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Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: Flames ride strong second to win in Jersey

Most people don’t like visiting Newark, but the Calgary Flames have had success there in recent years. They continued their steady play on Thursday night with a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils. They rode a strong goaltending performance by David Rittich and more strong offensive efforts from their top line to their third consecutive win and inched a little bit closer to a prospective playoff berth.

The Rundown

Neither side scored in the first period, though the Flames started relatively slowly and then woke up later in the period. shots were 12-8 Flames and scoring chances were 11-6 Flames.

The Flames’ efforts were rewarded in the second. Early on, Sean Monahan batted a rebound off a Dougie Hamilton point shot past Keith Kinkaid to make it 1-0 Calgary.

The lead didn’t last too long, though, as 3:07 later Hamilton coughed up the puck in front of the net and Taylor Hall got a couple cracks at the puck. He scored on his own rebound to make it 1-1. But seven minutes later, the Flames retook the lead (and never gave it back). Johnny Gaudreau had his pocket picked by Jesper Bratt, who led a two-on-one rush. Travis Hamonic defended it and the puck rapidly went back the other way, with Gaudreau beating Kinkaid on a breakaway to make it 2-1.

Before the period ended, Monahan extended the lead. He took a pass inside the Devils’ blueline and drove their net. His initial shot was saved by Kinkaid, but the rebound ricocheted back to Monahan and he beat Kinkaid short-side to make it 3-1.

Shots were 11-9 New Jersey, but scoring chances were 15-11 Flames.

The Devils were all over the Flames in the third, as the visitors seemed content to hang back and conserve their energy. They were out-shot 12-1 and out-chanced 10-2 by the Devils. Pavel Zacha scored on a nice net-front redirect off a nice pass from below the red line by Brian Boyle to make it 3-2 – Mark Giordano and Michael Stone got caught out of position and over-played the pass. But that’s as close as the Devils got.

Why The Flames Won

Goals and goaltending are two big things that can help a team win. The Flames’ offensive players did a great job getting David Rittich some run support and they buried more of their chances than the Devils did. But Rittich was sharper than Kinkaid, particularly early in the game and throughout the third period.

Red Warrior

Let’s go with Monahan, who had another game-winner and another multi-goal game.

The Turning Point

Gaudreau’s go-ahead goal to make it 2-1 came immediately after a two-on-one rush that ended due to some pressure by Hamonic. If Hamonic misplays that rush, suddenly the Devils are up and have momentum. But some good defense and some good transition passing swung the game to the Flames for good.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Frolik 60.6 55.6 0.500
Stone 60.0 71.4 0.375
Backlund 59.4 55.6 0.510
Tkachuk 58.8 50.0 0.525
Kulak 50.0 71.4 0.075
Hathaway 50.0 33.3 0.125
Brodie 48.7 61.5 0.925
Stajan 45.5 33.3 -0.010
Lomberg 45.5 33.3 0.140
Monahan 45.5 72.7 1.935
Hamonic 43.9 61.5 0.025
Gaudreau 42.4 72.7 1.800
Giordano 41.9 38.9 0.375
Hamilton 40.6 38.9 0.475
Ferland 39.4 80.0 0.640
Brouwer 35.3 40.0 -0.165
Bennett 33.3 41.7 -0.285
Jankowski 31.8 41.7 -0.390
Rittich 1.500
Smith

This and That

Monahan’s game-winning goal is (a) his 10th of the season and (b) his 29th of his career. Since he entered the NHL in 2013, only Alex Ovechkin, Max Pacioretty and Brayden Schenn have more game-winners.

The Drive to 95 (Points)

The Flames now have 64 points with 28 games remaining. They need 31 points over their remaining schedule – the equivalent of a 15-12-1 record to hit the 95 point mark that’ll probably be the playoff cut-off.

Up Next

The Flames (28-18-8) head across the Hudson River tomorrow as they play the New York Rangers in the third game of their lengthy road trip.

  • IUsedToHaveAName

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for the win but why oh why oh why did the Flames literally register one shot in the 3rd period? Two goals is the most dangerous lead to protect in hockey, why do they keep thinking they can do it?

      • BendingCorners

        In the old way of counting they would be 19-18-17 for 55 points in 54 games and would still be on the bubble to make the playoffs. The OT and SO wins inflate the totals but don’t seem to have a large impact on who gets in, except maybe one or two bubble teams (like Toronto last year) get in ahead of teams with more regulation wins.
        In 3rd but could drop to 10th again if LA keeps winning. Hope but no certainty for this team, no matter how we count the games.

    • aye

      I was thinking the same. With the race being so tight and so many teams battling and playing well, I wonder what the cut off will be this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are six 100+ points teams in the west.

    • Skylardog

      Lots of games within divisions ahead meaning that there will have to be a winner and a loser. Even if it goes to OT both teams can’t get 2 points so it will come back to about 95

        • Skylardog

          Hi OTW. Lots on the go right now. Figured someone would miss me eventually.
          We really don’t have much to offer up as bait, but Smith may be providing the kind of goaltending that can put a team on a playoff run. Hard not to bring in someone to help with a potential run, if we get a playoff spot that is…

          Without changes to special teams this team is going nowhere. It all comes down to deployment. What good is a rental or bringing in a body long term if we don’t know how to use that player, or rip up something that is working (such as Ferly on the 1st line) to make room.

