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Photo Credit: Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames Flatten Kings

The Calgary Flames came into Los Angeles on a bit of a slide, having lost three of their previous four games. They made a few lineup shuffles, notably slotting in rookie netminder Jon Gillies in for Brian Elliott, and they were full marks in a 4-1 victory over the Kings.

After the emotion and physicality of their previous meeting with the Kings, this game was rather emotionless and tactical. In other words: it was the game the Flames seemingly needed to get back on track.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames had a decent first. They skated well and didn’t have their habitual defensive zone collapses like they’ve had in recent weeks. On an early power play, the “first” (Johnny Gaudreau) unit couldn’t bury anything but the second (Mikael Backlund) unit had a really nice passing sequence that ended in a goal. Sam Bennett capped it off with a one-timer off a nice feed from Backlund to make it 1-0.

That lead didn’t last too long, though, as Trevor Lewis beat Jon Gillies glove-side on the rush to make it 1-1. Shots were 11-7 Kings in the first, though the Flames had the more dangerous chances.

The road team had to kill off an early penalty, but Dennis Wideman made up for his minor by stepping out of the box and beating Ben Bishop on a breakaway to make it 2-1.

A few minutes later, the “players usually scratched scoring goals” tour continued as Freddie Hamilton capped off a really nice shift for the fourth line with a wrap-around goal to make it 3-1.

The most consistent Flames line over the past month (Alex Chiasson, Kris Versteeg and Sam Bennett) converted on the final goal of this game, as Chiasson slid into the slot and tipped it past Bishop to make it 4-1.

Shots were 10-9 Flames in the second.

Neither team scored in the third, and for the most part it seemed like both teams going through the motions. The Kings seemed defeated. The Flames seemed content to avoid injury and mistakes. Shots were 8-7 Kings.

WHY THE FLAMES WON

The Flames were a little bit better than the Kings in basically every area that they needed to be. Their penalty kill was sharp. Their power play scored a goal. They were crisp at even strength. Their top players were pretty good, despite a few of their lines getting hammered possessi0n-wise (see below). And their goaltender was better than the Kings’ goaltender, which always helps.

THE TURNING POINT

The Hamilton wrap-around goal put the Flames up by a pair and shielded them from a potential bad bounce against their rookie goalie tying things up. They never looked back.

RED WARRIOR

Playing in his first NHL game, Gillies settled down nicely after giving up his first goal and made 27 saves. Some of ’em were pretty nice.

THE NUMBERS

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

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Giordano 64.3 30.0 1.000
D.Hamilton 57.1 30.0 -0.025
Versteeg 55.6 50.0 0.600
Ferland 52.4 100 -0.350
Engelland 51.7 60.0 1.150
Bennett 50.0 50.0 0.880
Tkachuk 45.8 0.0 0.175
Chiasson 43.8 40.0 0.940
Gaudreau 42.3 71.4 0.100
Monahan 42.3 71.4 -0.120
Backlund 40.7 0.0 0.650
F.Hamilton 40.0 22.2 0.865
Brouwer 40.0 22.2 0.725
Bartkowski 37.5 60.0 -0.300
Lazar 37.0 22.2 0.485
Frolik 37.0 0.0 -0.350
Brodie 30.6 16.7 -0.400
Wideman 22.9 16.7 0.225
Gillies 1.950

THIS AND THAT

UP NEXT

The Flames (45-32-4) practice tomorrow in San Jose and then close out their regular season on Saturday night against the Sharks.

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  • Lucky 13

    Thanks Pike, however the first goal by Lewis beat Gillies by the right pad…

    Gillies played really well. Nice to see our 6’6 goalie beat their 6’7 goalie.

    My favourite part of the game had to be watching Wideman get a phantom call (roughing) and come out of the box on a breakaway and slip it 5 hole on Bishop. Classic justice!

