Post-Game: Flames don’t score, get a point anyway


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(Anne-Marie Sorvin / USA Today Sports)

The Calgary Flames have had a rough few days. They’ve played three games in four nights, in three different cities. Sure, the games were against two of the suspected worst clubs in the Western Conference. But for a team that’s got no consistency (and seems unsure of its identity), three divisional games should’ve been exactly what they needed to get themselves settled. Right?

Nope. For the third time in this short season, the Flames managed to lose against a divisional opponent. And for the first time this season, they failed to score an actual goal. They lost to the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 in a shootout at Rogers Arena, ending a disappointing first week of the regular season.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames seemed to have their working boots on early; they forechecked well but just couldn’t create many chances. Troy Brouwer took a penalty in the Canucks end, but the Flames forecheck caused Loui Ericsson to accidentally chuck the puck into his own empty net. Brett Kulak got credit, his first NHL goal…

Then the officials reviewed it in the intermission and changed the goal to Troy Brouwer, because the world is a cruel, cruel place. The rest of the period as a bit of a jumble of broken plays. Shots were 9-7 Vancouver.

Nothing really happened in the second period. Both teams had a power play, neither generated much. Shots were 11-7 Flames, but none of them were all that dangerous.

The third period was mostly a continuation of the aimless second, but Vancouver gradually became more and more composed and pressed. Finally, after a shift where they hemmed the Flames top line in their own end for almost two full minutes, Daniel Sedin beat Chad Johnson to tie the game up at 1-1.

Johnson kept the Flames in it, and so it was off to extra hockey. Shots were 12-7 Vancouver in the third.

Overtime solved nothing. Shots were 3-0, but Johnson kept the game tied. But the Flames couldn’t do anything in the shootout and Brandon Sutter beat Johnson in the fourth round to mercifully end this one.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

They got a point because Vancouver wasn’t particularly good for 45 minutes. They were uneven in the first, to the point where they scored on themselves. That said, the Flames only got the single point because they weren’t particularly good themselves. Errant passes, offensive chances dying on various players’ sticks, and line shuffling that seemingly resulted more in general confusion than in manufacturing momentum.

For the second straight night, they started off well and severely tailed off. And for the third straight game, they failed to play more than a solid 20 minutes of ice hockey.

THE TURNING POINT

It’s definitely Daniel Sedin’s goal, coming at the tail end of a shift where Calgary’s top line (and defensive pairing) entered Vancouver’s end, did absolutely nothing with the puck, and then got trapped inside their own zone with no sign of escape in sight. To that point, the Flames were able to at least keep Vancouver from doing too much with the puck. But they gave the Sedins (and Ericsson) a ton of time and space and, without an urgent forecheck causing them to make mistakes, they executed a nice passing sequence with gusto.

RED WARRIOR

Let’s go with Chad Johnson, the first goaltender to earn a point for the Flames this season. After looking pretty rough in his preseason outing at Rogers Arena a week ago, he was a lot better tonight. He wasn’t tested a ton, but he was up to the task when he was needed.

Brett Kulak was also pretty consistently solid, making his first appearance of the season.

THE NUMBERS

(All situations.)

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Ferland 61.1 62.5 0.275
Chiasson 50.0 50.0 0.065
Bennett 50.0 33.3 0.205
Brouwer 48.5 43.8 0.940
Kulak 47.4 37.5 0.275
Hamilton 46.9 60.0 0.025
Tkachuk 45.0 25.0 0.300
Jokipakka 41.4 50.0 -0.250
Gaudreau 40.6 69.2 0.025
Brodie 40.5 33.3 -0.350
Monahan 39.4 60.0 -0.175
Backlund 35.5 30.0 -0.405
Versteeg 32.0 62.5 -0.600
Stajan 31.6 33.3 -0.290
Giordano 30.9 40.0 -1.000
Frolik 26.7 11.1 -0.450
Engelland 26.3 23.1 -0.625
Bouma 25.0 14.3 -0.300
Johnson 2.250

THIS AND THAT

The Flames got a point, ensuring they won’t start the season 0-3-0 for the sixth time (they previously went pointless through three games in 2000-01, 1999-00, 1997-98, 1982-83 and 1975-76).

