Post-Game: Flames flop against the Kings


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(Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today Sports)

Coming into Southern California this evening after a pretty solid victory over San Jose on Thursday, the Flames had a great opportunity in front of them. The Los Angeles Kings, a key divisional rival, is missing their top two goalies and is currently riding third-stringer Peter Budaj. The Kings are a team that has yet to find their mojo, something made evident by their stretch last week of scoring zero goals over three games. Given how tight the Western Conference playoff picture is anticipated to be, snatching points away from the Kings during this fragile time seems like a good plan – and a feasible plan give the Kings’ challenges.

In a key game, the Flames fell utterly flat. They generated perhaps a handful of decent scoring chances and made the Kings look like the Harlem Globetrotters in a 5-0 trouncing tonight at Staples Center.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames were not good in the first period, and greatly resembled the sloppy mess that we saw early this season. All of our old friends came out to play including too many passes, over-handling the puck and unforced defensive zone turnovers. They took a pair of successive penalties in the midst of the Kings rushes, leading to a lengthy kill (and 19 seconds of five-on-three).

They were successful with their kill, but Johnny Gaudreau’s attempted rush into the Kings end was batted away and Dwight King set up Jeff Carter with a nice drop-pass for a one-timer off the ensuing rush the other way. The Flames got caught flat-footed and the Kings took a 1-0 lead.

And just when it seemed like the Flames could white-knuckle it to the end of the period only down by one, Devin Setoguchi scored off a rebound to make it 2-0. Dustin Brown caught T.J. Brodie flat-footed, outraced him along the corner boards and set up the goal. The two Kings goals were just 45 seconds apart. Shots were 15-5 for LA.

The visitors had good pressure early in the second and seemed primed to score a goal and get back into the game. Unfortunately, Nicklas Grossmann’s point shot hit a shin-pad and he had to defend a two-on-one rush solo (as Dougie Hamilton didn’t get back to help out). Predictably, it resulted in a goal, as Nick Shore flipped a pass over to Kyle Clifford for the chip-in goal to make it 3-0. The Kings made it 4-0 before the end of the period, as another Flames giveaway gave Brown a scoring chance and Setoguchi scored on the rebound (again) to make it 4-0. Shots were 15-7 for the Kings. The Flames were good, and then really faded away.

Trevor Lewis scored an early tip-in goal off of a Drew Doughty point shot to make it 5-0. From that point on, the Kings seemed content just to hang back and let the Flames run around a bit.

Shots were 12-9 for Calgary in the third, but almost none of them were dangerous.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

To put it bluntly? They regressed. The Kings ran the show in the first period, but they did so because the Flames were handling the puck like it was a live grenade – especially in their own end. What resulted was a defensive zone horror show not seen in these parts since the first two games against Edmonton where the Flames looked like they did not belong in the NHL.

By the time they got their feet under them, finally, they were down a pair of goals and they had zero chance of clawing back.

THE TURNING POINT

The Flames gave up the first goal of the game with just under a minute left in the first, but the back-breaker was the one that followed 45 seconds later. Brown beat Brodie on the outside and was free enough to put the puck out front. The Flames couldn’t block the pass, they couldn’t clear the rebound, and they weren’t hard enough on their checks in the defensive zone to prevent Setoguchi from getting a couple chances. They went to the dressing room down two goals and never looked like they were in it after that.

RED WARRIOR

Let’s go with Matthew Tkachuk, whose line had some chances and generally seemed like one of the few guys wearing white tonight that were emotionally invested in the game’s outcome.

THE NUMBERS

(Percentage stats are even strength. Game score is overall.)

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Backlund 63.0 40.0 0.165
Tkachuk 61.3 40.0 0.725
Ferland 57.7 40.0 0.275
D.Hamilton 55.6 37.5 -0.050
Frolik 55.2 40.0 -0.200
Grossmann 50.0 42.9 -0.625
Monahan 48.0 50.0 0.015
Kulak 46.0 41.7 0.175
Bennett 45.0 83.3 -0.045
Chiasson 44.4 45.5 -0.175
Engelland 43.9 45.5 -0.675
Brodie 43.3 55.6 -0.400
Giordano 42.4 55.6 -0.875
F.Hamilton 40.7 14.3 -0.455
Stajan 35.7 14.3 -0.675
Gaudreau 28.6 77.8 -0.525
Bouma 26.7 0.0 -0.450
Brouwer 26.7 83.3 -0.285
Elliott -0.350

THIS AND THAT

Our benevolant former overlord Kent Wilson tapped out after the second period.

