Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: Flames flounder against Ducks

The Calgary Flames played decently on Thursday night in San Jose, with their game-plan derailed by an injury to Michael Frolik. With a day to regroup before another key divisional game with the Anaheim Ducks, the hope was that they could figure out a plan to pick up more points. Instead, the Flames let points slip away by virtue of two pretty rough periods (and a strong second period that wasn’t able to salvage things).

They lost to the Ducks by a 2-1 score in a game where they just couldn’t get a heck of a lot going offensively.

The Rundown

The visitors looked every bit a group that played the night before in the first period. They gave up tons of chances. There were long stretches where they couldn’t get the puck across the offensive blueline. When they did so, they often did very little with it. Anaheim opened the scoring early in the period; a scoring chance for the Mikael Backlund line was stopped and the Ducks came back quickly the other way, with Cam Fowler taking advantage of some soft Flames defense from the Giordano/Hamilton pairing to beat Mike Smith to make it 1-0. Shots were 20-5 and scoring chances 10-4, both for Anaheim. The Flames were fortunate to escape down by just a goal.

If you were looking for desperation from the Flames, it came through in spades in the second period. They had fewer great scoring chances than the Ducks, but they had a ton of zone time. Shots were 11-7 and chances 17-4 in the second, both for Calgary. They scored the tying goal, and it wasn’t a particularly great one but it still counted. Matt Bartkowski laughed a puck at John Gibson from just inside the blueline, which Gibson booted out into the slot and Micheal Ferland, the last man from his line to get off for a change, buried the rebound to make it 1-1.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “live by the sword, die by the sword.” The Flames were alive entering the third period by the mercy of that rebound from Gibson. They began the third rather flat and the Ducks jumped all over them. The fourth line was hemmed into their own end after a defensive zone faceoff. Smith played the puck over the glass and took a minor penalty. The Flames lost the faceoff and six seconds after the PK began, they were down 2-1. They didn’t get a shot on goal until nearly 15 minutes into the third. They didn’t seem to recapture the desperation that they had in the second period until very late in the third. They lost 2-1. Shots were 13-7 and chances 8-6, both for the Ducks.

Why The Flames Lost

I completely get that the Flames played the night before. And that game was, in many ways, a physically-taxing trench war. They just lost a top six winger who was a glue guy in many, many ways. And they were playing a rested divisional rival in their barn.

But the level of execution in the first period and the level of desperation in the third period were pretty inexcusable. The Flames are a pretty veteran-laden team and coming out that flat seems like a team-wide failure and a complete waste of a really good goaltending performance by Smith. And despite playing a really awful first, they came into the third with the game completely up for grabs… and they couldn’t grab hold of it at all.

Red Warrior

It’s gotta be Smith, who made 39 saves and had to stop a lot of really nice chances from the Ducks. The third line (Hathaway, Jankowski & Bennett) were also pretty decent.

The Turning Point

Rickard Rakell’s power play goal to make it 2-1 polished the Flames off.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Hathaway 64.7 0.0 0.325
Hamonic 58.6 41.7 0.450
Jankowski 57.9 0.0 0.215
Bennett 55.0 0.0 0.335
Gaudreau 51.6 37.5 0.500
Brodie 48.4 41.7 0.025
Monahan 48.3 33.3 0.070
Bartkowski 46.7 28.6 0.925
Hamilton 46.4 20.0 -0.175
Lazar 46.2 37.5 -0.030
Giordano 46.2 22.2 -0.025
Tkachuk 44.4 42.9 -0.065
Ferland 44.4 33.3 1.050
Jagr 43.5 37.5 -0.300
Backlund 39.3 50.0 -0.605
Stone 36.7 33.3 -0.275
Stajan 35.7 37.5 -0.210
Brouwer 30.8 37.5 -0.175
Smith 2.800

This and That

The Stockton Heat dropped a 4-3 heartbreaker to the Ontario Reign, giving up the game-winner with 53 seconds left in regulation. Spencer Foo, Austin Carroll and Andrew Mangiapane scored.