At even-strength, only Micheal Ferland and Alex Chiasson were north of 50% Corsi For. And Ferland had several scoring chances die on his stick.

According to Natural Stat Trick, the players that gave up the most Scoring Chances Against at even-strength? The top line (Gaudreau, Monahan, Versteeg) and top defensive pairing (Giordano, Brodie). That’s not good.

ELSEWHERE

Stockton beat the San Jose Barracuda 3-2 in the first game of the American Hockey League season. Jon Gillies made 28 saves, while Matt Frattin, Hunter Shinkaruk and Ryan Lomberg scored. Morgan Klimchuk was scratched.

Mason McDonald won his second pro start in as many games as the Adirondack Thunder won 5-3 over Manchester.

UP NEXT

The Flames (0-2-1) head home and are off until Tuesday, when they host the injury-riddled Buffalo Sabres.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    First off KUDOS to Chad Johnson, Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik, Mark Giordano and Brett Kulak These guys stood out for me tonight and do deserve some positive recognition.
    Now with my WTF’s? to Monahan & Ferland Where are you guys? @#$%~! Really, it seemed like the play died on these guys sticks if not just simply playing poorly or meh at best.
    With All the hype, all the hope, all the high expectations! I’m seriously doubting if these guys(under GG)will actually get a win in the next couple weeks before they start figuring out how to actually play the “new systems”. A fluke win seems more likely than an earned win at this point. What a let down Start to this Season,Its just abysmal and embarrassing now.
    OK- Looking to something Positive … The Stockton Heat ~WON~ their Home opener tonight. With a 3-2 over the San Jose Barracuda… Goals by: Matt Frattin (1) ASST: Andrew Mangiapane (1) – Hunter Shinkaruk (1) ASST: Mark Jankowski (1), Garnet Hathaway (1) and – Ryan Lomberg (1) ASST: Oliver Kylington (1), Colby Robak (1) …
    The Three Stars ~> 1-Ryan Lomberg , 2-Brandon Bollig(lol) and a SJB Player.
    On that.. I Hope everyone has a great rest of the weekend. Cheers! Go Flames!

    • TheoForever

      BT can spend 1.6 million on Versteeg and Grossman but couldn’t find couple of million of JOE. Nice job.
      That guy Russell looked good too in the first two games.

      Gulutzan death watch continues.
      3 losses and counting.

      Then again there is little chance BT admits to being wrong.

  • Slapshot

    I know it’s only been 3 games but Johnny Hockey is looking like Johnny average,Calgary should’ve not given him big money ,its happened before let’s just hope it doesn’t happen to him ,a player gets big payday then disappoints once he cashes in.

  • Friendly Neighbourhood Canucks fan

    It was a good game. Gaudreau was skating circles around the Canucks and Giordano was near perfection. Your penalty killing was superb and Chad Johnson was incredibly sound. Ferland was not good at all. Monahan was surprisingly bad too. I figured given Johnny in fine form, he’d go off but he just stalled everything. Brouwer and Tkachuk also weren’t very noticeable. But the defense all around was terrific, sometimes you just can’t stop the Sedins 🙂 It’s been a rough week but your team isn’t as bad as they’ve played. Look forward to our next game!

  • Clyde Frog

    Sure, the games were against two of the suspected worst clubs in the Western Conference.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    So I think it’s clear who the worst club of the western conference is… and it was not either of the Flames opponents.

    The push for Canada to collect ALL the first overall picks for a decade continues!

  • MarbledBlueCheese

    Team was skating around like a bunch of Joe Colbornes there, with lots of movement and noise, signifying nothing

    Except for, you know, Joe himself, who no doubt has put it all together just as he left the Flames

    Whomp-whompppp

  • The Sultan

    Hey at least we got a point. Chad Johnson was fantastic. Monahan only played one preseason game, Johnny none, Versteeg is new, 3 games in 4 nights and all of them were season/home openers, 2 on the road. Just a lot of mumbo-jumbo, Flames could use a few days to rest and work on their systems.

