Post-Game: Capital gains


USATSI_9840364
(Marc DesRosiers / USA Today Sports)

The Calgary Flames have been reeling as of late. After four consecutive losses, Thursday’s game against the Ottawa Senators was basically the game they needed. The Flames played a solid, if unspectacular, 60-plus minutes of hockey. They made a few mistakes, but they were good enough for two points on this occasion.

The Flames headed into the All-Star Break on the heels of a 3-2 overtime victory over the Senators.

THE RUNDOWN

If you have this one PVRed, a word of warning: this game had a very deliberate pace, which is code for “you could use this to get to sleep.” Aside from a really nice goal by Sean Monahan and overtime, this one wasn’t exactly picture-perfect.

The Flames achieved a moral victory in the first: they didn’t get scored on! They ever spotted the Senators a late power play but defended well. Shots were 6-6.

Things got even better for Calgary in the middle period of regulation, as they scored first – for the first time since their January 7 victory over Vancouver. It was a nice effort by Matt Stajan to drive the net and drop a pass to Micheal Ferland. Ferland’s initial shot was blocked, but he gathered the rebound and beat Mike Condon through traffic to make it 1-0.

The Flames made it 2-0 off a scramble out front and a nice effort from Sean Monahan out-muscling (and out-skilling) a bunch of Senators players.

Between the legs! Shots were 10-8 in the second for the Flames.

Ottawa clawed back in the second. Tommy Wingels deflected a point shot past Brian Elliott to make it 2-1. Late in the period, with Ottawa’s goalie pulled, Chris Wideman beat Elliott off a nice point shot to tie it up. Shots were 10-8 Ottawa in the third.

So they went to overtime. The Flames were playing defense for much of the frame, but Mikael Backlund managed to corral the puck and sneak behind the defense for a late two-on-zero rush with Johnny Gaudreau. They didn’t waste the opportunity.

Shots in overtime were 3-2 Ottawa.

WHY THE FLAMES WON

The Flames were just consistently better than the Senators. They scored first and they were buzzing more than Ottawa was for the duration. They were unlucky to be tied after 60 minutes and they managed to make something happen in overtime when they desperately, desperately needed two points.

For the first time in a long time, the Flames played with more desperation than their opponent.

THE TURNING POINT

It seems that this season, if something needs doing it’ll be Backlund that gets it done. It was nice to see Gaudreau’s game rewarded, as he had a bunch of decent chances.

RED WARRIOR

Elliott. He came in and made saves when saves were needed. He was quite good early and pretty good throughout this game.

Stick-taps also go to Monahan for his sick goal and Gaudreau for a two-point game.

THE NUMBERS

(Percentage stats are even strength. Game score is overall. Data via Natural Stat Trick.)

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Monahan 70.8 85.7 1.655
Gaudreau 70.4 85.7 2.375
Frolik 66.7 85.7 0.250
Tkachuk 64.3 50.0 0.200
Giordano 60.0 83.3 0.775
Brodie 56.7 61.5 0.350
Wideman 53.9 61.5 0.050
Hamilton 53.6 76.9 1.350
Chiasson 53.3 44.4 -0.045
Backlund 52.6 50.0 0.930
Engelland 52.0 50.0 0.475
Versteeg 50.0 54.6 -0.085
Brouwer 50.0 54.6 0.475
Kulak 45.5 45.5 -0.250
Stajan 45.0 50.0 -0.100
Bennett 42.9 50.0 -0.030
Ferland 36.4 33.3 0.775
Bouma 35.3 50.0 -0.200
Elliott 1.000

THIS AND THAT

The Flames scored the first goal for the first time in 10 games. They never trailed in this game, too.

UP NEXT

The Flames (25-24-3) fly home tonight and go their separate ways for the All-Star Brak. Johnny Gaudreau is headed to Los Angeles for the festivities while everyone else is off to do other things. They’re back at practice on Monday afternoon and are back in game action on Wednesday night when they host the Minnesota Wild at the Saddledome.

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  • Alsal

    Flames Win! Flames Win! Flames Win! Alleluia, Alleluia Praise the Lord Stanley!

