Post-Game: Flames make history in Anaheim


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(Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today Sports)

After last night’s performance against the Los Angeles Kings, onlookers and analysts alike had two distinct expectations for tonight’s Calgary Flames game with the Anaheim Ducks.

  • The Flames would remain flat and listless, and get utterly destroyed.
  • The Flames would rally after such a terrible performance and win, with the game perhaps becoming a rallying point for the entire season.

Well, the Flames weren’t utterly destroyed, but they were merely flat in a 4-1 loss to the Ducks. They have set a National Hockey League record with 24 consecutive losses at the Honda Center. It’s precisely the kind of record you could see this year’s group setting, as it’s almost unfathomable after 14 inconsistent, frustrating games to imagine these guys setting a record for accomplishing anything positive.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames weren’t great early – some consistency that we call all rely on from them – and a defensive zone turnover from Jyrki Jokipakka on an attempted outlet pass turned into them running around like confused chickens after the puck, allowing Clayton Stoner to sneak in from the point and score to make it 1-0. However, the Flames did battle back and were really good at puck management for the last 10 minutes of the period. Some nice passing from Sean Monahan to Johnny Gaudreau led to a pint-sized one-timer that bonked off Alex Chiasson and past Jonathan Bernier to tie the game. Shots were 12-9 Flames.

In the middle frame, the Flames were just as energetic but not quite as good at executing. Dougie Hamilton took a penalty in the defensive zone that resulted in a goal, but it was a weird circumstance. Hamilton caught a rut and crashed into the boards. Obviously disoriented (and probably worried that he was seriously hurt), he grabbed hold of a Ducks player and got dinged for two minutes. A nice set passing play from the Ducks power play resulted in a Ryan Kesler goal and a 2-1 lead. The Flames kept pressing but got caught up ice, leaving Hamilton alone on a two-on-one. Chad Johnson made the first save on Andrew Cogliano, but nobody caught up to Cogliano and he put his own rebound over top of Johnson to make it 3-1. Shots were 10-7 Flames.

The Ducks mainly played keep-away in the final frame. They were content to run out the clock. The period was not fun hockey to watch. Kesler added a second power play goal off a wonky rebound that went off a couple feet and ankles. Shots were 5-4 Anaheim in the third, to give you an idea of the type of high-octane action that was on display.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

The Ducks weren’t particuarly great, but the Flames were bad in precisely the ways they’ve been bad all year to this point. A defensive zone lapse turned into the first goal. Defensive zone penalties and a really hapless penalty kill turned into two more goals. Four players getting caught up ice on a rush led to the other goal heading back the other way.

The Flames keep making mistakes at key times that end up in the back of their net.

THE TURNING POINT

The Flames looked like they were still in it until Cogliano’s goal. At that point, the Ducks were able to play prevent hockey and just ride things out. The Flames had no answer for them after they went down two goals.

RED WARRIOR

Let’s give it to Brett Kulak, who was one of a handful of players (including Matthew Tkachuk) who seemed emotionally involved and energetic throughout the duration of this clunker.

And give a stick-tap to Johnson, who was rock-solid for the Flames and gave them a chance.

THE NUMBERS

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

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Ferland 76.5 75.0 0.750
F.Hamilton 73.3 28.6 0.340
Stajan 72.2 25.0 0.450
Chiasson 70.6 100 1.230
Tkachuk 70.6 25.0 0.600
Monahan 70.6 100 1.110
Engelland 70.0 40.0 0.050
Frolik 70.0 40.0 0.140
Brodie 69.6 60.0 0.825
Giordano 65.2 60.0 0.375
Kulak 64.0 40.0 0.275
Gaudreau 63.2 100 1.350
Backlund 61.9 40.0 -0.200
D.Hamilton 50.0 83.3 -0.250
Jokipakka 48.2 83.3 -0.250
Shinkaruk 40.0 20.0 -0.275
Brouwer 38.1 71.4 -0.200
Bennett 35.0 71.4 -0.410
Johnson -1.300

THIS AND THAT

A military dog dropped the puck and it was awesome.

Also, it was a divisional game so there were fights.

Dougie Hamilton took a weird tumble, but didn’t miss any shifts.

UP NEXT

The Flames (5-8-1) fly home and have a CBA-mandated off day tomorrow. After that, it’s two days of practice and then a date at the Saddledome on Thursday night with the Dallas Stars.

  • Captain Ron

    So what now. We were completely outplayed in the last two games and lost by a combined score of 9-1.

    Is this a coaching problem or a group of players not executing a game plan?

    Tonight the Flames looked to me like the same team that lost the last time in that building even with a new coaching group and several player changes including two different goalies since then.

    Anaheim also looked to me like the same team that continually beats the Flames without much trouble even with a new coaching group and several player changes since then.

