Post-Game: Edged By The Oilers In Penticton

September hockey is weird. Players are trying to get their bearings and are desperate to not screw up too badly in a prospect camp. The best-case scenario is impressing enough to create momentum as they head towards main camp. The worst-case scenario is embarrassment or injury.

The Flames were all over the place in the second game of the 2016 Young Stars Classic. They played well. They played poorly. They got great goaltending. They got bad goaltending. They drew penalties with strong efforts. They took dumb penalties in a sloppy manner.

Playing an Oilers team that was missing Jesse Puljujarvi – and dressing largely the line-up that beat Winnipeg on Friday night – the Flames lost 4-3 in overtime.

THE RUNDOWN

This was a weird, weird game.

The Flames carried play for much of the first, out-shooting Edmonton 12-9. They opened the scoring off a nice sequence: Matthew Tkachuk began the cycle around to Mark Jankowski behind the net, who made a no-look backhand pass to Austin Carroll in the slot. Dylan Wells made a nice save on Carroll, but Tkachuk crashed the net and bonked in the loose puck to make it 1-0. That lead lasted awhile, as Wells was really strong the rest of the way. But the Flames didn’t go into the intermission with the lead, as Tyler Parsons and Ryan Culkin got their wires crossed and Joey Benik scored with the loose puck to tie things up.

The second period featured basically zero even-strength play. Tkachuk took a spearing double-minor. Austin Carroll then took a boarding penalty, giving Edmonton a 1:49 five-on-three. Then Culkin and Greg Chase took overlapping penalties, leading to some four-on-four, followed by a couple Flames power-plays as Ben Betker and Matt Benning took consecutive penalties on Tkachuk. Then Hunter Smith and Kayle Doetzel got into a fight. In the midst of all this, Mason McDonald came into the game and gave up a bad-angle short-side goal to Benik on the first shot he faced. Shots were 11-10 Edmonton, primarily due to all the power-plays. The Flames defender well, but were deflated by some soft goaltending.

After a few nice chances to tie the game by Eetu Tuulola, McDonald got beaten by Collin Shirley five-hole off the rush to make it 3-1. But the Flames roared back with a bunch of chances and then finally broke through. After failing to beat Wells up-close, Mikkel Aagaard beat him top-corner with a wrist shot from above the face-off circles to make it 3-2. And Brayden Burke scored on a three-on-one rush to tie the game late. Shots were 16-7 for the Flames in the third, reflecting their desperation.

Unfortunately, they got scored on early after a couple end-to-end rushes, as Oliver Kylington got caught on the rush and had the puck intercepted, sending Jaedon Descheneau in on a breakaway (and he beat McDonald). (Kylington got caught pinching a couple times during this game.)

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

Edmonton’s goaltending was better than Calgary’s goaltending.

Parsons was good beyond his first period gaffe (that ended up in the back of the net). But Wells was way, way better and more consistent than McDonald was throughout this game and it made a big difference. If you thought Wells was the best player on the ice, you wouldn’t be wrong.

RED WARRIOR

I’m gonna declare a tie, and give it to Eetu Tuulola and Ryan Lomberg. Neither scored tonight, but they were buzzing around the net constantly and stirring up chances.

UP NEXT

The Flames practice tomorrow, and then are back in action on Monday afternoon (at 4pm MT) when they close out the tournament against the dastardly Vancouver Canucks.

After that? Main camp awaits on Thursday.

  • everton fc

    Guys I noticed for the right reasons (though not perfect):

    Parsons
    Tuulola
    Tkachuk
    Jankowski
    Aagaard
    Lomberg (w/Burke)
    Burke (w/Lomberg)
    Culkin
    Carroll (looks like a leader)
    Jankowksi
    Kylington (though out of position a few times)
    Falkovsky (at times)
    Dube

    (Dyukov was +3, but didn’t really stand out)

    Guys who made mistakes:

    Rasmussen (too many bad passes)
    Smith (Gets whooped again by a smaller guy, and this time, one who isn’t a guy who scraps on a regular basis – Smith didn’t win this tilt, and needs to become a hockey player, not a goon – he has some skill)
    Tkachuk – Way too chippy.
    McDonald – Looked soft

    Guys who were invisible:

    Pollock
    Phillips
    Morrison (though has a rocket shot)
    Mangiapane

    Did Doucet get a shift?

