Post-Game: Good habits fly away


USATSI_9710277
(Eric Hartline / USA Today Sports)

The Calgary Flames entered tonight’s game with some momentum. They had played pretty well for pretty much the past two weeks (or so). They had won three of their previous four games on their six game mega-trip. They were facing a rookie goalie. The universe seemed to be breaking their way.

Unfortunately, the Flames reverted back to the team of yesteryear – okay, October – and all their old bad habits came back in force en route to a fairly one-sided 5-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

The game took place at the same time as the Grey Cup. If you only caught the football game, you didn’t really miss anything worth seeing.

THE RUNDOWN

Philadelphia carried play for much of the first period, as the Flames struggled to clear the zone or establish a transition game – something that happened throughout much of the rest of the game. Calgary did end up opening the score while a man down; with Michael Frolik in the box, Mikael Backlund and T.J. Brodie went in on a two-on-one and Brodie’s back-hander squeaked through rookie Anthony Stolarz to make it 1-0.

But that lead didn’t last, as Jakub Voracek went for a skate in the Flames zone. Dennis Wideman pursued him behind the net, then gave up his pursuit and went to guard the net-front. That lapse gave Voracek the time to put a nice pass to Michael Raffl for the tap-in to tie the game at 1-1. Shots were 15-7 Flyers.

The Flames took a penalty late in the first and the carry-over PP time came to bite them early in the second. Voracek’s attempted cross-crease pass to Wayne Simmonds was deflected in by Mark Giordano’s stick to make it 2-1. Then things got a bit worse. After a Flyers dump-in, Chad Johnson’s attempted rim-around clearing pass was intercepted by Roman Lyubimov and his shot was tipped by Chris Vandevelde to make it 3-1. While they were announcing that goal, Simmonds was sprung on a breakaway – sneaking between Brett Kulak and Deryk Engelland – and scored to make it 4-1. That was basically it for the Flames chances. Shots were 14-12 Flyers.

After sitting back a bit for awhile in the third, the Flames finally made it seem like this could turn into a hockey game. On a power play, Matthew Tkachuk executed a really nice tip-in of a Dougie Hamilton point shot to make it 4-2. However, that didn’t last very long either. 1:50 after that goal, Lyubimov scored off a rebound to make it 5-2. Alex Chiasson scored a shorthanded goal late to make it 5-3, but it was way too little, way too late.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

In short? Because for roughly 40 minutes of this game, they were the “October Flames.” They had tons of sloppiness in their game, especially in their own zone – they frequently biffed on simple zone exit plays.

The first goal was the result of Wideman abandoning his pursuit of Voracek. The second goal was a bad bounce off Giordano’s stick. The third goal was a bad read by Johnson. The fourth goal was a bad read by Kulak & Engelland at the offensive blueline. The fifth goal was the defenders failing to box out Lyubimov and clearing the rebound.

In short? Tons of things we all thought they had gotten better at doing (or not doing) over the past month.

THE TURNING POINT

The Voracek power play goal absolutely killed the Flames’ momentum. The Flames had given Philadelphia a ton of time and space throughout the first period, but managed to largely slink away unscathed. But the spill-over power play time gave them a bit more pressure, and the Flyers used it to sink the Flames.

The fact that the goal came off of Giordano’s stick made it even more of a killer blow.

RED WARRIOR

Tkachuk had 18 minutes in penalties tonight, but he was one of a few Flames that realized there was a hockey game tonight and tried to get something going.

Johnson made 38 saves and was pretty solid, despite the fact that his defenders didn’t give him very much help. Well, aside from putting the puck right on Lyubimov’s stick on that third goal.

THE NUMBERS

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

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Tkachuk 68.2 50.0 1.200
Frolik 68.2 50.0 0.200
Backlund 68.2 50.0 1.560
Chiasson 52.6 28.6 1.050
Bennett 52.4 28.6 0.650
Stajan 50.0 28.6 -0.470
Brodie 50.0 75.0 1.100
Kulak 48.2 36.4 -0.075
D.Hamilton 45.2 42.1 1.650
Wideman 43.3 66.7 -0.350
Engelland 43.3 36.4 -0.925
Giordano 42.0 38.9 0.225
F.Hamilton 41.4 28.6 -0.420
Hathaway 40.0 28.6 -0.720
Ferland 36.7 28.6 -0.900
Versteeg 33.3 54.6 -0.400
Brouwer 29.6 54.6 -0.635
Monahan 26.9 54.6 -0.630
Johnson 0.050

THIS AND THAT

UP NEXT

The Flames (10-13-1) finish off the mega-trip tomorrow night in Brooklyn when they face the Islanders.

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  • DoubleDIon

    Wideman is just a beauty defensively… It’s almost getting ridiculous watching Brodie try to play both sides of the ice. Every time they roast Wideman wide Brodie has to go pursue the guy on the other side of the ice while Wideman skates too slowly to the front of the net. Teams we play are exploiting this in a huge way.

    Move Kulak with Brodie and don’t play Wideman at even strength.

  • McRib

    Sean Monahan was last with a Corsi For of 26.9%, despite getting the third most favourable Offensize Zone Starts 54.6%. I’m starting to become extremely worried and am just praying he is batting some kind of nagging injury, because even if he was being carried by Gaudreau the last couple of years (which he was certainly) he still has to be better than this? On thing is for certain he needs to shed some of that weight he added this past offseason because it has slowed him down completely. Honestly if he is battling a nagging injury it is time to sit him out because Jankowksi can’t be any worse right now with the way he is playing.