Post-Game: Flames dampen Carolina’s afternoon


USATSI_9902428
(James Guillory / USA Today Sports)

The 2016-17 edition of the Calgary Flames have been incredibly productive on the road. Maybe it’s because they’re away from distractions. Maybe they feel less pressure. Maybe they feel they have to play a more direct, simple game because they can’t control match-ups via last change, but for whatever reason, the Flames have been superb on the road.

The Flames polished off one of their best road trip performances of the season – and one that came at the perfect time for their playoff aspirations – with a 3-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. They captured nine of a possible 10 points on their five game road stretch.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames were kinda flat early, playing like a team that was hoping they could get this game over with and then go home and take a nap. With Sam Bennett in the penalty box, former Calgary Hitmen forward Victor Rask scored on a screened Brian Elliott to make it 1-0 Carolina. The Flames picked it up a bit as the period wore on, but couldn’t score. Shots were 9-9 and Carolina had the better chances.

Thankfully for them, the Flames carried forward their energy from the end of the first into the second. Midway through the period, Johnny Gaudreau sprung Micheal Ferland on a breakaway and Ferland beat Eddie Lack to make it 1-1.

Gaudreau and Ferland were both buzzing in the second period. Gaudreau in particular was superb on one shift that ended with him getting his own rebound, twice, and beat Lack through traffic to make it 2-1.

He might have to put some money in the swear jar, as his vocal celebration was caught by Sportsnet’s cameras and microphones. Shots were 13-10 Carolina, but the Flames had the better chances.

The Flames kept at it in the third, defending well and not really over-committing to anything in the offensive zone. Off a slick zone entry and some nice criss-cross skating that confused Carolina’s defenders, Gaudreau made it 3-1 with his second of the game.

Carolina pulled Lack and pressed late, but really couldn’t get anything solid on net. Shots 13-4 Carolina in the period, but they really didn’t generate too much and the game ended 3-1 for the visitors.

WHY THE FLAMES WON

This will make me sound like a broken record, but the Flames just kept doing their thing. They’ve stuck to their system over the past seven or eight games and have gotten rewarded at even strength. Once again, their special teams weren’t amazing, but they didn’t need to be. They generated more than enough at even strength and did so without opening up their coverage too much or allowing Carolina many good looks.

If they keep playing this way over the next 19 games, they’ll be in the playoffs.

THE TURNING POINT

Honestly, Matt Stajan’s shot block in the first period may have saved the game. With Elliott sprawling and Carolina buzzing (and leading 1-0), Stajan slid into the crease and blocked a shot off his upper body. It kept the game close and gave the Flames the kick in the ass they needed to get going.

Gaudreau’s first goal, the eventual game winner, was also quite the swing point for the game.

RED WARRIOR

Let’s go with Ferland, who was unstoppable in the second period. Gaudreau had three points and was great, but Ferland was the catalyst for the Flames when they needed one early.

Also good today: Elliott, Giordano, Hamilton, Brodie, Stone, Backlund, Monahan, Tkachuk and Frolik.

THE NUMBERS

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

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Backlund 66.7 9.1 0.180
Tkachuk 61.5 10.0 0.215
Frolik 61.5 10.0 0.150
Stone 59.5 30.0 1.125
Brodie 58.3 27.3 2.025
Hamilton 54.6 36.4 0.375
Giordano 54.6 36.4 0.325
Versteeg 53.8 42.9 0.090
Ferland 52.5 44.4 1.650
Monahan 50.0 44.4 1.250
Bennett 46.7 42.9 0.210
Gaudreau 45.5 40.0 2.675
Brouwer 44.8 42.9 -0.150
Bouma 40.7 25.0 -0.015
Stajan 39.3 25.0 -0.240
Chiasson 37.0 20.0 -0.440
Engelland 28.6 20.0 -0.750
Bartkowski 26.7 22.2 -0.625
Elliott 1.650

THIS AND THAT

Gaudreau’s three point game has him one point behind Backlund for the team scoring race. (Not tied. One point back.)

The Flames are now six points up on the Los Angeles Kings for the final wildcard spot. The Kings have two games in hand, though.

UP NEXT

The Flames (32-26-4) head home this evening. They’re off tomorrow and back on the ice for a huge game on Tuesday night against the Kings.

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  • Thatz Nuckin Futz

    Awesome road trip. Good simple hockey gets you points.

    Brouwer & Versteeg both have some offensive flair but man, they are very soft in puck battles. If we make the playoffs these guys better start taking cues from their young centre who knows how to battle.

    Stoner & Bart are both fitting in well.

    Nice to see Ferly find a home on the1st line. He creates a lot of room out there for his mates.

