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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports

Post-Game: The Streak Ends

The Calgary Flames winning streak came to a crashing halt this evening at the Scotiabank Saddledome. They never quite got their legs under them, gave up some untimely goals and couldn’t really figure out their power play against the Boston Bruins. The result? A 5-2 setback, ending their franchise record-tying winning streak at 10 games.

THE RUNDOWN

It was a bit of a sloppy game for the home team early on, as the Flames seemed to fight the puck quite a bit and had some issues clearing the zone throughout the first. They were stymied by the Bruins penalty kill on a couple of power plays, really struggling to gain control in the offensive zone. Despite those struggles, the Flames struck first off a nice sequence from their fourth line. Lance Bouma dumped the puck in and Alex Chiasson recovered it, drove to the front of the net and chipped it through Anton Khudobin to make it 1-0.

However, the lead didn’t last very long: David Pastrnak beat Chad Johnson through his five-hole on a rush (after nice fourth line shift) to tie it up at 1-1. Both teams settled in from that point and played more of a defensive game. Shots were 9-7 Flames in first.

The Bruins went up a goal early in the second off one of the ugliest goals you’ll ever see a goaltender give up. The Bruins chucked the puck into the Flames end for a line change. Johnson tried for a basket catch but couldn’t hold onto the puck, effectively tossing it into the slot…right to Brad Marchand, who calmly put it past Johnson for a gimme goal to make it 2-1.

Calgary tied things up quite quickly, off a similarly ugly goal: Dougie Hamilton leaned into a shot and beat Khudobin from center ice to make it 2-2.

But that score didn’t last too long, as David Backes (who had left the game in the first period after a scary crash into the boards) beat Johnson high glove side on a three-on-two rush to make it 3-2 Boston. Shots were 16-7 Bruins.

The Bruins made it 4-2 early in the third in one of the weirdest pieces of decision-making you’ll see from a defensive pairing. Deryk Engelland jumped into the rush, carrying the puck and pass just past the Boston blueline to…T.J. Brodie. Boston snatched away the puck and were sprung on a two-on-nobody rush. Matt Beleskey scored to make it 4-2. That was basically all she wrote, as the Flames weren’t able to muster very much at all in the remainder of the game. Pastrnak added an empty netter late to make it 5-2. Shots were 9-7 Boston.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

This was an odd game, in that it’s pretty tough to extricate the rough goaltending from the rough defensive play.

On one hand, Johnson let in a few goals that he’d probably want back: a shot through the five-hole, a dump in that he booted and a glove-side snipe off the rush. But the Flames were awful defensively for good chunks of this game and really couldn’t generate very much of anything on the power play (or on the rush for big swaths of the game).

THE TURNING POINT

Let’s go with the two-on-oh goal that made it 4-2. Engelland and Brodie just pushed too much and cheated into the offensive end, leaving their own side completely open. If the Flames are down 3-2 late, they can pull their goalie and take their chances. If they’re down more than that, it really makes the obstacle too big to overcome.

RED WARRIOR

Let’s go with Chiasson, who drew a penalty, scored a goal and seemed to be running around hitting anybody that he could.

Besides him, the Gaudreau line was good and so were Stajan and Bouma. Other than that, it was a rough night.

THE NUMBERS

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

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Gaudreau 64.5 58.3 0.150
Ferland 60.7 58.3 0.150
Chiasson 57.1 50.0 1.125
Monahan 50.0 50.0 -0.140
Stajan 47.6 42.9 0.480
Wideman 43.8 50.0 -0.575
Bouma 43.8 42.9 0.660
Hamilton 42.9 50.0 0.800
Bartkowski 42.9 50.0 -0.475
Giordano 42.9 50.0 -0.100
Frolik 40.0 27.3 -0.200
Brodie 39.3 36.4 -0.300
Engelland 35.5 36.4 -0.400
Backlund 31.3 30.0 -0.460
Bennett 30.4 66.7 -0.875
Tkachuk 29.0 30.0 -0.600
Versteeg 16.7 50.0 -0.835
Brouwer 11.1 60.0 -0.920
Johnson -0.300

THIS AND THAT

Jon Gillies dressed as backup after arriving at the Saddledome just in time for warm-up.

