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!!?)


  • 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….


  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Hockeyfan6778

      Great sweepstakes. Either he contributes in NHL And that’s awesome. Or he doesn’t and we gave up nothing for him not even a used draft pick. Oilers fans are just sour as you were all expecting him to sign there and were super excited then he didn’t.

      • Oilerchild77

        That’s because the Oilers have better players on the wing that Foo would have had to compete with. In Cowtown, he only has to compete with slugs like Brouwer. Hardly stiff competition.

  • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.