UP NEXT

The Flames need to regroup immediately, because they’re off to scenic Anaheim to try to snap their 23-game regular season losing streak at the Honda Center tomorrow night against the Ducks.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    With the exception of the Great WW, who has long made it clear where he stands on the Flames, the rest of you so called Flames fans are horsebleep!

    13 games in and 69 more to go and the team playing at about a .500 clip is bloody amazing considering there is a new coaching staff and the first time he got to work with his final roster was on opening night in Edmonton.

    Your backstabbing Tre is unfathomable! Best young GM in the game today and so many are doubting his coaching hire even though it was the longest, most expensive and most exhaustive search for a new coach in Flames’ history.

    Though I don’t recall anyone listing GG as his first choice for new coach, when Tre finally made the long-awaited announcement, very few objected. Indeed, many happily said that because it was Tre who decided that GG was the best man for the job, he must be because Tre is brilliant.

    Way to support our two new 6 Million Dollar Men. Any moron can see that Monahan has been playing through a very painful injury since the season began. It might still be his back, but more likely it is his neck and/or shoulder. Don’t be surprised when the announcement comes shortly that he will be shut down indefinitely.

    I don’t even know what “they have figured Johnny out” means. I doubt those chirping it know either. All you dumping on Johnny are going to look like bigger idiots than you are when Hockey finds his groove. Many seem to discount Johnny’s very unusual summer: early camp for the WC, prolonged contract negotiations, becoming an instant multimillionaire, no training camp with the team, and adapting to a new coaching staff. Oh,I forgot to mention that he has the biggest profile on the team, so whatever pressure he had before was ratcheted up at least 10 times with the expectations that come from the new deal. Let’s also not forget his age. He is also pretty young to have to carry a team in a rabid hockey market, so cut the kid some slack. It’s not like you don’t know what he can do.

    One thing I didn’t care for in last night’s game was when Carl Clifford gave Matty one of those “Do we understand each other” dressing downs and Matty took it in silence. The game was already over at that point, and the team was listless, so why didn’t Matty tell Cliff to blank himself and start a rumble with the old man? How often does a fight spark a dead team to life? The elbow on Carter was pretty cheap, so if Matty backed up his cheapshot with his fists, he would have really let it be known that he was not a snot-nosed punk.

    When dawn breaks later this morning, I need about 500 good men to help me pick up the fallen sky over Calgary and put it back on its props. Not likely to find many good men amongst the defeatists on this forum, Walt excluded.

    Can’t wait to hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth if the Flames lay an egg against the Ducks tonight.

    • Brent G.

      You really dove head first into that kool aid the Flames are selling eh?

      Side note, if Grossman never plays a game for the flames again, I would be extremely happy. Consistently putting that slow, no talent c unit back into the line up is exactly why GG needs to lose his job. Buddy can’t recognize how atrocious that player is, costing them another game – almost single handedly

      I agree with a few of the other posts on here. Put Smid on LTIR and scratch Johnny and Monny. I guarantee you a young call ups give a f$&@ meter will be through the roof. Will they win? Maybe not, but at least they are developing players that could potentially make this team bettter.

    • _vntony

      To win hockey games what you need is your best players to show up every night, plain and simple.
      Right now, our two best forwards (Monahan and Gaudreau) are nowhere to be seen. When are we going to stop making excuses for them?

      Listen, I don’t doubt Monahan’s injury has contributed to his poor play early on but come on. It’s been 13 games, countless practices and he’s not going to play if the doctors haven’t cleared him. Frankly, I’m sure he’s not stupid enough to play if his back/neck is what’s in question. He’s got his whole career ahead of him why would he jeopardize that? Does he want to become the next Smid? NO!

