Ducks 8, Flames 3 post-game embers: Well that was a thing that happened

You know what? I’m cool with this. The Flames suck in Anaheim, but there was no point in changing that now; not when this entire season, as a whole, sucks in general. Let’s save the inevitable page-turning for when the Flames, as a group, are ready to turn the page as well. Hopefully next year!

And hey, at least on a night in which it at first looked like the Flames had completely given up, they came back to score the occasional goal (before getting scored on again). They still rolled over and died for the most part, but at least there was a bit of bite to their game.

Just five more to go!

Let’s talk about the number 20

For the first time in his career, Mark Giordano scored 20 goals. Not just that, but it’s been quite some time since any blueliner in a Flames uniform has hit that mark.

Really, 10 years since that’s happened? Remember when the Flames had a top four consisting of Giordano, Phaneuf, and Jay Bouwmeester? (And Robyn Regehr, but nobody was really expecting him to do things like score goals.) Granted, Giordano was only just starting to break out that season – he scored 11 goals, the only time he reached double digits before becoming the Flames’ captain – while Phaneuf got 10 before he was traded and Bouwmeester had… like… three.

Will the Flames be able to repeat this feat before another 10 years pass? Giordano’s 9.9% shooting percentage is higher than his career average of 7.5%, so it maybe shouldn’t be counted on. T.J. Brodie only just got his sixth goal of the season, and he’s only taken 1.1 shots per game throughout the year (Giordano’s at 2.6), so perhaps not.

So… how about Dougie Hamilton? He and Giordano both led the Flames with four shots on net each. He’s set a new career high in goals, and he’s one point back from reaching his past career high in points. And this season, he’s taken 2.3 shots per game – and his 6.2% shooting percentage isn’t too far off from his career average of 5.9%.

And that’s without going into the caveat that the Flames have a 22-year-old defenceman who has posted back-to-back double digit goal seasons. Who should, in all likelihood, only get better. And with what should be full years of top four minutes and frequent power play time coming up, he seems like a pretty good hope to reach 20 at some point.

One last note on the number 20: this was the first time Jakub Nakladal broke the 20-minute mark in ice time! He played 20:41, behind just Giordano and Brodie, and set a new career high. The entire game was a tire fire, but at least he was finally given the chance to just be straight up fed minutes: and his 64.71% ES CF, third on the team, shows he at least deserved them. He was largely kept away from the Ducks’ top dogs, but that’s fine. He got to play quite a bit, and with five games left and Nakladal an upcoming UFA who should be brought back, he might as well get those minutes. Nothing to lose, but maybe something to gain.

Hunter Shinkaruk, point-per-game Flame

Move over, Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau only has 73 points in 74 games, which is not a point-per-game. Hunter Shinkaruk, though? He has two points in two games. He’s doing awesome.

In all seriousness, though, it’s great to see Shinkaruk on the board. He has 10 points through 14 games with Stockton, and now, he has his first two points in the NHL. He was right in front of the net for both of them. It could have been his goal in Arizona, but ultimately, that one went to Brodie; still, he was right in front of the net. Just as he was when Giordano’s point shot went in off of him.

Shinkaruk had a good night. He played 17:02, which was the most ice time any Flames forward got, albeit tied with Mikael Backlund. That included 2:15 on the power play, again the most time any Flames player spent with the man advantage, albeit tied with Sean Monahan and Joe Colborne (of course Colborne). And he had three shots on net, to boot: the most of any Flames forward, and tied for second on the team, along with Nakladal.

This has been a fun start to Shinkaruk’s Flames career. With Michael Frolik out for at least two more games, one of Shinkaruk and Emile Poirier is going to have to stay up – and Shinkaruk seems to be en route to sticking around longer.

Gaudreau’s return should push him out of that top line left wing slot, though. But… maybe we’ll see him shift over to the right side? The Flames have tried Micheal Ferland, Garnet Hathaway, Freddie Hamilton all up alongside Gaudreau and Monahan, but none of them have really quite been projected to be the sort of scorer Shinkaruk is.

If anything, Shinkaruk might just be becoming a guy to keep an eye on at camp next season. At absolute worst, though, he’s a great story right now.

Sam Bennett + Micheal Ferland

Is there something here? Neither scored any points on the night, but both combined for the Flames’ first real scoring chances of the game. This follows up a game in which Sam Bennett scored twice, and Ferland assisted on both goals.

Ferland with Monahan wasn’t working – and maybe even playing on his off-wing had something to do with that – but there’s no harm in closing out the rest of the season with Ferland alongside Bennett. Ferland has exhibited scoring chances throughout the season, though his lack of production throughout the year is at least somewhat troubling for any future predictor of top six status. And he may not work at all with Bennett in the long term.