Matthew Tkachuk fought Ryan Kesler early in the game. It was a fairly good fight by the standards of NHL fights.

Up Next

The Flames (18-16-4) fly home tomorrow. They’ll host the Chicago Blackhawks to close out 2017 on New Year’s Eve.

  • The GREAT WW

    What a pile of trouble we are in….

    I have said since day 1 that I really like Hamonic but I would NEVER have made that trade because with this coaching crew we are closer to a lottery pick team than a contender….

    Big trouble…..


        • Off the wall

          Yes, we were.27.6% I believe. It’s not just based on our team, but on the entire league and prone to drastic changes over the course of one game and the entire season, however the trend is looking the same with the Flames being 11th place in percentage in the Conference. Anaheim passed us as of today.

  • The GREAT WW

    If we traded away all our old forwards and replaced them with prospects would we really be any worse off?

    Stajan, Brouwer, Backlund, Frolik, Jagr…..


    • where.is.ville?

      Despite having better goaltending the Flames are floundering. The top line has gone cold, and no-one else has picked it up! 11 points in 13 games in December. Clearly the Jagr experiment is a bust – he should gracefully retire now! Curtis Lazar is a bust – send him down! And it is time for Matt Stajan to go – I have liked Stajan for years but he is now due for retirement. Bring up some prospects, and trade for a scorer. You have to assume that the coach is also not the bubble, if there is any chance to salvage this season which is slipping away fast.

  • Skylardog

    Pat Steinberg – “At least we are above 500.”

    24 teams in the NHL are 500 or better. It is not a useful measuring stick. This is a race to 12 games above 500.

    This is insanity.

    • seamax

      I can’t stand this misuse of statistics. They have lost two more games than they have won – in what rational universe is that equivalent to winning half of the games played? This idiotic notion that a win in overtime or a shootout counts as a win, but a loss in overtime or in a shootout isn’t really a loss, drives me crazy. Even pro athletes insist on participation ribbons, apparently.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    This Team is a Mess~! A Potato should be able to coach these players into the playoffs but no, we stick with Mr 500 and all jump on the “corsi says we are better” than we are wagon…
    Here are some fun stats:
    2011-12 Dallas Stars 82 42 35 0 5 0.543
    2012-13 Dallas Stars 48 22 22 0 4 0.500
    2016-17 Calgary Flames 82 45 33 0 4 0.573
    2017-18 Calgary Flames 38 18 16 0 4 0.526
    See a Pattern? Meh, Whatever.

    • Skylardog

      Ferly has always been a scapegoat, and that includes in the playoffs last year when his icetime was among the lowest on the team despite being the 1st line RW. Its just plain bizarre.

      And with Bart getting an assist he is almost certain to be in the lineup next game.

      This is insanity.

      • Mickey O

        Bart won’t be in next game. GG has pulled the same stunt with Kulak sitting on back-to-backs before. Ferland was one of the few that was engaged tonight. Monahan has looked lost in space for a couple of weeks now. He has a nasty habit of going AWOL at least one long stretch a year.

      • deantheraven

        In fairness to Bartkowski, he was replacement -level good, but the ice time differences are insanity. Unless he’s hurting, Ferland should have been on the ice more than two 4th liners. Better producer, bigger harder and faster than the 8 Million Dollar Men. If GG has a problem with Ferland, GG has to go first.

  • Off the wall

    I believe this six game stretch against division – conference rivals will determine our postseason.
    We need 9 out of 12 points in this stretch to keep pace in the Conference. We are teetering between 8-11th place in the standings.
    So far;
    2 games = 4 possible points
    We are 1 point out of 4.
    We need to win the remaining 4 games or we will be too far behind the pack.

    If we fail to, Treliving needs to step in and fire GG. We won’t salvage the season without drastic changes. Treliving has 4 games to decide this teams fate.

