Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: Flames finish preseason strong against the Jets

The Calgary Flames closed out their exhibition calendar with a date with the Winnipeg Jets at the Scotiabank Saddledome. After a few sub-par efforts, the Flames flipped the proverbial switch and really looked like the team many expected to see this year – and on Oct. 4 – in a 3-2 shootout win over the Jets.

The warm-up games are over. The games count for real starting on Wednesday.

The Rundown

This was a fun game to watch, even by regular season standards.

The first was pretty even. The Flames got a lot of pressure on their forecheck, creating a few turnovers and some scoring chances. They also had an early power play where the top unit – Gaudreau, Monahan, Versteeg, Ferland and Brodie – had roughly 1:24 of continuous movement, chances and pressure. Late in the period, their early efforts paid off. A couple nice entries off the rush created a pair of slashing calls, giving the Flames a lengthy five-on-three. Andrew Copp blocked and shot and stayed down, giving the Flames a de facto five-on-two, which they cashed in on with some nice passing ending with a tap-in for Versteeg to make it 1-0 with 2.1 seconds left in the period. Shots were 15-10 Flames (scoring chances were 5-5).

The Flames killed off an early five-on-three disadvantage in the second – Mike Smith was superb on this sequence. However, on a subsequent four-on-four sequence Patrik Laine dangled around several Flames and went top-corner on Smith to tie the game. Calgary had a few chances late, primarily driven by Sam Bennett creating havoc in the Jets zone, but they couldn’t bury anything. Shots were 14-8 Winnipeg (scoring chances were 10-6 Flames).

The home side went up early in the third, as Mikae Backlund finished off a nice power play passing sequence off the rush and beat Steve Mason five-hole to make it 2-1. The Flames held the lead for awhile, but another five-on-three power play for the Jets saw a Flames defender break their stick, giving Laine a million years and a ton of space and, boom, it was 2-2 off a cannon of a shot. Shots were 14-6 Winnipeg (scoring chances were 7-2 Winnipeg).

And so it was off to preseason overtime, where we had a few more penalties. Nothing was solved in the extra five minutes, so we had a shootout. Sean Monahan scored and the Flames eked out a 3-2 victory.

Why The Flames Won

Calgary’s special teams were better than Winnipeg’s, and their goaltender was, too.

The Turning Point

It’s easy to say the Monahan shootout goal, but you could give it to any number of nice saves by Smith in the final period. He was in excellent form tonight.

Red Warrior

Gotta go with Smith, who made 39 saves and looked calm, cool and collected – even on a pair of five-on-threes.

Realistically, though, the entire team was a lot better than they had been in the previous snoozers. They seemed engaged, physically and mentally, and really played a pretty solid 60 minutes.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Backlund 85.7 60.0 1.455
Tkachuk 81.0 60.0 0.500
Frolik 79.0 60.0 0.870
Brodie 61.3 76.9 0.875
Versteeg 61.1 66.7  1.155
Hamonic 60.7 75.0 0.300
Bennett 60.0 57.1 1.205
Stone 56.3 66.7 0.250
Brouwer 50.0 33.3 0.095
Giordano 48.3 37.5 1.625
Bartkowski 47.4 50.0 0.250
Hamilton 45.7 30.0 -0.175
Lazar 44.4 50.0 0.155
Ferland 37.5 62.5 -0.125
Gaudreau 36.4 62.5 0.550
Jankowski 35.0 62.5 -0.330
Monahan 34.8 62.5 -0.370
Glass 33.3 50.0 -0.200
Smith 2.600
Lack n/a

This and That

Jankowski and Brouwer swapped spots in the third, with Bennett moving to the left wing and Jankowski playing up the middle.

According to head coach Glen Gulutzan, it was a planned swap: “Depending on how the game was going, we wanted to get him as many reps as we could with some different guys and some different looks. Everybody knows that he’s had a strong camp so we wanted to get him as many looks as we could.”

By my count, there were roughly 12 broken sticks for the Flames tonight.


“The power play’s like anything else. You get a couple to go, you build, you get confidence, and it was nice to get two tonight.” – Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan on his team’s special teams performance tonight.


Adam Ruzicka had two goals in 6-2 Sarnia win.

Matthew Phillips had three assists in a 4-3 Victoria win.

Juuso Valimaki had two assists in Tri-City’s late game.

Up Next

The Flames are off tomorrow. They have to cut down their roster to 23 players by 3 p.m. MT on Tuesday. And then? The 2017-18 NHL season begins on Wednesday night when the Flames play the Edmonton Oilers.

  • I am Batman

    Wow. The Flames are so good. They beat both the coyotes and the Jets in preseason in convincing fashion.
    All the way to the cup. What a strong team.

  • Off the wall

    I’m pretty happy with the work ethic tonight.
    Great game by both clubs imho.
    Stick tap to Smith, .951 save percentage and truly was engaged. Loved his enthusiasm after the shootout!

