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Flames 5, Flyers 4 (OT) post-game embers: Hat tricks and comebacks oh my

There’s nothing like a bunch of goals to wake you up for a weird start time. Unfortunately, it was goals against the Flames that got everything started – so it’s especially great that, this time around, they battled back for a win.

At long last

Nine games before this one, Sean Monahan had scored twice. Nine games before this one, he’s been flirting with a hat trick.

Today, he finally got it. And you could feel it coming. I had an, “Oh, hey…” moment when the Flames got their third straight powerplay, and realized Monahan had scored on the previous two. Sure enough, the next chance he got, it was his.

That shoots Monahan up to 11 goals on the season: the Flames’ leader, and tied for sixth league-wide. (I’m sure that will become outdated soon enough, because matinees are weird and make it difficult to get league-wide stats when most everyone else still has games to play today, but let’s just go with it for now.)

Monahan is currently third on the Flames with 55 shots on net. His shooting percentage is 20.0%, so a little high, and probably not going to last, but hey, he’s a career 15.1% shooter. He gets a lot of shots on net. He’s lethal. He probably won’t get the 47 goals he’s currently on pace for, but his second 30-goal season sure seems like it’s going to happen this year.

Heck, he’s snuck up to 20 points in 19 games. Let’s see how high he can go.

The powerplay came through, the penalty kill… kinda?

Speaking of Monahan scoring lots of goals, they all came on the powerplay. And for as much as the Flames battled back, they don’t come close without all of those powerplay opportunities.

They’re now up to a 20.6% success rate. Clearing that 20% mark is definitely helpful, and you have to hope this is a sign of things to come.

Monahan leads the way with five goals on the man advantage. Johnny Gaudreau is up there with 11 points, and T.J. Brodie, actually, is second in powerplay scoring with eight of his own.

I still wonder if more could be done with a different defenceman out there. Dougie Hamilton has the most shots of any blueliner on the man advantage; he’s behind regular first-uniters Monahan, Gaudreau, and Kris Versteeg in that regard.

As for the penalty kill, it’s still last in the NHL with a 70.6% success rate. Worth noting that the Flames only gave up one goal on the kill, though. And that taking a penalty in the final two minutes of the game sure seemed like a death sentence – and somehow, it wasn’t. (Also, say what you will about Matt Stajan, but keep in mind he also drew two of the penalties that led to two of Monahan’s goals. Absolutely unideal for him to take a pointless penalty at such a time, but he did some good in this game, too.) Progress! Hopefully.

The rest of the top line

Gaudreau had a three-point game again. Ho hum. He’s third in NHL scoring. You know, as one does. Whatever.

He’s already had a three-point game this season. And a four-point game. And he’s second on the team in goals. And he’s apparently unstoppable, because you know, nine-game point streak, a new career high.

Say what you will about the slashing crackdown, and that Gaudreau is much more comfortable and/or confident going up the middle now, but I’m very willing to be a lot of this is also due to just plain natural growth. Players don’t enter the league good and stay good; players enter the league good and they get better. This is his fourth season – why wouldn’t he be playing better than he was a year, or two, or three ago?

Meanwhile, Micheal Ferland’s goal-scoring streak was snapped at five games, but his points streak continues to live at six. He’s third on the Flames in goals with eight – fourth are Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik, and Matthew Tkachuk, all with four each (how’s that for a well-oiled line?) – and a 17.4% shooting percentage. Again, a little high – but unlike Monahan, we don’t have a great read on if he’s an accurate shooter just yet.

He may not have Monahan or Gaudreau’s offensive prowess, but he certainly looks like a good fit.

Mike Smith was better than Brian Elliott

It’s really not a great day when you surrender four or more goals. And certainly, not all of that was on Mike Smith. Some rust was evident – those over-the-shoulder goals hurt – but that fourth goal was largely on the defence, as well.

The good news? The defensive breakdowns didn’t feature as prominently in this game as they did against Detroit (though certainly, Smith had his hand in that, as well – I don’t think anyone’s going to dispute that he’s better than Eddie Lack).

And in fairness to Elliott, he did only surrender one five-on-five goal, and that was a Gaudreau breakaway. Monahan’s second goal was pretty terrible on his part, though.

But all in all – neither team had a great goaltending performance. But the Flames’ new goalie got those extra saves he needed over the old one. And that was the difference. And maybe Smith will be better next time, now that he’s likely got his legs better back under him.

