Post-Game: Flames underwhelm in Vancouver

The Calgary Flames played Vancouver tonight in their sixth of seven preseason games. It wasn’t a very good game. Despite dressing a largely NHL roster, the Flames seemed tentative and out of sync. More alarmingly, Mike Smith looked shaky at times in net.

The Flames lost to the Canucks by a 3-1 score in a game they never led.

The Rundown

Jake Virtanen opened the scoring in the first, going five-hole on Smith after a nice drop-pass from Sam Gagner that really discombobulated the Flames defense – everybody followed Gagner and gave Virtanen plenty of time – to make it 1-0. Calgary had a few nice deflection chances later in the period, but Anders Nilsson was sharp. Shots were 8-7 Flames.

With Freddie Hamilton in the penalty box early in the second, the Canucks made it 2-0 with a weird power play goal. Michael del Zotto’s point shot went off Michael Frolik’s stick and careened into the open net. How come Smith didn’t move to block it? Three bodies in front of him. The Flames didn’t generate much for the rest of the period. Shots were 12-10 Vancouver.

After they killed a Flames penalty, the Canucks made it 3-0. Darren Archibald scored on a breakaway, grabbing a puck that squeaked past Giordano and beating Smith five-hole. Sean Monahan made it 3-1 late in the game with a power play goal deflecting a Kris Versteeg shot from the slot, but that’s all the Flames mustered. Shots were 13-11 Flames.

Why The Flames Lost

They didn’t generate very much at even strength, getting out-chanced by Vancouver at five on five in two of three periods (and 22-15 overall). Their power play wasn’t very good, taking seven tries before scoring in the third. Oh, and Smith was not very good.

They were out-worked and they didn’t execute when they had the chances to do so. It was a poor effort.

The Turning Point

The del Zotto goal made it 2-0 and stood as the game-winner. The Flames didn’t do much for the rest of the period after giving it up, and it was very much the beginning of the end.

Red Warrior

Nobody was great, but let’s go with Michael Stone, who led the team in scoring chances despite playing with Matt Bartkowski for the night. (That pairing did get a bunch of time with the 3M Line, though.)

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Ferland 61.9 50.0 0.150
D.Hamilton 58.6 53.9 0.325
Monahan 57.9 55.6 1.265
Gaudreau 52.6 50.0 0.650
Bennett 47.6 25.0 -0.205
Giordano 46.7 38.5 -0.100
Tkachuk 46.2 70.0 -0.200
Frolik 43.5 70.0 -0.075
Backlund 42.3 70.0 -0.415
Versteeg 42.1 25.0 0.925
Brodie 42.1 42.9 0.250
Hamonic 40.7 50.0 -0.200
Stone 40.6 50.0 -0.100
Bartkowski 39.4 57.1 0.025
Brouwer 38.1 25.0 -0.200
F.Hamilton 35.0 20.0 -0.385
Stajan 35.0 16.7 0.090
Glass 35.0 20.0 -0.225
Smith 0.450
Lack n/a

Game In A YouTube Video

Up Next

The Flames play again on Saturday night at home against Winnipeg. After that? They cut down their roster to 23 players and get ready for the Oilers on Oct. 4.

    • Justthateasy

      That may have been one of those games where nothing seems to go your way.
      More importantly it’s about strategy and ultimately it’s always about coaching. It’s the coach who has to dress these boys up and get them out the door, point them the right way and make sure they know what to do.

  • KenBone18

    I think the Flames will go 0-10 to start the season and GG will get canned (like he should have been already). On the plus side the adversity will be the catalyst that propels management into action and then hopefully we can get a real NHL coach.

    • Skylardog

      Not 0-10, but 3-6-1 in the first 10, 3-9-1 by game 13, and 3-10-2 when GG is fired. At that point on an 8 game losing streak. 8 Game streak, Minny, Nash, StL, Dallas, Wash, Pitt, NJ (in OT), then the final straw, a 4-2 loss to Van in the Saddledome.

      Has to be one of the hardest 13 game starts to the season in NHL history. They get the Stanley Cup Champs (Pitt), the Cup finalists (Nash), both Conference finalists, Ott and Anaheim), the best team in the regular season (Wash), Minny, StL, and Edmonton that all made the playoffs last year and will push for a cup this year, Winn and Dallas that will rebound after a bad season (Dallas has really improved their roster). That leaves Carolina (who will be better), and Vancouver 2x, who apparently is better than we are.

      Here we are looking slow out of the gate, and this is the schedule. Not a recipe for success.

    • Rudy27

      Thought the first one was a bit weak, but also felt he kept us in the game at times while we ran around in our own end like a chicken with it head cut off!

    • Justthateasy

      It’s nice he gets the puck up the ice but when there’s no chance of that it would be nice if he froze it once in awhile. He needs to know if the lines need changing.

  • Carl the tooth

    These guys do practice right?
    I could have put on skates and done a better job and I’ll do it for free . Brodie and hamonic were ok and Tkachuk was at least trying but what asnooze fest . Hey coach!! If there not willing to play hard then there’s a lot of. Other players willing to break there necks to play . I hope Gulutzan puts them in the grinder after that performance

    • Rudy27

      The only Flame that looked like he really cared was Glass. Probably had more hits than the rest of the team put together. But then again, maybe the only one out there not comfortable that he has a job.

