Post-Game: Flames ground Flyers

Monday night was a rough game for the Calgary Flames, as they didn’t look very poised or composed and they dropped a 5-0 decision to the bottom-dwelling Arizona Coyotes. Tonight, the Flames had a chance to bounce back. They managed to grind out a 3-1 victory over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers in a game where they spent the majority of their time defending.

After Monday’s stinker, this was a game that the Flames had to win to keep pace. They managed to do so.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames were noticeably sharper in the first than they had been to close out the Arizona game, but that’s faint praise – it’s like saying a steak knife is sharper than a butter knife, of course it is. However, the Flames were flat early on and it took them nearly a full five minutes to get (a) a controlled zone entry or (b) a shot on goal. Not surprisingly, they got scored on first. Some nifty stick-handling by Matt Read drew Brian Elliott way out of position, leaving Nick Cousins all alone for a pass and tap-in goal to make it 1-0.

But the Flames battled back, with the line you would expect to get a nice goal generating a nice goal. Matthew Tkachuk won an offensive zone face-off and went to the net. Mikael Backlund collected the puck and made a nice pass to Tkachuk for a tap-in and a 1-1 hockey game.

The story of the first period was a spearing major that Alex Chiasson took on Cousins.

He got tossed from the game and the Flames had to kill off a five minute penalty – two minutes of which were a two-man advantage for the Flyers after Sean Monahan’s chip out of the zone cleared the far glass. Shots were 15-8 for the Flyers in the first.

The middle frame was not a good period of hockey. The Flyers held the Flames in their zone with some nice neutral zone pressure, but didn’t really generate a heck of a lot of offensive chances. The Flames struggled to get out of their end and to get much going in the offensive zone. However, they did manage to take the lead. Once again, an offensive zone face-off win and some cycling led to the Flyers scrambling. Finally, T.J. Brodie’s wrister from the point eluded Michal Neuvirth (who was screened by Sam Bennett) to make it 2-1.

Shots were 10-5 Calgary in the second.

Calgary continued to defend throughout the third period, though the Flyers didn’t generate nearly as many dangerous-looking chances. Mark Giordano added a late empty netter to make it 3-1. Shots were 9-9 in the third.

WHY THE FLAMES WON

The Flames won because they stayed calm, for the most part. A lot of teams would have wilted in the face of a five minute power play against a team as good as they are. The Flames stayed the course, kept their wits about ’em, and didn’t really change much. They seemed content to play a low-scoring, grind-it-out game, and they took what the Flyers gave them.

THE TURNING POINT

The Flames managed to kill off a major penalty, including two minutes where they had a full five on three to kill. Oh, and two of their regular penalty killers were the guys in the penalty box. The held the Flyers to just six shot attempts over that five minute span (and only two shots that hit the net). It was a game-swinging kill.

RED WARRIOR

Tkachuk was excellent tonight, with a pair of points and a bunch of really nice shifts. Only six Flames were particularly good tonight – along with Tkachuk, there was Backlund, Michael Frolik, Dougie Hamilton, Mark Giordano and Elliott. Elliott was the only other guy in Tkachuk’s league tonight.

THE NUMBERS

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

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Hamilton 58.5 47.4 1.475
Giordano 52.5 50.0 1.325
Tkachuk 50.0 38.5 2.100
Frolik 48.4 30.8 0.525
Stajan 42.9 50.0 -0.100
Ferland 42.9 100 -0.100
Backlund 42.9 30.8 0.860
Bouma 40.0 50.0 0.025
Versteeg 36.0 53.3 -0.250
Gaudreau 30.0 28.6 -0.325
Monahan 30.0 25.0 -0.440
Bennett 28.6 57.1 -0.585
Brouwer 28.0 20.0 -0.490
Kulak 27.8 25.0 -0.550
Brodie 27.8 31.3 0.350
Engelland 27.3 33.3 0.150
Chiasson 25.0 0.0 -0.325
Wideman 15.0 25.0 -0.650
Elliott 2.550

THIS AND THAT

Cousins was all over the place in the first period. He scored the first goal. He got speared. He drew a roughing penalty. He served Philadelphia’s too many men penalty. (He also served Michal Neuvirth’s “playing the puck outside the trapezoid” penalty in the third.)

Two days after being bumped to the fourth line against Arizona, Gaudreau played on both the first and third lines against the Flyers due to Chiasson’s ejection. He ended up playing 21:38, the second-most he’s played this season behind a game against Tampa Bay in December where he saw 22:04.

QUOTABLE

“For me, we weren’t very good as a group of our skaters. This is a game our goalie won us.” – Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan assesses his team’s performance.

