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Photo Credit: Candice Ward / USA Today Sports

Kings 4, Flames 1 post-game embers: Inglourious narratives

This was not a normal game.

Ten days earlier, the Flames soundly defeated the Kings 5-2, and it wasn’t really that much of a contest. Matthew Tkachuk got his elbow up in Drew Doughty’s face, though. Doughty whined, Tkachuk got suspended, the Flames lost two games, Tkachuk was very much back in action before he played the Kings again, and then we had last night’s game.

It was a game more filled with narratives than actual hockey. The Flames had the chance to clinch against a team that had just lost the night before, one futilely scrabbling for a playoff spot they’re not going to get (they can achieve a maximum of 91 points; the Blues and Flames have 90 points, and the Predators have 89, so it’s kinda over), and instead they got sucked into a penalty-fest with a fight here and there.

They let a tired team dictate the pace for them. If any one moment summed up the game as a whole, it was probably Jake Muzzin suckering Tkachuk into a penalty 25 seconds in. The stage was set for a fight, and at least one of the parties was ready.

Then again, Tkachuk later going for a massive hit on Doughty ultimately suckered Andy Andreoff into a game misconduct. Both penalties were born of Tkachuk clearly geared up for this game and ready to back his words and his play up. It’s probably a victory that one of those incidents worked out in the Flames’ favour (now, if they hadn’t gone 0-for-6 on the powerplay and spent so much time just trying to reenter the zone…).

You can call Doughty a bitch as much as you want, and you wouldn’t exactly be wrong, but fact is he’s under no obligation to fight, just as Tkachuk was under no obligation to, either. Probably the worst part of it: Tkachuk is actually a good player, and having him more focused on this nonsense actually hurts the Flames more than if it had been something like Alex Chiasson having a quick rematch against the Flyers.

Still: the game-within-a-game seemed to be all the Flames were particularly interested in. Dougie Hamilton scored early, and that was all anyone had to look forward to for, like, three hours, as the constant fighting and penalties meant it took this one so much longer to be in the books. After that, it was just guys eyeing each other, non-stop scrums, and weak little penalties on both sides as nobody seemed particularly interested in actually playing hockey.

Actually playing hockey would have won the Flames this one. I guess fighting is fun and all, but what’s a better revenge than clinching over those guys who were pissing you off and putting them that much closer to the brink of elimination?

Don’t get me wrong: demanding blood in the start was fun. We’re human. We’re tribal. Someone on Los Angeles challenged someone on Calgary’s honour and we didn’t take too kindly for that. Doughty was booed literally every time he touched the puck, even if it was for just a fraction of a second. When Johnny Gaudreau hit him, people cheered. When Tkachuk went for a big hit on him, people were ecstatic. And that stuff is fun. But I would argue winning a game, clinching a playoff spot, getting that much closer to a potential home ice advantage would be much more fun. The penalties and fighting slowed the game down, turning it into a slog for both parties, which benefited the Kings. They’re older, they played the night before, they’re pretty much done this season. The Flames are younger, fresh, have a lot to look forward to, and instead stooped down to the Kings’ level.

A game with massive consequences was neutralized because the older, arguably wiser, team made it so, seemingly with little effort. They outshot the Flames from the get-go; even when the Flames had their big push in the third period – when they decided to try to start playing again – the Kings were still in control of the game, and capitalized off of their own chances. Ben Bishop had a lot more to deal with in the third, and he was ready, and there wasn’t much else to be done about that.

So it was a letdown. It should have been a much different night. Instead, it was the kind of night in which, if you were introducing someone to hockey for the first time, they wouldn’t get what’s so great about the sport at all.

There shouldn’t be any drama for the next game against the Sharks, so hopefully we actually get hockey then, because the Flames aren’t half bad at that.

The one redeeming note? If it had to be anybody to put on a show, play the game he wanted, and deny a clinch, thank god it was Jarome Iginla.

  • Darrynd1

    Ferland needs to start getting some power play time. I would also suggest maybe throwing dougie out for the whole power play he seems like the only one who isn’t afraid to shoot the puck

  • Parallex

    Pretty much bang on… the Flames got sucked into all the tangential stuff and didn’t focus on the game. The story should have been the Flames quest to clinch, instead it was a combo of Tkachuk somehow having to account for 12 seconds of lost Doughty ice-time and Iggy’s last game at the Dome. Gotta focus guys.

