Photo Credit: Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames fall to Canucks farmhands

It’s the preseason, but wins are better than losses. Ignoring results entirely, good efforts are infinitely better than bad ones – especially when a team is icing a roster of guys trying to crack a big league roster. The Calgary Flames hosted the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night – more precisely, a cobbled-together group of inexperienced Canucks that didn’t head off to China. After a spirited start, the Flames sagged and ultimately dropped a 5-3 exhibition decision to what amounted to the Utica Comets’ roster.

The Rundown

The Flames were basically two teams in the opening frame. When they were in the offensive zone, they were energetic and played with a lot of jump. When they were defending, they were a bit iffy in their own end.

The home side opened the scoring off a Canucks turnover, as Dillon Dube jumped on an errant pass and fed Tanner Glass for a tap-in out front to make it 1-0. A Dube pass to Rasmus Andersson led to a slap shot tipped by Ryan Lomberg to make it 2-0. The Canucks made it closer, as Anton Rodin scored on a nice sequence which started at the other end of the ice with Jake Virtanen breaking up a Flames 2-on-1. Mark Jankowski made it a two-goal game before the period ended, though, with a beautiful wrist shot from the slot off a great set-up pass from Kris Versteeg. Shots were 7-4 Flames.

The wheels fell off a bit for the Flames in the second. The Canucks killed off a couple penalties to begin the period, then Brock Boeser scored off the rush with a very nice wrister to make it 3-2. Brett Kulak and Matt Bartkowski looked lost on that one. The Canucks pressed later, and Jon Gillies made a dandy save to keep the Flames up by a goal.

Gillies made a few more nice saves towards the end of the period, but after an initial sprawling save Nikolay Goldobin batted in a loose rebound to tie the game at 3-3. On a late period Canucks power play, Virtanen strolled into the Flames zone off the rush and put a wrist shot over Gillies’ shoulder (short-side) to make it 4-3. Shots were 19-10 Canucks.

Tyler Parsons came into the game to start the third period. The Canucks hung back a bit in the period, but Jalen Chatfield snuck in from the point and back-handed in a rebound to make it 5-3. Shots were 9-7 Flames.

Why The Flames Lost

They weren’t very good in their own end. Here’s the even-strength heat-map (via Natural Stat Trick):

The kids showed some jump, but on the whole there were too many errant passes, over-handled pucks and situations where they went for the overly complicated play instead of the simple one.

The Turning Point

Boeser’s goal in the second period, a dandy where he came into the zone and got a nice shot away, really shouldn’t have happened. But the goal exposed a weakness in the Flames’ defensive coverage – they seemed baffled by how to defend against speed – and the Canucks were off to the races from there.

Red Warrior

Let’s go with a collective Red Warrior to the line of Glass, Dube and Lomberg. They were buzzing around whenever they were on the ice.

Mangiapane, Kylington, Jankowski and Gillies also had a few nice moments, though their games as a whole were rather so-so.

The Numbers

(All figures via our friends at Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5-on-5.)

Player Corsi
Kylington 57.1 16.7 0.550
Glass 56.0 0.0 1.475
Dube 51.9 0.0 1.310
Lomberg 51.9 0.0 1.250
Versteeg 44.4 60.0 0.675
Kulak 44.1 38.5 -0.475
Cramarossa 43.8 54.6 -0.150
Backlund 42.1 28.6 0.170
Andersson 42.1 20.0 0.650
Bartkowski 38.7 45.5 -0.450
Valimaki 38.4 77.8 0.400
Mangiapane 36.8 60.0 -0.250
Stone 36.0 77.8 0.200
Lazar 35.7 54.6 -0.275
Hrivik 34.8 30.0 -0.470
Jankowski 34.8 60.0 0.380
Frolik 34.8 28.6 -0.450
Foo 30.8 62.5 -0.060
Gillies -1.100
Parsons -0.150


“I think he kept us in there, made some big saves. He made a lot of the first saves, except maybe for one, but you can’t make highlight reel after highlight reel. I think we let him down after the first.” – Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan on Jon Gillies’ performance in net.

