Post-Game: Flames take a point from Brooklyn


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(Brad Penner / USA Today Sports)

The Calgary Flames ended their mega-trip in Brooklyn against the New York Islanders. The Islanders are probably a bit more skilled and definitely more rested than the Flames, who at times looked like a bunch of guys looking forward to a nap on the plane ride home.

That said, the Flames played a much more calm, structured and gaffe-less game than they did the night previous in Philadelphia. While the Flames did make some errors, and they did lose, they did so in overtime by a 2-1 score. They head home with seven of a possible 12 points on their road trip.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames had much more jump in the opening period than they had in the entire Flyers game. However, they got caught on a mistake at the offensive blueline that led to an Islanders goal. T.J. Brodie bobbled the puck just inside the Isles blueline. Justin Bailey stole it, raced up the ice and fed it back to a trailing John Tavares who beat Brian Elliott with a nifty top-corner shot to make it 1-0. The visitors didn’t generate a ton, despite their energy. Shots were 9-4 for the Islanders.

Nobody scored in second, though each side had a bit of pressure here and there. Shots were 11-10 for the Flames. The Flames finally broke through mid-way through the third. Sean Monahan was bumped up the rotation – getting a promotion from Micheal Ferland and Hunter Shinkaruk to Kris Versteeg and Troy Brouwer, while Mark Jankowski got bumped down. Versteeg and Brouwer raced in and had a two-on-one opportunity broken up, but they battled back to retrieve the puck and Versteeg fed Monahan for a nice one-timer goal to make it 1-1. Neither team scored a go-ahead goal in regulation, so it was off to extra hockey we went. (Shots were 11-6 Flames in the third.)

Unfortunately for the Flames, another gaffe cost them in overtime, as Michael Frolik’s stick broke and he (after a lot of hesitation and attempts at defending without a stick) rushed off for a change. However, Tavares held onto the puck and put a low shot towards Elliott, and Thomas Hickey made a nice redirect that squeaked past Elliott for the 2-1 win. Shots were 2-0 in OT for the Isles.

WHY THE FLAMES GOT A POINT

They calmed down, big-time, compared to the Flyers game. The Sunday Flames ran around like chickens with their heads cut off at times, especially in the defensive zone. The Monday Flames, perhaps taking a cue from Jankowski, simply were content to take a deep breath and study the Isles a bit before acting. There was a lot less chasing and a lot more anticipating in the defensive zone.

It wasn’t pretty hockey and, at times, it was downright dull. But for the sixth game in nine days on the road, the Flames looked just fine.

THE TURNING POINT

The Flames had a game where most of the breaks went their way – or at least didn’t go wildly against them. Unfortunately, Frolik’s stick breaking in the defensive zone came at precisely the wrong time. His rush to the bench for a replacement gave the Islanders a ton of time to set up and, unfortunately, resulted in the game-tilting goal.

RED WARRIOR

He didn’t have any points, but Micheal Ferland was superb tonight. Lots of hitting. Lots of driving the play and making smart decisions with the puck. Lots of intelligent puck management that resulted in scoring opportunities for his linemates.

For his part, Elliott looked a lot calmer in net than he’s seemed in weeks.

THE NUMBERS

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

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Versteeg 64.0 66.7 1.275
Wideman 63.3 80.0 0.300
Ferland 63.2 40.0 0.465
Tkachuk 57.9 54.6 0.325
Monahan 57.7 50.0 1.265
Jokipakka 56.5 50.0 0.500
Stajan 56.5 37.5 -0.195
Brouwer 53.3 66.7 0.100
Hamilton 53.1 33.3 0.125
Giordano 52.9 27.3 0.000
Brodie 51.5 58.8 -0.425
Frolik 50.0 50.0 0.075
Backlund 48.2 50.0 -0.315
Jankowski 47.1 50.0 -0.030
Chiasson 45.0 33.3 -0.225
Bennett 43.5 30.0 -0.085
Engelland 43.3 30.8 -0.400
Shinkaruk 42.1 40.0 -0.075
Elliott 1.000

THIS AND THAT

Jankowski played 10:18 tonight, entirely at even strength. He played roughly six minutes and change with Versteeg and Brouwer through the first two periods and just over three minutes with Ferland and Shinkaruk in the third period. He won five of eight face-offs that he took. All together, a solid debut.

