Flames 3, Ducks 2 post-game embers: What a start, what a finish

Well, you can’t say the Flames aren’t interesting.

Apparently expletives and throwing sticks works

The Flames didn’t have the best game ever against the Kings, but it was still a pretty good one, including a dominant period that set them for a win. It probably shouldn’t have been a one-goal win – it should have been more than that – but hey, it was a well-earned two points without giving a division rival any of their own.

The Flames, evidently, responded to that by coasting in their next practice, prompting the typically mild-mannered Glen Gulutzan to dramatically chew them out. And that, evidently, worked, as the Flames came out and absolutely dominated the Ducks in the first period, and kept things even in the second.

Then, in the third, it all fell apart. Maybe emotional altercations work better in practice than during a game – though between Jacob Trouba, Ryan Johansen, and now Josh Manson, watching Sam Bennett fight is honestly incredibly entertaining – but the powerplay just about did them in. The Flames were in perfect position to not just step on the Ducks’ necks, but decapitate them. Instead, the powerplay did what the Flames powerplay does best – suck – and gave up a shorthanded goal, swiftly turning the tide and taking what looked like a certain win and putting it in massive doubt. And then the game was tied. And it was, honestly, just stupid.

These things tend to sort themselves out in the end – the Flames deserved a regulation win, and they got one – but shooting oneself in the foot provided a lot of unnecessary drama. Maybe one day they’ll get to the point where this isn’t necessary? How’s Tuesday sound?

The officiating was super not great, but

Before Matthew Tkachuk took a stick to the face, the Ducks were handily getting the majority of the calls, and they seemed to be on weaker infractions, whereas the Ducks would do something worse to the Flames and get away with it. (Johnny Gaudreau’s slash on Kevin Bieksa, uh, wasn’t the only slash on that play?)

When you consider just how badly the Flames were dunking on the Ducks – a 76.67% 5v5 CF in the first period, 60.87% in the second – it makes no sense that the Ducks were the ones drawing the calls. Typically, penalties are taken when the team that’s behind is floundering their way into committing an infraction. Not always, but it does stand to reason that the team controlling the play is the team that’s going to draw the calls, and it was the complete opposite for some reason.

And then there was the mess when Derek Grant ran Mike Smith behind his net. Grant doesn’t do that, there are no fights. Grant did that, there were two fights, and not a single powerplay to be found for it. You want the team to stick up for their teammate, and Bennett and Garnet Hathaway get absolutely no condemnations here, but… how the hell does that work out? What a mess.

All that said, the Flames still have nobody to blame but themselves for letting the Ducks back into the game. The officiating could have been much better (it usually can be), but the Flames won that game on their own merit – and if things had gone a little differently, they probably would have lost it on their own merit, as well. Credit to their penalty kill, though, for making sure things didn’t get that bad.

Dougie Hamilton is pretty great

Dougie Hamilton is an extremely good player, and good things tend to happen when extremely good players are out on the ice, particularly in the last minute of the game.

For his 27th shift of the game, and eighth of the period, Hamilton jumped on the ice with just under a minute to go. Forty-one seconds later, the puck was in the back of the net, and Hamilton had his fifth goal of the season. He scored it with his team-leading 121st shot (Gaudreau is right behind him with 120), upping his shooting percentage to 4.1%.

Hamilton’s career shooting percentage is 5.6%. With the amount he’s putting the puck on net, he should have more goals (kind of like the Flames as a whole). In the past two seasons, he has not gone a single game without at least a shot on net. In nearly 80% of his games in that time, he has had multiple shots on net. He had four last night.

All of that is to say that Hamilton is exactly the defenceman you want out there when you’re fighting for a goal, because it is pretty dang likely he is going to put the puck on net. He played 23:48 last night, second in team ice time. This season, he’s averaged 21:14 in ice time, third on the Flames, behind Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie. Nobody’s going to argue with Giordano taking top spot, but Brodie has averaged three more minutes a game than Hamilton has. Some of that has probably been due to a faulty powerplay configuration, but three full minutes?

Hamilton should be playing more. His 5v5 GF is 54.10% – the top defenceman in the category and nearly a full four points ahead of the next best guy, Giordano. The Flames score more when Hamilton is on the ice. Ergo, Hamilton should be on the ice. The end.

From top to bottom

When the worst corsi a player on a team has in a game is 50%, you know it was a great night. Brodie and Andrew Mangiapane were the recipients of that statistic, which wasn’t even bad. That’s just a top tier game up and down the lineup, with everybody contributing.

