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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
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
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

Quoteable

“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.

  • Off the wall

    I’m baffled how we can dominate for the first 10 minutes and then fall asleep!

    I just noticed this for the 1st time. Kylington plays with a really short hockey stick, reminded me of Phil Housley short.

    Our best defenders were Kylington and Andersson.
    Thought Kulak and Stone had some terrible moments.
    Bartowski was awwwwwful.. please no to 7th d-man.

    GG says ” I think we let Gillies down after the first ”

    Geez how understated is that.

    This was not good, I’m actually a little concerned…

    • McRib

      I was at the game you’re aren’t lying, Bartowski doesn’t derserve to play another minute of any NHL exhibition game in his career let alone at this years camp after tonight’s performance.

      Stone/Kulak were solid the first ten minutes and then they imploded. I’ve never liked the Stone signing because I knew Andersson, Valimaki, Kylington would be a higher ceiling option for cheaper the next three years. Why sign him and block those three from progressing to the NHL? Even Kulak tonight had better possession figures and tougher zone start than Stone.

      • Carl the tooth

        Stone and bartowski sucked in last years playoffs I’m starting not to like the stone signing. Ufas are always over priced but last night he looked like someone who doesn’t belong in preseason game let alone regular NHL duty . . But looks like we got options on defence and nothing’s set in stone !(pardon the pun)

    • Carl the tooth

      Anderson was the best defender. Stone looked worse than the prospects. Jankowski really impressed me and Dube again . I’d like to see more of cramborosa .versteeg was the best player frolik was good .bartowski horrible . Klington Anderson valimaki were the best defenceman and should take the other 3 s jobs if last night was any indication .

  • Hockeyfan6778

    To see how much preseason is meaningless look at last year. The best teams we’re Colorado(undefeated) Arizona And Detroit.

    Worst were rangers Anaheim Chicago Nashville And Pittsburgh.

  • McRib

    I was at the game so positives first. Best performance I have ever seen from Oliver Kylington, period. He was Calgarys best player all game, we’ve always know he was a physical freak with elite skating, but you can tell the decision making process is starting to come around and is beginning to catch-up to his feet. Only major positive from tonight.

    Though Dillon Dube was mostly fantastic again as well, he really carried that line for me and did a ton of the little things that created chances.

    Jankowski looks like an NHLer, because even after a strong start when the bounces stopped going his way in the second and third, he still looked the part cleaning up his miscues, being a pro. Only major negative is he got owned in the face off circle, but the new rules were confusing him noticeabley all game.

    Now the negatives, one primary thing I must comment on is why does GG insist on putting one of the lets call them “Brad Pascall” players (Hrvik, Glass, Cramarossa) one on each line? None of them even have a lick of puck skills and they’re all just anchors offensively. Both Hrvik and Cramarossa kind of look like decent players, but then they get the puck in the offensive zone and it’s an unmitigated disaster, maybe the numbers don’t tell the same story, but I think Glass was the same on his line as well and Dube/Lomberg would have been even more effective without him standing around. He scored, but only because Dube deked out everyone in the rink prior to passing to him for a tap-in.

    GG did the same thing last season until about the 10-15 game mark of the regular season and then after that I though he was a decent NHL coach (although not great). Spencer Foo also struggled immensely and I don’t think he even had one good shift.

    • Hockeyfan6778

      Good analysis. I agree with you on pretty much all points. Especially on kylington. Didn’t notice him ad much on the defence side but offensively was a very good game for him.

      As well even though they didn’t score I thought the top pp line with jank, steeg, foo, kylington, mangi? cycled very well and had great chances. They were just trying to be too fancy instead of just getting pucks to the net. That’s what Vancouver did. Tons of shots and that’s why they won.

      • McRib

        “Didn’t notice him as much on the defence side”

        That’s a major (unintended) compliment for Kylington. Hahah. Sometimes the defensive game can be an adventure for Kylington. Therefore if he can continue to just keep it simple in his own zone and standout in the offensive zone, we’ll have a great player on our hands.

  • The GREAT WW

    The 2 M line had no offence without Byng….

    Many MANY grade A scoring chances for Utica; I feel bad for the goalies, they both played ok.