    Gulutzan has shown he can adjust with the defensive pairings and line shuffling, let’s give it a few more before calling for his head. Flamesnation has been feisty the last little while when usually it’s the voice of reason.

  • Kensington

    You can make all the excuses you want but the bottom line is the Flames have stunk the joint out now for three games in a row. Can’t even score a goal on the canucks? The first line has been horrid. What happens when they play “good” teams? This is getting ugly in a hurry!

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Why?

      Tre didn’t hire GG at the spur of the moment. Tre hired his coach after a long and thorough search in which no stone was left unturned. That he happened to hire an old mate of his was completely coincidental as hiring the right man for the job was what guided him.

      In Tre we trust! He’s a ninja! Look at how he stole Versteeg right from under the noses of the Oilers! Old baldy in Edmonton is still scratching his dome muttering, “What happened? What happened?” Look at how he committed grand larceny at the draft when he acquired brilliant Brian Elliott and his very cap-friendly contract for a bag of peanuts. Flames fans are still blushing with glee at the way Tre fleeced clever Jimmy Nill into paying a king’s ransom for deadweight Kris Russell. Can’t forget either the way Tre palmed off fringe NHLer Granlund to the Canucks for superstar AHLer Hunter Shinkaruk. Brilliant!!!

      GG will be great as bench boss of the Flames because everything Tre touches turns to gold. Very early prediction but GG wins the Jack Adams next June. Book it!

      LUV YA TRE!!!

  • MontanaMan

    I thought I was on ON reading the comments. Guys calling for the coach’s head after three games; Colborne supporters coming out of the woodwork (the same guys pounding him every game last year), and panic over defence and scoring. Only those with limited hockey knowledge make comments like this after three games but maybe that’s who’s on this board.

    • joey joe joe jr shabadoo

      Well said!!

      Take it easy chicken littles. Leave the limited hockey knowledge to Calgary Puck.

      Thought Jonny looked like he was shaking off some rust. Monahan needs to find his game, and he will. Little bit of patience here might be good. The D looked better with Kulak & Jokipakka in. Johnson was solid. Thought Brower also looked good. Backlund & Frolik also looked sharp. There are positives.

      A poor start so far, but this team is much better than the have shown.

      My concern is Bennett hasn’t created as much as I had hoped to see, is he really suited to be an NHL centre? is he better off on the wing? I’m also not sold on Tkachuck lasting the season. Below average NHL skating for sure, he might be better off back in London. Still left wanting more from Ferland, is he the second coming of Rene Bourque??

    • TheoForever

      You can insult peoples knowledge as much as you want. Just because somebody doesn’t lick up all the crap coming out of Flames and Fan960(lately), it doesn’t mean they know nothing.

      It is not 3 games it is a long road of suck.

      What in Gulutzan’s past makes you think he can coach?

      As for Joe, remember what Fan960 was saying -“meaningless points once Flames were out”, trying to justify BT letting him walk. We will see how he does this year, but I know we are weaker without him.

      You loose a few games against the worst teams early on in the season and you are in a hole that you are not going to come back from.

    • Crash

      Hey Hannah Montana,
      if you actually go back to last spring and read my posts you’ll see that I’ve always been consistent with regards to my views on Colborne. What you with your infinite hockey knowledge have to ask yourself is: how much of and upgrade is a Chiasson (whom I like) over a guy like Big Joe. Colborne may have a good year or he may not– all I know is that he was a local kid who was all about this community. He was real tight with some of the core pieces on this team and at 26 is just coming into his prime after a 19 goal season. It’s true that hockey is a cold hard business but you build a team by bringing up kids who become friends and would go to war with each other. Big Joe may have given the flames a hometown discount to stay here or he may not have. We’ll never know because Tre didn’t even care to find out by not Qualifying him.

      • FlamesFanOtherCity

        The qualifying offer sets up the Bouma situation of club or player selected arbitration. He was likely going to be seeking $3m or higher in that case. Either way, he ends up a FA that any team can sign.