      On the Gaudreau front, okay, he missed out on training camp. But he had a head start at the WC and played with the NHL’s elite and did not look out of place. Missing training camp is really no excuse for his poor play. Sure, maybe it’s his adjustment to systems or whatever you want to blame it on. But frankly, I think that he’s just trying to do too much on his own.

      These guys are paid to show up every night and be the best players. They simply are not doing that right now.
      It’s time to make these guys accountable for their actions and stop making excuses for them.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        Wrong! It’s an 82 game schedule. Your best players don’t always have to show up to win nor can they be expected to. Playoffs, yes. You need your best men to Delete repeated word your best in a 7 game series.

        I am sure Monahan is playing through a serious injury. Watch him play. Have you ever seen him so out of synch? Very soon it is going to be announced that Monahan is injured and is going to be shut down indefinitely.

        Gaudreau remains the face of the franchise. I support him win or lose.

        By accountable, what do you mean? Are you going to fourth line them, bench them, demote them, trade them? Way too much money invested in the duo for any of that piddling around. Assuming Monahan isn’t hurt, you can only dress them every game and let them work their troubles out by playing top line minutes.

  • aflame13

    Gotta say guys, freaking out now just isn’t the best idea. It’s kinda knee jerk actually. This team has played very well and very poorly early in the season and we don’t know the behind the scenes, no point to speculate.

    It’s still early, give it a little while longer.

    • Brent G.

      This reaction is the result of a lifetime of ineptitude for this team. It seems every time you think they will turn a corner, you quickly see they are no better than they were in the young gun era.

      I can only imagine what it must feel like to cheer for the maple leafs or Oilers. I would have checked out long ago.

  • Pizzaman

    I always read Ryan Pikes FGD. He’s great! There is always risk writing about a game to come. I too laughed at his comment does anyone know Budaj is in the NHL. And though we know Setogouchi must have cleaned up his substance abuse issues to make the Kings…who knew Flames would be his confidence boosting game.
    And although BlueMoonNigel makes some good points about fans over-reacting the reality is that GG is slow to make changes and seems overly cautious since training camp.
    So who do you blame when a team comes out like the Flames did last night? The coaching staff? The players wearing the Captain letters? I am baffled.

  • Jakethesnail

    Remember when Chicago fired Savard early in the season then Quenville came on board? That’s what Calgary needs to do!
    This team needs a big wake up call now. Hire a coach with a proven track record. Who is available?

  • freethe flames

    I’m glad I spent my evening doing something else with my family rather than watching the Flames. Reading the comments here the FN base is starting to read like the ON for the last few years. Too many people here have drank the kool aid and think we are better than we are. Players need to play; don’t blame everything on the coach. If the players have turned the coach off this early in the season there are serious issues. They have already had a closed door B tch session and you can only do that a couple of times; once in the first month is scary.

    But the good news is the Heat won again last night and it seems that our top prospects in the AHL continue to develop as Klimchuk, Kylington, Janko, Mangiapane and Poirier continue to put up points. Hopefully they will continue to progress and when they eventually get a chance they can help the big team by adding some much needed depth and skill up front.

  • I am Batman

    “Matty” Tkachuk did not answer the bell because he was afraid. All he does is take cheap shots from behind or when somebody is down. He is a punk and a coward. He would not even go with Clifford, what a sissy. He reminds me of Sean Avery

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      No..Matty did not answer the bell because he has likely been told to toe the line. That doesn’t stop a player like England of Ferland to go up to Clifford and say we know Matty is a pain in the ass but we are still going to protect him if you get any ideas.

        • BlueMoonNigel

          I agree Matty dropped the ball on that one. We Canadians have long known that when our team is in a funk, one of the best ways to jizz them up is starting a fight. No reason Matty should not have responded to Clifford’s taunt with a “Blank you, Old Man! Let’s go for a St. Louis snow ride,” and dropped the gloves. Might have picked up the team. For sure he would have won new respect from his teammates and he would have started building a reputation around the league as a guy who doesn’t take crap even when he earns it.