Post-Game: 81 Down, 1 To Go

The Calgary Flames beat the Vancouver Canucks by a 7-3 score tonight in their final home game of the season and their second-last game overall.

Neither team was particularly crisp, or showed signs of becoming a playoff team overnight. The Flames were more energetic, though, and rode good games from a handful of players to a fairly one-sided victory. The win doesn’t mean anything, really, but it at least provides some positives for a fanbase that has suffered through a pretty disappointing, up-and-down season from the boys in red.

THE RUNDOWN

If you like sloppy defensive hockey, you probably loved the first period of this game (and the game overall). With Jannik Hansen in the box for a high-sticking double-minor the Flames generated a bunch of shots, eventually resulting in Mikael Backlund’s 19th of the season to make it 1-0. But in a sign that this game was going to be a bit of a slop-fest, Russian import Nikita Tryamkin scored from the point with a shot that eluded Joni Ortio through traffic to tie it up. The Canucks took a lead (briefly) on the power-play, as Sean Monahan sat in the box and watched Bo Horvat beat Ortio high to make it 2-1. But that lead didn’t last, as Dougie Hamilton wandered in from the point and beat Ryan Miller with a wrister to tie the game up – Derek Dorsett and Brandon Bollig got into a fight in the aftermath of that goal. Shots were 18-11 Calgary and attempts were 29-17 Calgary, both signs of a really loose first period.

The middle frame was equally sloppy, though the Flames were slightly better than the visitors. They broke the deadlock early in the period, as Backlund scored his second of the game – he bobbled a pass from Stajan, then recovered and bonked the puck in off of Miller’s legs to make it 3-2. That lead evaporated a few minutes later off a lengthy Canucks offensive zone stay caused by Calgary’s inability to knock a loose puck out of the zone. It careened around the zone before Emerson Etem jammed it past Ortio to tie it at 3-3. The Flames got a power-play and Joe “Big and Local” Colborne tipped a Hamilton point shot past Miller to make it 4-3. And Backlund completed his first career hat-trick off a nice short-handed odd-man opportunity with Stajan feeding him a nice one-timer to make it 5-3. Shots were 12-8 Flames but shot attempts were closer at 17-16 Flames.

The third period was a bit sloppy at both ends of the ice. Deryk Engelland and Sam Bennett scored to ice the game. Shots were 13-8 Flames and attempts were 16-15 Flames.

THE NUMBERS

(All situations!) CorsiFor% OZStart%
Bennett 64.29% 71.43%
Nakladal 62.5% 66.67%
Colborne 74.29% 60%
Shore 38.89% 60%
Backlund 61.54% 55.56%
Gaudreau 61.11% 50%
Hamilton 70.45% 50%
Engelland 60% 50%
Grant 57.69% 50%
Jokipakka 43.75% 33.33%
Stajan 52.17% 33.33%
Monahan 57.14% 33.33%
Shinkaruk 63.33% 30%
Ferland 63.16% 28.57%
Bollig 47.83% 25%
Brodie 44.12% 23.08%
Giordano 53.49% 16.67%
Jooris 36.36% 9.09%

WHY THE FLAMES WON

Well, the Canucks played like they had zero interest in getting two points tonight. They managed to play six really sloppy periods in Alberta over the last 48 hours and got out-scored 12-5. That’s not a great way to end the season.

The Flames? They weren’t overly crisp, but they executed well-enough on their chances that they were able to comfortably run up the score. Against good teams, they would’ve gotten blown out. Against Vancouver? It was enough to win a laugher and give their fans something positive to talk about for the summer months.

Matt Stajan probably summed it up best: “It wasn’t the prettiest game, it was a lot of sloppy hockey, but we played hard, we were opportunistic, we had a lot of odd-man rushes that we took advantage of. It’s nice to send them off like that, and let them know that we’ll be ready to go next year.”

RED WARRIOR

Mikael Backlund had a hat-trick and was quite good, so he’ll take this one. Other players who were really good: Dougie Hamilton, Matt Stajan and Joe Colborne.

Joni Ortio wasn’t great early on, but he gradually seemed to find his net and was decent for the second half of the game.

THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM

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At the time of this writing, Winnipeg was losing to San Jose.

The Flames will definitely finish ahead of Vancouver, but could potentially flip-flop with Winnipeg depending on each team’s final game. They’ll finish 5th-last or 6th-last.

UP NEXT

The Flames finish off the 2015-16 season with one last trip to Minnesota to face the Wild. And then? Golf season begins.

  • StarIV

    That Ortio save on Hansen was really nice. Hrudey thought that Hansen hit the cross bar, but it was an amazing blocker save. I’d like to see the Flames bring Ortio back on a cheap contract as the backup. Resign some other cheaper options too like Jooris, Nakladal, Grant, and Shore. There should be enough room to acquire a starting goalie. Let the core develop another year and see if they can take a step forward. Who knows, maybe we have a top 3 pick skating with the team come October. And it’s not the end of the world if we don’t make the playoffs as we could still use another top 10 pick.

    Next summer should be really interesting though, since all the terrible contracts come off the books. There will be plenty of room for Treliving to get creative. That’s when I think our team truly starts to become competitive.

    • freethe flames

      Ortio has earned the right to be resigned and to earn the starting job in the preseason; nothing more. The Flames still need to acquire another goalie to push him for the job or to share the job with him.

      As we have talked a lot about lately BT has a great deal of work to do this off season. He needs to sign JG and SM. He needs to divest himself of at least 2 bad contracts. He needs to sign Colborne for a fair contract or move him before he goes to arbitration. He needs to sign some useful pieces; Nakdaddy, TSpoon, Grant, and Ortio to name a few. They need to draft well and acquire a strong RW that can play on either top line.

      Players in the organization have a lot of work to do as well. They need to get stronger, heavier without losing their skill set. Almost everyone under 25 needs to add 5-10lbs of muscle so we can better compete against the best teams in the Pacific and the league. Let’s remember that this where we thought we would be last year and that last year is at least where we hope to be again in the not to distant future.

  • brodiegio4life

    although losing would have the helped draft wise, always nice to beat the hell out of the Canucks. That team is screwed, gonna be so bad over the next 5 or more years.

  • supra steve

    “They’ll finish 5th-last or 6th-last”

    Or CBJ could win their final 2 games and pass the Flames. I know, not likely, but possible. So Flames finish could be 4th, 5th, or 6th from the bottom.