    • Derzie

      Having a goal of ‘making the playoffs’ is what leads to GG being OK with loser points. Any attention given to the standings is wasted effort. We’ll know when the team on the ice is worthy of watching when the coaching changes, they put their best players on the ice the most, and the majority of the team achieves/over-achieves relative to their skill. Until then, the 10 day weather forecast is of more value than the standings.

    • WillyWonka

      your so optimistic… i concluded before christmas the team was done, when they played 3 of 4 games against division rivals, needed to go 3-1 or at least 2-1-1, but went 1-2-1 instead… this team was done. this team is done.

  • Lets Get Something Clear

    The drop-drip-it-to-Gaudreau zone entry strategy is the definition of “60% of the time, it works everytime.” Except it doesn time even work 60% of the time.

    • Lets Get Something Clear

      Wow, the sentence I wrote above is proof we need an edit button. Props to all of you for deciphering the meaning of that and hitting cheers anyways.

  • Calgarycandle

    This feels like the beginning of the season again–40+ shots allowed with six minors. First line AWOL. Ferland has 15 only two behind Mony for team lead and is not getting much help from linemates in scoring. GG not dealing with malaise (what a surprise). Time to shuffle the deck. Jagr way too slow for shut down role. Move Bennett to second line with Backs and Tzachuk. Jagr back to fourth where he was effective with Brouwer and Stajan before last injury. Call up Mange and reunite the Stockton line with Janko and Hathaway. Seems like a simple solution–maybe that’s the problem. Watched GG on Flames website–not even considering a callup. I’d think Calgary was playing for a high draft choice except they don’t have one till what is it the third round. This season is beginning to turn brutal. My mood is as wintry as the weather.

    • deantheraven

      Hey, C-Candle, turn that frown upside down. They say statistically, the holiday season is the worst for suicides. Anyway, I like this is another chance for Lazar to move up the rotation. If he slots in with Backlund and Tkachuk, he won’t hurt us defensively and I think he might get better chances with those two than his previous linemates. Plus, he’s due some puck luck. I say let that Curtis Lazar celly smile warm your holidays!

  • Cheeky

    You said it Ryan, “veteran-laden team” – this why we lose and have no passion (besides the obvious coaching issue), we need youth with speed and passion. Watching that 3rd line (wow is Hathaway looking good) makes you wonder what a few more similar types would achieve…

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    When did Hamilton decide that slowing up in a race to retrieve a puck in the end boards so your opponent can get the puck first…was a good strategy. Is anyone surprised that Brodie does not get a shot off on a 3 on 1. He jumps up in the play but doesn’t know what to do when he does. GG controls a lot of decisions but he has no control over poor judgement of players. The problem is bigger than just replacing GG.

    • Chucky

      It is very difficult to evaluate the players when the coaching is so bad. The question is “when does the player evaluation start?” now or the start of next season. No one in their right mind would take Gulutzan’s take on any players.
      The problem may be bigger than the replacing GG but that is where to start.

  • WillyWonka

    there has been a couple of games so far this year where I thought Jagr had some value – good at controlling pucks down low, protecting the puck, winning board battles… but all he looks like now is grandpa playing hockey with the kids…
    Jagr looked like hot garbage

  • Eggs Bennett

    Need another 10 game-esque win streak to right the ship. I don’t think that’s in the cards this year because unlike last year, we are sitting near league avg PDO of 99.4. This team’s standing is reflective of its performance and not bad luck like last January…

  • snotss

    well another sad loss last night……..get used to it………….. this team is full of warts …but hey when they miss the playoffs the flames will get a decent draft pick next year……”oh wait we don’t have a first round pick…..or a second round pick”..wow who decided that stupidity??????????????????????????????

  • Hacker

    Hate to say it, but this season is done… Gully just doesn’t seem to be able to push the right buttons with this group. Enough off Staj, Brower and Bart already. Why so stubborn? Hate to give up on Lazar, but doesn’t seem to be effective at all. If BT doesn’t bring in new coach, like right now! The season will be lost.