    On the bright side; the GG countdown has started; it’s just a matter of when….

    WW

  • Legend of Weevil

    My thoughts on the game

    -vets mailed it in as expected. They all seemed they didn’t care. Exception being Steeger who looked great as always

    -the young kids were disappointing. I can understand the vets not really caring but there were a lot of players fighting for an NHL spot but almost all of them looked complacent

    -Exceptions being Skooby DUBE Doo and Janko. Janko really looks ready for the bigs. Gilles played great. 2nd period he let in a few iffy ones but he also made like 30 saves including a kipper like one.

    -Bartkowski generally looked terrible and Kulak didn’t look great which is a little concerning.

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      “Skooby DUBE Doo”

      Oh, that’s a keeper.

      Anyways, with regards to how things are going for the team, I think the question: “How many jerseys does it take to clog up the Zamboni?” Is a query our franchise could answer!

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Tell us how Light-it-up Lazar played?

      For a guy who IMO should be working his tail off in preseason just to get an NHL job, he has played the first two games like a player with a $12M a year contract and a NMC.

  • 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.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    A lot of pressure on Gillies and Parsons to be the next Kipper. Gillies is very agile for his size and should be a good NHLer once he learns to control his rebounds. I am less concerned by the goals that Parsons has given up which are due to over playing and trying to do too much… This can be reeled in. Rittich is due to have a dominant pre-season game.

    This is a good lesson for our organization to stop believing the press clippings and dial in the players to play smart. On paper we look like we will be strong but we have shown too many chinks in the armour. On a positive note, Janko showed a Monahanesque release that few Centers have. I expected Lazar to dominate against this competition. He is running out of rope to secure a spot.

    • McRib

      Parsons came in cold, that’s so tough to do mid game. He was solid once he faced a couple of shots, after wiffing on the blocker for the one goal against.

      Gillies made some incredible saves, but he looked rusty at the same time and got lost in his crease. Clearly GG should go work on some scrimmages in practice and some flow drills because it looks like this team is far too concerned about systems and is over analyzing every single play. Time to simplify the approach a little coach, until they get their feet under them.

    • Cheeky

      It all depends on if they keep Sigalet or not. There is no coincidence that since he arrived it’s been a turnstile of goalies and our goalie prospects fall off cliffs.

      • TheoForever

        …. apparently according to some, there is very little evidence to support that point of view…..
        …unless of course you look at the goalie performances.

        • McRib

          Parsons reactions are lightning fast, in that sense he is as elite as I have seen at this age in years.

          Therefore I wouldn’t bet against this kid regardless of a goalie coach, although I am starting to think people here are onto something with this theory. Hahahah. If you would have told me before the last year or two that a goalie coach can be make or break to a goalies career I have told you your crazy, but after awhile it stops being a coincidence…

          • TheoForever

            I have coached before (not hockey), and been coached. Some coaches can ruin a player.
            There has to be chemistry between player and the coach. The coach must have ability to teach, and to know what’s important at each stage of development. Much harder than it looks.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        It really takes a lot of grit to rip a guy who almost died from a horrible disease. By all accounts, Jordan Sigalet should be dead. Not a lot of dudes can say they went one-on-one with the Grim Reaper and won. Jordan can.

        There is a reason that many other people and I proudly and honourably wear T-shirts with the message “Jordan Sigalet is a Hero!”

        You might consider doing the same rather than trying to torch one of the best young goalie coaches in the world.

        • KKisTHEproblem

          I don’t know what you’re referring to with Sigalet and some health issues but the results of the goalies since he’s been here speak for themselves. Where do you get best young goalie coaches in the world? Based on what?

          • BlueMoonNigel

            Some health issues? Jordan almost died!

            Remind me of all the goalies that Jordan worked with in Calgary who moved on to other NHL clubs and have had long and successful careers?

            Apparently, you have yet to learn that you can’t make chicken salad from chicken feces. So why do you expect Jordan to?

            As for being one of the best young goalie coaches on the planet, read a book for cripes sake and educate yourself before asking such empty-minded questions.

        • TheoForever

          If he was sick that’s too bad, and I hope he is ok. However, we are discussing the influence of coaches on goaltenders, and our goalies seem to get worse.