18

Flames 4, Avalanche 2 post-game embers: Should-have achieved

The Calgary Flames had absolutely no excuses to not win that game.

Fortunately, it never really looked like they were in any danger.

Domination – except on the scoreboard

The Flames really should have had more than four goals, and were it not for Calvin Pickard, they may very well have.

Pickard faced 26 shots, same as Brian Elliott. He also saw 55 corsi chances go against him, compared to the 45 that went against the Flames. The Flames had 25 scoring chances to the Avalanche’s 22; 15 high danger ones to the Avs’ eight.

Those numbers are in all situations. It gets worse for Colorado when you look just at the 5v5 ones: the Flames out-corsied the Avalanche 48-35, had 22 scoring chances to their 14, and out-chanced them in high-danger situations 14-5. So yeah, if you took away all the powerplay goals scored in this game it would have gone to overtime, tied at one each – but the Flames were, quite clearly, the better team, no matter what strength the game was being played at.

How many breakaways did they have? How many odd-man rushes did they generate? They were the better team, full stop.

With one striking difference: the third period. That was when the Avalanche scored both of their goals; it was also when they put up a 61.11% corsi rating in all situations. To contrast that, in the first period the Flames were the ones at 67.65%, and in the second they were at 60%.

Two things, I think, happened there:

  1. The Flames had a two-goal lead against a team they were handily outplaying, and a team that is ultimately inconsequential to them, especially when you consider how their schedule will end.
  2. The Avalanche have gotten destroyed in third periods as of late. They finally flipped the script.

Sean Monahan’s four-point night

Sean Monahan kicked things off almost immediately with a goal and didn’t let up, as he was involved in each of the Flames’ four goals.

He now has 56 points this season, sitting second in team scoring (Johnny Gaudreau’s two-point night bumped him up to 58 points on the season).

It did not look at all possible that Monahan would be able to make his third straight 60-point season; not without a big night, at least. Now, he’s on pace for exactly that: 60 points.

It’s difficult, especially now, to emphasize just how bad Monahan was in the first half of the season, but remember, he was bad. Against the Islanders back in November he was booted down to the fourth line, and it was deserved. There were times Monahan barely looked like an NHLer. When he wasn’t scoring goals – which he is pretty good at – he wasn’t doing anything.

Those days are behind us. At least they are for now; hopefully, they are forever. Monahan may never develop into a formidable two-way player, but honestly, he has his contract because he can score. He’s 22 years old and on pace for 60 points yet again. That’s incredibly hard to find – so here’s to more of it. (He’s already signed his long-term deal, after all.)

Is this the Troy Brouwer I was told about?

I’ve been pretty sceptical of the Troy Brouwer signing since… well… since always, honestly. And make no mistake, I still very much do not like it.

But you have to give credit where it’s due. That’s now three goals in his last four games (albeit two have come on the powerplay). And they’ve been meaningful goals, at that. And that was a fantastic shot by him to put the Flames up 3-1 in this game.

Why, Brouwer even has as many points – 24 – as Micheal Ferland now! And he’s only averaged, what, 5:05 more than him throughout the season? (Yes.) With nearly 150 more minutes on the powerplay? (Also yes.)

I guess what I’m saying here is, if Brouwer is going to be putting up points now, great. This is a great time to do it, and I hope he keeps it up, just like I hope this doesn’t erase the Flames’ memories of how much he has not come even remotely close to living up to his contract throughout the entire season, and how he has been, more often than not, a detriment to his linemates.

My scepticism regarding him remains, but this isn’t the time of the season for scepticism. It’s the time of year for goals. And as long as that’s going on, we’re good. For now. It’s not like anybody got mad when Brandon Bollig scored in the playoffs, after all.

Roll the lines, because why not

The Avalanche are not exactly a formidable team.

So it wasn’t surprising to see all of the Flames get a fair go at ice time.

On defence Deryk Engelland played the most, with 21:35 (in part thanks to the penalty kill); Matt Bartkowski played the least, at 18:21. There’s no gap there. There really isn’t much reason for there to be.

The 3M line got the heavy lifting, forward-wise – Michael Frolik and Mikael Backlund played nearly 18 minutes each, while Matthew Tkachuk clocked in at 16:18 – but after them, it was mostly even. Gaudreau played 15:19; Lance Bouma played 11:47. Every other Flame went over 13 minutes. There was no real cause for concern here.

Especially not with that’s to come.

(Kinda funny that Joe Colborne only played 8:04, though.)

California dreamin’

Los Angeles. San Jose. Anaheim. Anaheim. Los Angeles. San Jose.

That’s what’s left.

When the schedule first came out, it looked like a peculiar end for the Flames’ season: one that the entire season could very well come down to.

That isn’t quite how it’s played out – the Flames have done everything but clinch their playoff spot – but these final six games of the season are going to be a good test for what’s to come, especially as they may very well be playing San Jose or Anaheim in the first round of the postseason.