UP NEXT

After their lengthy absence from our fair country, the Flames (10-13-2) return home tonight and they have a CBA-mandated off day to refresh themselves, recharge their batteries, and reacquaint themselves with their loved ones. They’re back in action on Wednesday night when the Toronto Maple Leafs come to town.

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  • OKG

    Engelland has been on the ice for a rush goal against in consecutive games. Looks like his Cinderella season is regressing to Deryk Engelland the slow defenseman that isn’t a top six D on a good team.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    In recent years the Flames haven’t done well on the road against the Islanders, so there is no shame in coming away with a loser point tonight. Boys go north of .500 on their longest roadie of the season. Lowly Leafs in town on Wednesday. Glass isn’t half full, it’s overflowing the rim.

  • Derzie

    We all had our own expectations at the beginning of the season but if you expected this tragedy of a team and season, you likely eat broken glass for laughs. Just dismal.

          • The GREAT WW

            Name a prediction I got wrong…there aren’t many…

            Give it a try sometime; make a prediction that goes entirely against the grain, see how you do….

            WW

          • ChinookArchYYC

            I’ll name two:

            1. After the combine you called Sam Bennett a Pufta, the kid’s a warrior.

            2. McDavid is not a generational talent, but a passenger. I wished you were right on this one.

          • MontanaMan

            I’m sure there’s many more as WW makes 10 predictions a week. On a positive note, I thought Jankowski looked good last night. His first few shifts were expectedly reserved but once he got his legs, I thought he showed poise and confidence – liked what I saw for an initial showing. And what do we make of the rumors of Hamilton to Toronto for Nylander? Just rumor right now but with Tre watching a recent Maple Leaf game (other parts of the trade) there may be something to it. The Flames need some talent up front and need to put the puck in the net so who knows?

        • everton fc

          I liked WW’s call to hire Gallant tomorrow, to run our PP.

          Send Cameron the other way to Florida. Or to Switzerland. Truly a bad hire – one that’d cost someone their job, in the “real world”.

          If our PP was average, we’d be a .500 hockey team.

      • FeyWest

        A lot easier to predict a struggling season with new players and basically revamp of the coaching staff. I was not going to be surprised, look where the coilers have been with their carousel of coaching the last while.

  • Arminius

    Thoughts..

    Elliott deserved better

    We play Toronto on a b2b and should see Enroth in net for the 4th backup in a row. I’ll take it.

    Ferland claims another victim legally

    Tkachuk rocks the Casbah

    Monahan gets off the schneid and salvaged a point. More please

    Janko didn’t look out of place and won 5 of 8 face offs. The only Flame over 42 %

  • Thatz Nuckin Futz

    Full Disclosure: I suffer from 20/20 hindsite vision.

    What in Sam Blazes was Frolik doing??? I know you felt outta sorts with no stick in your hand, but jeez man. I think we gifted the Isles that extra point when MF abandoned the d- zone for a new twig.

    Oh well, one point against an Eastern team is better than no points.

    Let’s get ready for TO on Wednesday.

  • everton fc

    I missed the game, but glad we got a point.

    PP still can’t score. I’m still not sure about Shinkaruk – would like to see some other young guns called up prior to Johnny’s return.