    Anyone else thinking our 4th line was pretty good, despite Corsi results? Freddie needs to be in instead of Bouma and Brouwer wasn’t totally invisible with that 4th line. Was he mentoring our “young -ens “? Lol

    Predators won as well. Should be interesting to see how our last game dictates post-season.

      • McRib

        In the last 15+ years every team to win the Stanley Cup, but one (Tim Thomas standing on his head for Boston) was a Top. 5 possession team. LA just didn’t get the breaks this season, but if I may remind you their core has won two Stanley Cups in he last five years. You can try to down play analytics all you like, but there is a direct correlation between winning the Stanley Cup and being a good possession team.

      • Avalain

        Sure, they are proof that having the best Corsi rating in the league can win you a couple Cups. Of course there’s more to winning than that, and ultimately winning requires a lot of luck on top of everything else (for example, try using advanced stats or the eye test to determine who will be injured for the playoffs).

    • HAL MacInnis

      I’d like Rasmus to play in our last game. Heck, get all the young guns out there and have some fun before it gets all serious. After the way Chicago was handled by Anaheim tonight, I would not be opposed to playing Chicago in the first round. If we beat San Jose, then great. If we lose to San Jose while our kids get more experience, then that’s okay too.

      • ThisBigMouthIsRight

        Yup, yup and yup… but to be fair, The Blackhawks rested veterans: Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook. That is a pretty significant loss of talent both up front and on the back end.

  • Chrissu

    I’m I the only one who thought Lazar had a pretty good game? I mean yeah, the Corsi chart doesn’t say so but I thought he was pretty noticeable throughout the game

    • dontcryWOLF88

      I agree with that. Hard to tell though, I have a definite bias towards wanting that to turn out well since I supported the trade when it happened. He did better than id expect a 2nd round pick to do for about another 3 years, that I can say. Hell, he did better than Brouwer at $4.5m/yr. Though, that says more about Brouwer.

      • Cfan in Van

        Yeah Brouwer is not a measuring stick for anyone, expensive contract or not. I thought he had a particularly horrible game last night. And then listening to the announcers say that it basically didn’t matter what he does during the regular season, because he was brought on board specifically for the playoffs… BS man, if that’s the case he better morph into Wayne freakin Gretzky, cause he’s got a big contract to earn…

    • Cfan in Van

      Agreed. Speedy enough, tried to be physical when he had the opportunity. Hopefully he can keep progressing, but it might be difficult to get much ice time in the post season.

  • dontcryWOLF88

    I really liked Gilles game, and I dont even like saying this. But that GIF with his big windmill save isnt really amazing. He put a slow rebound right into the open slot and was on his back helpless and couldnt see the puck at all. Amazing first save, but wow that guy Forbot missed a wide open net there. Hard to judge though, Gillies may very well have thought it was going top corner and that was the only way he was going to get it. Forbot screwed up that shot too.

  • Brodano12

    Having a legit 3rd line is gonna be so important in the playoffs. Versteeg-Bennett-Chiasson has just the right mix of size, skill, speed and #truculence. They’ve had strong, tangible results on possession the past few games because of it. And any 4th line anchored by Stajan is gonna be formidable, so we really do have the depth to compete with any team in the playoffs imo, as long as we don’t get sucked into post whistle shenanigans and stay focused on our game.

    Still, here’s hoping Iggy beats down Anaheim on Saturday so that Edmonton can take the top spot. I’m certain we can take the Oilers. How good would it feel to sweep them, after all their trash talk this year?

  • Not a First Tier Fan

    Whoever hacked Jakethesnail’s account and is using it to troll the Oilers Nation site to ‘teach him a lesson’….

    LOL. How pathetic are you? Nobody on ON cares and in fact it’s kind of funny. As in the we’re laughing AT you kind…

    Glad the Flames won last night – hopefully they can avoid the Chicago match-up cause I think everyone in Alberta is hoping for a second or third round BOA… freaking classic. and thanks for the chuckles with the Jakethesnail thing.