    L.A. manhandled the Flames last night. We wouldn’t stand a chance against them in a 7 game series even with Budaj in goal.

    So for those who get your backs up when some of the fans on this forum criticize the teams coaches and/or the players what do you think the problem is?

    I’m not one to call for coaches heads early in a tenure but that powerplay is the worst I have ever seen. Is that a coaching issue or a player issue?

    • Nolan

      i think the issues are a little from column A a little from column B. But when it comes down to it, i think coaching can make a good team great and a bad team worse. Look at what Torts did in Vancouver. Hartleys first full year here everyone was thinking lottery, but he maximized their effort and got to the 2nd round. 1 bad year and hes gone. When you take an average coach who was an assistant for a non playoff team you should expect nothing great. But the players need to put in more effort.

  • Trevy

    This team looks completely confused. I don’t know if it’s Gully’s system cause everyone is out of sync. Our star players aren’t performing, our defence is horrible, Brodie’s not the same, we have no identity and our special teams still suck. Watching the LA game is an example of what size and speed can do when clicking on all gears. We just don’t have that and as much as I hate to say it, even Edm is slowly adopting that style of grit and speed and is well coached. Treliving may have made a big mistake with taking a chance on a green coach like Gully. Treliving will never fire his first hire as coach, no matter how many losses mount and we descend further down the standings, instead he’ll just start looking at trading out players. The first year of any new coach is pretty much given a pass, but if things don’t improve substantially by next season, it could spell the end for more than just Gulutzan.

  • McRib

    Both of Anaheim’s Power Play goals tonight were on the EXACT SAME PLAY. Corey Perry snuck behind Deryk Engelland and then he centred in front to Ryan Kesler. Go rewatch the highlights, the second and fourth goal were carbon copies of each other, after the fourth goal Perry and Kesler were snickering to one another because they obviously were as dumbfounded as the rest of us that Engelland continues to be dragged out onto PK1 (as I have all season).

    Any coach who has coached past Pewee knows you don’t put immobile players on the Penalty Kill with that added space to make up, you want your most mobile players. If players were given +/- for special teams Deryk Engelland would be at least -20 already this year, as he has absolute killed us all season on the PK. But GG used to coach Engelland in the ECHL, so let’s just continue to blindly throw him into situations in which he is way over his head, because I am sure Engelland is a super guy and they have a connection that is more important than winning. Anyone sill wanting to defend Engelland, let’s just wait and talk next year when he is gone and we start to turn things around. I have never in my life seen a Hockey team dragged so badly down by their bottom three defensemen in my life. Wait and see I bet Kulak sits next game, because it would just be too rational to play him again (time for Wideman). But Engelland fought, so go “truculence”. There is nothing you could tell me that would convience me otherwise of my belief that Kulak, Kylington, Anderson, Wotherspoon, etc aren’t already improvements over Engelland. Wideman, Grossman, Smid, etc.

    “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. Isn’t that how the saying goes, GG was outcoached tonight that’s for certain.

    • hulkingloooooob

      I agree about the d. The forwards will figure it out the if they have a solid mobile d.
      Gio/ bro/ kul/ ham/ are the only keepers of the current bunch.

      It’s time to start the 3rd and hopefully final step in this rebuild and except a few more years of trenches. It’s time to start playing the players we want on the ice in 3 years now.

    • Rock

      Open your eyes -2 and a bad pentaly was Hamilton that is who drags the team down more then England does but yet you would rather have Hamilton out on the pentaly kill. You should of tried coaching past peewee then maybe you would have a better perspective of the game

  • Wheels

    1 goal between Budaj and Bernier. They better be thinking long and hard over this 3 day break if they are to even come close to scoring on the woeful Lehtonen-Niemi tandem.

  • prendrefeu

    I watched the nightmare of a game last night vs. the Kings at the Staples Center, then watched this one from home.

    I really don’t know what this team is besides “inconsistent” and “missing”

    The system the coach staff is trying (?) to instill is completely unrecognizable. Do they even have a system? A game plan? What is going on in practices?

    The players, with a few exceptions such as the 4th line and a scattering of others, look to be confused, lacking discipline and fitness.

    It’s just weird.

    After tonight’s game I’ve been considering ‘giving up’ on watching the rest of the season play out. It’s not that the season is lost – miracles do happen… maybe…

    It’s just that I have no idea what to look forward to and without anything reliable to base hopes on, the default assumption would be a blowout loss.

    • brodiegio4life

      the exact same as before, just because gulutzan is bad doesn’t make Hartley a great coach. You realize they came 5th last with Hartley last year right? Hartley was awful

      • Jakethesnail

        Hartley was the coach the year before and they got in the playoffs. The additions Treleving made this year have not made a difference in a positive way. Elliot has not got it done and neither has their coach!

