Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: What happens in Calgary, stays in Calgary

History was made at the palatial, International Olympic Committee approved Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday night as the Calgary Flames faced the upstart Vegas Golden Knights for the very first time. Unfortunately for the Flames, a rock-solid 58 minutes of fairly clean hockey turned into a regulation loss as the Flames gave up three goals in 49 seconds en route to a 4-2 loss to the Golden Knights.

The Flames’ points streak ends after 11 games.

The Rundown

The first period was very entertaining early on, with few whistles and lots of pace and nice passing. The Flames got a power play early off a Vegas puck-over-glass penalty but couldn’t bury any of their chances. Vegas got a power play of their own after Sam Bennett caught William Carrier with a high stick, and they capitalized. With tons of bodies in front of Mike Smith – particularly Alex Tuch – Reilly Smith redirected a Jonathan Marchessault point shot into the open net to make it 1-0. Shots were 12-10 Flames, but the locals had as much as a 9-3 edge before Vegas roared back. Scoring chances were 9-8 Vegas.

Vegas came out with some energy in the second period, but neither side got strong chances until midway through the period when Sam Bennett had a good look… and his wrist shot missed the net by several feet. Bennett made up for it on a two-on-one rush with Troy Brouwer. He looked to pass the puck to Brouwer, but Brad Hunt laid out to block the pass. Bennett tried to slide the puck across anyway, but it careened past Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 1-1. (Bennett and Hunt crashed into the boards and Bennett briefly went to the locker room, but didn’t miss any shifts.) The Flames took the lead with 77 seconds left in the third off a really nice individual effort by Matthew Tkachuk.

Tkachuk collected the rebound off an initial Dougie Hamilton shot and went behind the net. He faked to one post, leading to Marc-Andre Fleury diving to the far post… but Tkachuk darted back to the other side and tucked it into the near post (with Fleury trying in vain to recover) to make it 2-1 Flames. Shots were 14-10 Vegas and scoring chances were 8-7 Vegas.

Both teams played a tight third period, with Vegas guarding against giving up a third goal and the Flames trying not to give up too much. Unfortunately, the dam burst for Vegas in the final two minutes. First, Micheal Frolik coughed up the puck and it ended up behind Smith – an errant pass in his own zone to T.J. Brodie ended up on Erik Haula’s stick and the game was tied at 2-2. Off the next face-off, Marchessault danced around a pair of Flames and beat Smith short-side to make it 3-2. And the game was entirely lost by way of a David Perron empty net goal to make it 4-2. Shots were 11-11, while scoring chances were 13-10 Flames.

Why The Flames Lost

Honestly? They played well enough to win, and a power play goal really would’ve been nice, but their jumpiness in their own end late in the game really came back to hurt them. They made adjustments after a shaky end to the first period and carried play for the balance of the game… until the last two minutes. They probably deserved a better fate tonight.

Red Warrior

Tkachuk was very good this evening, with his sweet goal being the cherry on top of a very strong game.

The Turning Point

Frolik’s errant pass completely discombobulated the Flames. They ran around their zone for the next 15 seconds, which resulted in two goals.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Giordano 68.8 55.6 0.700
Hamonic 62.8 66.7 0.625
Hamilton 62.5 55.6 1.375
Stajan 61.1 66.7 0.235
Brodie 60.8 75.0 0.550
Frolik 60.7 42.9 0.850
Hathaway 60.0 66.7 0.275
Gaudreau 60.0 63.6 0.550
Ferland 59.0 63.6 0.500
Tkachuk 58.6 42.9 0.925
Monahan 56.8 63.6 0.725
Backlund 56.7 42.9 0.330
Bennett 54.8 33.3 1.325
Jankowski 53.3 40.0 0.445
Brouwer 48.2 40.0 1.000
Lazar 46.7 100 -0.050
Stone 39.4 37.5 0.025
Kulak 37.5 33.3 -0.200
Smith 0.850

This and That

Things Vegas’ social media guy seemed to know about Calgary before arriving here: pro wrestling legend (and Canadian national treasure) Bret Hart lives here. Well, the Hitman was at the game!

The Flames were 50-0-3 when leading after two periods under Glen Gulutzan heading into tonight, with this being the first regulation loss over the past two seasons in that situation. In four seasons under Bob Hartley, they were 84-9-7 (15th in the NHL by that measure).

