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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: Senators scorch Flames

The Calgary Flames came back home on a three-game winning streak despite playing some pretty uneven hockey over the past while. In an odd turnaround, the Flames played quite well for much of two periods against the Ottawa Senators but just weren’t rewarded en route. And then the wheels fell off in the third, en route to a 6-0 loss on Friday night at the Saddledome.

To borrow a phrase: it was going so well, until it wasn’t.

The Rundown

The opening period was basically a Globetrotters game, with the Senators playing the role of the Washington Generals. The Flames had a ton of zone time and scoring chances, but basically did everything but score. With just 45 seconds left in the frame, Ottawa got their first scoring chance. It went in. The Stone-Bartkowski pairing was caught sleeping a bit, allowing Cody Ceci to sneak in, take a pass from Tom Pyatt and beat Mike Smith up high to make it 1-0. Shots were 9-6 Flames and scoring chances were 8-1 Flames.

Ottawa was a little bit better in the second, but power plays were the tale of the period. Midway through the period, the Flames had a power play (after a few shifts of good offensive pressure) but couldn’t score. Mikael Backlund was dinged for a double-minor for high sticking and the Flames killed it off – even generating a couple scoring chances late. But Dougie Hamilton took a penalty just seconds after Backlund’s was killed off and Derick Brassard beat Smith from the left point with a hard wrister just as the penalty expired to make it 2-0 Senators. Shots were 11-8 Ottawa, but scoring chances were 10-4 Flames.

The Senators began the third on the power play. They scored off a nice one-timer by Mike Hoffman off a face-off win in the Flames zone to make it 3-0. From there, the Flames slumped and the Senators padded their edge a little bit. Mark Stone scored off a big rebound in the slot (and some soft defensive coverage, as he was left unattended out front) to make it 4-0 and Ryan Dzingel scored on a two-on-one rush off a nice feed from rookie Thomas Chabot to make it 5-0. Eddie Lack came in for the final 12 minutes in relief of Smith and he gave up his first goal as a Flame. Chris Wideman scored on a late power play to make it 6-0. Shots were 11-8 Ottawa, scoring chances were 8-3 Flames.

Why The Flames Lost

When the Flames were good, they weren’t quite good enough to translate zone time into good scoring chances (or good scoring chances into goals). And when the Flames weren’t good, they were quite bad. They seemed to have a knack for taking a slew of penalties at precisely the right time, and they handed a ton of momentum – and scoring chances – to the Senators. The visitors capitalized, often.

Red Warrior

Let’s give a nod to the guys that weren’t on for any even-strength goals against: Kris Versteeg, Mikael Backlund, Sean Monahan, Jaromir Jagr and Micheal Ferland. The 3M line was, overall, the best Flames group so they get the Red Warrior nod overall, though.

The Turning Point

The successful four-minute penalty kill really should have given the Flames a boost. But Hamilton went to the box 31 seconds later, which gave the Senators a second chance to take advantage. That goal, along with their third goal to open the third, shut the door on the Flames tonight and really took the fight out of the gentlemen in red.

The Numbers

(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Corsica.hockey)

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Tkachuk 78.6 70.0 0.875
Brodie 76.2 12.5 0.550
Backlund 75.0 70.0 0.570
Frolik 74.2 70.0 0.720
Jagr 73.7 50.0 0.750
Gaudreau 73.3 50.0 0.425
Versteeg 69.2 42.9 0.345
Stone 66.7 83.3 0.375
Monahan 66.7 75.0 0.430
Hamonic 66.7 12.5 0.575
Giordano 65.5 69.2 0.625
Hamilton 62.5 69.2 0.425
Bartkowski 59.1 83.3 0.150
Bennett 56.3 50.0 -0.150
Lazar 50.0 83.3 -0.240
Stajan 50.0 20.0 0.180
Brouwer 44.4 20.0 -0.080
Ferland 41.2 33.3 -0.040
Smith -1.550
Lack -0.250

Elsewhere

Tyler Parsons made his pro debut for Kansas City. He made 39 saves in a 5-3 win over the Tulsa Oilers to kick off the ECHL regular season.

