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Photo Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: Flames can’t beat the Wild

The Calgary Flames headed to Minnesota on Tuesday night to play the Wild. They played a superb first period, but they did not score. For the rest of the game, they were pretty good, but couldn’t bury enough of their chances. In a game that was rather sleepy for regulation and then really entertaining in an indecisive overtime period, the Flames were just unlucky enough to lose. They dropped a razor-thin 2-1 shootout decision to the Wild.

The Rundown

The Flames were all over Minnesota in the first period. They had lots of zone time but couldn’t get a ton on net, but they kept the Wild hemmed into their own end for the first sixth of the game – the Wild didn’t have first shot on goal until 10:21 in. In what became a theme for the night, the Flames had two power plays but couldn’t generate much offense. Immediately after their second unsuccessful PP, Matt Cullen scored off a goal-mouth scramble to make it 1-0 Wild. Shots were 10-4 Flames and scoring chances were 6-2 Flames.

The second period was more low-event, with both teams whiffing on chances but neither really generating high-danger chances. Late in the period the Flames managed to find an equalizer, as Micheal Ferland teed up a slapshot through traffic that deflected off a Wild defender and beat Alex Stalock – he replaced an injured Devan Dubnyk after the first period – to make it 1-1. Shots were 10-10 and scoring chances were 6-5 Flames.

Nobody scored in the third period. It was 20 minutes of two teams who desperate want points trying not to lose. Minnesota had a big chance and Mike Smith made a big save. Micheal Ferland had a big chance and the puck glanced off the crossbar and into the referee’s ear in the corner. Shots were 7-4 Wild and scoring chances were 6-3 Wild.

Overtime solved nothing, though it was very entertaining. The Flames led in shots 3-1, and that doesn’t count two great chances for Sean Monahan that he whiffed on. It went to the shootout; Minnesota won 2-1 in that skills competition (Johnny Gaudreau scored for Calgary, Chris Stewart and Markus Granlund for Minnesota) and thus won the game 2-1.

Why The Flames Lost (In A Shootout)

In a really tight game, the Flames generated just two shots and three high-danger scoring chances on three power plays. That’s nuts, and their man advantages ended up giving momentum back to the Wild. They also just weren’t able to get enough good chances at five-on-five – they had three high-danger chances. It was a low-event game and they just couldn’t generate enough or bury enough good chances to tilt the game in their favour.

But don’t let their inability to win override one thing: this was another rock-solid effort in a string of them for the Flames, and they have points in four consecutive games. It could’ve been three wins in four games, but it’s a step in the right direction that they were in this one until the very end.

Red Warrior

Monahan couldn’t bury anything tonight, but he was all around the net for much of the night. Gaudreau and Smith were also quite good.

The Turning Point

The Flames had a power play just over five minutes left in regulation, tied 1-1 on the road. They had good puck movement, but couldn’t score. With how tight the game was at that point, if they were going to win it probably would’ve had to be on that power play. They didn’t score and so they didn’t win.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Lazar 73.7 75.0 0.440
Stajan 66.7 66.7 0.405
Brouwer 65.0 71.4 0.150
Brodie 63.3 12.5 0.550
Hamilton 62.1 58.3 0.725
Tkachuk 61.9 28.6 0.475
Frolik 60.0 16.7 0.135
Bennett 58.8 33.3 0.290
Kulak 58.3 66.7 0.350
Hamonic 57.1 14.3 0.125
Stone 56.0 66.7 0.375
Hathaway 55.6 33.3 0.100
Jankowski 55.6 33.3 0.190
Monahan 54.2 63.6 0.425
Giordano 53.6 63.6 0.850
Backlund 52.4 20.0 0.105
Gaudreau 52.0 63.6 1.050
Ferland 50.0 63.6 1.025
Smith 1.500
Rittich

This and That

Glenn Gawdin had an assist in Swift Current’s 2-1 win over Prince Albert.

Up Next

The Flames (16-12-3) head back to Calgary tonight. They’ll host the San Jose Sharks in a divisional clash on Thursday night.

