Flames 3, Flyers 1 post-game embers: Brian Elliott’s net

I’d kinda forgotten what it was like to be on the right side of a goalie completely stealing a win for his team.

Seriously, Brian Elliott was incredible

The Flames have one person to thank for the two points, and that person is their goalie. Obviously he couldn’t do it alone – though how sweet would it have been if the empty netter had been his? – but this isn’t a game the Flames would have even remotely been in were it not for the play of their netminder.

Brian Elliott faced 34 shots. Only one got past him. Is it particularly encouraging that it was 90 seconds into the game? Not really, but everything that happened after more than made up for it.

An anemic Flyers powerplay certainly helped, but when Philadelphia had really good chances, Elliott was there. He was exactly what you expect out of your last line of defence: when everyone in front of him failed, he was there to eliminate all chances of damage.

Elliott’s .971 save percentage was the best he’s exhibited all season. Has he let in bad goals at times? Absolutely. Is he still the Flames’ current best hope in net? Considering both recent performance and career history, yes, he has the edge on Chad Johnson.

Here’s a thought. Say the Flames had lost, through no fault of Elliott’s – say the Flyers tied the game due to another instance of Widemaning and then won in the shootout or something – would “win and you’re in” have still been applicable? Or have the Flames stabilized enough from their brutal January to have a little more breathing room with the phrase?

Fortunately that’s a question for another day because Elliott won, so he definitely stays in.

Adapting down a forward

Alex Chiasson may have had the weakest spear of all time, but a spear’s a spear, and rules are rules, so… he was out. (Meh, boys will be boys, amirite?) He played just 1:45, leaving the Flames down a forward early in a tied game. 

They weren’t being outworked at that point, but the night definitely wore on them.

A game after being punted down to the fourth line, Johnny Gaudreau was the prime beneficiary of no Chiasson. He played 21:38, three more minutes than the next most-used forward. Flashes of offensive creativity were definitely present in his game, but that’s mostly what they were: flashes. (Then again, so much time was spent in the Flames’ end that they were really only generating occasionally strong chances on the rush and that was about it, so of course Gaudreau was particularly noticeable then.)

Gaudreau mostly played alongside Sean Monahan, though he also got a fair share of time with both Kris Versteeg and Troy Brouwer and, to a lesser extent, Sam Bennett. It’s really hard to judge off of the corsi numbers in this one game, considering how very few skaters had a positive impact (the 3M line, the top defence pairing, you know, the usual), but he was best when with Monahan.

It was ultimately good to see those extra minutes mostly going Gaudreau’s way because he still is this team’s most dynamic offensive player. The Flames have a better chance of scoring when he’s put in position to succeed.

As for what happened to Bennett’s line when they were without Chiasson and without Gaudreau, they pilfered the other players on that line: Bennett’s third most common linemate was Brouwer, while Versteeg’s was Monahan. The fourth line is the fourth line (though this would have been as good a time as any to toss more minutes Micheal Ferland’s way), while 3M stuck together.

Top scorers update

Mikael Backlund still leads the way for the Flames, now sitting at 39 points in 58 games. Last season was the first time he ever hit 40; he’s got another 24 games to do it again. Barring anything incredibly unfortunate happening, he’ll get there.

Hell, he’s on pace for 55 points right now. Not exactly the number you want to see from your team’s top scorer, but good for him on a personal level.

How about Matthew Tkachuk, though? 

Tkachuk picked up two points in the win, and with them vaulted over Gaudreau and Monahan to take the sole spot of second in team scoring with 36 points in 54 games. We weren’t even sure if he was going to be able to stick around the whole year and now he’s second in team scoring. He’s second in points per game, too, tied with Backlund at .67 and behind Gaudreau. He’s on pace for 52 points.

So… that’s outstanding.

Sean Monahan will never score again, ever

Poor Monahan has been sitting on 99 career goals for five games now. He’s the leading goal scorer for this team, stuck at 19, so that’s unfortunate.

Monahan (and Gaudreau’s) lack of points against the Flyers wasn’t for lack of trying, especially on Monahan’s part. He was a man possessed on the powerplay. Monahan was ultimately credited with four shots on net, but you probably could have counted that many on one flurry of chances alone.

Of course Monahan’s going to want to score, because doing that is going to help his team, and it’s kind of the thing he’s best at. Hopefully that’s coming soon, because he’s earned it time and time again.

Vancouver would be a great opponent for him to reach that milestone against though, wouldn’t they?