Up Next

The Flames (0-3-0) are back at it on Friday evening when they host the Arizona Coyotes.

  • The GREAT WW


    I’m not a big Tippett fan either….
    But I do think BT brings in an experienced coach (like Tippett or Sutter) to try and salvage the season. Then look for a long term solution next summer.
    (We traded away our first round pick!!?)


  • WillyWonka

    Jankoski looks ready for the NHL, Dube looks ready for at least a try out in the NHL. Also, really encouraged by what Lomberg brings.

    GG’s system:
    Remember last year’s train ride and beers, which supposedly turned the season around? the part o that ride that nobody seems to comment on was that the team was still struggling with the system, and GG “simplified” it in the short term, which is the point the team started winning in spades.
    Not going to go so far as to say the GG system isn’t good, but that it may be difficult to adjust to.

    • cberg

      One good thing about that, if its the case is it is something they can always fall back on if whatever they are doing right now fails to catch on.

      What really gets me is how the Flames can have 4 PP in the 2nd period and only get 6 SOG, while giving up 19 against?

      • Captain Ron

        The Canucks outworked the Flames from the start of the 2nd period onward and scored on their chances. I was at the game. Bartkowski is a disaster and should be cut asap. If not for some heroics by Gilles it could have been worse. There were some bright spots though. Janko, Dube, Kylington, Valimaki, and even Lomberg was decent. Except for Versteeg the vets were mostly coasting along.

  • singlemalt

    All summer long all I heard was how good the Flames were going to be and just how deep they were! Once the puck dropped now all I read is that this is preseason and nothing matters! And as for the depth, it’s like a kiddies plastic wading pool! I am still hoping for a decent BoA and I do hope that I’m not being as delusional as your typical Calgary fan.

  • Chucky

    It is obvious that the Flames success relies on strong play from the defense. When you structure the system based on the Gio and Brodie pushing the play then play without a dominant defenseman the performance is weak. Stone and Kulak may be able to hold down the 5-6 spot but they will never be 1, 2 or 3.
    Last year the team struggled because they showed up with a top 2 only for the first half. When Brodie got accustomed to the left side and Wideman started sitting in the press box things improved.
    Reason indicates that two of Anderson, Kylington or Valimaki needs to be ready for top 4 duty by 20-21. Base on what we have seen so far it is likely that at least one of them will be ready sooner.
    There is no need to panic until we see the current set of forwards supported by and the goalies defended by the top 4.

        • cberg

          WW, that may in the end be the case. However we need to see the finished product all together to get a true view of the coaches. In the meantime, we know from last year that GG can do great things with the team/special teams, it just takes a while to get there….

          • Kevin R

            I am starting to look at a few things with WW glasses on. I am getting sick & tired of a PP that sucks & I blame coaching & I am tired of sub par goaltending & starting to think coaching is part of the problem. I wonder what antacids Treliving is popping to try & get some sleep at night.

          • TheoForever

            I’m very curious, what makes GG system so difficult to learn.
            It would be nice to know the finer aspects. Which parts are so difficult?
            I noticed that sometimes instead of just getting out of the zone they make one cute pass too many.

          • Skylardog

            We saw the finished product last year in the playoffs. The results?

            A combined minus 41 5v5. No player was positive 5v5. 2 players were even 5v5, and they only played about 16 minutes combined in the series.

            GG was hired to be the 5v5 saviour.

            They can’t clean house in the preseason, but by game 15, they will need to fix this. And that means firring GG and all bench coaches brought in by GG and during his tenure.

            That leaves Gelinas as the lone one standing, and Interim coach by mid November.

  • Raffydog

    Can’t believe I’m going to be the voice of reason on here, but losing preseason means nothing. The only real takeaway from this is most of our prospects aren’t ready to make the jump to the bigs anytime soon. Which is fine considering there are only a couple posistions up for grabs anyways. My only concern would be that we are still very weak on the RW, and with all the hype over Tre’s moves in the offseason it’s baffling that he never found a way to shore up our weakest spot. Oh and he really dropped the ball with the goalies, and traded away all our draft picks for the next couple years. Ok,I’m starting to panic now, so I’ll just stop there, but nothing to be overly concerned about.