“I thought he had a few good chances, he made some nice plays, but once again for me, you guys saw the shot block at the end off the face-off. He blocked a one-timer there when we lost. It’s little things like that from all of our guys that’s going to get us to where we need to go. I thought Johnny was effective, it was a really tough game to play in and he created in it, but he also did some real good things defensively.” – Gulutzan on Gaudreau’s performance.

“I think it was good. I think, if we got into some trouble, we didn’t have a problem icing it. I think when you’re afraid to ice it sometimes you get yourself in even more trouble. Off the glass and out sometimes is your best friend and we had a few of those tonight. You live to fight another day, sometimes.” – Flames goaltender Brian Elliott on his team’s composure in their own end tonight.

UP NEXT

The Flames (29-26-3) are off tomorrow, though they have their annual charity poker tournament. They practice on Friday, then fly to Vancouver where they’ll play the Canucks on Saturday night as part of Sportsnet’s day-long Hockey Day In Canada festivities.

  • Pond Hockey

    The corsi sucked and they won! Go figure…

    Screw you Corsi! You promised to take us to the post season and then things like this happen. I just don’t know what to think anymore.

  • Pond Hockey

    The corsi sucked and they won! Go figure…

    Screw you Corsi! You promised to take us to the post season and then things like this happen. I just don’t know what to think anymore.

      • The Sultan

        Meh at this point you gotta be cheering for any and all Canadian teams to make the playoffs, yes even the Oilers. The Flames have so many more things to worry about before this season ends — luckily the Oilers aren’t one of them. Unless of course Calgary manages to sneak into the playoffs and we meet each other in the second or third round (lol).

        So, yeah, the Flyers play Edmonton tomorrow. Good. Good for the Flyers. Nothing against them but hope they get destroyed.

        This season has been an absolute mess what with the World Cup leading to a condensed schedule for all teams, now this whole 5-day bye week. I’ll tell you who we should be worried about: the Kings. Quick will be back soon, they’re on their 5-day break, and still have 3 games in hand on us. Not to mention how many times we play them over the last quarter of the season.

        Look at those stats from Wideman. Yuck.

        • Arminius

          ??????

          What happened to this province. You have people voting the NDP into power and Flames fans cheering for Deadmonton? I remember a time when the hate was real and no RED blooded Flames fan would EVER speak like that.

          Lukewarm Flames fans..For Shame

          • Deef

            Lets be fair here guys.

            There is a whole generation of Flames fans who have never known the rivalry. Now I’m no Oilers fan (quite the opposite, in fact), but to be quite honest, they have been so bad for so long (and the Flames too in large part) that the rivalry has been largely pointless.

            In the same light, I hate the Canucks a hell of a lot more than the Oil. Mostly because of recent playoff history, a penchant for diving, and some of the players on that roster in recent years (Burrows, Kesler, Luongo, Tortorella, the Sedins). The reverse will happen now that VAN is becoming obsolete and both CGY and EDM are growing as playoff threats.

          • Prototype369

            This. Exactly this. I honestly dislike the Canucks a whole lot more than the oilers. During a BOA, I can’t stand them, and during the rest of the season, I’m not a big fan of them either. But there’s a weird sort of satisfaction when teams get no points on an Alberta road trip. Anaheim and Vancouver top my list of hated teams right now.

  • Lucky 13

    Tkachuk is such an asset to this team. Imagine when his skating skills catch up to his hockey sense. He’s already a force, this kid has a pretty high ceiling for future development.

    Did I see Johnny back- checking? That was a treat!
    Versteeg looked pretty good with Johnny and Monahan, albeit for a few shifts they were together (PP excluded) Brouwer still isn’t the answer for that line IMO.

    I’m liking Brodie away from Wideman..please try to keep it that way.
    I couldn’t believe how well Elliott played tonight… Is he rounding into form? And he didn’t go down on his knees when Voracek was going high on his glove side.
    He stood tall, that was perfect.

    Chiasson may be suspended from the spearing incident, what a dumb ass thing to do…. maybe he’ll be relegated to 4th line when (if) he’s suspended.

    Here’s hoping they are motivated to show up against Vancouver on Saturday.

  • Lucky 13

    Tkachuk had another beastly game. Can you imagine what this kid is going to be like when his skating matches his hockey sense? The ceiling for this kid is incredibly high.

    Brouwer brings very little to the Monahan line. Versteeg looked quite good in those few shifts he had with Johnny and Monahan. Can we try this for a few games?

    I’m certain that Alex “dumb ass” Chiasson is going to be suspended for the spear even though it was not vicious. If he does maybe he’ll be relegated to 4th line when he returns.