But it was a little more top than it was bottom. The Flames’ three goals came courtesy their top line and top defence pairing. They got all of the points as well, plus the next two best forwards on the team in Tkachuk and Mikael Backlund.

Speaking on just the top line, though: Ferland continues to build on his career year, with back-to-back two-point games. He has 24 points this season. His career high is 25 from the year before. He’s got half a season left to beat that. Monahan and Gaudreau each have five points in their past three games; Monahan is on pace for 74 this season (career high 63), while Gaudreau is on pace for 92 (career high 78).

Good things happen when the top line looks like a top line. Like goals, which tend to lead to wins.

Almost perfect

The Flames came off of the Christmas break with back-to-back losses: one a coin flip, the other wholly deserved. They responded to it with six points in a three-game home stand, without conceding a single point to any divisional rivals.

The season ebbs and flows, but the Flames have had good underlying numbers. If the puck keeps going in the net now, not to mention the Flames consistently play like they deserve the win, things should turn out alright in the end. There is an upswing, here, but the thing is they can’t sit on it: we’ve seen what happens when they do.

Half a season to go. Fourth in Pacific Division points percentage. Ninth in the Western Conference. A -4 goal differential – but they’re still in this.

  • freethe flames

    Half way through the season and the Flames are still out of the playoffs. With 15 games left against their divisional rivals they probably need to be 10-5 in these games, 9 left against the central and the probably need to be 6-3 against these teams. They also need to probably be 10-7 against the East. They need as many regulation wins as possible; if they play as well as they have for the last couple of games they have a chance. Only time will tell. Somehow they have to get the PP turned around.

  • WillyWonka

    they officiating— yuck. how can they let Bieksa skate out of his way after the period and trip the goalie? how can they not have a power play after taking the goalie out behind the net…
    on the other hand, this team can do it when they show up… it really is on the players to show up.

    • TheDallyLama

      I think it was actually Perry that tripped him end of period. Nevertheless I agree with you 100% should have had a PP after grant started that melee and Perry doing that at end of period. Is it just me or does anyone else feel the absolute hatred for the ducks, probably more than any other team? Feel it from players right to us fans. Lol gotta love the rivalry

      • fumanchu1968

        I hate the Ducks as an opponent but if you take emotion out of your thinking you have to admit that they are a pretty cool team; Getzlaf for starters and they are talented, huge and tough. And they win. And for years. But the tide is turning and my hope is that Calgary is learning to have that same tough warrior mentality to win that Anaheim has. Phuck Anaheim and let’s hope that this is the year we look back on and say that we burried the Ducks and own their asses for a decade or more.

  • TheDallyLama

    Honestly didn’t know Sammy boy could chuck the knucks like that, I knew he could hold his own but Josh Manson woukd be considered a heavyweight by most accounts. Helluva game boys, thouroughly enjoyed it. 🔥

  • Ben.

    poor officiating…ducks know the refs will only call a fraction of their cheap shots so they “play on the edge” (as Louie DeBrusk said) and rely on intimidation with some skill to win games. When the refs put away the whistles “so the boys can work it out” it favours the dirty ducks. Flames looked scared to start the 3rd so the intimidation worked for a while.

    • Kevin R

      Actually, if we had gotten the 3rd goal & went up by 3 that game would have turned into a donnybrook. Once the game got close, both teams had to back off the cheap stuff. But Ducks started to skate in the 2nd & 3rd periods. They are a good team I hate to say but the win was so much fun last night. i got a little belligerent with a Ducks fan last night at the game, kinda of ashamed, was a little wired but we shook hands when we were leaving the game. 😐

        • Kevin R

          No he just got rubbing it in when Ducks tied it up, nothing physical, just a lot cheering extra loud & finger pointing when we scored that 3rd goal back at him. Thing was, everyone around him was as loud as me & I think it freaked him out a bit. If we can’t show any emotion then maybe it’s a good thing Nenshi built that $254million library.

  • MontanaMan

    Gutsy performance against a bigger, more experienced and talented Ducks team. The Getzlaf line was dangerous every time they were on the ice, but the Flames persevered. The emotion at the end of the game around Smith really told the story regarding the importance of the game. Flames win / Oilers get pummelled (again) – what’s not to like?