Los Angeles isn’t as big a factor as we thought they would be; then again, 10-game win streak. But those are still four points up for grabs, not to mention four four-point games for playoff positioning – and hopefully even home ice, because the Flames aren’t going to be able to simply roll every line and defence pairing against their remaining opponents.

So. Do the Flames get a win in Anaheim?

    • cberg

      He’s been meh! to poor this season to date, no doubt, but is now heating up. Not sure that I like that in a player overall, but if you’re going to be good at some point, the playoff lead-up and play-offs is where it should be.

      From a distance it is difficult to say how much of a role he played in internal leadership and steadying Monahan, Gaudreau and others when they were in the dregs earlier but that may be huge and something we will never know….

    • Jessemadnote

      I would not say that Brouwer sucks. I would say that he is extremely overpaid. He should be making 3 at most, and he was in a huuuuge slump, and yes he should be exposed.

  • cberg

    Good overall summary. I’d like to see the Flames take 4 of the last 6 games against California, starting with Wednesday when we officially eliminate the Kings. It will be a tall and tough order but I think they can do it. As for Anaheim, we shall see. They are playing the best of the bunch right now so that should be the roughest game of them all… More than anything else, no injuries!

  • Jessemadnote

    I would be careful pigeon-holing what monahan can or can’t do. He has improved in face-off percentage and corsi percentage every year he’s been in the league and he’s still 22. He could very well still grow into a defensive force.

    • Thunder1

      A four-point night, 16 points in March when the games start to mean something, positive plus/minus rating, top 15 face-off man, leads the team in goal scoring by a wide margin, all-time franchise leader in overtime game winners and a heck of a guy to boot… yet you still mange to slag him for being bad.
      Enjoy your humble pie, Ari.

      • Atomic Clown

        That has always pissed me off. I believe Monahan leads the 2013 draft class with points, and maybe 2012 as well. The guy has a ridiculous shot, off the charts hockey IQ, and quite possibly the next captain. Ari needs to lay off of him

        • K Theory

          This comment made me curious… Not only does Monahan lead the 2012/2013 drafts in points (confirmed), he would rank #6 in points vs the 2011 draft! What is more, the only player from the 2011 draft that he trails in goals is Landeskog (by 9, 106 vs 115). Not too shabby.

          • Atomic Clown

            Thanks for verifying for me, i was too lazy earlier lol. I got curious as well, and decided to look at PPG at all the players with at least 190 points drafted between 2011 and 2013.

            Centers
            Scheifele: 0.736
            Monahan: 0.686 ppg
            Mackinnon: 0.686 ppg
            Barkov: 0.677 ppg
            Hopkins: 0.670 ppg
            Galchenyuk: 0.613 ppg

            Wingers
            Gaudreau: 0.889 ppg
            Kucherov: 0.817 ppg
            Forsberg: 0.731 ppg
            Palat: 0.700 ppg
            Huberdeau: 0.658
            Landeskog: 0.653 ppg
            Saad: 0.633 ppg

            As stated by K Theory above, Monahan leads the entire 2013 class with 215 points, the next closest person is Mackinnon with 201. He leads the entire 2012 class as well, Galchenyuk has 202. In the 2011 class, he ranks 6th, with only Landeskog having more goals than him, namely 9. In terms of PPG, yes there hare 5 people ahead of him, but 4 of them are wingers, only one is a center. By 2020, i expect that only Kucherov, Forsberg and Gaudreau will have more points than him, and probably Scheifele, but you have to keep in mind the level of talent Kucherov and Forsberg have to play with, Monahan only has Gaudreau. Scheifele is someone just like Monahan, up until this year, he didnt have anyone noteworthy, now hes got Laine. Monahan is an elite level center, and much as i like Bennett, it looks like Monahan does have the higher offensive ceiling. Beyond Gaudreau and Tkachuk, he is the flames most prized asset, and it would be nice to see FlamesNation, Ari especially, see him as such.

  • Arminius

    The Flames are making the payoff because their best players are again their best players. I got down voted a few months back when I pointed out if Backlund continues to be the teams leading scoring thus team.would fail. To reach the playoffs.
    This was at a time of particular back slapping and winks and nudges by Ari and the rest who think Backs does one wrong and was a veritable leading scorer.
    Since then Johnny and Monny have put this team on their back and lit up the score board comfortably back on top of the team scoring. Without them and with Backlund still pacing the side with his 50 points..this team isn’t In. Sorry.

    • The Doctor

      Over the course of a full 82 game season, your cream eventually rises to the top. It probably took bit longer to happen this year because of the big adjustment to a new coach etc.

  • Arminius

    “This isn’t the time of season for skepticism…” right before a Brouwer/Bollig comparison.

    I feel like people here have completely forgotten what Bollig was svtually like on the roster. How quickly we forget

    • The Doctor

      Bollig was very much a product of Hartley’s old-school instincts. Like when Hartley put the goon line out for the opening faceoff and make Tortorella’s head explode. It was kind of amusing and cute, but had very little to do with what makes you a superior hockey team in today’s NHL. I liked Hartley as a person, but I’m glad he’s no longer our coach.