Matinees are seriously weird

Some players had rough games. I’m thinking of Mark Jankowski and Sam Bennett here, but then, they really turned it on in the third period. Brodie looks like he’s still struggling, though, and the defence has been shaky overall.

Hopefully you can write some of this off on the weird start time. I mean, I know they’ve been out east for a couple of days now, but the time jump could be difficult enough on the body without starting a game at 1 p.m. local time. Who does that?

In the meantime… they got a win. They came back from a multi-goal deficit. Tkachuk’s suspension didn’t end up hurting the team. It wasn’t perfect, but it definitely could have been much, much worse. You’ve got to be happy with that.

  • Atomic Clown

    I loved Bill Clement’s comments after Monahan’s hatrick “Youve gotta stay out of the box because, if nothing else, Sean Monahan is gonna take you apart by himself”. Such an underrated shooter

  • CalgaryCandle

    Gorgeous backhand pass by Ferland to spring Gaudreau on the breakaway.

    Jankowski and Bennett hit a crossbar post in the third period. We now have three lines that can score. Ideally, we can figure out a fourth line before the season’s end #Hathaway belongs in Calgary.

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    “And that taking a penalty in the final two minutes of the game sure seemed like a death sentence – and somehow, it wasn’t. ”

    Thanks to Mr. Michael Frolik!!! He was absolutely essential to that kill and got the OT winner…really hope he got the Red Warrior (but I know it was Mony, of course).

    Sometimes I think about the time in which I’m watching hockey. The only thing I can compare to experiencing the emergence and evolution of Johnny is watching Dominik Hasek in his prime.

    Also, for some reason, that Bennett post broke my heart. Like, really I felt hurt.

    The Hockey Gods need to lay off this kid, for real.

    • Atomic Clown

      Much as i love Gaudreau, comparing him to Hasek in his prime is bit preemptive. I honestly cant remember a better or more decorated goalie than Hasek other than Brodeur. Dude reinvented down low play, won more Vezinas and Hart trophies than any other goalie, carried the national Czech team to gold. He’s in the same legendary status as Jagr, and no ones comparing anyone to Jagr.

      • Carl the tooth

        Atomic clown!! Seriously!! Johnny is a Phenom comparing him to another phenom sounds about right . Especially since Gaudreau is at the moment would win the Heart Trophy. To add to his Byng and soon to be 4rth allstar game .

      • BringtheFire 2.0

        Yeah, and I still think he should be traded. But I don’t want him to fail. And who wants to hear the same sh!t from the same guy all the time? I’m not Archie.

  • The juice

    Great day, flames win, oilers lost.
    Not to be searching for negatives but I’m watching the leafs blow out Montreal, and it looks like the only player that cares is Paul Bryon. Man I miss that guy.

    • The Doctor

      The thing is, Byron found another gear when he got to Montreal. When he was with The Flames he just wasn’t all that good IMO. He played like Raymond — great wheels but nothing else. When he got to Montreal, he finally found his hands.

      • BringtheFire 2.0

        Did he ever. And I also saw him in beast mode tonight during the Habs/Leafs in a fight with Zaitsev.

        So he does stuff like that now too.

        He cried when he left here, btw.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        Bull!

        How many posts did Lil’ Byron hit in his last year as a Flame? Kid had finish but zero luck.

        Real reason Byron was run out of town was his size. Club didn’t want so many half-pints. Johnny has probably eliminated that stupid bias now, but it was too late to help Byron in Calgary.

        • KeepitReal

          When will this club learn? Its the size of their heart and desire that counts. Not their shoe size. Did they forget what those giants Theo Fleury and Hakan Loob did back in their day. And they had another pint size guy on their roster that they gave away for peanuts. Martin St.Louis. I heard he had a decent career.

          • The Doctor

            Byron didn’t play like Fleury or Loob when he was here. He played like Raymond. He had no finish. That’s nice that he’s found that finish in Montreal. There are lots of other player personnel decisions that you can rightly call stupid, but assigning that label to the Byron decision is classic 20/20 hindsight reasoning. I expect management to make reasonable decisions with the information available to them at the time. I don’t expect Flames management to have a magic crystal ball.