  • Dan the flames fan

    OK, so I thought we were actually playing a better game in the first 2 periods. Mony and Johnny showed more together this game then any other time this season. Passes and entry appeared sharper.

    I’m still not convinced that this system is right for Calgary, and how the team played in the first half kinda proved it. The pace was faster and JH/SM moved better with it. I look at it like asking a thoroughbred racehorse to change up and do equestrian. It doesn’t fit. Gaudreau needs to be free to be creative, and Mony just needs to be involved. I saw more of both tonight.

    It sucks that they lost, but I saw more energy and investment in this game then I have in any game yet.

    Oh, and Kulak in – Grossman out….permanently!

  • NHL93

    One thing I took away from this game: Brett “the torpedo” Kulak seems to know when to join the rush. The kid looked fantastic.

    And is that the problem? Is Kulak playing well because this is his first shot in the bigs and for him everything is new? For the bulk of our core, this is the first professional coaching change they have experienced. I’m not a GG apologist, but I feel like for a lot of our players they are overthinking and not just playing enough. I think when it finally clicks, it’ll click. But who knows when that’ll be.

  • FL@med

    The flames are currently trying to play an offensive system…. Obviously it’s not working out and they’re letting in a lot of goals. Perhaps they should try a defensive lock system?

  • BlueMoonNigel

    19 posts following another loss and no one is damning Johnny or Sean. That’s a relief!

    No love for Gully however, which I find totally disrespectful to Tre. You’re as much as telling the ninja that he flubbed it with the most important hire of his life after only 14 games. 136 points are still up for grabs yet all you whiney watermelons can do is boo hoo about the season already being lost and snipe at Tre. You pathetic pieces of horsebleep make me sick! My advice to the lot of you is to head down to Abie’s Meat Market this morning and buy a few guts.

    • trox

      I tend to agree that Gully deserves more time, and I’m trying to be patient. But what does it say about his understanding of the modern game that he thinks Grossman is an NHL defenceman? Or that Engelland should be our primary penalty killer? Tre has done a great job in general but it is very difficult to keep the faith that this was a good hire given all the evidence to the contrary.

      • supra steve

        Engelland may not be the BEST option available for the PK, but the problem is…how many minutes can your top pair play in any given game/season? Gotta spread some of the minutes around, and Engelland on the PK helps to accomplish that.

        • trox

          I agree that we can’t simply overload the top pairing. But my view is that of the 6 d-men we dressed last night, for example, Engelland is quite clearly the WORST option for the PK. We can avoid overloading Gio/Broide by giving more minutes to Hamilton, Kulak and Jokipakka.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        Remind us again of how many NHL games you have coached?

        I think Gully knows a great deal more about what he is doing than any of us squawkers on this board.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        It’s not about being superior. It is called being patient and keeping the faith and not dumping on guys when they are struggling.

        It is all about perspective and being able to see the bigger picture and trusting those worthy of being trusted.

        As we honour our distinguished war veterans this week, I wonder how many of the sapheads on this board if they had been around at that time and were witness to the succession of gut-wrenching losses the Allies suffered at the hands of the Nazis would have demanded an honourable peace with Hitler and his goons. “We can’t win, we can’t win. Oh, God, it’s just started, but let’s give up because we can’t win!” Consider yourselves damn lucky Uncle Joe and Comrade Igor didn’t have the same weak knees and no backbone as so many on this board have shown over the first 14 games.

        In Tre I trust!

        • Cheeky

          Now you’re really scrapping the bottom of genius land aren’t you? Wanna talk about that war and veterans then let’s talk. The sacrifices made on behalf of some of the idiotic decisions from the higharchy, fortunately allow us today to have blogs like this. Not everyone has to agree, we are a democratic system so all can voice their opinions. During most wars and conflicts, the brass doesn’t care about those in the trenches, just about their next promotion, same can be said about most businesses too. That includes hockey. Your idol Trevling wasnt on most radars when hired, Burke wanted someone he had some control over. He’s done some ok things and some not ok things. GG wasn’t on most radars, if so he would have been snatched up way before us. He has a system I’m sure, but it’s not right for the players we have. That’s on Tre both for the team he has, and the coach he hired. Good leaders work around the strengths of their team, they adapt rather than having those around them change completely that their strengths become weaknesses. Soldiers get the job done but require good leaders and buy ins from those above. Those leaders that can’t adapt lose credit, then get tuned out, especially those like GG without any street credit. Tre messed this up by hiring GG to work this team into his. Either GG needs to change to utilize the strengths of his team or Tre needs to change the team into what will work for GG. Remember it was the lads on the ground who won the war, not the folks sipping tea in HQ….