But as long as there aren’t many top six forward options to try at the moment, this partnership is worth exploring through the season’s end. The early returns have decreed it so.

It’s nice that Joni Ortio was spared

It just is. Jonas Hiller gave up three. Niklas Backstrom gave up five. Sometimes their defence tried to help them. Sometimes they didn’t, especially on that first one. 

But at least Ortio got to hang out with the injured fellas and not have to worry about this disaster of a game. His save percentage has been through enough this year.

  • wot96

    I like Ferland and Bennett together. But that probably means they need a superskilled guy on the other side.

    Poirier looked a little lost at times but I think he has the potential to be a huge pest. Like Pesty McPesterson. Matt Cooke without all the dirty. If he fine tunes his game, I think he’ll be fine. But, as Kent (all hail the overlord) said a while ago, I think he tops out at the third line. Just not seeing much more than that right now.

    I don’t know why Hartley starts Hiller in Anaheim. Every time he does, everyone in SoCal get to say… “that, that’s why we let him go.” I think he wants Hiller to push back but his push is gone.

    • FlamesFan1489

      I was watching a compilation of the comebacks from last year… There was so much more compete from Hiller. Even when he went down early, he was constantly moving, never really getting stuck in a position too long. This year he just goes down and whiffs at the puck. ZERO COMPETE. Bye bye Hiller and good riddance.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    Ferland has such sweet dangles yet he has zero finish around the net.

    Super frustrating. Hoping it is just a small sample and he finds his touch.

    Kind of glad Hiller and Backstrom were horrible: the last thing we need is one of these 2 to stand on his head at the end of the season and “earn” a one year contract…


    • wot96

      If he goes to the net and causes a localized riot, that will draw an opponent’s defence in. That will allow Bennett or whomever else his linemates are to swoop in and deposit the puck in the net. I’m okay with that, as long as he goes to the net – mostly good things come from driving to the net.

  • everton fc

    Ferland on LW is the answer. That’s the position he’s played in the past. Where he’s seems most comfortable. He’ll find his touch – probably work on this for next season. I think Ferland/Bennett/Shinkaruk would be an interesting, “high-energy” line to look for in camp, late this summer.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      Not all LHS wingers can play both wings. Ferland is a guy that plays Lw, but doesn’t do well on RW. Him and Bennett need to work on their communication a bit, since there were a few drop passes to nobody that became turnovers.

      Would like to see Poirier on Bennett’s RW, if only for one game. With Johnny coming back, Poirier likely gets sent back to Stockton, though. I though he played well on a line where only Backlund showed any kind of finish, and that was hitting the post. Sorry, but Bouma is not the answer for that line’s other wing.

      Next camp, unless we get a top 3 RW, we have to look at Shinkaruk on Johnny’s opposite wing. We have nobody else close to fitting. Frolik is a defensive monster, and is scoring as much as can be expected in that role.

  • brodiegio4life

    shinkaruk should definitely get a game on the first line when gaudreau comes back. Although bob will probably just pull out the line blender 10min in anyways

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Ferland is actually getting some points playing with Bennett. I still can’t beleive he did not finish the feed from Bennett on teh 2 on 1, it was either a great defensive play by Kesler (lUgghh) or Ferland did not shield the puck well enough. He definately leaves you wanting more.

    One thing I can’t figure out, is in a game that is 8-3 why would he not want to be more of a shit disturber. This would be the time that he should be hard on Kesler and Perry. The game is too easy for those guys when he is not running at them. I don’t think he quite knows what kind of player he is….yet.

  • The Fall

    Grant looks a little star struck out there. I hope he has a good camp next year.

    Poirier was effective at times. He has more finish than Ferkland and deserves the ice time to close out the season.

    Shinkaruk looks pretty good. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when the ‘hometown-pride’ wears off. Can he be effective over 82 games, is the question.

  • RKD

    I’m not concerned they lost i am concerned with how they lost. They have to at least show up, if they cannot get up for a nhl team against a very good team then it begs the question if there are some bigger problems.

    • supra steve

      For me, the Flames could play Backstrom/Hiller for the remaining 5 games and lose each by identical 8-3 scores, and I would not be in the least bit concerned. The future of this franchise is not going to be destroyed by a few losses at the end of a tough season. Their (record) 11 game losing streak in 1985-86 didn’t break them, nor will whatever happens between now and season’s end.

  • Dougie

    The other 20 milestone you forgot was Colborne’s 20th assist.

    Your comment “of course Colborne” with respect to ice time.