  • KeepitReal

    I think Lazar has shown us all he has. There ain’t anything he’s holding back so if the coach’s like what they see, great. But I’d like to see his spot given to one of the Stockton kids and give them a shot.

    Memo to TJ: your reluctance/inability/fear of taking a shot from the point makes you much less of a threat and makes you easier to defend against. You’re better than that. Pull the trigger.

    That’s two out ta three against the Ducks this year. I’ll take that any day.

    • calgaryfan

      Brodie looked like he wanted to be somewhere else last night, he had no compete and wanted no part of the Ducks. Every other Flame stood up to the Ducks crap and all played a great game!

        • Trevy

          I would trade Brodie plus for a Manson type defenseman any day of the week. Hats off to Benny for holding his own. It just goes to show you need that mixture of speed, skill and toughness to compete with the likes of Anaheim and LA. We’re now starting to get that blend with Hathaway, Ferland, Tkachuk, Bennett and Hamonic, although again, having another dman like Manson would be ideal

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        It really defies explanation why Brodie refuses to shoot, he is not fooling anyone either the fake shot. Despite not having a great shot it would be easier to deflect for the players in front of the net.

    • fumanchu1968

      I like Lazar. Now if he can learn to hit the broadside of a barn I’d like him even more. The kid is fast and I think that he’ll find his game if we’re patient with him..Cheers.

      • flames2015

        Lazar has played an average of 6 minutes a night for awhile now. What exactly is his purpose on the team. Kid needs to play and should be sent to Stockton. But they’ll never do that as it would look bad on management if hes picked up. We’re putting him in a no better situation than he was in ottawa to suceed.

      • Trevy

        I agree, I think the kid just lacks confidence right now and is trying too hard to make a contribution knowing he could be scratched again the next game. They do need to play him more consistently and now that a Jagr is gone, he could be a main fixture on that fourth line if he just keeps his game simple…and learn to hit the net

        • deantheraven

          He’d be great with Backlund and Tkachuk, even half time. Brouwer doesn’t add to that line. Let Lazar play at least til Frolik is back. That threesome needed a shake up, this is it!

      • Kevin R

        The refs were unbelievable. I felt like writing to Bettman, you ask fans & public to kick in huge $$$ to build your buildings, maybe fix the inconsistency & incompetence of your goddamn officiating first. It was just infuriating, it’s lie they just can’t help themselves trying to alter the outcomes of games. But after the 4 minute power play (if that’s what you want to call it) I think they were doing us a favour.

        • LannyMac

          In regards to the vets bowing out of the rough stuff. People who have accumulated millions of dollars become soft. The interest in or need to get your knuckles dirty disappears. Hence the difficulty in watching million dollar Divas float around the ice most nights

        • Captain Ron

          I’ve said it here on numerous occasions that the officiating is my least favorite thing about the NHL. Last night’s display was a prime example. How the Ducks get away with that crap without any consequence boggles my mind. I’d be throwing stuff on the ice if I was the coach.

  • buts

    Great game but the pp sucked the life out any momentum. What the hell was jony doing on that short handed goal…doing a flyby back check. Where were the vets when the ducks started their crap….no where. Brodie, Hamilton, Brouwer, Backlund all looked like they wanted no part of hitting, even Gio let Hathaway go after Grant when Gio was closer. Bennett, Hathaway, Mang, Janko, Kulak were the young players that didn’t get intimidated by the ducks crap. With any kind of pp this game was over but let gg and Cameron sink this ship. The talent is definitely there and I see a team where it’s the players wanting to win despite no leadership from the coaching.

  • RKD

    Kulak’s face atta boy Ferly, Ferly’s face yeah baby, Monahan I see you bro come on over, Stone can I get a five don’t leave me hanging, Johnny I’m coming over for the celly

  • MWflames

    Good couple of wins for the good guys:

    Repeat performances with extended periods of dominance will give them some confidence. Three games in row playing with a lead which is something they clearly need to practice.

    Nice to see them be on the right side of some late period goals.

    3rd and 4th lines are finally starting to out play their opponents. Even if they’re not putting up a ton of points, their play is great for momentum and wearing down the other teams defence and goalie. Would like to see hrivik slot in for stajan.

    Fire Dave Cameron. The power play is embarassing and making winning much harder than it needs to be.

  • Flaymin Frank

    Hathman gets flattened at centre ice by Beauchemin. The puck was nowhere near him. How do the two blind mice miss that call? CFL calibre officiating.