  • ChinookArchYYC

    The last 2 games looked the same with the Flames still struggling to consistently complete passes and turned the puck over in all 3 zones throughout 60 minutes. The Backlund continued to drive play because it’s the exception in this regard, while the Monahan line is the biggest culprit (although they look a bit better last night).

    Another issue is that the Flames are currently a perimeter team, with very few shots coming from inside home plate. Instead both the Kings and Ducks were happy to give the Flames the outside, along the walls and simply concentrated on double teaming any Flame that stepped inside. To highlite, one of the very few times the Flames got inside home plate they scored. This is also the same issue on the power play. As for the PK, GET ENGELLAND OFF THE ICE.

    Someone needs to 2-hand slash Kessler across his hands, and make him pay early for any liberty he takes. Send the message, ‘we’ll gladly break your forearm and take a 2 minute penalty, if you try that again’. Aside from that, stupid penalises are killing this team.

    As for the coach, I gave Hartley a full 80+ games, before I advocated for a replacement. Gulutzan will get the same.

  • Albertabeef

    Alright so the last two games GG was clearly outcoached. He is no match for the ciminal mastermind named Sutter lol. Media said they were a wounded team, that’s a Sutter specialty(see 2003-04 playoffs).

    Please stop bringing up Hartley. You all forget he missed the playoffs 3 out of 4 seasons. It was fluke luck we even made the playoffs that one year. So places let it go. But I will say so far GG is 10 times worse but not entirely his fault, he did not build the team. What can you do when you only have one pair of decent defensemen?

    BB and BT need to be shown the door. I’m willing to give GG more time but Burke needs his walking papers as does Tre. Norther should have been hired in the first place. Ken King should be taken out back of the barn for that one. Burke just makes my skin crawl he’s so greasy. How many bad contracts does Tre get to sign? Hiller? Setaguchi? Raymond? Hamilton? Frolik?GROSSMAN?????? WTF???? There’s way more crappy pieces he’s brought in as well. He’s in love with Canuck players and coaches(holy frig yuk). Think long and hard and tell me you think these guys have actually done a quality job with what they had. BE TRUTHFUL!!!

    Don’t call me names for calling it what it is. The truth hurts less when you admit it.

    • everton fc

      We’ve only been to the playoffs six times in the last nineteen years. Six times since the 1996-97 season. We lost in the first round four out of those six years.

      Puts things into perspective. We are a joke, as a franchise, in many ways.

      We were successful w/Darryl behind the bench. We even had better results w/him as GM. Hartley’s winning percentage was third best in all those years.

      Personally, I always hoped we’d scoop Jason Botterill from the Pens. I think he’d be great here.

      To Backburner:

      Tkachuk hasn’t been the only positive. Ferland, Kulak, Backlund, Frolik, Stajan, even Engelland, have all earned stripes. Engelland and Backlund, at times, show more leadership than our guys wearing the letters.

      GG’s brought us Chiasson and probably Grossmann. BT/BB signed them both. I’ve no issues w/Chiasson as 4th line RW w/Stajan. But we have him on our first line. We didn’t sign the right players, this summer. Even Brouwer has quieted down a bit.

      At least Bennett’s trying. Gaudreau is trying too hard (ego?) and both Monahan and Brodie look down in the dumps.

      Inject Hathaway. Waive some dead weight (no one’s taking Grossmann, though).

  • everton fc

    Brodie admitted post-game vs. Kings the system was taking long to get used to. He’s also played soft, especially vs. the Sens. He is frustrated. Confused.

    Gio’s age is catching up with him. Perhaps.

    Burke’s assessment is correct. We are not scoring. I wonder how guys like Shiknaruk, Hathaway, Jankoswki, Klimchuk, Mangiapane, Vey (playing very well), Kylington, and even Poirier would do up here right now. Kylington is +10 (though they give up way too many goals down there, as Gillies is about to fall under .900 save percentage – not good) Challenge is where do they fit? Even next season??

    If they don’t protect Kulak… Maybe leave Gio unprotected, at this point. Kulak looks to me like he could wear a letter. And Backlund looks like our captain.

    Our goalies will be fine when our defencemen improve, and our forwards both improve defencively and begin to score.

    As for Ferland, he did have the most shots. And he also has no penalty minutes this season. He is absolutely disciplined. They better protect him, as well. Another guy who, down the road, could/should be wearing a letter. And a kid like Lomberg would certainly light a fire under some of these guys bums, as he wants to be here bad. I know he’s only on an “A” contract. He should be given a two-way next season, if he proves valuable on the farm.

  • flames2015

    I reminisce the days when we had an idenity of being a 3rd period comeback time. It made games exciting. Now, if we are down at all by the 2nd, the game is already over. We have zero comeback wins this year. There’s no compete and no urgency.