    Maximus GG, your boys won when it wasn’t easy! Now get in there after the game and give them all a hug. Oh, that’s right you don’t do that. And wait… dang I hate to be a buzz kill, but shouldn’t a playoff team shut OTT down up 2-0 going into the third ? A playoff team doesn’t get out scored a gazillion to 1 and have to be told to man up. I don’t think Sid or Johnny Toews were ever told they have to man up and had their coach hang them out to dry in the press. Ultimately, if it takes heaven and earth to motivate the boys, the next rough patch may just be around the corner. Buzz. Effectively. Killed.

    Nevertheless, let’s reflect on the last 48 hours shall we? Boy GG was upset after MTL, so too was BT. And rightfully so. Ladies and gentlemen, these are good men. Maximus GG, calculator, hair and all, may be struggling to find a way to motivate his men, but he cares a lot. In a city where so many have lost their job, and in the face of the countless calls for GG’s head, GG cracked and I’d never wish that a man lose their job, especially when they care that much. Look at his expression behind the bench after the win. He was Shawshank redeemed!

    And with that thought, oh sweet! My phone has an Eric Francis tweet. I clicked and it was Sportsnet article from Mr. Francis basically saying, “fear not Flames nation, there is plenty of season left.” Oh my, not that Kool Aid again. I’m still recovering from an upset stomach from Kool Aid withdrawal. I needed a quick nap. Zzzz… and would you believe it? I had the weirdest dream during this nap. It was straight from the movie A Few Good Men and into the famous heated exchange…

    Lieutenant Eric Francis: Colonel alsal! Did you order the “code red?!!”

    Flames Nation: You don’t have to answer that question!

    Col alsal: I’ll answer the question. You want answers?

    Lieutenant Eric Francis: I think I’m entitled to them.

    Col alsal: You want answers?!

    Lieutenant Eric Francis: I want the truth!

    Col alsal: YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH! Son, we live in a game that has a net, and those nets have to be guarded by men with sticks, and pads. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Brian Elliott? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You believe in the Flames playoff chances, and you curse GG for not playing Bennett on the wing. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know – that the Flames are not a playoff team, while tragic, probably saves me Kool Aid withdrawal; and losing bets to Oiler fan, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves Flames nation heartbreak!

    I woke up startled, sweaty and shaking my head! I called the code red that the flames wouldn’t be a playoff team! But boy… after that win, come over here Mr. Francis, let me hug you and let’s go get some more Kool Aid.

  • freethe flames

    I missed most of the game but what I did see was the 4th line hitting and moving their feet; first 10 minutes at least. Then I saw the OT. My question is how did my two favorite whipping boys plat; Brouwer and Versteeg?

    We won a game but that does not solve the real problems. BT still needs to make some moves before the trade deadline. Ideally he needs to find at least one rental who can play in the top 9 and play RW or center w/o to high of a cost. The other need is to find a top 4 defender again with a low cost. Move our rental players and find a couple of guys who help with our needs. Versteeg is a moveable piece and could help some play off team; maybe Pittsburg.

  • Franko J

    “For the first time in a long time, the Flames played with more desperation than their opponent.”

    @ Ryan

    Could not have said it any better. The team also had a goalie make a save when the team needed a boost.

    Hope the guys enjoy the All-Star break, come back refreshed and continue to play with a little more jam.

  • beloch

    The announcers were talking about how the all-star game was going to be a chance for Gaudreau to get his confidence back, but it’s much better to see him do it in OT. Hopefully he heats up down the stretch!

  • WildfireOne

    Elliott did make a few clutch saves, but the tying goal? That’s a shot I expect an average goalie to stop. And I suspect most of the team would as well.

    If we don’t make the playoffs, I want to see what Rittich does against NHL shooters. If Johnson and Elliott continue giving gifts to other teams, I’d say we need to see Rittich even sooner than that.

  • TurkeyLips

    Ottawa overplays their top D and the Flames take advantage with an uncharacteristic mistake by a tired Karlsson, providing Gaudreau with a much needed multipoint night. That tortuous OT was not a good look..

    • dontcryWOLF88

      It was a forced error on Karlsson part. Gaudreau dove and knocked it off his stick to Backlund. I give 90% credit to him for that OT goal. Backlund gets the other 10%

      • FlamesFanOtherCity

        Not sure why the caption for the GIF was “Backlund with the pick”. A very smart defensive (a little desperate) play by Gaudreau to strip the puck from Karlson to turn the play into a 2 on 0. A little reminiscent of the strip from Sedin in the WCH, that set up MacKinnon for the winner.