    • Carl the tooth

      Then why were you kissing up on ON calling me down when I was sticking up for Tkachuk and all of FN .same with the sqaure clown not cool . You sounded like an Oilers fan from your posts on ON .

      • BringtheFire 2.0

        Carl, are you under the impression that anything anyone posts here…actually matters?

        But here, I’ll give you this one: a GOOD Oilers squad means we get to beat them in the playoffs, a BAD Oilers team means we don’t get to beat them in the playoffs.

        So I want a GOOD Oilers squad.

        As for calling you down, I would never do that! You’re…a…uh…model fan and..uh, humorous troll, and… uh…that.

        So you Go Carl!! But remember!!!!

        #NeverGoFullCarl

  • fumanchu1968

    I just trolled a little the ON. Boy those guys are stressing out LOL. I sure hope we keep trending toward playing better because I think we have way more talent than the Oilers. Calgary IS Alberta’s team.

    • freethe flames

      It’s only trolling if your write something with the intent of soliciting a response. If you’r just reading it is not trolling. When I am in need of some humor I sometimes go there; but some of their negativity sounds familiar here as well.

  • freethe flames

    Morgan Klimchuk (7) ASST: Marek Hrivik (11), Emile Poirier (7) (EN) 5-2; Gilles faced 37 shots or so sounds like he payed well. Good day for Flames fans; we win, Heat win and some other news.

  • freethe flames

    Stockton’s Finest; so the Heat win 5-2 but are badly out shot. Was that how the game was played? Saw that Foo played but no points. Glad to see Poirier with another multi point night; maybe Huska will keep him in the top 6 for awhile.

    • Stockton's Finest

      Foo who? He was invisible all night.

      Heat played well in the 1st, held their own in the 2nd, and held on in the 3rd. Gillies controlled rebounds tonight and looked good. He made some good saves. Empty net for the 5th goal.

  • Stajanforadirtyboot

    Pfffffftttttt….Stajan…..pfffffftttttt….Gulutzan….horray to the rest…..except….Pffffffttttt…Cameron….
    Bring in Tim Hunter already!!

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      Nah, I thought that too until I figured out the truth: he’s so ahead of his time the rest of the game has to catch up to his science.

      Besides, winning record, playoffs first try, strong 5v5, recent goal explosion and hair that thinks for itself what’s NOT to like?

      * looks north *

      Yup. I will DEFINITELY take the Gully-Flames right now.

    • Flint

      Where do people get the impression Smith saved the team? He played ok, and made saves, but he finished with a sub .900sv% and let in three brutal goals. He was not sharp in that game.

        • Flint

          Every save is a “timely” save, because it’s not goal against. And you don’t have to make “timely” saves if you don’t let in three brutal goals to get you in that position in the first place. If we didn’t win you wouldn’t be saying those saves were “timely” and those goals against didn’t matter, you’d be saying, man letting in a week first shot against sure changed the momentum and got us off on the wrong foot.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    How many losses is Trotz away from being trotted out in Washington? That team has been playing very ordinary hockey all season despite its passel of superstars. Question: if Trotz is fired in the next couple of months, would you be in favour of the Flames firing Gully and hiring Trotz? You know there are other clubs willing to fire so they hire Trotz, so the Flames will probably not have a lot of time to kick the tires on Trotz.

    Personally, I would say no to Trotz. He is a fine coach at making a bad club good, but he can’t make a good club great. He reminds me of the Murray brothers–always the bridesmaids but never the brides. The Flames are at a stage of development that the Trotz effect would not be worth the hire. He is not the coach to lead them to playoff glory. (He would look good in Buffalo or Colorado though.)

  • RKD

    Flames definitely woke up after being down 3-1 and cashed in on special teams. Going down by 2 or 3 early is not a recipe for success. Glen Gulutzan needs to have the team ready from puck drop if he can’t do it find someone else that can.

    • Stajanforadirtyboot

      If he craps the bed….the sheets have already been soiled long ago Willy. This team may be winning right now, but with a proper coach this team will be unstoppable!!!!

  • Sven

    Loved this on ESPN:

    “Simply put: Gaudreau is the best 3-on-3 player in the NHL today. Johnny Hockey has four goals and seven assists for 11 points in 41:43, a league-best 15.93 points per 60 minutes for players with at least 30 minutes in the 3-on-3. He has been on the ice for 11 goals for and just one goal against, which is remarkable. In overtime, size matters not.”