  • Hockeyfan

    Does goofygulu actually think he can coach? This monkey has to go, now, or this season is doomed in another 10 games if that sickening performance is any indication of the heart and soul of this club. PATHETIC!!!!

      • buts

        So we tie it up in the second period and with some momentum the next line out is the 4th line and we get hemmed in. Third period pp with less then 5 to go and he puts TB out in the first pp unit. Has this unit had success? Is TB having a great year scoring left right and centre? NO! GG is friggin nuts. With any type of pp success we would have 2 more wins minimum in the last 4. Again if it wasn’t for Smith we’d be in the bottom of our conference. After almost 11/2 seasons GG has proven he can’t manage lines, match lines, motivate and inspire in big games, manage game situations, coach special teams, manage goalie ice time and beat the coilers. I’ll drive him to the airport.

        • buts

          We got matched up against a team playing its first game after a long road trip, minny who’s fighting injuries, who didn’t get there first shot on goal till almost 11 minutes in, who had to throw in there backup goalie after the first. Our flames team has very little execution and brutal special teams. Like Boudreau said when we are good we are great (because of talent) and when we are bad we are terrible. This my friends is because we have a terrible coach who likes the Vey’s, Glass’s, Grossman’s, Bartkowski’s and Lacks of the hockey world. Execution, consistency, specialty teams, player deployment and much more are the responsibility of the coach. Again we are where we are because of Mike Smith. Time for a change.

  • AF

    That’s points in four straight games & we’ve been playing very well 5 on 5. This was one of the better games by the Brodie / Hamonic pairing. Things seem to be trending upwards, just need a little puck luck.

    • flames2015

      We’d likely have all 8 points in the last 4 games if we could connect on the PP. We’ve had prime opportunities coming late in games. 1/13 is bad. Not only that, but we have issues gaining entry and are barely getting shots on net. Until there is a major personnel change on that first unit, we’re going to drop quickly to the bottom of the league in pps.

    • Carl the tooth

      Yup good game go Flames keep it going if they keep playing like this we will be just fine . Starting to look like a playoff team . Starting to get some consistency and tighter on defence.

  • Lucky 13

    I have no idea why Minnesota is called Wild? Their games are so boring, I require toothpicks to keep my eyes open. It’s painful to watch.

    That 3-on-3 was fun and -disappointing in that we didn’t bury our chances. Monahan probably won’t sleep on the flight home.

    Did you notice that the Wild employ 2 D and 1 forward on 3on 3? Different concept. I liked it.

    I’m probably going to lose my mind if GG keeps putting the 4th line out in key situations.
    Starts the 4th line at the beginning of the game, puts 4th line out after we get scored on and 30 seconds left in the game… guess who’s on the ice?

    Does he actually believe that this is the best option? Never mind.

    I loved how hard Lazar played tonight, the kid is so intense that he muffs it on scoring chances.
    Relax a bit Lazar, you’re going to score eventually but stay off the Red Bull, 😉

  • Just.Visiting

    I missed the first two periods.

    In looking at the article, I was struck by the Corsi of the 4th line. Then I looked at the next column and saw that they had about 70% offensive zone starts.

    What am I missing about the logic of that?

    If they are getting a very high percentage of offensive zone starts because of a belief they can’t be trusted in defensive situations, isn’t there something seriously wrong with that picture?

    If they are getting a very high percentage of offensive zone starts because of a belief that they are an offensive threat, isn’t there something seriously wrong with that picture?

    I’d say something yet again about the first PP configuration, but why bother, as nothing we say here is going to change anything. I don’t understand how Brad can sit back and watch the insanity night after night, though.

  • Stajanforadirtyboot

    Win , lose, or draw I will continue to call for a coaching change. General Gel is out coached game in and game out. This Power play is “pathetic “Our coaching is “pathetic “, and if Glen is the chosen coach then our management is “pathetic “. Oh and Matt Stajan is as always a “pathetic ” NHL hockey player.