Matt Stajan’s assist on Chiasson’s goal was his 400th career NHL point.

Chiasson’s goal was his 10th of the season. He’s the 12th Flames player to hit double digits in goals.

The Flames had three power plays. Boston had more shots on goal during Calgary’s power plays than Calgary did.

QUOTABLE

“You gotta find that momentum again. It wasn’t really one of those games where we had much going on. They played a really good game. I mean, not much energy. I was pretty much dogshit tonight. There wa s a lot of that… In order to get back to winning ways, we just have to get back to what made us successful.” – Flames forward Kris Versteeg on how his team can regroup after the loss.

“I think it’s pretty easy to evaluate. The first two he wanted back, but there was some huge saves made just to keep it close. We got out-chanced by a team tonight. I’m sure he wants the first two back, a little bobble, but we got our chances. We got some bounces, too, when it was 2-2. We had plenty of time to even things up and they just out-played us in the second.” – Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan assessing Chad Johnson’s performance.

MAGIC NUMBERS

Stick-tap to our pal (and yours) Pat Steinberg for busting out the slide-ruler to do the initial calculations on these!

The Flames magic number to clinch a playoff spot began the night at 9. With the loss, their magic number doesn’t change at all. Any combination of 9 Flames wins and Kings losses results in the Flames heading to the post-season.

UP NEXT

The Flames (39-27-4) practice tomorrow, then host the Dallas Stars on Friday night at the Saddledome.

    • McRib

      Troy Brouwer has a Corsi For of 33.62% in the last five games, he isn’t an NHLer anymore. In two of the last five games he has been below 12% possession. In the other three games we absolutely dominated the opponent wearing them down completely, which kept his head above water slightly, but like I said in our last two games against tougher opponents (Boston, Pittsburgh) he is a <12% possession foward.

      • deantheraven

        Brouwer has looked like he doesn’t really want to be there for 2 months or so. He looks more motivated to stop a scoring chance than to make one, and even then not so much. If he’s injured, it doesn’t show. Benching Brouwer seems like the only short term answer. An early retirement or a change of scenery are the only things that will help the Flames moving forward.

  • RKD

    The Flames were not at their best and Johnson was very shaky coming in cold. Johnson should have had the first two goals but also too many turnovers and defensive miscues, Wideman and Barts had a very rough night.

  • Burning Ring of Fire

    Oh, and the other week I stated that it would be nice to see Wildman play well and salvage his carreer somewhere else. Not going to happen as the Wildman clock ticks down:

    Tic tock tic tock tic… yeah it’s garbage bag day!

    • Pond Hockey

      Was that you trolling ON after their last loss? I think it was because they were twisting your name into some rather funny and perverse stuff. Don’t want to be a wiener here but the trolling thing sucks and it is a boomerang that comes back to haunt our comment section. It’s best when we troll our own site as fans poking fun or griping at our teams real or perceived deficiencies. It really sucks though when trolls hijack, derail, and change the tone of a blog. It’s time to put on the big boy pants and do your part to rid all sites from trolling.

      • Not a First Tier Fan

        Very true story. Have to admit that after this guys performance on ON yesterday I seriously had a hard time not mixing it up down here yesterday….

        But instead let me just say that it’s just one – no team is going to win every tilt down the stretch. Any other teams fan would be lying if they claimed they haven’t been watching the Flames rock it this past ten and not been slightly impressed at how well they’ve been coming together as a team… your boys will shake this off and start a new run against Dallas.

        Cheers.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Too much Coasting & Not Skating… Not enough finishing their checks. Flames couldn’t make a pass out to save their lives, just sloppy bad. Too Passive and not Aggressive play all round including puck battles. Brutal goal-tending Period. Once Again too much trying to “set up” instead of driving the play! The whole team seemed to be out of sync and Boston was Bang On. Nothing worth salvaging from this game, it was Garbage and should be put in the trash and forgotten. New Streak begins Friday!

