The Flames were the better team. They just were. But instead of finding a way to put the Wild away from the start – something their play very easily could have done – they just… didn’t.
They walked away with one point. They should have had two.
It’s just a meme at this point
The Flames played a phenomenal first period. They were outshooting the Wild 6-0 early on before getting a powerplay. At 5v5, they out-corsied the Wild 19-8. It wasn’t even close – so of course, the Wild got the first goal of the game.
Credit or lack thereof where it’s due; according to Natural Stat Trick, the Flames had just two high-danger scoring events, while the Wild had one, and made it count. And you can outshoot an opponent as much as you like – really, it’s encouraged – but if you aren’t getting good chances, well, you can’t be too upset.
There’s plenty else to be upset about, though. Micheal Ferland had a wide open net in the third period and he somehow hit the crossbar. Sean Monahan had a tap-in in overtime and he somehow completely missed the net. It turned into a comedy: how many 99% sure goals can the opposing team give the Flames, only for the Flames to take the 1% miss? That’s probably what was most painful about this one – it should have been two points in regulation. Instead, the crappy shooting percentage that’s been screwing with them all season did it again.
Also, the powerplay sucks
The Flames had all the momentum in the first period – until they got a powerplay, and did nothing with it. And then they gave up a goal immediately after their second powerplay expired. It’s gone from stalling the team to actively hurting them.
Seriously. Nuke the entire thing. Decline powerplays when they come. Have Mike Smith throw the puck over the glass again when on the man advantage. The Flames are more trustworthy at 5v5 play, 4v4 play, whatever, than they are when they’re supposed to have the upper hand. These are multiple games in a row, now, where a halfway competent powerplay would have, if not won them the game outright, at least made things less stressful.
Three chances, including a gift late in the third period that could have put the game away. Nothing even remotely threatening.
I’m going to pick one thing in particular to scream about: Dougie Hamilton leads the Flames with 96 total shots on net. What the hell is he doing with only 1:32 on the powerplay. “Oh but he’s a defensive liability!” 1. No he’s not, shut up, if that was the case he wouldn’t have the sixth best CA/60 on the Flames; 2. The Flames have already given up four shorthanded goals this season, who cares, it’s not like things are going to somehow be worse even if your bias decides to enter reality.
The powerplay is not working, it is directly costing the team wins, just blow the whole damn thing up.
Micheal Ferland scores a lot
Tragic missed yawning cage aside, wow, has Ferland got a nose for the net – and a hell of a shot to get the puck there.
He’s now up to 12 goals this season, on pace for 32. His career high is 15, from 76 games last season. His 17.3% shooting percentage is a little high but like. Damn. It’s probably unsustainable? But he just has a really, really great shot. And he’s never really gotten this full-time chance before, so we don’t really know if this is just the player he is. After all, he shot at 14.2% last season – and he only started getting a real chance in the final quarter.
It’s easy to miss that he only has five assists this season. It kind of fits in with last season’s stat line, though: 15 goals, 10 assists. It’s fun to see just how high he can go, if this fifth round draft pick who needed that little extra nudging, that little extra time, who may have been more known for his fists than his shot first coming in, if he can become a 30-goal scorer.
Also? That Johnny Gaudreau’s linemates both have deadly blasts? If they get over this shooting percentage nonsense, it could prove to work out amazing in the longer term.
Sometimes Mike Smith’s puck handling is anxiety-inducing
He almost gave the puck away in overtime. He was so close to it. There are moments where the broadcast will excuse him, like, “When you go to retrieve the puck and catch a rut in the ice, that’ll happen!” and it’s like, well, it doesn’t have to happen, you know? He could chill for two seconds and the Flames would be just fine.
Also what he was doing in trying to corral the rebound he gave up that led to him falling on his stomach and the Wild’s first goal… It just feels like that shouldn’t have happened. At that point you recognize that you’re pretty much asking Smith to get a shutout in order for the Flames to win, which is an unrealistic request most of the time, but maybe it shouldn’t have been too hard in this one.
I guess you can give credit to the Flames here. They had nothing to show for an incredible first period, but they didn’t roll over and die like they were a week ago. That is some progress.
Also, apropos of nothing, but that was some pretty tight defence from the overall group in overtime, the goalie nearly giving the puck away excluded. Nice to see. And while I’m mentioning random overtime things in here! How is it that neither Hamilton nor Matthew Tkachuk got a single shift outside of regulation. Just. What.
The Wild are SO BORING
The roster can change. The coach can change. But a universal truth will never be escaped: games against the Wild are extremely boring, like it’s a law of nature or something at this point, and I hate them.