Matthew Phillips had a goal and an assist (getting him up to 21 points) in an 8-5 Victoria loss to Spokane. Nick Schneider made 31 saves in a 4-3 Hitmen win over Kelowna. Dillon Dube had zero points. Adam Ruzicka with goal and assist in Sarnia’s 8-1 win over Mississauga.

How’d Jagr Do?

Jagr was as the Flames were. He was good in the first half of the game and created chances. He was decidedly less good in the second half. Overall, he played 13:27, was even and had a minor penalty (which led to a power play goal against).

Quoteable

Do they feel they did enough to generate good scoring chances?

“I felt when we put the puck in their zone and played behind their D we did. That’s when we generated. And they got the momentum when they got some power plays. They weren’t scoring early on their power plays but they were getting chances and getting momentum, and then they got one and got another one. It’s a tough team to chase the game against. We opened up a little too much in the third and they picked us apart when we took too many unnecessary chances.” – Flames captain Mark Giordano.

“You know what, we only had two chances with all that zone time. We only had two chances after the first period, maybe three if you count one shot from the point that we kinda deflected a little bit. We went into this game thinking the chances were gonna be tight, it’s not gonna be a ton, but you take seven penalties, 13-plus minutes of power play time, it’s gonna cost you.” – Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan.

Up Next

The Flames (3-2-0) are off to Vancouver immediately. They play the Canucks tomorrow, hoping to get back to their winning ways.

    • BlueBloods

      Bennet might’ve been the only one trying tonight. He has the skills like johnny to take the puck in. As he does on the second PP. All the hate on Bennet when he doesn’t have players to match his skill level is ridiculous. We might be ruining Bennets and Jankos career though.

        • BlueBloods

          It’s cause Bennet doesn’t have adequate line mates so he feels he has to do everything himself … play him with Johnny or play him wing on Backs line and you’ll see a different player. He’s not in a position to succeed right now.

  • No mention of the early and often line juggling by G.G. I could sense the bench was unsettled and weren’t able to get into a groove. This game is not on the players, it’s on the coach. Yes, the coach is the director, but c’mon, give the players scripts that they can follow!

  • flames2015

    This was a bad one to endure live at the dome. Thought we looked good in the first, and the Sens had tons of giveaways in the opening minutes. Smith kept us till the 3rd period….and then at that point the only positive was that this wasn’t a game against a divisional rival…edm…vancouver..looking at you. Hope the guys have a better showing tomorrow. Ugh.

    • Franko J

      When he is shown the door as well. He placed his faith in this coach and his fate is tied to GG as well. I still think this team has a way to go in being consistent in their play. Right now this team desperately needs to show they can out work and and out play their opponent.

    • Carl the tooth

      I’m sure GG isn’t telling them to turn over the puck every second pass they make . Turnovers !!! Odd man rushes . Poor poor smith . And Ottawa we’re sniping .

  • Franko J

    Penalties cost the Flames tonight. Too many changed the whole rythym and the boys looked very blah. It just shows how important Smith has been so far this year.

  • redwhiteblack

    Bennett is looking to much like the player he was most of last year. Brouwer should never play another game as a Flame. Lazar is still meh and me thinks that’s a pattern that will not change. Janko should certainly be up now. He outplayed Lazar and many others. GG has done little to in the 5 games so far to demonstrate that he is capable of getting the most out of this crew.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    Here’s the thing I’ve noticed about Calgary thus far:

    1. Smith has definitely made me look foolish. Going in, I’d though a 35-year old playing on a consistently weak-in-net club was going to end badly. So far, he’s proven me wrong. That being you guys can’t expect him to bail you out every game.