      • everton fc

        Rittich continues to make a lot of saves…

        Outside Jankowski, Klimchuk and Mangiapane, Stockton has no young players producing points. Poirier’s a bust. Shinkaruk has really regressed. Pribyl’s not done much better. I consider Hathaway basically an everyday 4th line NHL player most nights, who is only in Stockton due to the lack of roster spots. We are offencively challenged and need to draft some forwards, and/or trade for some forwards prospects. Aagard might prove “something”. And I still like Lomberg’s game. The rest? Cupboard’s kind of bare, on the farm.

      • aye

        Hitmen lost too, but still in a playoff spot with 2 games left, at least some post season hockey for Calgary Sports and Entertainment Group.
        Matt Phillips has 50 goals on the season, Dube is producing a ton as well, so there’s some good news on the prospects end.

  • Lucky 13

    Why the heck was the puck bouncing around so much tonight? I swear Monahan had 3 glorious opportunities but the puck was always on edge.

    Boston played a great road game and we can’t take that away from them. Our Selke Line didn’t have the greatest game either.

    You could feel the energy disappear after that 2nd goal. Poor Johnson had a stinker tonight, looked really rusty and out of sync.

    Brouwers Corsi? 6 and now 11. Geez is he really that bad?
    Versteeg calling himself out after the game. I wish Brouwer would do that.He is the one playing like dog**** not Versteeg. Sorry, I knew my opinions would resurface about him.

    Get better soon Stone and Elliott, we miss you!

  • Greatsave

    Watched the game on tape-delay until 4-2, then shut it down because I saw there was only one goal left in the game. Give the Bruins a ton of credit for their tenacity. For all the talk around here about the Flames’ “sloppy play”, I thought it was the Bruins who forced the issue. Johnson was rusty for sure but so was Khudobin, so basically a wash.

    Brouwer tried real hard to be a physical element, but by those corsi numbers it’s obviously not helping. Wideman was his usual self coughing up pucks, Bartkowski was really passive and hesitant on a number of plays, giving the Bruins too much time and space in his own end. Wideman’s missing Gaudreau’s pass resulted in Gaudreau playing D on an odd-man rush and he just obviously wasn’t up to the task; I don’t blame Johnson for that one.

    Chiasson’s goal was real nifty; I don’t know if I want to break up the fourth line though, especially if it means Lazar once again getting 4th-line minutes.

    Really inopportune time for Brodie and Engelland to break down like they did on the play leading to the 2-on-0 and 4th Bruins goal. Especially after a big kill to start the 3rd, and especially after all the talk around the team about “sticking with the game plan” over the winning streak.

    Most important thing now though is to make sure not to lose consecutive games. The Stars are a mess right now, perfect game to bounce back. Let’s hope Elliott fights off the flu or whatever it is in time.

  • Seabass

    Two terrible goals really deflated us. When you have no confidence in your goalie, you start making bad decisions, as evidenced with the Eng/Brodie rush. On the positive, can handle one game in 11 like that and I’m loving that Ferland release. Still really fitting well on that line. Also was happy to see Matt good to go. I forsee a strong response next game with a much bigger sense of urgency. Someone get Elliot some chicken noodle soup!

  • Despo

    Blaming Johnson is far to easy after this one. The whole team looked pretty flat and mentally tired, especially in the 3rd.
    But even though we had our chances to come back in this game. Monahan had a couple of good looks, Frolik hits the post etc.
    It’s not a shame losing against a good opponent, but now we have to bounce back against the Stars.

    • cjc

      Not hard to see this one coming. Calgary’s last two starts have been incredibly shaky, bad habits sneaking in. I hope like hell that Stone is good enough to go on Saturday.

  • stuhfan

    Love Versteeg’s honesty. I think the players were getting sick & tired of answering questions about the streak, hopefully now they can reset, refocus, and push for #2 in the Pacific.