    Its about time Chiasson found a permanent home on the 4th line but I still think we use that position to develop some prospects who deserve a chance in The Show.

    Let’s hope we give L.A. a royal rumble on Tuesday.

    GFG

    • The Doctor

      Personally if I were going to drop someone from the 4th line to slot in a Stockton call-up (e.g., Jankowski or Klimchuk), I’d drop Bouwma rather than Chaisson. I just think Chaisson’s a better overall player.

    • Kevin R

      WTF is going on in LA????Why in God’s name would they trade for Bishop when Quick just came back & looked sharp & Budhaj has been stellar for them in backup?? What the hell??????

      • freethe flames

        maybe Quick tweeked his groan last night, maybe they see Bishop as a better alternative than Budhaj in the play off push. What I can’t figure is why team like Edmonton, the Jets or even the Flames could not make the deal. The question is will BT do something to upgrade our forward ranks.

      • cjc

        Maybe to keep him from landing in Calgary? LA didn’t give up much (Budaj, a 19 y.o. D prospect and a 7th rounder). Tampa retains 20% on Bishop to make the cap work. LA also gets a 2017 5th back.

        LA also sent a conditional 2017 pick to the Lightning, not sure what the condition is, but likely related to playoff success and GP by Bishop.

        One great game from Quick doesn’t mean he’s ready to immediately take the full load on.

        All in all I think this is a win for LA.

        • Kevin R

          Yeah get it & free the may be right in that Quick may have not felt that great after the game Saturday. Otherwise, why give any assets & eat up any cap for a goalie when scoring is what you badly need on the Kings.

        • SydScout

          The Kings have big brass ones… If they miss the playoffs, which is a strong possibility, what a massive mistake.

          I don’t think picking up Bishop pushes them over the hump and makes them a contender. Seems like a desperate move from LA’s front office.

          I sure hope we put three quick goals on the Kings, and chase either Bishop or Quick out of the net in two days time!

  • beloch

    Random Thoughts:

    • Stone is looking a lot better with Brodie than Engelland did. Acquiring him could prove to be a very timely addition by Treliving.
    • Given that Gaudreau was far better at home last season and the remainder of this season is mostly home games, could Gaudreau finish strong?
    • Ferland looks a lot less out of place on the Monahan line than he did earlier this season. Treliving should probably still be looking for a top six RW’er, but perhaps someone who could go with Bennett’s line until Ferland cools off.
    • “Wideman effect” was apparently real, but finally seems to be abating. Wideman was benched shortly after the Flames met with the league to discuss the quality of officiating in Flames games. One has to wonder if benching Wideman was, in some part, an olive branch being extended to the refs. Regardless, the blueline looks better now than it did with Wideman on it.
    • Elliott looked great this afternoon, but Johnson looked great the other day too. After periods with both goalies off their game, we’re due for a stretch we’re they’re both on. The upcomming games against L.A. are going to be pretty crucial.
  • The Doctor

    Wow, that is a power play goal festival going on in Nashville right now. 5 of ’em (3 for Nashville, 2 for Edmonton) and game isn’t over yet. And I think that’s 8 goals in 4 games for Forsberg?

      • McRib

        The Wild didn’t give away Kirill Kaprizov, so they didn’t bet the entire farm.

        John Chayka has now traded away all the leadership the Coyotes had in Hanzel, Vermette along with Doans upcoming retirement. Wow, that rebuild is poised to collapse much like the Oilers did for the same reason. I’m all for analytics, but you need some leadership with a dressing room full of young players, especially considering Chayka is bringing in head cases like Anthony DeAngelo on the cheap and they have already drafted players like Duclair who was a known head case in the draft, which is why he fell (even players like Domi, OEL, etc are known prima-donnas). Doan rightfully sounded off following the trade today.

    • flamesburn89

      Jeez that is a lot to give up for a UFA playoff rental. I mean, Hanzal is a good two way player, but that’s the kind of package the Penguins gave up for Hossa when they went on their Finals run in 07-08. And Hossa was an elite sniper back then.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Kings have tipped the balance of terror in their favour. Kings now have two world class goalies, while the Flames have a couple of career backups.

    There is now a loaded gun pointing at Tre’s head. He can’t possibly sit on his thumb the next few days. He has to make a daring and dramatic move that will neutralize the Bishop trade.

    If the Kings make the playoffs at the expense of the Flames and a lot of the credit has to do with superior goaltending, then heads must roll here starting with Tre’s.

    Kings have fired a shot across the bow. How does Tre respond?

  • cgyokgn

    Did you see the save Ryan Ellis made on McD with seconds left in the game and his goalie out of the crease? It would have been a goal without his stick save.