    Elliott was outstanding tonight! Is he regaining his form? Voracek tried to go high glove side on him and he didn’t go down on his knees, he stood in a comfortable crouch and snagged it. I’m liking what I saw in his game tonight. I think it’s time to ride him for a while, forget the win/ in scenario. We are at the stage where we need to make a goalie decision… ride him for as long as you can.

    Johnny Hockey can back check.. how nice that was to witness even if he didn’t hit the scoresheet.

    Please show up for Vancouver on Saturday!!

  • Jakethesnail

    When is Bennett going to show up and be the player that people thought he was gonna be when we drafted him . Draisaitl is head and shoulders above him, figuratively and literally.
    Wish Calgary had a chance to draft Draisaitl. Those damn Oilers win again!

    • dontcryWOLF88

      Maybe asking that 1.7 seasons into Bennett’s career is a bit unfair?

      You cant accurately compare players by their years in nhl/draft class/ potential/ growth rate etc. After time it will get clear, but too soon now to tell

    • jakethesnail

      Jakethesnail, the coiler troller is NOT me, jakethesnail, a longtime Flames fan.

      Tkachuk is head and shoulders above Pullyou…Bennett has one season less than Draisaitl…

  • Alsal

    Another game, another goal against because of Wideman.

    It’s like spotting the other team one every night he’s on the ice.

    Bench him.
    Demote him.
    Cut him.

    Please.

  • SydScout

    Weird usage from GG. Best D pairing get the high ground (in fairness they also produce the most) but Kulak and Turnstile get buried. Mony and JH get worse zone starts than the 3M line.

    Head scratcher.

    • Stan

      I think a lot of that had to do with icings, because there was a lot of them. And hey, tbh I’d rather Wideman ice the puck then cough it up trying to make a brutal first pass, which I’ve seen way too much already this season.

    • The Fall

      GG has been on record that he wants to develop Monahan into a better 200 ft player. He cycles the zone starts throughout the year in an effort to not kill any confidence.

  • freethe flames

    Last night we got the kind of goaltending we thought we were getting when we traded for Elliott; if he continues to play like that we will remain in the hunt. Tonight we sit and watch and cheer for teams we might not otherwise not care about. Go Yote’s Go! Torn on the St L/Nucks games; no 3 pointer please.

    If we are going to remain in the race it is up to BT to add a few pieces. It was painful to listen to BT defend Wideman yesterday in his interview on the Fan;”Wideman is giving us everything he has”, was his comment. If that is true then it painfully obvious that the “best” he has is not good enough.

    • Stan

      Honestly? I thought the exact opposite of what BT said, thought he handled that question extremely well. He clearly isn’t going to say that Wideman is terrible, but he admitted that there is lots of criticism out there about him, but that he’s giving everything he has. Not sure what else you’d want him to say.

      • freethe flames

        Your right; I did not expect him to throw Wides under the bus but it just did not work for me as well as it did for you. BT always seems to say the right thing but then I don’t always buy what he is saying. Actions for me speak better than words. Acquiring a rental RHD would say a lot more than his words; finding a way to move Wides would also help. Again I thought he made a mistake when he did not buy Wideman out last summer.

        • redwhiteblack

          As long as you have a player on the roster you try to treat it like an asset. Mostly business poker. He has to try to play Wides until the trade deadline to try to show he is still marketable for anything you might get back.

          If he is still around after the TD we prob see him get a lot of bench time. Likely will not be moved but in the meantime BT can’t dis him to much for business reasons alone.

          • ComeOn

            I think we’re so far past the point of Wideman having value that the guarantee of him damaging our season with his play is so much more real than the fainter than faint chance of getting anything for him.

            I like Treliving, but insisting on trying to get value from Wideman is a terrible choice. He can sit as a seventh D man as far as I’m concerned.

  • freethe flames

    Yesterday I said the Bartkowski signing was much ado about nothing; after hearing BT talk I now better understand it. It’s both an expansion draft move and if he works out it gives them some flexibility to maybe move JJ or Spoon. While neither of them on their own will likely get you very much but they could be part of a package that might move this team forward.

    What are teams in the hunt looking for? Depth defenders at a low cost? JJ fits that bill and losing him would not hurt this team in the short term or the long term. What could he get us a late round draft pick from a playoff team or a rental from some team no longer in the hunt looking to try and add some younger depth on D.

    • Avalain

      It’s the rules, unfortunately. Spearing is crazy strict. Just making a poking motion with your stick towards another player and not even touching them is spearing and means a double minor. Just simply touching them at all with a spear is a 5 min major and a game misconduct. Now, they could have called it a slash, but seriously it was a spear according to any interpretation of the rules (and anyone with eyes). Unfortunately, the refs couldn’t give a lesser penalty even if they wanted to.