    • Derzie

      The US is a ‘star system’ country. Comes from basketball and football being the dominant sports. Hockey is a true team sport. Star system doesn’t apply although with lottery boy up north, it might.

    • deferoiler

      Let me see. Oilers won the most games against the west last year. They won every series against divison oppnents. They were one game (amd one call) shy of the confrence finals. Meanwhile flames cant score, have an overrated defense that has done nothing and are still struggling with finding a proven goalie. McDavid just proved himself as the leauge MVP, and the Oilers have more forward depth then the flames can dream of. Think twice before something so dumb

      • Sven

        “Oilers have more forward depth then the flames can dream of. Think twice before something so dumb ”

        And don’t forget to check punctuation and syntax before posting


    • Parallex

      Vegas knows how many people are betting on the Oilers. That’s it… Vegas odds aren’t made by expert opinion they’re made to balance out the bets so that the casinos’ can make money off the vig.

  • Derzie

    It happened last year. It’s happening now. The coaches are not getting the best out of the team.The only reason we made the playoffs last year is because even when under-performing, the Flames players are pretty good. We need new coaches. Badly. If we see it, why don’t the ‘hockey people’ in charge see it.

  • Jimmyhaggis

    What a mess! Flames looked completely disorganized. Maybe had to many players on the roster during training camp, they better get their sh…t together soon.

  • Parallex

    Hey Flames… I’d just like to take this moment to remind you that Jaromir Jagr is still available and that putting Troy Brouwer on the fourth line is perfectly acceptable.

    • everton fc

      I’d take Chiasson over Browuer, at this stage.. Who wouldn’t?

      We’ll see how the boys do vs. the Jets. Personally, they should have sent Lazar down to the farm, in my opinion, but I wonder if he’ll be slotted in on the 3rd line/RW for the final pre-season game? Might as well. Would lvoe to see how Hathaway would do w/Versteeg and Bennett, though.

      Alas… We pretty much know what lineup GG and the staff will put out there, opening day. The only question marks are really if Jankowski makes the team (at the expense of Stajan or Freddie), and the two extra forwards – will it be Lazar, Stajan, Freddie, or Glass, as I see Hathaway pencilled in as either the 4th line RW, or one of the two extra forwards. As for Bartkowski vs. Kulak vs. Andersson – my sense is we may see Kulak/Andersson vs. the Jets, as these two played as a pairing in Stockton. Hopeing this is the pairing.

    • Skylardog

      They interviewed Mason in Winnipeg regarding how he sees his new team. What he said had to hit home for us here. To paraphrase:
      The best players are the best players. They work the hardest everyday and drive others to work harder.

      He is talking about Little, Schieffle, and Laine. They ran us over.

      You can’t just turn a switch on and go at the level that is needed coming out of the gate.

      What concerns me, is that we seem to be asleep on the ice, but I believe this is a factor of the system, more than the effort that players want to show. GG appears to be preaching that you never overreach and get out of position. Its our version of the rope-a-dope. Stay in position, force the play to the outside, and keep your body and your stick in the lanes in our own end. Don’t be overly aggressive in the offensive zone, stay in a defensive position to make sure we have only even man rushes against us.

      So when you say guys are asleep, or not working hard, I think you are wrong. It is what is being preached.

      • Willi P

        You missed Wheeler but I was thinking exactly the same thing when they interviewed Mason. Leadership is not just in the room, it is on the ice, from day 1. Mason spoke about their leaders being first on and staying to practice after the others left.

  • Newbietwo

    What happened to the world where men were men and it wasn’t always a bunch of crying babies want want want nag nag nag when it does not always go their way..

    Be composed man and be a man it’s pre season tape your mouths till game ten thank you

  • Off the wall

    Love “the sky is falling ” attitude that prevails here.

    Yup get rid of Coach, special teams coach, Sigalet, the whole works.

    Makes a ton of sense.
    GG was quite vocal about the teams lack of effort in this one.
    He looked as pissed as he was in January (called the team out)
    I’m pretty sure he’s going to address this folks.

    Quit your constant whining!

    • Skylardog

      His rant last year was because he could see his job was on the line. People on here are starting to see what I saw by game 20 last season. A coach that is in a situation beyond his abilities. A coach that has stifled the creativity and work effort of what, in 2014/15, was by far the hardest working team in the NHL. They were the “lunch bucket guys” in that season (not at all saying I want Hartley back).

      He has no ability to recognise who is performing, a trait that should be in the forefront at the NHL level. Good coaches can tell who is going in the first few minutes of a game. He can’t see it in 3 weeks of play. He can’t adapt on the fly. He can’t manage the bench. He has no clue as to who to deploy given the circumstances.

      GG can be vocal about the effort, but what is he doing to fix it? I would have sat Backlund’s line last night for a while. They needed a message. They were no where near where they are capable of playing. Then I would have moved Brouwer to the bench and rotated in other wingers (Versteeg could play either side). We all saw it wasn’t working with Bennett in the first period, but did GG – No. In fact, Brouwer gets PP time till midway through the 3rd, and PP looked horrid.