    • Dreadguy

      Oilers fan here. Forget all the Tkachuk naysayers, he’s 19, a rookie and making a difference for his team. Give the kid time before we label him a dirty POS, or hope he gets “taught a lesson” (i.e. wishing an injury or humiliation on him). He will learn to play the right way, hard, but with respect for others, his team and the game. This kid is not Sean Avery… His running around last night yeilded: 0 pts, 7 PIM, and -2 rating. He was a non-factor in an embarrassing 4-1 loss at home to a non-playoff team, instead of helping his team clinch a spot in the postseason which is is more than capable of doing. He knows this and so does his team. He will learn.

  • trox

    1. Our pp is a mess. Having Gaudreau play the point and fire wristers is an idiotic “fix”. What is so difficult about making 2 power play units made up of our best 6 forwards and best 4 d-men (or 7 forwards and 3 d, if you wish). Get Brouwer off the pp. 2. Monahan and Gaudreau are scoring, but the Backlund line has cooled off over the past few games. If both those lines get rolling at the same time, we are in good shape. 3. It has to be the job of the coaching staff to calm things down in a game like this and keep the team focused. That did not happen.

  • Thatz Nuckin Futz

    Lots of trolling arse wipes wanna throw the young kid under the bus but this loss was a team effort. The pp was anemic, 5 vs 5 was lethargic. Been quite some time since I’ve seen a Flames game that had so much animosity in it. Kings are frustrated, they know their season is cooked & their $$10,000,000 leader lost his touch all season. Time to refocus & move on. cOiler trolls know T- Chuk has more fight in him than most of their smurf squad #1 overall combined.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    October All Over… but with some decent goal tending.. As far as the PP…Awesome! Don’t change it, because even a broken clock is right twice a day and why would you want to fix something that is Broken? (Insert “Definition of Insanity” here). What a Brutal game…

  • Thumper

    We played right into their game. Rough, slow, stop and go.

    I went basically to see Iginla, so I guess I left relatively happy after cheering him as first star for probably the last time. But after the first half of the game the rest was a frustrating snooze.

  • imthedude63

    The Flames are a young team and yeah they lost there focus. However they stuck up for one another, Kachook stood up for himself and fought is own battles. To top it off he let Doughty know that he was still going to play his game. Flames lost but grew a bit last night. They will also learn from their mistakes. All is good

  • Zalapski

    We talk about this game being so bad, but really all I saw was the boring Kings slog the Flames and the 1st pp unit be the 1st pp unit.. Tkachuk didn’t do anything wrong. He pounded Doughty and I hope he keeps doing it. Dougie seriously needs to get more time on the power play and they need to take Versteeg off the point. That unit as a whole generates absolutely zero and needs a shake up. That was the only “major”issue I had with this game. Here’s hoping they can lay it to the Sharks.

  • Burning Ring of Fire

    The Kings showed up with more desire and wanted to win it more than our boys. It happens. Good to get it out of the way and now it’s time to get back to business.

  • Burning Ring of Fire

    It’s crazy how much other fans obsess about Chuck. He seems to be all they talk about. You know you’ve got something great when this is the case.

    🔥⭕️🔥

  • Justthateasy

    Yeah Chucky blew it but he is young. Maybe he will learn to keep his mouth shut. He needs a little extra coaching in that department.
    Doughty is the bigger baby. He should know better. I would say that he actually does.They are about to miss the playoffs so that’s exactly what they want; stir the pot, get the Flames off their game.
    And iginla? I have rested my case on that numbskull!

      • Justthateasy

        Ig has no class. Why is he fighting Engelland? Is he trying to prove himself to a team that he’s been with three weeks? Gaining respect? In love with his new buddies? Endearing himself forever with flames fans? Remember, he tried to fight Giordano when he was with his second last team? What is he trying to prove? It’s all about himself; it always has been.
        You go Iggy, but no cup for you.

  • Craftmatic4.0

    I love this kid! If people want to trash him, it means he is doing his job. Kind of a throw back era player, but I for one will always like a dirty elbow like Gordie! This could be our not so secret weapon against the cOil and take some heat off Ferly!

  • Derzie

    Positive game in that the Flames did no backing down and Doughty came across as rattled and a prima donna. Negative from every other angle. And save the Iggy worship for when he doesn’t shower hate on our Flames. Not a good look to worship someone who cut one of your players and scored the winner against you.