        Was glad to see the final pass back to Gaudreau, since Backlund would have hit the goalie square on.

  • Prototype369

    3 on 3 OT, which used to be a godsend for Calgary, has lately been working against them. The 3rd game against the oilers, we got creamed in OT. Tonight, we only won because Karlsson was gassed. The dude took maybe 2 30 second breaks, and was back on the ice. Get your s**t together Calgary, the only fingers I can point at GG are Chiasson one. Brodie has lately been playing like the worst dman in the flames. Playing with wideman and on your not preferred side aren’t enough excuses for showing us a reenactment of Chris Butler

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I will be disappointed if this streatch of games ends up costing us a playoff spot. GG not reacting to his struggling players and not mixing the line ups is inexcusable.

    It seems like FN has figured out the importance of new Line combinations before our coaching staff. GG thinking he is smarter than everyone else and refusing to adapt is a serious character flaw.

  • Crakupov

    The Flames completely dominated the game tonight. The score was closer than the game really was. Gaudreau ended his drought with an All star performance and Elliot was a genius in Net. Playoffs here we come!

  • Pizanno

    I like Haynes’ write up on Coach’s rant. I actually like GG more now because of it.

    You know it’s going to be Edmonton vs Calgary in the first round…

    • Derzie

      In the words of the Simpsons “Nobody likes Milhouse (GG)!”

      Also, I have a strict no viewing policy when it comes to McDavid being on the Oilers. If we play them I’ll be like the banned coach in the dressing room getting updates on the radio.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Well, They Earned a W. Now What? The All-Star break should be Anything But a Break for our(Flames)Coaching Staff, Scouting Staff, GM & Hockey Operations…. They Collectively have More work (and soul searching) to do Today than they did at the beginning of the year! Some Egos have to go and some toes need to be stepped on! There needs to be a general shift in some basic Hockey philosophies and patterns. If Some people want to keep their positions they better grab a mirror look themselves in their eyes, roll up their sleeves, listen to some advice, maybe read some Hockey 101 and focus on getting this club back on the right track. No one should get comfortable or complacent with this “break” Its Time to Get to Work and Fix some ugly $#!% that has been the 16/17 Hockey season. I hope this All-Star Break gives JH a chance at some new insight and breathing space to come back re-energized and confident.
    Cheers Everyone and have a good one!

    • freethe flames

      I agree with you that BT has a lot of work to do during the allstar break and up to the trade deadline. IMO the Flames need to be sellers but with as many teams in the league that remain bubble teams it will be an interesting period; also one has to think that with the expansion draft looming that teams look at this trade deadline a bit differently than the past.

      So if between now and the trade deadline BT IMO needs to trade at least 2 of Engs/Wides/JJ/Spoon. Ideally all of them and what I would like to see in return are draft picks or someone we can test drive for the rest of the season. He needs to move one of the goalies and quite frankly I don’t care which one and both would be okay. Versteeg should be traded as well. I would also like to see one of Brouwer/Stajan/Bouma moved as well. I’m not overly greedy the returns could be modest; late round draft picks, rentals that address our needs and can be test driven to see if they fit, or other teams oh wee are afraid we might lose themto the expansion draft 6-th-9th forwards or 4-6th defenders.

      High expectations; this is a bubble team that needs a shakeup and if it costs them the playoffs to change the nature of this squad I could live with this. But doing nothing is unacceptable.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    If I were Little Johnny after scoring last night’s winning goal, I would have done what Jumbo Joe said he would do if he ever scored 4 goals in a game. And as I was letting it all hang out, I would mug for the camera and shout, “To all my many critics, kiss my ass!”

    You get Little Johnny playing with attitude and swagger, the team is going to win a lot of games.

        • PrairieStew

          No one’s saying you can’t say stupid stuff. Just find somewhere else to do it. By posting here you agree to abide by the standards published. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else where the standards are different or start your own site. Don’t be ridiculously overdramatic by suggesting that a group of people who want to have a discussion and want it to stay respectful is in any way a comparison to a totalitarian state. Grow up.

  • dontcryWOLF88

    Backlund is a great player, and very consistent. However, I personally think he had one of his worst games of the year last night.

    Considering they won, and he had the assist on the OT winner, I suppose thats not so bad at all.