    2. That “best d-core in the league” looks like crap right now. McDavid made all 6 guys looks like pylons, and they’re not helping in the SA category. Either you guys need yet another upgrade, or Glen needs to start messing his pairing ps around (something he’s reluctant to do given his track record)

    3. I’d say this is the 3rd of 5 games where you’ve been outplayed…badly. Smith might be the only reason you’re 3-2, because even against Edmonton, he was the reason why it wasn’t a 7-0 or 8-0 blowout.

    I’m not here to troll, not here to hate. Just calling it like I see it. Now does that mean Calgary is complete garbage. No. You guys have good pieces and you’ll definitely be a good team this season.

    Many cheers folks

    • Hockeyfan6778

      Well they were definitely not outplayed bad in Anaheim. Calgary out chanced them. In la they had 30 min of terrible hockey but 30 min of great hockey too. I watched both those games those shots were very inflated by slow dribblers and dump ins. Tonight was just an unfortunate night. Badly out chanced them and out played them 5v5. They just converted on their chances and flames did. I’m guessing you didn’t actually watch the games and are just going off obvious biases.

      On the other side. Oilers d have been terrible so far And their only win is the only game mcdavid did well. Proving they would be a lottery team without him.

      Also gudreau coming in 7 pts in 4 games. Mcdavid has 4 in three games. So apparently since a few games show the entire season them gudreau > mcdavid

      • Hockeyfan6778

        But yes you guys did out play is bad the first game and mcdavid was a beast. You guys 100 percent deserved to win. And if mcdavid does well you will do well. In next few years once Larsson and klefbom improve you will also have to d to go with scoring. Maybe get a good winger with mcdavid. Once drais can center his own line you guys should be much scarier.

      • Southboy

        I have to disagree, i believe we have been bleeding scoring chances, and im not just talking being outshot everynight. Our giveaways and dangerous scoring chances against have been alarming. Smith is THE only reason we are where we are. Now in saying that, the really good thing is we do have the defense to be able to tighten this up. My actual worry is on our production side. Our production is driven by our defense, and has been for years, so in order to ‘tighten’ up our defense we will be sacrificing our offence.

        As goes TJ Brodie and Giordano, JG and SM go along with them.

        • Hockeyfan6778

          Yes I agree giveaways have been bad. But our dangerous scoring chances were fine last night. We actually had more of them. Again a night where discipline and small stretch of bad play killed us.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Remember when Ottawa Fired Dave Cameron Because their Special Teams Sucked and that was killing them… Well, They Don’t Suck anymore.
    Is Team Defense not a thing anymore? Remember puck support in both zones? Remember entering the O-Zore with passion, going to the front of the net and Not just doing a spin at the blue line and waiting to make a pass?(and eventually coughing it up to the other team). Remember D-men joining the rush and not standing outside the blue line of o-zone? Remember Hitting and an actual fore-check by the team, not just 3 guys? Do players still talk/practice hockey strategies, tendencies and positioning and game plans with the guys they play on a line with or do they just do skating drills at practice and talk coris? Remember Skating Hard and fighting for the puck and not just giving up and peeling away gliding to nowhere and hope someone will cover for you? Remember players Creating & Making openings in the O-zone space, yet still knowing where to be defensively and how to use there body/stick and positioning to help the goalie out? Naaaaaaa, Lets just throw lines together on hope they figure it all out on the fly. Tonight this team looked completely lost on the ice, I’ve seen ten year olds playing street hockey pull it together better than this embarrassment. I dread tomorrow night… At least the Flames beat the Ducks and that is something.

  • SydScout

    Can anyone explain why we had a scoring chance domination of 26-8 (8-1, 10-4, 8-3) in this game yet lost 6-0. Are those tallies correct? It appears, statistically, we should have run over the Sens but were victim to incredibly bad luck. Having watched the game, we didn’t appear to be worse than the Sens rather quite a bit better. Until the third. But 26-8 better overall?

    • JimmyV1965

      Ya. I don’t get this either. The Flames had 20 scoring chances on 25 shots? Yet the Sens had 8 scoring chances on 28 shots. I didn’t watch the game but that seems highly unlikely. Where are these stats coming from?