    • cberg

      Glad Smith came in to stand up to the nonsense that was happening. Not sure which fight you saw, but it looked like he got in 10-12 good shots versus 2-3 returned then having the Oiler fall on him to end it. He did good.

      Tkachuk also played a great game as Far as it goes, not sure about all the penalties. There was a lot going on. I agree on Andersson and McDonald, not their best efforts.

      • Neddd

        Um… Smith was beaten handedly by a player who doesn’t fight. He didn’t just lose his balance, he was layed flat on his back by a punch (from a considerably smaller player).

        He should probably take up a new line of work or start focusing on actually playing because he’s not going to make it as a fighter.

        • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

          Ya I’m not sure how flame fans thought Smith won that fight. He is a tough customer but tends to get smoked in the latter part of fights.

          • ChinookArchYYC

            I’ve never liked the idea that the guy who falls on the other guy won the fight. I saw it closer to a draw with the edge to Smith. He connected 2 punches to the face that I heard in Calgary.

        • Stu Cazz

          In all seriousness Smith has toughness but certainly lacks NHL speed….along with MacDonald he was a wasted 2nd rounder….fortunately the Flames are making wiser selections since that dreaded 2014 draft year….I like the direction of the team despite that draft year….

  • OKG

    Morrison sucks on the power play. Why Huska keeps going to him is beyond me. Go with Kylington(point)-Jankowski(screen)-Mangiapane(Slot)-Tkachuk(RW)-Tuulola(LW) and Andersson(point)-Culkin/Falkovsky(point)-Dube(RW)-Phillips(LW)-(Caroll)(screen) or something!

  • cberg

    Ryan, great write-up. That’s pretty much how I saw it as well. I’ll add a few more thoughts.

    It appeared that Edmonton was forechecking in the offensive zone with at least two players, and sometimes more, daring the Flames D to get the puck out and down ice. Not sure who were the D targets, but it was sometimes a struggle. Continuing on the D, I’d say Culkin and Morrison were definitely the best of our D. Falkovsky was often tentative, Dyukov was OK, Andersson seemed slow and often got beat coming back, and Kylington got caught a few times but overall I thought he played a good game.

    Edmonton scored four times off the rush, including the goalie mix-up. They had very little besides that. If our goaltending was better it would have been an easy win. McDonald was down early and got beat from the circle over the shoulder on his first shot, then later from almost the same position between his arm and body on the same side. Talk about deflating.

    In this game you’ve got to also give huge props to Lomberg, Dube, Mangiapanne and Tkachuk who had a huge influence on controlling play and bringing the Flames back.

  • Just.Visiting

    Call it a hunch, but I see references to Huska and Thatcher Demko in our future! LOL

    I agree with the comments above on the individual players. I found the most noticeable players to be Kylington (both good and bad) and Tkachuk.

    I think that Tkachuk has to dial it back a fair bit and start playing a more disciplined game that allows him to showcase his skill more fully if he wants to make the Flames this year.

  • Slowmo

    Chukles was having fun and making some noise this is a romp before the season startes watch what he does in the flames camp he will be a little different not a lot but he will tone it down a bit then Gul will make sure of it. Can’t wait to see him and Bennett on same line those 2 will put a hurt on the oilers will be fun to watch.

  • Stu Cazz

    I believe it was Brad Pascall that heavily promoted Mason MacDonald within the Flames organization based on his hockey Canada experience and selection of MacDonald on the world juniors…if that is the case then he needs to be held accountable ….as we all know Thatcher Demco, former team mate of Johnny Hockey at Boston college was the logical choice….

  • ChinookArchYYC

    “Tkachuk crashed the net and bonked in the loose puck”. This is what I want to hear for a long time and something that’s been missing for at least a decade.

  • Derzie

    When you are big, people think you can fight. Smith is big and cannot fight. He’s proven it a few times now. Lots to not like last night. Edmonton played more like a team. The good news is we got better insight into who is ready for the NHL. Pretty much none of them.