    The Ducks talent level is over estimated IMHO. The more they lose the dirtier they play. The Flame matched up to the physical play plus some.

    Brows is the epitome of mediocrity. A player of his seniority and salary needs to step up in games like we saw last nite.

  • Davebot

    That SH goal against was 100% on Tkachuk. He made a risky pass to the middle of the ice to a player in no position to receive it and after the turn over he lazily skated back on the back check. I love the kid, but he let the Ducks back in the game with a careless, lazy play and I would have stapled his ass to the bench for the rest of the game.

    • Avalain

      Benching young guys for one mistake is a great way to make them lose confidence in themselves and make them second guess everything they do on the ice. I’m ok with benching him for repeated mistakes (like when he was taking too many stupid penalties) but not one mistake. One mistake is something the you go over with during a video session the next day.

      • Davebot

        The benching isn’t for the mistake. The benching is for not caring that you made a mistake and failing to hustle to correct it. It’s not the first time he’s done it and he’s not the only player on the Flames to do it.

  • Atomic Clown

    Games like this is where veteran presence is incredibly useful. The Ducks resort to bullying when they’re losing, and you need to counter that. Brouwer, Hamonic, Gio needed to step up and make the ducks pay, something Bennett and Hathaway had to do

  • Rudy27

    That short handed goal looked like it was going to be the game breaker. Very poorly played on our part. Was that Johnny that floated by Silfverberg and basically skated himself to the corner? How do you not try to check the puck carrier in the slot!!!

    • Flaymin Frank

      Yeah, that was Jonny. It did look bad but in his defense I’ll say he was trying to cut off a potential pass to the Duck on Siverberg’s left and was was counting on Gio to neutralize the puck carrier.

  • Rudy27

    Can you imagine if it was Byng throwing Getzlaf’s stick across the ice rather than the other way around? Probably would have gotten a minor for unsportsmanlike conduct and a chat from the league!

  • HOCKEY83

    How great does Mangi look. Since he’s been called up every time he’s on the ice…EVERY TIME…the announcers can’t keep his name out of their mouths. Why they have Brouwer up with the 3M line is baffling. When Hathaway got sent to the sin bin for 10 mins Mangi Bennett and Janks looks incredible together. Put brouwer back on the 4th and put hathaway with 3M.
    I’ve never hid my feelings about his from the day he was signed but Finally…OH MY GOD…Finally That ridiculous side show that was Jaromir Jagr is finally over. The biggest joke signing the Flames ever made but hey they sold a lot of Jagr Merch. I’ll bet as well with FreeHam gone Dougie’s game will also pick up not having to worry about any family crap. He sure showed a spark last night. Absolutely love the direction the Flames are going in right now with all this young talent flying on the team.

  • WillyWonka

    considering the officiating…
    I get that ref’s miss stuff, or call the game differently then oter refs… i cna live with this inconsistency, but what bothers my is things like Hathaway being dumped from behind at center ice with no puck anywhere in the area… the slew foot on the goalie… the bump on the goalie after the period had ended and he was skating to the bench, and grabbing our guys stick at the bench and chucking it into the center of the ice… this kind of extra curricular activity, going unchallenged and unchecked by the refs, just looks bad all around on so many levels and is a huge embarrassment to the league.

    • Kevin R

      Not to mention countless crosschecks & saw one hit from behind around our net that was dangerous only for them to shortly after call some weak stick infraction on Monahan.

    • deantheraven

      it was the extra curricular stuff that got Byng in trouble. Thankfully, he seems smart enough to play to the edge and not over. Three suspensions in his young career would look different on another player.
      But the Ducks have a roster full of $h!t disturbers who consistently cross the line.What the Ducks did/do should be, as you said, a huge embarrassment. But the referees are the end-responsible ones for that crap. Their names should go on a list somewhere…
      At least now I have video examples of what a ‘poor sport’ looks like to show my son.

  • Sven

    I feel creeping optimism-

    From what I can recall I only remember one truly horrid game (vs Montreal) in the last 12 to 14 the Flames have played
    and how nice to be close enough to enjoy the rosy glow of the tire fire up north at Rogers Place and still stay far enough away from the stink as the Oil spontaneously combust

    I lived for years in Boston and half of the fun of being a Red Sox fan was hating on the Yankees….
    there is now a curious absence of Oiler boasts and taunts on these threads and their preseason parade plans appear to have been cindered…..
    .just a question of how long it takes McD to figure a way out of that he!!ho!e