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Photo Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: Lapses in judgment extinguish Flames

The Calgary Flames returned to the ice at the Saddledome tonight for the first time since their ugly loss to the Edmonton Oilers. They were a lot better than they were against Edmonton, but they retained some of their frustrating tactics – particularly losing pucks at the offensive blueline. Despite some good looks, they dropped a 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers – representing the Flyers’ first win since mid-November.

The Rundown

The locals came out with a bit more pep in their step than they had early against Edmonton. They were generating many shots in the first, but didn’t generate too many great scoring chances in the early parts. That said, they opened the scoring as Troy Brouwer jumped on a rebound off a Curtis Lazar shot and beat Brian Elliott to make it 1-0. That lead lasted 61 seconds. An Andrew MacDonald shot through traffic was stopped, but the Flames couldn’t corral the loose puck and both Valtteri Filppula and Michael Raffl swiped at it – Filppula got credit – to make it 1-1. Shots were 14-8 Flames, scoring chances were 10-10.

The Flames had an early power play in the second period. They had a ton of good looks, but couldn’t get a goal. Right after the power play expired, Shayne Gostisbehere rifled a point shot (which was deflected by Scott Laughton). The shot clanged off the post, off Mike Smith’s back foot and trickled over the line to make it 2-1 Flyers. Michael Raffl then buried a one-timer feed from Jakub Voracek to make it 3-1. Michael Frolik then got nabbed for high-sticking – replays showed that MacDonald clipped his own teammate – and Wayne Simmonds was fed a nice tap-in pass from Sean Couturier to make it 4-1 just nine seconds into the man advantage. With the game very one-sided on the scoreboard, the Flames shuffled their lines a wee bit and it led to a goal; Sean Monahan roofed one past Elliott (with Garnet Hathaway screening him) to make it 4-2 late in the second. Shots were 21-7 Flames and scoring chances were 15-4 Flames.

But that was as close as things got. Laughton buried a loose puck in the slot after a Jordan Weal wrap-around chance was foiled to make it 5-2. Travis Hamonic got tossed for a match penalty due to a hit on Dale Weise and the Flames settled into penalty-killing mode for much of the rest of the game. Shots were 10-6 Flames and scoring chances were 5-3 Flames.

Why The Flames Lost

The Flames were sunk by three momentary lapses:

  • They sat back and allowed Flyers to tie the game before the end of the first period.
  • They allowed three goals in 71 seconds in the second period.
  • Hamonic’s hit and penalty killed any chance of the Flames mounting a third period comeback.

They played pretty well, but spent a lot of time on the perimeter and couldn’t get many good chances in the slot. Oh, and Brian Elliott was better than Laurent Brossoit was on Saturday, which really hurt their chances for a comeback.

Red Warrior

Mark Jankowski had a ton of good chances and his line was constantly making things happen in the Flyers zone.

The Turning Point

Three goals against in 71 seconds? Yikes.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Jankowski 78.3 42.9 0.660
Bennett 73.9 42.9 1.560
Hamonic 72.7 80.0 0.750
Frolik 72.4 100 0.850
Jagr 72.2 57.1 0.475
Tkachuk 71.0 100 0.790
Backlund 70.8 100 0.585
Giordano 70.3 70.0 1.300
Hamilton 68.6 63.6 0.750
Brodie 67.6 75.0 1.125
Kulak 66.7 40.0 0.200
Hathaway 65.0 80.0 1.215
Gaudreau 64.3 66.7 0.550
Brouwer 64.3 60.0 1.290
Monahan 63.6 66.7 1.190
Stone 63.0 50.0 0.050
Ferland 63.0 44.4 0.275
Lazar 60.0 60.0 1.160
Smith -2.150
Rittich

The Hamonic Hit

Glen Gulutzan spoke to the media following the game and had this assessment of the hit: “We did and I’m pretty confident that it’ll be reversed, from his point of view it looked like Dale hurt his knee a little bit and that’s why he went off, and he did return. I’m sure the league will look at it.” (Weise returned to the bench, but didn’t hit the ice again for the remainder of the game.)

Quoteable

“I thought we had a good first. I thought we came out with some jump, we got the lead. And they got it back. I think it was the critical times of the goals. They got the 2-1 lead, then we got a call for a high-stick that wasn’t ours and we made a bit of a bad play on the penalty kill and then it’s 3-1 so you’re behind. I thought our effort was there and we skated, but it was one of those nights where we weren’t getting rewarded.” – Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan assessing his team’s performance.

“I’m confident completely with him. Look at the goals tonight and we can see certainly some rebounds and ricochets that can’t be stopped. The number’s the number and the goalie’s the goalie.” – Gulutzan on Mike Smith’s performance over the past few games.

Up Next

The Flames (14-12-1) fly east tomorrow. They visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.

  • Flaymin Frank

    The defence corps are continuously displaying momentary lapses of reason and its costing us big time. They are just way too casual with the puck in the d-zone and making bad reads all over three zones. It ain’t for a lack of talent. Not sure what is causing this. The results of these brain cramps by T.J., et al, are usually prime scoring chances for the other team. These juicy chances against Smith are skewing the shot / save percentages IMHO.

    Not sure if its the head coach’s issue but its high time the d-team gets some help in the coaching department cuz the talent level is there but the results aren’t.

