseman does not warrant you more ice time. Hamilton contract is looking like another Wideman contract something that the flames will regret

          • BlueMoonNigel

            If a defenseman is getting points, it means the biscuit is not in the defensive zone. Keeping your defensive zone free of scoring chances is precisely what a defenseman needs to do. How he does it is irrelevant.

            In addition, the rules of engagement on this board forbid any criticism of Hamilton. He is bloody brilliant as was Tre’s maneuvering last summer to get Big Red. If Red hasn’t met or exceeded your expectations, then it means you are way too demanding of a young defenseman. Expect 4 or 5 more seasons of somewhat inconsistent play before he becomes elite.

          • Rock

            4 or 5 years of inconsistent play at 5 million plus a season is a bad contract. His contract will end before he is elite at that rate
            Calgary didn’t get a corner stone building defenseman for picks only as some people think. After all look at how well Boston is doing this year compared to last year with Hamilton.
            Most of the time after a trade is made the team that gets the player will improve more then the team that gets the picks. In this case it is very opposite so BT made a trade for Hamilton and lost.

            Commitment to getting points by a defenseman always results in goals against because he is never in a good defensive position to defend. Every defenseman that has to play a long side Hamilton or Wideman need to know how to defend odd man situations.

      • smatic10

        Hamilton has improved leaps and bounds since the beginning of the year. He is getting quicker with his stick in the D zone and he’s using his body more. Is he a perfect number 1 dman right now? No. But he is for sure capable of logging more minutes, definitely more than Wides, Nak, Kevin, and Engelland.

      • DestroDertell

        Just because someone is better in the o-zone and moving the puck than getting beat on attempted breakaways doesn’t mean he’s inferior to the plugs Hartley’s in love with.

  • Muffin

    On the positive side I don’t think Ortio can be faulted on any of three goals before he was pulled for the extra attacker. Despite an 880% save percentage I think he played well tonight. Even the back door second goal by Arizona I don’t think was his fault. And Bouma made a very high risk poke check to be out of position on the kill. We do miss Byron!

    I definitely think Or is part of the solution for 16-17 and hope BT sees it that way also. rtio is carrying the mail now and I wonder if he could do it for a full season. It would be high risk, but then we could invest the money in a $5m+ right wing like Okposo to play with Johnny and Mony.

    If not the starter he certainly looks strong enough to be the backup and give Calgary a chance to win when he plays.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      There is a reason that everyone has picked up the name ‘Kevin’ FYI. As legend states, Jyrki went into a Seattle based coffee shop and tried to order a coffee. They asked for his name, but after some confusion, he said just call me Kevin.