The Drive to 95 (Points)

The Flames now have 58 points with 32 games remaining. They need 37 points over their remaining schedule – the equivalent of a 18-13-1 record to hit the 95 point mark that’ll probably be the playoff cut-off.

Up Next

The Flames (25-17-8) are back in action on Thursday night when they face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Baaaaaaa Haaaaa Haaaaa, Ahhh, GG Hockey~! Give Me Some .500 and make it shine! There is nothing left to do as fans of this team other than Roll your eyes and laugh… If “THIS” is what BT is Fine with? then “THIS” is what we get! No point to investing heartfelt passion and effort in this team anymore… I’m just going to expect mediocrity, lots of passing and fold up third periods, I’ll laugh when its all done and over and say… yup~! Not Surprised. If they win here and there that will be nice but any expectations for this team to be a serious threat in the playoffs? C’mon That isn’t going to happen under this coaching tandem and the systems they play.

  • Trevy

    I’m thinking the reason Treliving hasn’t fired GG yet is because most likely he would have to promote one of his assistant coaches in the interim. So that would probably mean Cameron as he has the most experience and since he’s the worst of the bunch behind that Flames bench, everything remains status quo and BT will probably ride out the season with these 3 stooges

  • buts

    I thought the flames played very well against a fast well coached team. Can’t believe it but Dougie threw a body check. Special teams was arguably the difference. Brodie must of been shocked when Frolik passed it back. Bottom line a teams strength, identity and fragility starts in the dressing room. The flames character reflects GG.

  • Alberta Ice

    Hey, the good news is we are only a point from being back in the playoffs. Can an embarrassing loss turn the corner for this team? Now it’s our turn to show our anger and turn it into something positive. Karma.

    • Franko J

      Never gonna happen with this team. They may have some skill, but lack the motivation and ambition to rip apart another team. To me most of this team could care less.

  • VoRaCS

    Does anyone else think that Backlund is the weak link on PP1? l’ve liked his defensive/shutdown game and he can produce offensively, but he seems to be the guy struggling on that power play unit.

  • VoRaCS

    It would also be nice for the 4th line to chip in with some offence every 40-50 games or so. I wouldn’t hesitate to use all three AHL call ups there for awhile. How could they be worse than what we’ve had so far?

    • Seattle_Flames

      Agreed, Stajan isn’t an NHLer now but he’s being played to get to 1000. Classy token move by the organization but that 4th line has provided nada.

        • McRib

          Klimchuk had much better finish than Lazar in the WHL, playing in tougher circumstances on weaker teams. Klimchuks offensive production was also far more tangible for future NHL success. Lazar just used his size to dominate against younger players at 19 years old, being what one calls a tweener. Lazars goals were mostly all off unskilled plays where he drove the net and shovelled home pucks. Now that he can’t do that he’s got nothing. Klimchuk actually had a Hockey IQ with above average puck skilled

          Lazar 0.85 PPG Draft +1, 1.31 PPG Draft +2.

          Klimchuk 1.30 PPG Draft +1, 1.33 PPG Draft +2 (1.51 after being traded to a team with some help in Brandon).

  • Seattle_Flames

    I’m on board with making a coaching change or changes but the problem is who is available right now to come in and take over? Tippet? Someone mentioned Adam Oates after the coiler game. My patience has almost run out, but I also don’t want us having a coaching carousel similar to deadmitton. They shoulda jumped on Boudreau when he was available, they coulda got Gallant last year. Woulda, coulda, shoulda, what’s next?

  • Glensgel

    I have been a flames fan since I sat on my dad’s knee in the corral. In the dome our seats were section R2 Row 12. My seat was beside Martha Johnson wife of the late great Badger Bob Johnson. I have and will always cheer for this team. Here comes the but…I have never been so frustrated with this organization as I am right now. Outside of a couple of plugs on this team there should be nothing but great times. This team has elite forwards, an elite goalie, and a defence core that champion teams are made of. Whats missing? A competent coach. This man baffles even the simplest of hockey fans with his insane decision making, player usage, useless systems, lack of accountability, and player management. This season will go down as a bust and my finger at least is pointed firmly at the management for allowing this incompetant clown to oversea what could have been a very promising team and exciting season. Time to take the clown down. Fire this well groomed turd so at least they can hit the ground running next year.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      You’re guilty of a selective memory, my friend. How could you say that this edition of the Flames has frustrated you more than past teams? Frustrating even more than those post 1989 clubs that still had a heap of Stanley Cup talent on them but played like clowns? You weren’t frustrated by the entire Buttons and bows’ cavalcade of comedy or the last year or so of Sutter’s reign of error? Just get a grip and stop behaving like a European or South American footballer and behave yourself. There are children present.