  • buts

    Our coach looks at the ref after Frolik’s phantom high stick and gives them a deer in the headlights look. WTF any other coach would have lost it on the stripes but ours says nothing. Leadership or lack thereof has never been behind the bench with this coach. BT’s job will be gone if he sticks with GG. BT went from a hard ass in Hartley to this want to be a buddy coach and the players need a coach who can be hard when its time to a buddy when its time. The players have tuned this coaching staff out. What more does management need to see?

  • Burnward

    Well, I’ve half checked out on this season. Maybe I’ll get the vibe back. But right now it feels like a paddlin’ awaits out East and this season is about to spiral out of control. Oilers being ahead of us by New Years. Draft pick probably top three given our luck.

    Or, they’ll win a few and I’ll care again.

    Being a fan is awesome.

  • everton fc

    BendingCorners comments were worth noting. The only way a team can fix these defensive holes, these gaffs, poor decisions, etc, from the players, is to have a coaching staff skilled at fixing such things. I believe this staff created many of these errors. Brodie has not played well in GG’s “system” – so what to do? Trade Brodie and keep the coach?? I don’t think so.

    The only move I’d make is trying to unload Brouwer. Now. Not after the season, via buyout. If we need to sacrifice a defencive prospect not named Andersson, so be it. If there’s a struggling RW out there w/a team willing to deal – even if you have to eat a little cap – eat less than the buyout price, and take a younger, perhaps broken player, and try to mend him. My understanding is Brouwer managed to get some sort of modified NTC, so that probably rules out teams like the Coyotes…

    The Sens will need defence if they lose Karlsson, which they maym if he asks for $9mill/season, which he most likely will. The Kings may be in a similar situation, if they lose Doughty, though I think they’ll sign him. There has to be a team that’d be willing to take Brouwer’s contract, and a decent prospect?

    I hope GG can somehow recover like he did last season, in January, and get these guys going. Rittich should definitely get the next start – let’s see what we have, in Rittich. We are still two games above .500 – miraculously – one point out of the final wild card spot, one point out of third in the Pacific, three points out of second…

    I’d be talking to Arizona, Carolina… Colorado… Vegas… The Devils… Maybe even Montreal… See who needs Brouwer, and a good defencive prospect. GG will not be fired, prior to the New Year, unless they continue to lose 5-2, 6-1, 4-0, and so on. And I’d split up Brodie and Hamonic, leave the third line “be” (though Jagr, to me, looks like a 4th liner), keep the 4th line intact, as well, though I’d prefer Hrivik, over Lazar, at centre. Ideally, Magiapane-Hrivik-Hathaway would be my fourth line. Stajan and Freddie the extra forwards.

    • Rudy27

      Speaking of Lazar. There were a couple of times out there last night that just blew me away with the speed he possesses! Looked like he got shot out of a canon on that one fore check sequence.

    • Cheeky

      Problem is if we have to give up a good prospect to unload Brouwer, that is horrible asset management. Brouwer should have never been signed for that long at that price, we all said it. He may be BT’s undoing but combine that with giving away a prospect plus hiring this buffoon of a coach (who then in turn hired his buffoon coaches) spells tick tock on his job…

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      As much as I find Brouwer’s attitude annoying (on and off the ice), he’s not the issue with the team. Brodie’s inability to play with anyone not named Gio is one of the most glaring problems. How did we get there? The coach. I agree that trading Brodie makes less sense than firing the coach, but if the return was a top 6 RW, would you still say it was a mistake? Marner for Brodie straight up. Reinhart for Brodie.
      Either would put us in a better situation, but the coach would mess that up somehow.

      So the solution has to be trade Brodie and fire the coach and assistants, as well as the goalie coach. Bring in Tippett on an interim basis and borrow the Heat goalie coach for now.

      • Lucky 13

        Interesting take. But your suggestion takes on too many changes at once. It’s not the best recipe for a fragile team.

        Marner for Brodie? I know Brodie has looked bad, even bordering on horrible many nights, but I still think he’s better than this. He single-handedly took on the Jets with an awe inspiring performance. My jaw was on the floor that entire game.

        What’s happened to him? I don’t know.

        Marner is rotating between 3rd and 4th line for the Leafs?

        He’d definitely be 1st line RW for us. Would definitely add some much needed depth in scoring.
        I believe if you get an opportunity like Marner, you pull the trigger. Regardless, if Brodie finds his game elsewhere.

        It would be hard to see Brodie go, however we do have defenceman in the AHL who would fill that gap.

        I hope Treliving has considered it. It’s not out of the realm of possibility either.

        I believe we cannot wait for coaching changes. Even if we just substitute in the interim. I’m more inclined to believe we fill the gap with Gelinas for now until a more suitable candidate is available.

        Any other changes aren’t as necessary as we believe them to be.

        These two changes might be all it takes.

  • Juan Valdez

    I have no faith the Flames can make it past the first round playing under this coaching staff. Biggest problem by and large is player usage and has been from day one under GG.

  • snotss

    I decided to not watch last night……………….great choice they still suck……….going the wrong way in the standings……….. how bad will it get????????????????????????????????????????

  • Chucky

    Time for a change, Brodie back to the right side Wotherspoon on his left, Phat Ras and Kulak as the third pair. get some draft picks back for Hamonic and Stone. The defensive answer is already in the minors.

    Bring in the talent and let them play without the stupid GG system.