Post-Game: Eliminated

At approximately 3:39pm MT on Saturday afternoon, the Calgary Flames were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention as the Minnesota Wild beat Colorado 4-0. Roughly four and a half hours later, the Flames hit the ice to face the defending Stanley Cup champions. (Fittingly, the in-house arena crew played the above Offspring song, featuring a refrain of “There’s no tomorrow” as the game-opening song after the national anthems.) For a team with literally nothing to play for now other than draft lottery placement, the Flames played a pretty good 60 minutes of hockey.

Tonight’s game had all the markings of an ugly one for the home side. Chicago had lost a couple heading in and had a few days off since Tuesday’s loss to stew a bit and regroup. The Flames were coming back home off a three-game road trip and two rather flat efforts in losses. The Flames no doubt knew that they were now completely out of the playoff pack before they began the night’s contest.

The Flames dropped this one 4-1, but if you’re looking for the textbook definition of a “good loss” at this time of year, this is as good a one as you’re gonna get.

THE RUNDOWN

Neither side scored in the first period. The Flames had some jump early, but Chicago gradually took over the flow and pacing of the game as the period wore on. Joni Ortio made a couple really nice saves at close-range, and the Flames had a few decent chances at the other end, but for the most part Chicago was the better team. Shots were 9-9, while attempts were 22-17 for the Blackhawks.

The second period was a postcard of the best and the worst of the 2015-16 Flames. Their penalty kill came up huge, with Joni Ortio make a great save on an up-close redirection from Artem Anisimov to keep the game scoreless. Unfortunately shortly after the penalty was killed, T.J. Brodie made an errant pass right to Andrew Ladd, who swooped in and beat Ortio top-corner to make it 1-0. The Flames tied it up a little bit later, as the Hamilton Bros. connected on an odd passing play. Freddie partially fanned on a feed from Johnny Gaudreau, but the puck slid right to Dougie for the one-timer and the goal to make it 1-1. However, the Flames couldn’t capitalize on a series of man-advantages, and the Blackhawks responded before the period ended. After a scoring chance where Ortio collided with a Blackhawk and lost his stick, the Flames failed to clear the zone and before you can say “That’s not good…” Andrew Shaw tipped the puck past Ortio to make it 2-1. Shots were 12-7 Flames and shot attempts were 23-14 Flames.

The third period was rather tight-checking and low-scoring. The Hawks defended well – a contrast from their second period – and managed to keep things close. The Flames pulled Joni Ortio late and Ladd got his second of the night to make it 3-1. They pulled the goalie again late and Teuvu Teravainen scored another empty-netter to make it 4-1. Shots were 11-11 and attempts 19-16 for Chicago.

THE NUMBERS

(All situations!) CorsiFor% OZStart%
Bollig 33.33% 80%
Ferland 30% 80%
D.Hamilton 63.64% 75%
Stajan 28.57% 66.67%
Gaudreau 73.68% 58.33%
Monahan 80% 53.85%
Colborne 51.72% 50%
Bennett 57.14% 50%
Nakladal 53.85% 46.15%
Giordano 58% 44.44%
Brodie 58.7% 42.86%
Jokipakka 38.1% 38.46%
Backlund 52% 30%
Hathaway 36% 30%
Bouma 48.15% 28.57%
Engelland 35.29% 25%
Frolik 57.69% 25%
F.Hamilton 65.22% 16.67%

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

In a nutshell? Defensive miscues. The Flames were right there with the Blackhawks for the majority of the game, but that giveaway by Brodie and their inability to clear their zone on that second goal made the difference. They played well enough to win, but made just enough mistakes in this one that they lost.

They were also unlucky to not score at all on their second period power-play(s). They had a ton of time, space and zone time, and had a lot of good looks. But Scott Darling was full marks tonight, and so the Flames get zero points and the Blackhawks got two.

RED WARRIOR

Dougie Hamilton led the Flames in shots (6) and shot attempts (12), he played over 20 minutes and had the Flames only goal. Let’s give it to him.

And stick-taps to a few other deserving individuals: Joni Ortio (23 saves), Garnet Hathaway (was the textbook definition of a pest) and Johnny Gaudreau (full of pep).

THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 11.11.24 PM

The Flames are now three points ahead of last-place Toronto, who have a game-in-hand on Calgary. The race to the bottom will probably go down to the wire, folks.

UP NEXT

The Flames practice tomorrow and then hop on a plane that will whisk them away to Glendale, Arizona for a game against the Coyotes on Monday night.

You never know, perhaps Mark Jankowski will meet them there…

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      Brossoit has only 5 NHL starts . A little soon to be writing him off. It is good know that Edmonton does have a true #1 in Talbot though.
      Walter you need to learn to focus on Calgary a little bit more. This article is about the Flames and your first two comments every night are always about the Oilers.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    I almost forgot: the Oilers set the record for lowest points per game over a decade!!!! Even if they win the rest of their games this year.

    No team has ever been worse (Florida had the old record)… No team will ever be worse……

    Good times!

    WW

  • RKD

    The justice for me would be the Oilers finishing last and then the Flames winning the lottery and taking Matthews right from under their nose. That would be so awesome, the Oil have had plenty of 1st round picks.

  • The pure jubilation on the face of the Hamiltons after Dougie scored from Freddie… that was super awesome.

    Also, RKD, wouldn’t it be even better if the Oilers and Canucks finished last and second-last, and ended up drafting fourth and fifth, with the Flames having the #1 overall pick?

  • McRib

    Interesting stat Mikko Rantanen is the only player younger then Hunter Shinkaruk with more points this year in the AHL. Considering Hunter had shoulder surgery two years ago (behind developmental curve) and is only a little more than three months away from being a true 20 year old rookie this year, impressive.

      • Stu Cazz

        Hamilton struggled early as he was transitioning to a new team & systems. He has now proven his critics wrong. Given Wideman’s and Russell’s contract status unfortunately ice time was not predicated by performance but rather by asset value in anticipation of a trade. So far it worked in Russell’s case….one can only hope it will in Wideman’s case at the trade deadline or sooner. Reduced ice time reduces asset value…it’s a business now more than a sport….

  • Dan the flames fan

    I was impressed with Ortio’s game tonight. In no way was he responsible for this loss. I love Gaudreau’s level of compete, and how losing is not an option for him. He’s in it to win every game after game.

    Remind me why Bollig is allowed to play?

  • DoubleDIon

    Bollig is a shockingly awful hockey player. McGratton was a better skater. I haven’t seen a Flames player as poor at skating since Rocky Thompson. Surely we’ll bury that contract next year right? Any guy from Stockton making league minimum would be light years better.

    • MattyFranchise

      Near the beginning of the season I would have been more inclined to disagree with you but now that we have gotten some looks at the grinders from the minors I fully agree that it’s time to end the Bollig experiment. AHL for him next season would be fine.

  • Randy

    The great Walter White sort a funny handle would think with great in there you would be above trashing other teams thought with great you would be above that and as far as the oilers go it would be hilarious if they won the first pick just to hear Toronto sports network go ape By the way the best hockey ever played was when Calgary and Edmonton were battling in the 80es and I wish both teams could get back to that again

      • KACaribou

        There was wonderful day, long ago, when uneducated people didn’t have a forum for their crazy rants. Now they all do, even if they can’t pencil together a proper sentence. Often that forum is called Facebook, but not always.