    • ThisBigMouthIsRight

      I think Shinkaruk will be fine, He’s being positioned to play a safe game by the coaches it seems Maybe if they placed him in a position to be a little more offensive without a defensive leash he might have some more success on the points side but it might also open up a counter attack against that the Flames seem to have a tough time recovering from*sigh*- imo… Yes the special teams are just brutal no matter who is out there and I’m not going to blame the players! I’m thinking Brower’s faltering might be from the the bigger roll he has been given with the team, roll him back a bit and let him play his simple game and there will be an improvement! Cheers! 1 point is better than 0…

      • Franko J

        While the draft seems a long way off, I like the fact the debate has started with who the Flames should target.
        This team is continually spinning their proverbial wheels, and I truly believe that that they are going to finish in the top 5 this year. With the new drafting rules there is no guarantee where they will end up come draft day in June, however there is a good chance they can add another quality prospect to the team.

        The only intrigue left for this season is to see who going to be traded and what we will get back in return.

  • Arminius

    Why do we have a Mark Spector Coilers fanboy comment on here? Dude has been brownnosing the Coilers brass for decades.. Don’t need to see his drivel here

  • RKD

    Nice to see Monahan score, he played a season low 12:56 in a checking role. Hope he can turn a corner. Can’t believe we lost to the worst team in the NHL. Bob Hartley: playoff appearance and won a playoff round but still only a .456 Brent Sutter: missed the playoffs twice even though his heart was in Red Deer and he coached the Devils not a single team ever came knocking to his door again. Keenan .585 two playoff appearances and two first round exits. Playfair .585 30 wins on home ice but a terrible road team, first round exit. Not a single head coaching gig since. Darryl Sutter, .585 won 3 playoff rounds took us to one win of a Stanley Cup a .576 playoff record. Since then he’s coached the Kings to two Stanley Cup victories. Glen Gulutzan has his work cut out for him.

    • Rockmorton65

      I would, but more subtly than a straight swap. Here’s what you do.

      Fire Cameron & Jerrard. That’s a no brainer. Much like the Feaster hiring, you bring in Gallant as a (wink, wink) assistant to run special teams. Have him work with the players for a couple months so they get used to his style. Then, if the Flames aren’t in a playoff spot by the end of February, fire Gulutzan and then simply have Gallant slide five feet down the bench.

  • dontcryWOLF88

    Monahan was the only one who didnt make taking a point out of tonight sound good enough in post game interviews. Happy he got the goal, but knows they need more.

    • calgaryfan

      Monahan was just reading from the script the players are all given for their interviews. Their responses in interviews are pretty much corporate BS from the front office. All players on all teams have same the script!

      They give the media a bunch of words without really saying anything. After every loss Gio says the same thing, “We have to be better blah blah blah”

  • jakethesnail

    Interview with Gulutzan post-game ticked me off…he basically said he is taking Monny back to basics, playing him on the 4th line and giving him the lowest minutes of his NHL career.I.E. he is showing him how to play hockey.. Wtf?

    When your star players from previous season like TJ, Gio, Monny, Johnny are struggling perhaps it is your system that is haywire….

    By the way the analysts on Hockey2Nite say you get a playe out of a slump by playing him more…but what do they know, GG knows it all.
    \

    • calgaryfan

      I would like to believe you are right but I am leaning towards this team not being as good as advertised by Tre and BB. They finished near the bottom last year under Hartley and are trending the same way this year.

      They appear to be week on defence, lacking quality depth. Monahan is not a 1st line center on a good team and Bennett may be a better winger than center. Lots of holes to fill!

    • piscera.infada

      By the way the analysts on Hockey2Nite say you get a playe out of a slump by playing him more…but what do they know, GG knows it all.