    • Skylardog

      It is how they lost. It is who they lost to. This wasn’t the Vancouver AHL team, over half of them are in China along with most of the Vets.

      This was Vancouver’s ECHL team, a few question mark Veterans, and their PTOs.

      And we got squashed like a bug.

      At least in the 2 Edmonton games you could say we won possession, and many of us did say that with a sarcastic tone. Last night, they got blown out, and that includes possession.

      And look at the scoring chance graphs above in the article. 2 shots from right in front in 60 minutes? Are you kidding me? Those graphs tell one hell of a story.

  • Clayton

    Clearly the Flames are doomed this year because they are 0-3 in the preseason. Afterall last year’s Stanley Cup Champs were 3 wins and 5 losses in preseason…so clear solid proof that preseason results matter!

  • Sven

    “Right because Cowtown is such a paradise right? Yeaaah, about that, I lived there and I gotta say, very overrated place with a dump of a hockey arena that nobody of repute wants to play a concert in.”

    and people are clamoring to play in North Red Deer right?

    ESPN April 6th – 2017

    “ESPN conducted its annual poll of which NHL cities are the most unpopular among NHL players. This year the Winnipeg Jets took the top slot, with the Edmonton Oilers placing second and the New York Islanders finishing third.

    Brand new rink – and the chance to play beside the kid from Richmond Hill………..

    and Edmo still trails both Buffalo and Columbus in desirability……?

    (and Ive never even seen YYC on the list of cities to be avoided….)
    that pretty much sums it up

  • The Doctor

    Last night was proof positive that hockey is a team game. Doesn’t matter what your talent and experience level are like on paper if you don’t play like a team and as a team. Except for mostly some nice stretches in the first period, this collection of Flames and prospects did not play like a team. They had almost no structure or coherence to their game. The veterans seemed to be mailing it in and trying their best not to get injured. A lot of the prospects just looked lost. And a lot of the individual decisions made with the puck were idiotic. Plus the Canuck prospects pushed hard, had jump and at least some semblance of structure to their game. About the only bright lights in my opinion were Jankowski, Dube, and Lemberg. Ras was probably the least bad of the Dmen, and he made a sweet pass on that Lemberg goal.

  • everton fc

    If Brouwer doesn’t bounce back, they have to buy him out. He’s in the way. Stajan will also fall off the books. Minimum three-five forward spots up for grabs next year, and one or more of Andersson/Kylington/Valimaki may make the jump (or should). Jankowski, Mangiapane, Dube… Maybe Poirier… We are thin at forward, I’ll grant that.

    Gillies seems to be the most consistent goalie this far, though I am looking forward to Rittich’s next outing. One year of Lack and one of these two steps in… Or Parsons does, as the backup for Smith. If Smith can’t cut it next season, and one of the aforementioned three is ready, Smith can take the back seat and then retire.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is we are still in rebuild mode. We have some weaknesses. Some glaring, at times. Preseason works out the kinks, and finds the chemistry. At least that’s what we all hope. The first month will tell us where we stand – and where GG, and maybe even BT stand. Again, the Brouwer signing, and to a lesser extent, Smith and Lazar, may prove fatal. Or, we could be on top of the division. We shall see.

      • The Doctor

        Our team on the ice played a lousy game last night and I hate watching that, but some perspective is in order — by my count there were conservatively 5 of our starters and liberally 7 on the ice last night. So I just don’t see how that’s much of an indication of the team that’s actually going to hit the ice on October 4th.

  • The Fall

    Lomberg post game: “Believe me,”
    “I tried to stir it up.
    “Man, did I try …
    “There must be a new rule in the league, that you’re not allowed to fight.
    “Some of those gloves seem to be sewn on.”

    Dube: “It gives me confidence that if someone’s going to touch me, it’s not going to go well for them.”

    • everton fc

      Looks like this line played with confidence and determination to succeed. I bet Glass, Dube and Lomberg are three of the last cuts. Perhaps deservedly so, when all games are done. Glass would be good in Stockton, and a much more serviceable option that Gazdic.