The Dennis Wideman countdown

The frustration with Gaudreau’s demotion in the previous game wasn’t so much that Gaudreau got demoted, and more that other players can get away with doing absolutely everything wrong and not suffer any consequences.

Anyway, Dennis Wideman was officially removed from the top four, at least for this one game. He got booted. He played 12:32, his lowest total this season by about three and a half minutes. (Still got 3:38 on the penalty kill, though. Dougie Hamilton doesn’t get penalty kill time. Which one would you be more afraid of doing something stupid?) And he still found away to be responsible for a goal against, so you can’t say he’s inconsistent.

There are 24 games to go in this season and therefore, presumably, 24 more games of Wideman. (And the way things are going, possibly 24 more games in his NHL career.) He continues to be… very bad. Deryk Engelland isn’t a player you’d call a “stud”, so when he can easily replace you – even with a reasonably well-noted history of how he does not work particularly well alongside Brodie – well.

It was nice to see that accountability extend elsewhere, is all.

  • dontcryWOLF88

    you are also misusing the moneyball reference. That applies to teams selecting players who are cheap and underrated to compete with much higher budget teams in a league with no salary cap.

    Its not just about looking at corsi and other advanced stats, which 98% of the league does now.

  • dontcryWOLF88

    GG wasnt happy with that game at all. He is all about corsi and possession, which the flames lost last night. Maybe Hartley would have been happy, but thats not GG style at all.

    But hey, a win is a win and elliot owes the team more than a few of those. Most other teams have many more than the flames where the goalie wins it.

    ..but don’t let me interrupt your bad mood derzie

  • Stan

    Honestly, I hate Wideman as much as the next guy. Really, I do. But Kulaks giveaway was definitely the main reason for the first goal. To blame Wideman for not clearing the crease and not even mention Kulaks giveaway is pretty ridiculous tbh.

    Having said that, I thought Kulak bounced back quite well after that. And the thing is, I can live with a player like Kulak making those mistakes. He’s still developing and will hopefully learn from his mistake and be better for it. Wideman on the other hand…

  • dontcryWOLF88

    I don’t blame them for giving Wideman a shot at a rebound. This is bubble year. I also think there was a period there of about 20-30 games were he looked decent-ish. That’s definetly not the case in L10 though.

  • jupiter

    Management should have bought out Wideman last summer.His game was slipping before the incident with the linesman.He started this year with diminishing talent and mental anguish.

    The incident should have ended with the arbitrators decision, but money and greed have replaced justice. So we are left with

    A player at the end of career with the spotlite on him.

    The league with its petty and vindictive moves.

    An injured official

    A vindictive officials association that has shown its lack of etiquette and professionalism.

    A team that has lost the value of one of there assets.

    IMO management could have cut there losses and avoided much of this, when they witnessed Bettmans intentions.

  • Petzl

    Can we run with 7d for a while, seems like moving people around to fill for the missing forward worked. Would also allow GG to start Wideman but bench him when he inevitably sucks.

  • everton fc

    Elliott’s the #1. With a better defence in front of them, the tandem we have now would be good next season, though I think Rittich might be ready to play a backup role here. Challenge we have is neither Elliott or Johnson has had to the be true #1 and log 60-plus games.

    As for Wideman, he’ll never play in the league again after this season. Not only is he over-the-hill-and-done, he’ll forever be linked to the Henderson incident, which this fan thinks he did intentionally, though he was certainly not looking to hurt the official.

    Is we park him the the “A”, do we get any cap relief to use at the deadline??

  • jakethesnail

    If Flyers tied it and beat the Flames in OT or SO, I would play Elliott the next game, but I am not GG.

    Johnson’s game has been all over the place lately; Elliott more steady.

  • The GREAT WW

    No more Wideman will give this team a triple whammy next year;

    1. Save $5.75 in cap space.

    2. No more crap plays by Wideman.

    3. No more brutally bad lobsided officiating (theoretically)…

    Addition by subtraction x3; Can’t wait!

    WW

    • wot96

      What that means is 30 or 40 goals against and what, 10 goals for, less. Potentially a half dozen points down the crapper by playing a player that has lost a step and who was easily replaceable defensively at no cost to the organization.

      Not sure if that is bad coaching, bad managing, or both. But it is something.

  • Greg

    Wideman’s gotten to a point where it’d be worth scratching him and seeing if the bottom pairing fairs better with two kids on it. Unfortunately that kulak give away probably means he’ll be the one sitting next game.