Why should the Flames get to stomp around with a 10-game win streak while the rest of the teams try not to get smushed under their big record? What’s so great about the Flames, hm? The Bruins are just as cute as the Flames, okay. The Bruins are just as smart as the Flames. People totally like the Bruins just as much as they like the Flames. And when did it become okay for one team to win every game, huh? Because that’s not what the NHL is about! WE SHOULD TOTALLY JUST STAB THE FLAMES.
The end of the streak
The Flames went nearly a full month without losing. It actually has been over a month since they last walked away from a game without a single point picked up in the standings, too.
On Feb. 13, the Flames lost 5-0 to the Coyotes. On Feb. 15, they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, kicking off a 12-game point streak; 23 of a possible 24 points were collected over the span of the past month, which is massive. The Flames went from fighting for a playoff spot to being pretty dang likely to make it based on the points they’ve picked up. Unless they go on a 10-game losing streak, they’re probably good.
And not to look down on an opponent, but their next game is against the Stars, who have a .464 points percentage and will be on the second of a back-to-back, so there isn’t much reason to expect the sad times to carry on. Or at least, god, we hope not.
But did the Flames deserve every win in their 10-game streak? Of course not. And you could feel this one slipping away early on. Blame certain players all you want – and they deserve it – but that was a total team effort (or lack thereof) on the loss. They got their asses handed to them fair and square, and it’s probably been some time coming.
They still have a positive goal differential, though!
Chad Johnson wasn’t ready
Brian Elliott being too sick to play – too sick to dress, even – was unfortunate, but it shouldn’t have been what killed his team. Chad Johnson fell off the map as he finally relinquished the starter’s net to Elliott, but remember – he had one of those wins on the 10-game streak, too. He isn’t the worst goalie in the world.
He just… kind of looked like it in that game.
Johnson had 11 days between his bad game against the Coyotes (that aforementioned 5-0 loss) and his win over the Panthers. This time around, he had 19 days between games, and probably wasn’t expecting to be playing this one. The game against Florida was an obvious start for him: it was the second of a back-to-back. Against the Bruins, though, less so; especially not when the guy ahead of him was playing his best stretch of the season. This game probably caught Johnson by surprise, and it showed.
You could blame him directly for the first and second goals against. He shares a pretty big hefty portion of the blame for the third as well, although Johnny Gaudreau deserves some too for taking a scoring chance and turning it into a turnover for some completely unknown reason.
The fourth goal against, though? That was a major yikes – and not on Johnson.
What was the game plan there, exactly
T.J. Brodie, fully knowing his partner is Deryk Engelland, pinches.
Engelland, fully knowing nobody else is back there, also pinches.
I get needing to press when you’re down a goal, but the Flames still had plenty of time to try to tie it up. There was no need to be that desperate that early into the third, and yet multiple bad decisions all at once left an already shaky Johnson completely helpless, and pretty much ended the game then and there. The Flames’ second period wasn’t particularly good, but their third was a horrific showing, almost indicative of a game they had accepted they were going to lose and were already thinking ahead to the next one.
Seriously, you’re down a goal– two now– and that’s how you play? Alright, enjoy the loss then.
If anything, though, this just helped further highlight the Flames’ lack of depth. We know the bottom half of their defence is a big issue. It doesn’t look like one when Elliott is bailing everyone out, but the cause for concern has always been there, and it hasn’t been addressed.
The expansion draft makes it almost impossible to address, though. Outside of some bizarre concept of actually giving your prospects a chance, there was nothing the Flames could have done. They tried nothing and were all out of ideas. (This isn’t a complaint specific to this game, more one that’s been stretching on the whole season. This game, they really had no other options, which speaks to just how sad this all is right now – and further emphasizes how the Flames haven’t fully turned that corner. Not yet. They can’t.)
Who are you expecting to score, exactly?
Engelland led all Flames in 5v5 ice time with 18:55. Matt Bartkowski was third at 16:15. If that isn’t an indication you’ve just thrown in the towel on the game, I don’t know what is.
Dougie Hamilton actually scored a goal – not a great one by any means, but a goal’s a goal – and played less than Engelland. Engelland and Brodie got more minutes over Hamilton and Mark Giordano. Hamilton is fourth in team scoring and got shafted for a dude who has four goals, which is almost a career high for him.
Obviously you can’t put your best players out there for 60 minutes, but who you choose to have leading in ice time speaks volumes – and this one was just bad.
Mikael Backlund and his line had their hands full with Patrice Bergeron’s – and fair enough, it is Bergeron – and they had an off night (though Michael Frolik did hit his fair share of posts). It happens. He, along with Micheal Ferland, had four shots each. The chances were there, they just weren’t good enough. And when your fourth line is the only forward group getting on the board… Well, it wasn’t your night.
This ignores a line, though.
You know what’s coming
Maybe it’s fitting Troy Brouwer had the least amount of 5v5 time – just 8:26 – because he had a 6.67% 5v5 CF. He was on the ice for all of one corsi event for. One. Kris Versteeg was out there for four. Sam Bennett was out there for six. Brouwer was out there for one. Second time in three games, the first coming against the Jets back on March 11.
You know we here at FN can pick up on whipping boys. Wideman was the victim of that for a while. Lance Bouma is obviously overpaid. But I can’t recall any whipping boy being on the ice for one corsi event for at 5v5 over the course of an entire game, let alone multiple times.
This is inexcusably terrible. The so-called third line isn’t even worth discussing as possible contributors most nights, and a lot of it has to do with the Flames’ third-highest paid forward.
He played 2:56 on the powerplay. He was the fifth-most used player on the powerplay. The guy who can’t even begin to drive play towards the other end of the ice at even strength is getting primo powerplay time. Not a single shot on net. Ferland gets no powerplay time and he had four. Ferland has clearly, legitimately boosted the play of Gaudreau and Sean Monahan and he doesn’t get that man advantage consideration. Instead, possibly the worst forward on the team – and I’m including Freddie Hamilton and Curtis Lazar in this – gets the benefit of the doubt, time and time and time again, with absolutely nothing to show for it.
But hey, at least that worthless powerplay time got him up to four corsi events for. The Flames weren’t really a threat to score at any point, but four is better than one, right? Maybe that’ll convince Vegas to take him.