      • McRib

        If not for Craig Anderson we would have been up as much as 4-1 after the first period, then late in the second period we took four penalties in a row which sunk us (that face off penalty rule is ridiculous, I don’t understand why the NHL feels fans want to see more stoppages in play?), but up until that point we were the far better team. Ottawa essentially scored on three of those PPs and then we gave up.

      • Hockeyfan6778

        Yea it’s true. I was watching the shots. They had 3 shots in a row which were super slow dribblers. A few that were going wide but smith grabbed on to it. But on Ottawa few scoring chances they capitalized with some nice shots.

        Flames 5v5 pretty much ran the show but just either tried being too cute, bobbled the puck or Ottawa did a very good job at blocking shots. I’d be interested in seeing the shot block totals.

  • EhPierre

    This loss was partially due to GG’s constant mixing of lines and the new ‘standard’ of hooking and slashing penalties the refs were calling. It’s nice that GG finally learned that he can change lines during the middle of the game but I believe I saw three or four different looks for the top line itself within the first 15 mins of the game. You can’t win a game if you’re changing your lines every third shift. As for the penalties, that’s just something the players will eventually learn, that they can no longer give ‘lovetaps’ on gloves, etc. On the bright side, our PK looks better this season.

    • Carl the tooth

      First every one blames GG for not changing lines.now everyone’s on him for changing lines lolol come on people. Let’s forget this one and move on .

  • Burnward

    That game was just confusing. From penalties to player usage to the mood in the dome. Weird night.
    Not even mad, just baffled by how that went.

    At least they’re 3-2.

    • Burnward

      Oh and Brouwer has given up any attempt at giving anything for this team it seems.

      That second goal from the point where he short-slid the block is about the most embarrassing thing I’ve seen out of a penalty killer in a long time.

      Absolute garbage.

      • McRib

        Brouwer whiffed on a cross ice pass just before all three of Ottawa’s PP Goals (one goal was just after the penalty expired). Not to mention he basically screened our own goalie for Ottawa on two of their PP goals. He is so unbelievably slow, why anyone would think he is useful on the PK where he has to cover a larger portion of the ice is beyond me. Brouwer is always just a few seconds behind the play, chasing it, in today’s speed game he just flat out doesn’t belong, everyone can see this except the Flames.

        Until this team removes some of the boat anchors from this roster (Bartkowski, Brouwer, Glass, Stone) it’s going to be similar results for us.

  • Kzak99

    Another game, another sticker by Bennett. No points or shots, again. He couldn’t even be bothered to get a single hit to at least add something to his stat line besides the 2 PIMs and the -2 rating. At least GG seems to have noticed, hence the reduced ice time last night (12:28). I got double digit thumbs down last time, but I’ll say it again, he still has some trade value, but each game it gets less and less. Bennett + Kylington for Duchene, please!

      • McRib

        I couldn’t disagree more about Bennett’s performance last night, why do the young players continue to be blamed for this slow start, while the Troy Brouwers of the world are immune to all negative criticisms?

        This said, if the Flames keep playing Bennett with players like Versteeg, someone he has ZERO chemistry with we might as well trade him while he still has value, although with Colorado being 4-1 and top in the central I doubt they’re looking to make a trade at this point.

        • Kzak99

          Well then you and I are watching different games. I saw him miss passes, slow up instead of laying checks, and even noticed both Versteeg and Jagr pass up a few opportunities to give Bennett the puck because they knew he’d likely mishandle it. I hate to be down on Bennett but he’s turning into a draft bust.

    • Carl the tooth

      There’s too many softies on this team . Everyone on this team should be smashing someone into the boards every chance they get . Backlund Frolik are great but let’s get physical don’t play like a girl .

  • The Doctor

    Sometimes it’s not just the fact that you get penalties called on you that’s the problem; the timing of those calls can be crucial. In this game, when we were still in it, we had a stretch in the second half of the second period when we were almost continuously short-handed. That’s not the way to get back into a game. Oh yeah and #freejanko