    Are we going to see Bennett- Jankowski- Versteeg again?

    I really believe it’s in our best interest to have 3 solid lines.
    I’m even happy with Brouwer’s performance. I’ll definitely be supportive if he can play like this.

    I’ve gotta admit Glass is really making some interesting decisions for GG.

    Let’s all hope we Ice the players that deserve the opportunity!

    • BlueMoonNigel

      GG is not losing a second of sleep over Glass making this team. Glass has been around a long time and there is nothing new in his game. He is a well-known commodity. In preseason he has shown more energy than many of his teammates because for him and other PTOs, preseason is the cup final. There is no tomorrow. GG should send Glass to Stockton and perhaps when he retires–and it should be this year– he can become a cop in Stockton and put his well-honed face punching skills to good use and beat up the many crooks that call that California sewer home.

  • Captain Ron

    That’s the Mike Smith we were waiting to see. Much better effort tonight. Laine is special. Not many guys have ever had that kind of a shot.

    Canucks looking better than we thought they would. Loved watching them take down the Oil tonight.

  • Abagofpucks

    somebody tell gully the points in preseason dont matter we got 2 lol oh and pike how do you think the flames played a solid 60 mins if smith got pepperd …… yes i know the oilers lost go ahead laugh

  • everton fc

    Glass has earned a roster spot. So has Hathaway, though Wills and Lombo were talking about Hathaway being cut – to me, he offers more than Freddie, who I also like .

    So, assuming Glass is “in” – we have one spot for Stajan/Freddie/Hathaway. Unless they sign Glass to a 2-way, keep Hathaway, and farm Glass and Freddie to Stockton. My gut tells me Glass gets the 2-way, Freddie and Stajan stay, and Hathaway is on waivers tomorrow morning.

    Not what I hope happens…

  • everton fc

    If (hope?) we go w/Bennett-Jankowski-Versteeg, as our third line… And Glass is the 4th line LW (which he’s earned)… Glass-Lazar-Brouwer makes it possible they waive Stajan. Or (more likely) Stajan is one of the extra forwards. So… Who to keep? Freddie or Hathaway??

    • Skylardog

      Lazar got about 1.5 shifts with Bennett last night and on both they were both great. The massive shift by Bennett at the end of the second referred to in the article was when he an Lazar worked together and drove the play.

      With Janko, Bennett was good, but not dominating like he was when Lazar ended up on the ice with him.

    • The Real Slim Brodie

      I’m not sure how our coaches looks even plays into this. Other than you ran out of material and your completely out classed and now your reaching

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Didn’t see the game but giving up 39 shots is some what concerning. Smith sounds like he had a really strong game especially shutting the door in OT and the shoot out.

    • Rudy27

      There were quite a few penalties, and a few of them IMHO were weak calls (Brower and Backlund got cross-checking calls that were more like light shoves). Shots were pretty even throughout the game until the refs starting calling anything.

  • Abagofpucks

    well it does set the tone your 2 and 6 and we are 6 and 2 and we dpominated you last year but preseason dosent matter too me its just fun cos its nhl hockey

  • MontanaMan

    I wanted to read the game summary and intelligent insights when I got up this morning. Instead I read Oiler trolls throughout a post game article that should be talking about who solidified their position and who will be on the cut list. FN isn’t what it used to be.

    • Carl the tooth

      I think it’s a good thing to see some soiler trolls that means there worried . I bet avalanche don’t get many trolls cause no ones threatened by them. Kinda like how we viewed Oilers for the last decade…… no threat .

    • Franko J

      I agree. At times I find the comments don’t even focus on the article and become distracted and way off the original topic.
      From what I heard on the radio in last nights game is Smith had a strong effort and Laine can really shoot the puck. Good to see the Flames finish off the preseason with a better effort.

  • KenBone18

    Flames win a great game! Oilers lose a crappy game. We always knew Flames defence is better than Oiler defence and it showed tonight. Just wait until they stand up McDavid and Draisitil on Wednesday – then the oilers have NOTHING.

    • freethe flames

      Thanks to someone on this site I was able to find it streamed out of Europe and caught the 2nd and 3rd periods. My over all thoughts on the game vs everything else I saw this preseason was simply that the overall effort was significantly better. Too bad it took a bag skate and the coach getting p1ssed before they responded.
      First let me start by discussing the guys I usually crap all over and give some credit where credit is due. “The Burden” did a very good job of the 5 on 3 PK and was okay 5 on 5. Lazar skated better last night and was more engaged in the game. The 3rd pairing Bart and Stone were not the circus act many would want to paint them as. (Only a couple of scary moments). Smith was very good and can’t be blamed on either of Laine’s shots.