    Amongst Forwards per 60 minutes played 5-5 Colborne is:

    -5th in Goals;
    -2nd in Assists;
    -2nd in First Assists; and
    -2nd in Points.

    Amongst Forwards with over 500 minutes 5-5 Colborne is tied for second in most Defensive Zone Start percentage.

    In calendar year 2016 Colborne is tied for second amongst forwards in all situation goals.

    This is why Colborne gets ice time.

      • Dougie

        In March Colborne has been on the ice for 7 of 9 pp goals scored and has a goal and an assist.

        Combine that with his 5-5 results. I think he deserves pp time.

          • piscera.infada

            That (sarcastic) argument would have merit, had Colborne’s powerplay time only been too high in March. The problem is, it’s been that way since October–when he only scored his first powerplay point in March. I’d also argue simply being on the ice with the first powerplay unit, doesn’t mean you’re overly contributing to it–just like plus/minus is a statistic that has proven to be very unreliable in terms of assessing a player’s impact (the fact that it’s circumstantial in a lot of cases makes it so).

            Look, Joe’s been (relatively) good the since the calendar flipped. His underlying numbers have actually improved by a non-negligible amount. That’s good news. However, professing the guy has found a new “scoring touch” is an overstatement, because all available information shows that it’s largely percentage driven.

            Colborne has played his way into the “perhaps he should be resigned this offseason”. That doesn’t mean Treliving shouldn’t learn from the contract he gave Bouma (because all things considered, Colborne’s season bears a remarkable similarity to Bouma’s season last year).

          • Dougie

            You may be right, but I do have a couple of points.

            Last year Bouma scored more goals in any year since 2004-2005 when he played with the Wainwright Pokar Kings. Colborne, when healthy, has always been a fairly decent point getter.

            In hindsight, I think Colborne should have shut his season down last year when his wrist started acting up again. To his credit he played through it.

            When the season started I was under the impression that he came back to play a couple of weeks earlier than anticipated. He said his wrist was getting better day by day. To me that meant it wasn’t good yet but that it would be someday.

            I am thinking that the wrist is finally better as is evidenced by his play since January 1 when he is finally starting to put up points.

            Is it a flash? I don’t know but he cant be blamed for how Hartley played him before x-mas. He has however been putting up points since then and has been one of our top scorers.

            Interesting that in his first 10 games this year he was -10 but has played even ever since.

          • Matty Franchise Jr

            No, YOU’RE right! Yay!

            Although it’s funny that you were OK with suggesting Colbort get ES ice time based on stats going all the way back to October, but when challenged on PP ice time you only want to look at March because that is literally the only time all season long that he got any PP points at all.

        • Avalain

          That actually sounds pretty good, for the most part. Of course, it technically means that he was on the ice for 7 goals, which could mean up to 21 points spread over 5 players for just over 4 points per player. And he got 2 points. Sure, that’s not nothing. But is it “top power play time on the team” good? When this is the best he’s done all year I’m not convinced.

  • KACaribou

    I agree that Ferland has looked a lot more comfortable with Bennett. But I contest Johnny Hockey and Monny never looked to pass to him and when they did it was in his skates. Ferland seems best when HE has the puck a little, which seems to be okay with Bennett.

    I thought all three Stockton forwards looked very good. I liked Poirier. I thought he looked tenacious yet maybe a bit tentative. Only NHL time changes that, let’s give it to him. He has 1st round talent. No idea how Kent labels a youngster like this 3rd line at best?

    Shinker was a great trade. He has grit and speed, and a proven scoring touch everywhere he’s been. He’s going to stick around next year I am pretty sure.

    Kulak, big question mark still. But he has a chance.

    I don’t want to burst the bubble here, but I thought despite scoring his 20th Gio struggled and was pretty much owned by Getzlaf all game. Brodie is slick on most nights, but sometimes he completely misses his defensive assignments – like last night. Engelland was also terrible, and Hamilton was quite careless which was exposed. Our defense deserves some credit for being horrible last night too, not just the poor goaltending – which goes without saying really.

    Very little good to say last night. It looked like the Globetrobbers playing the Washington Generals most of the time.

  • Justthateasy

    I thought Colburn starting to become a little more aggressive in cracking somebody while he’s going by on the boards. He could watch Getzlaf play and take a few notes though.

    At this point all these games are about individuals and they don’t really mean much. And I’m starting to resent having to watch meaningless games. The NHL better start getting their act together and get a few more teams involved in the playoffs. Any freight paying Saddledome fan or any other of the fans of at least one dozen teams that are out ought to stand up and complain like hell about having no real hockey to watch.