Flames 5, Wild 1 post-game embers: Sweeeeeeep

And so we bid farewell to the Minnesota Wild for the regular season. They were a team that couldn’t handle a player scoring against them, and so their only recourse was to try to injure him.

For that, they got swept.

Good riddance, losers.

Seriously, Calgary dominated Minnesota this season

The Minnesota Wild have, generally, been having a good 2016-17. They’re easily the top team in the West at the moment. They have a +50 goal differential. They can just put things on cruise control for the rest of the year and be fine, probably.

But one thing they never succeeded in doing was beating the Flames, and last night, the Flames nailed that resounding victory. Their previous wins were by a goal each – one came in the shootout – but this one was just a flat out dominant performance. Sure, there were a few moments where things got a little too close for comfort – the shifts following Minnesota’s lone goal when they had the chance to tie it up come to mind in particular – but when the Flames smelled blood, they went in.

They got out to an early lead. They built on it. And when Minnesota became vulnerable at the end of the game, they showed no mercy. (And for the record, this level of offensive outburst was absolutely predictable.)

And forgive me if I’m still bitter from their first meeting of the season, but it couldn’t happen to a nicer team. A team that felt they had to break Johnny Gaudreau’s finger to get an edge – and instead, all they could muster was one loser point in a shootout loss.

Goaltending was good

When the Flames were vulnerable, Brian Elliott shut the door.

The one goal he gave up wasn’t his fault. It was almost two, but he made an excellent stop prior to being blatantly interfered with, so of course it wasn’t going to count. Elliott may still be seeking his first shutout of the season, but his inability to get one just yet hasn’t been on him.

The returns are extremely early, but this “win and you’re in” thing is really working out so far. Elliott isn’t in danger of losing the next start even if he comes up with a dominant performance – which is, still inexplicably, exactly what happened after the shootout loss to the Oilers.

It stays his net for as long as he can keep it his net. A .966 save percentage last night, and it remains his. He doesn’t have any reason to look over his shoulder. All he has to worry about is himself.

The Flames are going to need this Elliott if they want to extend their season, so letting him control his own fate is a good start.

Young centres

Sam Bennett got the party started with a shot Alex Chiasson tipped, and had a nice toe drag later on. More of this guy, please. Seeing his confidence build up is a genuine joy and besides, the Flames are going to need him to step things up, hopefully sooner rather than later. If this is the beginning of his turnaround then it’s more than welcome.

But it was Sean Monahan who was the star of the forward group last night. Two sniped goals, along with being the top corsi Flame, will do that.

And sure – sheltering Monahan plays a role in this. He got good offensive zone starts; he was protected from many of the Wild’s better players. He’s not Mikael Backlund, and he may never be someone who can be regularly relied on to take on top competition and be a shutdown guy.

Monahan is making bank now, though, and it’s because he puts up points. He scores goals. He’s been doing it since he entered the NHL. So when he isn’t contributing offensively, he looks like, well, the Monahan that started the season.

When he’s scoring, though, it’s hard to find room to complain.

Monahan is two goals away from 100. He’s eight points away from 200. He’s 22.

Hoo boy Dennis Wideman

He’s not getting traded.

Your friend and mine, Ryan Pike, is kind of a scout nerd. He really likes noting how many scouts come to games. And with a month to go until the trade deadline, it’s probably going to ramp up from here.

So. You all watched Dennis Wideman last night. If you were a professional scout, there to look at teams who could potentially be selling at the deadline, ask yourself… what would you give up for Wideman in order to presumably better your playoff-bound team?

A second round pick? A third? A seventh?

He’s slow, his best days are long behind him, he’s just generally not very good at all, he got booted from the second pairing late in the game, and a number of people are freaking out about an officiating conspiracy against the Flames with roots directly tied to this inadequate player’s actions. 

I mean, I’d love it if he was traded. But I’m not expecting it. At all. Honestly, I’m not even sure if he gets another NHL contract after this season. In the meantime: 29 games to go.

Deryk Engelland scored a goal

There’s just something so pure about Deryk Engelland scoring a goal.

And then picking up an assist. He has eight multi-point games in his career.

He now has 10 points on the season; in his previous two seasons with the Flames, he’s picked up 11 and 12. He’s on pace for 15 points this time around.

He had four shots on net last night! Engelland! Four! Only Matthew Tkachuk outshot him. He jumped up into the rush multiple times, although sadly his goal wasn’t scored on the rush, unlike his beauty first of the season.

There’s a certain mythology to Engelland. He’s not an offensive player, but he’s big, and he’ll fight, and teams tend to like that whole gladiator thing for the playoffs. It’s also important to note that he’ll be 35 in a couple of months.

He’s someone I very much hope gets sold at the deadline, and someone I think the Flames actually could get something for, even if it’s just a pick. In the meantime, though, I’ll definitely enjoy those goals whenever they come up.

  • Not a First Tier Fan

    Nice game from Calgary last night. Elliott looked pretty damn good. Nice to see a little emotion around the net whenever the Wild were hacking away after the whistle had gone.