      If you think effort doesn’t matter in the preseason, then ask why GG says the effort was no good in the post game interview. It matters. It just hasn’t occurred to him that his system and coaching might be the reason the effort is missing.

      • cberg

        One of your best posts I’ve seen to date. Yeah, they need a good kick in the behind. GG seems satisfied to let the players figure it out on their own. Just doesn’t work. I’m tending more and more into your way of thinking. Leave things unchanged and stuff will hit the fan sooner than later. Too bad but maybe needed.

    • The Doctor

      Fair enough point, but that’s not addressing the player personnel issues which are being aired here (Brouwer, Stajan etc.), which are totally valid. That doesn’t have to do with direction on the ice, that has to do with who gets on the ice in the first place.

  • GodsGotSandals

    I agree we should wait until game 10 or more before hitting the panic button. I will say however that I dislike gg coaching style I’m not even sure why. Perhaps it’s because of how frustrating it is to watch a player like Bennett light it up with decent line mates then watch gg try to force him to play with someone who he clearly has no chemistry with.

  • WillyWonka

    I wonder how much Ken King verbal diarrhea and Gary bettman’s putrid b******* is affecting the morale of the team? It’s definitely affecting my perception. Very hard to stay interested in this team with the crap they put on the ice and the crap that comes out of the ownerships mouth through their management minions.

  • buts

    Some questions for GG. How come you don’t use a hard point shot on the PP? (like Stone’s) Heck we wouldn’t want to disrupt the PK whose box would break down trying to clear a rebound or blocking the shot would we. How come you put Brouwer back with Bennett when it didn’t work last year? How come you like cuts from Vancouver a team trending down? How does a coach not address the team after a game? Isn’t that your job to lead or do you just want to be a buddy? How come your team rarely and I mean rarely mounts a comeback, where’s the character? How come players that out played veterans were cut? I sure hope Tippett is available in a month or so

    • Skylardog

      Good questions. I was thinking of the buddy-buddy thing before you posted it here. Suspect it is starting to become an issue. He seems unwilling or unable to make the tough decisions, during games and regarding the line up. Did he tell his team post game that the effort was lacking? Not likely given that he doesn’t go in the room after the game.

  • Theo4HoF

    Backlund has looked bad in every game I’ve seen so far, he coughed up the puck twice yesterday and both resulted in goals against. The flames havn’t lived up to high expectations since the 80’s. Smith is not an upgrade from last year.

    • Skylardog

      I saw the same thing with Backs – That line has been bad all preseason. I hope they are able to turn it on starting Wednesday.

      Not just Backs. Tkachuk made a huge error on the first goal. Only play was back into the corner, instead, while moving towards the point, he tries to force the puck to the Dman. That was a rookie mistake.

      • The Doctor

        I think Backlund and Frolik have been deliberately sort of mailing it in during the pre-season. Backlund I can sort of understand being skittish about injury, given that a good part of his early career was sidetracked by injury.

  • Jay (not J)

    This team sucks. I thought there was going to be a half decent BOA this year. Looks like the Flames would rather battle the nucks for lottery position. Oh well, next year. Change the goalies, change the coaches and add a defender or two. Maybe that will help…

  • BendingCorners

    I was at the game. Lower bowl seat for $60. Should have bargained harder.
    Mike Smith looked good sometimes and awful other times. No excuse for that first goal. He had time to see it. Even I saw it.
    Matt B looked okay on the third pair.
    Sam was quiet and Troy was not horrible but not particularly effective. Kris had some nice moves but looks like he might have lost a step from last year.
    The stars mostly played well individually but were out of sync.
    TJ was awful.
    Mike Stone and Travis did their jobs well.
    It’s still just the preseason but they need to ramp it up and start playing as a unit “real soon now” or else they will risk going 0-for-October.

    • KenBone18

      I think it’s good that the first game of the season is a road game, against the Oilers. It’ll be something they can get fired up about; an opportunity to rise to the occassion; an opportunity to show that they are a play off team.

      I just hope their confidence isn’t too low and they don’t get rolled by the Oilers like last year. If they do I could see that “here we go again” mindset creeping in and the downward spiral starting.

    • Carl the tooth

      You must be kidding TJ Brodie was by far the best player for either team . Hamonic was pretty good D.Hamilton was ok . I’d exspect to see Hathaway Jankowski Lazar in the next game and I’d give smith the Winnipeg game too . The special teams were horrible and despite good zone entries they couldn’t generate any offensive.but the defence was ok .a few bobbles but was happy with all 3 pairings it was the forwards that didn’t do much .

  • SoCalFlamesFan

    First off I was disgusted last night by the lack of effort by the flames. But this morning I was looking close at the goals against last night. The first goal seemed more “rust”. Smith had good positioning and technique just got beat but not by much. The second as a screened deflection and the third a breakaway and beat through the 5 hole. I don’t know if Smith was really at fault. The communication on all goals though was horrible. If nothing else where was the stick slap telling Gio to get back and cover the penalty box.