        By his age, you would hope that he was going to break out that much sooner, but he hadn’t. Even given 15+ minutes a night and more power play time than a lot of players, he just managed to have a good season.

        We didn’t replace his with Chiasson, we replaced him with Brouwer. Good or bad choice, he brings more to the table consistently than Big & Local. I was hoping that they could re-sign him as a depth option, but blame Wideman, Engelland, Bouma, Stajan and Smid’s contracts on that one. Even subtracting Chiasson would not give enough space to sign Joe.

        • Crash

          I disagree.
          Tre brings in who he wants to bring in (Frolik, Brouwer), and let’s the guys he doesn’t want walk (Byron Colborne, Ortio, Ramo, etc). I like Brouwer. He’s going to be for Bennett (and eventually Tkackuk) what Hudler was for Johnny and Mony. I’m not suggesting that we should have signed Big Joe in his place as I think Brouwer was a good signing.That being said: with the style Brouwer plays, let’s see how good that contract looks in his 4th year at the age of 35…
          I would’ve liked to see Colborne instead of Chiasson, Versteeg, and Grossmann, (who was clearly signed to reach the CAP ceiling to maximize LTIR value if they go there with Smid). This would give you ~ 2.5 mil to sign Colborne (I would sign him for 3 years). This puts Freddie Hamilton on the 4th line. Big Joe and Mony had good Chemistry when they played together early in the 14-15 season so I would try him on the 1st line instead of Versteeg until we find out what Pribyl is.
          You would still have Vey, Hathaway, Jankowski, Shinkaruk, Pribyl, and Poirier to call up in case of Injuries or if Tkachuck goes down.
          I like Colborne and Hamilton over Chiasson and Versteeg. They are younger, have more upside and more in line with the age of the core going forward.
          That’s the way I see it, but we can agree to disagree.

  • Pizzaman

    Missed the game but it looks like Chad and the six D iced last night should start against Buffalo? But what does he do with the forwards? Is it time to bench some body to make a point? Who? Ferland?

      • cberg

        Offensively he started coming around part way through the game, but Canucks pressed him hard and the rest of the line was pretty much meh. Defensively he needs to get more involved. The WHOLE sequence they scored on he just sat in a hole above the dot waiting for the puck to pop out. They effectively had a power play and eventually capitalized. Very disappointing.

  • Eggs Bennett

    That OT was really bad. Vancouver consistently had the puck and in the few times we had it, we didn’t look dangerous at all. And the SO…

    Does Miller get a SO for that? Lol

  • Derzie

    We’re in a bad place boys and girls. On paper, we all thought the moves Brad was making were aces. Now that we’ve seen camp, pre-season and early games, the theories are not playing out. ‘Patience’ the glass-half-full crowd say, when we know full well Bettman’s loser-point NHL does not allow for easy movement upwards in the standings. It’s one thing to lose, it’s another yet for all the indicators to be negative. No stars are playing well, acquisitions have been shaky, team play has been full of holes. Coaching has been confused and reactive. For contrast, look up north. Their GM was lambasted for his moves. Their first 2 games were a success. Last year Jim Rutherford was raked over the coals for his moves. They won the cup. What looks good on paper doesn’t always translate to success. What happens on the ice is ALL that matters at the end of the day. A big red flag is when a GM is calling his new coach a ‘possession’ coach. The Flames have a resume where their possession was atrocious and the went 2 rounds deep and their possession is awesome and they are 0 and 3. Possession is nice but is not a place to focus. Also, whens the last time you heard a winning NHL coach talk about his coaching systems with the media or though the GM? You don’t. The focus on coaching, not summarizing it for the media or competitors. If we know what GG is trying to do, you think other coaches don’t? Silliness. We are in deep folks.

  • You clowns are pathetic. If they go on a 3 game winning streak you’re all going to claiming you called it and Tre is a genius. 79 games left, the team has a new coach, several new faces, a top line that had yet to practice and relearn. Get a life.