      In absolute fairness, Gulutzan’s tried that one-thousand percent. He has literally tried everything to get Monahan going he possible can, short of sitting him. He was giving him close to 20 minutes a night before Gaudreau went down, his buddy got injured and he switched a centre to the wing (Bennett) to try an stack another line around him. It didn’t work. Hopefully his goal last night is a sign of things turning around for him–I thought he was better last night. Honestly though, there has been so, so, so much wrong with Monahan’s game for the vast majority of the season that perhaps it is best for him to “get back to basics” (whatever that means…), because honestly, nothing has worked for him, and in no way is that percentage based.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I am not convinced the wins on the road were anything more than fantastic goaltending. The truth is that our D is not good enough for us to win 2-1 and 3-2 games consistently. I made the statement that if the Flames could win in Columbus they could contend for a playoff spot…but the other games on the road trip were not as convincing.

  • dontcryWOLF88

    I thought the flames were well coached on that tough road trip. I also think dropping Monahan down to the 4th line was a good call. The fact he scored one of his most skilled goals of the year after that seems to support. Special teams got better. Goals against (defense/goaltending) coming around. Offensive production not so great, but showing life at some of the right times

    Nobody likes the record right now, but its trending in the right direction at the moment. GG bought some breathing room from me.

  • Kensington

    @ great ww

    Predicting McDavid would not win the Calder only was correct because of his injury, I am not an Oiler fan but we all know who the best rookies was.

  • Franko J

    Sorry off kilter comment but looking through the post game commentary I noticed an advertisement for a Beach Vacation, and speaking out loud I wonder how many players and coaches alike are thinking the same thing right now. Surely they must be, because it is obviously that this team’s mindset and focus is somewhere this year.
    No.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      But just last Friday after the Flames took out the Bs for their second straight win and a guarantee of at least .500 on their longest roadie of the season, the likes of you were so pumped about the so-called turnaround of the team. Guys like you really have no clue how to take the lows with the highs. Might want to consult with your medico about that. It would be a shame to see you in an early grave.

      • Franko J

        I for one never made any comments about the Flames after the win against the B’s.
        From the start of this season this team has been very perplexing and appears to be going through the emotions.

        Look good one game and terrible the next.

  • Burnward

    I’m telling you guys: That suit Gulutzan had on last night is a bad sign.

    Anyone who would go out in public thinking they look good dressed like that worries me.

  • cjc

    I’ve been on the fence about GG so far this season. Some results are good, others decidedly not. That said, we’ve never seen a coach fired after finishing above .500 on the season’s longest road trip.

    The reasons (not all hockey related) that GG will stay on still outweigh the reasons he’ll go. That said, we could have had Randy Carlyle as coach. Dodged a bullet there.

    I’m surprised how quickly people’s view of Treliving has gone from genius to doofus, and they’re calling for his head.

    The team still has a long way to go. There are still some key pieces missing. There is still some dead weight to jettison. Some players (Gaudreau, Monahan, Hamilton, Bennett, Tkachuk) are still 2-3 years away from their peak. If you thought this was a 95-100 pt. team going into the season, you weren’t being objective. Management may have given you this impression, but what were they going to say? “Hey fans, don’t expect much this year”?

    • DeadRedRedemption

      The biggest problem I have with Tre is that through luck and drafting he built a fast, creative team. And the cream of that crop are very small.

      Then he hired a coach that wants the team to play a system for big imposing players like LA.

      And we’re supposed to not put that on the GM?

      Btw: since JG went down GG changed to a more defence oriented system, which has worked a little better but still doesn’t recognize the strengths of his top players.

      • piscera.infada

        Btw: since JG went down GG changed to a more defence oriented system, which has worked a little better but still doesn’t recognize the strengths of his top players.

        I brought this up in another thread where you made the same claim, but please provide one real example of how Gulutzan has changed his system since the Gaudreau injury. He hasn’t. At the very least, he and Treliving have both said nothing has been changed, and outside of that there is no evidence that he has changed anything.

        Quite simply, what you perceive as a more “defensive system” is the players playing better defensively–that means less turnovers and better (still not great) execution of the breakout.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    One of the issues I have with the Flames this year is that if they happen to fall behind by a couple of goals the rarely look like they can push to get back in the game. It was like this in the pre Johnny years where they never had a player that could get us back in the game.