      The line of Bennett/Janko/Versteeg had one very good shift together and then had a number of okay shifts. It is clear to me that Bennett plays his best hockey when his linemates can skate and have a high hockey IQ; that is why he played so well with Johnny and Ferland and that is why he has good chemistry with Versteeg but not with “The Burden”.(Also why he did well playing LW with Backs/Frolik) Janko brings those qualities; he skates well, he thinks the game well, is defensively responsible and works hard. This line has the potential of becoming very effective given a chance to work together. If that happens we could ice three very effective lines.

      Glass was interesting to watch and brings a lot of energy to every shift he plays and I would sign him. The question is can we create a 4th line that does this every shift. I’m not sure who that would be but I would think a line of Glass/Lazar/Hathaway could be fine in that role leaving Stajan and Brouwer as 13 & 14 swapping in and out depending on who the Flames are playing.

      Lastly my prayers go out to the people of Edmonton after last nights attacks and pray that everyone has a speedy recovery.

  • McRib

    Tanner Glass dead last in Corsi For at 33% with respectable Offensive Zone Starts of 50%, you also have to think Jankowski was dragged down by his numbers. Glass is going to be an absolute anchor possesionally all year, but he “hits people” so he is a lock to make the team to according to Rick Ball, Peter Loubardias, etc. Glass had 0.26 PPG in the AHL last year, he isn’t even an AHLer at this point in his career.

    Once again, I will remind everyone hitting in itself doesn’t have a positive impact on games unless it is done meanfully, where the player is turning over the puck on hits for his team separating the opposition from the puck, something Glass is clearly not doing at a 33% possession rate. Emile Poirier can hit off the forecheck, so can Garnet Hathaway and they both can actually keep up to the pace of play and drive possession forward unlike Glass (Poirier was dominant at this his last exhibition game). Both also have a ton of upside beyond that, but let’s take the 33 year old who has shown the last four or five years that he isn’t an NHLer. We finally get ride of possession anchor Deryk Engelland and then we add Glass, whoever does our analytics is clearly just a figurehead.

    • McRib

      On a positive note, it looks like Sam Bennett is going to be good enough to carry an anchor around like Troy Brouwer this year. If we could ever get a winger that could keep up to him he would be a 55-60+ point guy, but he should get 40-45 by himself this year. One thing I have noticed is no one who plays with Bennett ever crashes the slot when Bennett is looking to pass out-front, if he ever had any help in that aspect he would be such an effective setup man, we’re talking all-star like. This team becomes a contender when we finally let some of this young secondary talent fill up the bottom six, third pair. I sure hope the Flames end up doing this mid season this year.

      • Kevin R

        Thats why he looked so good with Ferland & Gaudreau. & I agree that Bennett has a much higher ceiling if we don’t put him on the 3rd line just to get a balanced attack. Honestly, I think people would be quite surprised at the chemistry Monahan & Tkachuk could put together. I see these 5 as our top 6 core & future. Assuming Ferland shines as I expect he will this year.

      • Skylardog

        If we could all go back and watch the sift that is mentioned in the article about Bennett at the end of the second, he was working with Lazar. They had 1.5 shifts together last night due to changing lines, and were deadly together. Lazar even drove the net like you talk about on that shift.

        If you watch Lazar, he is very responsible defensively. Seems to be in the right place. Also noticed he was first back on a few occasions last night. Wish he played a couple of those defensive plays a bit tougher, but he did enough to disrupt the play and have help arrive.

  • Squishin

    I was at the game last night – really pleased by the effort from everyone. Even if we hadn’t won the shootout I would have been happy with what I saw. Smith was rock-solid in the net, made a few beauty saves. Also on the stand-out list is Bennett, who was all over the puck. And I will say this for Brouwer: he didn’t entirely suck. It actually looked like he was moving his feet properly. He also threw a few hits and was generally serviceable on the third line. I also really enjoyed the Hamonic/Brodie pairing, I thought they were excellent.
    On the bad list: Bartkowski didn’t look great once again. Glass threw a couple hits and worked really hard, but honestly I don’t believe his skills are up to scratch enough to make us better. Gaudreau and Monahan were not quite clicking this time, but I’m not worried about them.

    • Skylardog

      Mony’s line had some real trouble defensively last night, and it shows in the possession numbers. They got steamrolled a couple of times but Smith bailed them out. Granted they were up against Winnipeg’s best line most of the time. On 2 to 3 shifts though, it was ugly.

      JG and Mony were also the forwards 4 on 4 when Laine scored to tie. They will have to find a balance.

  • I don’t know what it is with so many Oiler’s netizins trash talking and trolling here. I hope there are no Flames fans going into Oil territory and flapping senseless needless rhetoric. I used to like reading the comments to see other “perspectives” not discussed in the article. Now, the comments are starting to read like the kid’s sandbox! Keep it classy Flame’s fans!