  • 19289

    Was at the game tonight and long time ticket holder. I read u guys all the time and enjoy the entertainment value. To me the gaff of the game happened around the 2 minute mark immediately before the Frolik gaff. At about the 2min mark with the lead we had possession and skated as a group out of our end and we went for a 5 guy line change. This so called possession team dumped it in and left the ice instead of at least one guy skating it in and killing time in the Offensive zone while the rest of the line changed. Instead we gave up possession and Knights Schmidt skated it up. Passed to the blue line where Frolik was not yet ready. And you know what happened next. Bad line change to give up Possession. From a freaking so called possession team. That is the single mistake that caused the breakdown IMO. Frolik said he might have panicked. I forgive him. I hope it wasn’t the coach calling for that I’ll advised whole line change. A timeout after the tying goal might have helped to.

    • ThisBigMouthIsRight

      This team is Coached to do that every game regardless of the score, They start to do it at around the 4 min left mark… Its the Coaching Philosophy… Gain the redline – Dump the puck in and make a full change, wait for the other team to attack then repeat (if you don’t get scored on)! Its the best way to lose the game time and time again… But That is What the Coaches are Coaching… (So like I said above) This is what you get!

  • Franko J

    This team had their “best effort” come the 7 game winning streak. Don’t worry or fret when the games don’t mean much by the end of the season they will start winning again. I got trashed earlier but I think they will be “sellers” at the deadline. For me, there is only one untouchable player on this team. The rest are all tradable.

  • Lamepoop

    I don’t know if comments like this are wanted here but just wanted everyone to know that Gaudreau will be down by South Trail Chrysler tomorrow from 5-6:30pm to sign autographs and take pics. Just wanted to give a heads up to all you lovely folks here. Ill be headed there aswell 🙂

  • WildfireOne

    And one more thing. The breakout is a freaking gongshow if just ONE thing, one pass, one timing misstep, goes wrong. I hate to quote The Burden, but I think he’s right about this. We’ve seen that clownfest fire drill in our backyard that too often this season, and it’s a systems issue.

    I think Hartley’s system was a little too facile for Treliving (and he was probably right), so he went to the other extreme. But now we have the opposite problem — an overly complex machine that has no way to account for little misalignments.

    Please hire a coaching Goldilocks, Mr. Treliving. Sometime before this core moves on.

  • Korcan

    Ugh! What a disheartening loss. I am very curious (anxious) to see how the team responds on Thursday. This has the feel of one of those pivotal games, which could lead to greater things or to disaster for the season depending on how they respond (especially when coming on the heals of multiple other OT losses after giving up the lead). Will they come out determined to never let something like this happen again, or will they become a fragile group who never feel comfortable/confident with a lead and become the authors of their own demise. Please let it be the former!

  • Frank the Nose ?

    If I were to choose players from this roster to construct a new team I’m not sure if I’d even pick half ,probably mostly prospects.
    This team is too soft too many nice polite so called hockey players . Would never win anything in the playoffs anyway the way this team prances around. The number 1 centre doesn’t bodycheck and the Captain doesn’t lead. Maybe TKACHUK can get us into the playoffs by himself .

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Apart from a total collapse for about a minute, the Flames were pretty solid last night against the Rusty Knights. The locals scored twice for the first time in a long time against a team not called the Oilers. Second line scoring returned. The lads kept up with the swift-skating Knights. All in all a pretty solid effort. Give this kind of effort for the rest of the regular season, the Flames are a lock to make the playoffs.

    • Frank the Nose ?

      It’s a 60 min game . and there seems to be a theme of these “collapses ” . That’s two points wasted in 1min . But yeah other than that decent game but all for nothing now. if this pp could score Flames wouldn’t be on a losing streak . Gonna be hard to win if you can only score 1-2 goals

      • FlamesFanOtherCity

        The positive thing is that this loss will ensure they look at the PP as a failure. Wasn’t much time to practice due to the break. They need to look at the design of the play and the people used. What they have isn’t getting the job done. Who is available for a pass from Johnny? Gio. Who is available for a pass from Backlund. Gio. We had some early success with Ferland on the top unit, but it became stagnant. Instead of sitting Brodie, we just replace Ferland. That didn’t work, so we replaced Brodie with Gio, but still played him on the 2nd unit.