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    Good game!!! Outplayed them, outworked them. A little luck and we’re a rocket ship, b!tches!!!

    Loved Johnny’s focus when he was taping up his stick on the bench!!! Yeah!!! That was INTENSE

    Go Flames, WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

  • cjc

    The Gulutzan naysayers are resorting to making fun of his hair.

    Look, he is far from the best coach in this league, but what are the better options? Tippet? Yeah, had a star studded cast in Dallas and one great season in Phoenix propped up by Mike Smith having a Vezina calibre year. His last four years in Arizona were unwatchable. There is still over half a season to play here. If anything the knives should be out for Cameron, he designs the PP systems doesn’t he?

    Some people refuse to believe that there is luck in hockey. These people don’t understand statistics.

    • Chucky

      When the PP has chance after chance with no shots it is not luck. The Perimeter Pass Power Play that Cameron has designed does not work. The league figured out how to beat this approach and the Flames stick with it because the coaching staff has run out of ideas.
      It was pretty obvious that Jasnkowski was off the PPPP when he broke the rules and carried the puck into the offensive zone creating a scoring opportunity. That was it, The Burden was back doing what only he can do, removing all hope.
      No point calling for new coaching the only hope to make the playoffs is a collapse of the Golden Knights providing 4 easy wins in the second half of the season. The only hope for the team is to not make the playoffs or a first round exit so that they get rid if the boneheads behind the bench.

    • Skylardog

      Cameron may provide the tactics on the PP, but GG has the say in who is on it. It is clear, and has been clear all season that it doesn’t work when Brouwer is out, yet it continues to happen, now 31 games in.

      Coaches have access to stats, right. GG was hired as a stats coach. That stats clearly say Brouwer is horrible on the PP, but he still goes out.

      As for no available coaches right now, I am in agreement. It doesn’t mean that you don’t let a coach go that is clearly wrong for not only this team, but unqualified to be a coach at this level. We have errors in judgement every night, we talk about it on here every night. Coaches at this level don’t make mistakes night in, night out. They rarely make errors of any type.

      Go interim, and wait for a high quality guy to become available. They will soon enough.

      • YWC

        Do I like all of GG’s decision? No. But I truly don’t think his impact has such gative imact as many of the commenters here suggest. We are at the standings as we thought we would. Nobody pegged us in the truely juggernut position (even the flames fans). We have all predicted given the talent level we have that we will be fighting for the 2, 3 spot as we are now. There are really only few coaches that impacts the game. And yes GG is not one of them, but he is just fine. (if such coaches are availble sure let’s make a change, but if we ll complaining even with the change). Like many coaches in the league he gets something right and something wrong.

    • Derzie

      There’s luck in everything, including hockey. Where people who actually do understand math and statistics (as opposed to fantasy league spreadsheet jockeys) take exception is when *everything* unknown or unmeasured is painted as “luck”. That is flat out lazy and wrong.

      • cjc

        That is fair enough, but plenty of people explain away the residual error by invoking leadership, grit, or coaching style. The relationship between those things and winning are not quantifiable, at least with current tools. I have no doubt that data driven methods will reveal a little bit more about what works in the future, but until then the only reliable predictor of which team will score more goals are shot-based metrics like Corsi and Fenwick. And there will always be an element of luck in games. Every time Ferland hits a post, an advanced statistician gets their wings.

  • Thatz Nuckin Futz

    Since hitting the road for the trip to HogTown, we’ve got 6 out of 8 possible points. Not to shabby. The west is tight, its very tough to get above the fray. Janko’s line was dominating at times last nite but couldn’t generate a quality chance. Monny’s line had their chances but couldn’t bury them into an open net. Thursday’s game is huge. Keep up this level of play and we should be fine. The pp still looks like a bad case of something.

    • CMG30

      A coach can only work with what he’s given, yet they are the perennial fall guy. Remember the old truism: A coach gets too much credit after a win and too much blame after a loss.