    And I have no idea why they even reviewed the Wilds supposed ‘first’ goal… What the hell was Parise even trying to argue? He’d clearly skated right into Elliott without trying to slow down and knocked him over. Good grief – d’yah think that’s goaltender interference? Stupid move from the Situation Room in Toronto to delay the game to review that one.

    Nice work sending the Wild on to Vancouver with their tail between their legs.

  • Deef

    Pretty great game all around! Solid across the board. Flames dominated for all but 5 minutes. If this is the team we get for most of the stretch run, then we’re most definitely playoff bound.

  • Backburner

    The only way Wideman gets traded is that another team would be willing take his contract for salary cap reasons.

    If he’s not traded by the deadline, does anyone know if he can be put on waivers/ demoted to AHL?

      • You want everyone to start pretending to have opinions that aren’t real in order to inflate or deflate contract value strategically?

        Actually wait a second. Maybe YOU’RE the reason we have Backlund signed to one of the best contracts in the league. Walter you sly devil–you’ve been a Backs fan this whole time.

    • FLT

      He’s still got strong offensive instincts, particularly when he gets the puck at the point. He’s just visibly slow – he was never fast but this year it’s particularly obvious. It makes him a liability when he’s defending in any zone.

      • Craig

        I actually fully disagree with this, I don’t think he does have good offensive instincts, Wideman either misses the net, or fires shots right into the defenders shins as was evident by the goal against yesterday.

  • Thatz Nuckin Futz

    If we are fortunate enough to make the SC playoffs it will probably be as the 8th seeded team. I like our chances if the #1 team is Minny.

    But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

    GFG

  • brodiegio4life

    I don’t think it can be understated how much wideman hurts this team… like honestly is he even a better option than grossmann would’ve been? he’s so awful

  • Avalain

    I know that it was a 2 on 1, but the play where Wideman fell down I don’t think that Brodie did all that well either. The pass actually went behind him, which means that he actually let both players get behind him.

  • BendingCorners

    People love to hate Dennis but he is finally this year playing defense instead of standing still and waving his stick when the other teams enters the zone. He digs for pucks, checks along the boards, knocks people down in front of the net, and carries the puck and looks before passing when transitioning. Not always, but regularly. Yes he is slow, and last night was not a good game for him. But he would still be a good depth or third-pair option (ignore the salary just focus on what he can contribute on the ice). I don’t want him back next year; younger and faster is better. But a team that needs a spare and expects to make a long run could find him useful, especially if they limit his minutes or limit the number of games he plays, so he’s fresh when they need him. As for his current usage on the second pair, sadly the Flames have no better option. Brett is – or may become – a decent third pair defenseman but is not obviously better than Dennis night in and night out.

  • dontcryWOLF88

    “I don’t think so,” said Parise when asked if the goal should have counted. “I’d love to say yeah, but if that happened to our guy, I think we’d all be pretty upset.”

    On Wideman: He isnt as bad as last game would suggest (my opinion+advanced stats). However, I strongly think he is in his final months of hockey. The NHL is a superstitious place, nobody is going to gamble on bringing him into the fold.

    Henderson still hasnt reffed a game since being hit.

    Kerry Fraser already outed the ref’s by admitting they have a “most wanted list”.

    Obviously Wideman would be on that list. In fact, he might be the list now.

    http://www.habseyesontheprize.com/2014/11/20/7253031/kerry-fraser-nhl-referees-officials-officiating-canadiens-brendan-gallagher-pk-subban
    ( article written before Wideman incident)

    Im sure there are more relevant articles of that side of reffing given this current context. However, its a real thing that ref’s will try to punish certain players/teams for past slights.

  • Grayone

    After an hiatus I wanted to see if the Flames meant it when they profess to have playoff thoughts. Yah … they mean it! Play like that and playoffs loom.

    The keys were Elliot’s goaltending and that VERY timely 3rd goal! Boy they needed that goal and they got it.

    Points:

    – props to the power play coach … they have developed something special! Such confidence and drive … and you know, the PK came up big as well.

    – Ferland and Stajan continue to impress these old eyes! I just plain like the way Ferland plays when he’s skating like last night. So deserving to get that final goal. I hope Matt Stajan sticks around for a few more seasons … an ideal 4th line centre. Sadly, with all the talk of players who could help another team go farther in the playoffs, why not Staj? Lots of quality there in my opinion.

    Yah, we beat ’em good last night but Minny has many very useful players. E.g. Zucker! Wish a few of the guys on the farm could develop the way he has over the last few years! AND the battery .. yah Ray-o-Vac? Where the heck does he come from? Did I hear he was a 7th round draft choice? Can’t be … good player that one!

    Finally, I wonder why Dumba doesn’t get unsportsmen like conduct penalties? Punches Tkachuk a couple of time plus other dubious messing around?? YET he has really developed well into a super solid young defenseman. I was impressed.

    A win in Jersey really would set up a good playoff run … trust it will happen! It would be REALLY good for the City!

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Flames missed a golden opportunity last night to do some head-hunting. Once the game was salted away, the Flames should have gotten some payback on the likes of Suter and Staal. Yeah, Taychuk crunched Staal in the 1st, but did Staal even miss a shift? Gotta get the payback for Lil’ Johnny.