          I actually think the bodies that can do the job are here, we just don’t know how to use them or use them right.

  • Calgarycandle

    This is going to be a long post.
    There was a lot for me as a Flames’ fan to like about this game. NJ was one of the games on this road trip I felt they needed to win. If they could go at least 4-2 with the really tough outs in Boston and Nashville I’d be satisfied. Not that Jersey is a slouch. Prior to tonight they had 62 points in 53 games exactly the same totals as the Flames.
    I liked about the Flames tonight that they really competed in the trenches. Harmonic threw his weight around and Hamilton, despite his gift-wrap to Hall, threw some nice hits. His IQ on bonking it off the goalie’s pad on Monahan’s first was high. Gio was his usual physical self and rest of the D played a smart, conservative game. It’s beginning to look like the “small sample size” argument may not be a valid assessment of Rittich. Hrudey commented post-game that the Flames play with confidence in front of him. .938 30-32 tonight is probably a good reason why. He is rock solid!
    JH and Mony were pure magic again. It would be nice to have more secondary scoring, but this was also atight checking game and the second line has been contributing. Brouwer to me does not seem out of place on the third line–he is certainly being paid at least third line minutes, but he Janko and Bennett are very trustworthy. Putting Lomberg on the fourth line with Hathaway and Stajan makes it tougher to play against and makes Lazar earn his place in the lineup.
    If the Flames can now go .500 on the road trip (2-2) they’ll have 68 points with 24 games left. They need only 27 points in those 24 games to hit the magic 95. Hopefully they do even better and secure a Pacific spot. Heartening to see them establish a new 3 game streak after going 2-4 during that horrid home stretch.
    Trash away, but if I were BT I’d think I’d have to be insane to fire GG in the middle of a tight playoff race with Calgary a point ahead of LA for the last playoff spot. This is a coach who has the Flames playing very well since about the 35 game mark of the season, and who has piloted the team to 10-2-4 in the last 16 games. Yes, the PP is horrid, but the PK–despite the goal against tonight–is very credible. One reason to fire a coach is the team has quit on him and teams that quit do not usually go 10-2-4.
    Calgary despite sitting back too much and being badly outshot in the 3rd did hold the lead and re-established its ability to win when leading after two periods. Maybe, just maybe, BT’s bet on establishing a very solid D core and GG playing to win tight games is finally working. Maybe BT’s bet on GG is not as wrong as we have always thought. Who knows, with JH, Mony, Byng, Gio, Hamilton as talents to work on the PP one day even that might even start to click. If so, watch out because we’d have a legitimate contender this season and then BT going all in is in fact not premature.

    • MontanaMan

      There is a 0% chance that Gulutzan gets fired at this point. The Flames may or may not make the playoffs but it will be close and the time for a coaching change isn’t now. Tre needs to tweak at the TDL but run with the current horses. If they don’t make the playoffs or if its a quick exit, a change will be made in the offseason.

    • IUsedToHaveAName

      Since the Flames won this game I’m not gonna be total salt here but while GG has got this team winning enough to have a satisfactory performance review his decisions regarding player deployment and his choice, not BTs choice but GGs choice to hire Cameron as the PP coach directly after an abysmal PP got him fired in Ottawa, are just a couple of the things that are sinking this team.

      I agree, they are in the thick of things right now so a coaching change would be career suicide for BT but when/if they miss the playoffs or get swept in the first round again, GG and Cameron will be the first to go.

      The fact of the matter is that with the firepower this team has, particularly Gio/Hammy and the entire top line, the PP should not be this bad. If the Flames had a top ten PP% like they should and a middle of the road PK% like they do, we’re talking about a few more points and a solid position in a divisional spot.

      • everton fc

        We can’t seem to win at home. Death sentence, when you’re trying to squeeze into the playoffs.

        We don’t need Brouwer on the 3rd line. We need him either on the 4th line, or gone. An ideal third-line for the playoff run would be Bennett-Jankowski-Grabner/Pageau. Then have Hathaway/Versteeg-Stajan/Lazar-Versteeg/Brouwer as your rotating 4th line. Ideally, it would be Versteeg-Stajan/Lazar-Hathaway. Hathaway has 2 goals/7 assists/9 points, in 31 games. Brouwer, who got 2nd & 3rd line minutes, sits at 3 goals/12 assists/15 points, in 54 games. Need I type more?

        Of course, neither GG or Brouwer is moving. GG has earned his place until season’s end. Brouwer has not. Grabner would be better for us on the PK, than Brouwer. So… Do you lose a prospect to dump Brouwer and make the playoffs? We need to think this way. Right now. We are one 3rd line RW away from a nice lineup. Versteeg should be on the 4th line, w/Hathaway. Stajan/Lazar centering is okay by me. Grabner on the 3rd line/RW is okay by me. Which prospect do you dump, to get rid of Brouwer? Please don’t list Wotherspoon, Poirier, Shinkaruk… We are talking Fox, Klylington (maybe)… Mangiapane… That level.

        Spit-balling here, post-game. I know Brouwer isn’t going anywhere, unless they buy him out, which they probably won’t. But a third line of Bennett-Jankowski-Grabner/Pageau is much more conducive to success, both short and long term, as we have only Foo in the pipeline, at RW. Reality.

        • Off the wall

          I agree Everton. I don’t wanna beat on Brouwer forever, but there are much better options.

          Either one of those players you mentioned would be nice, although I’m more inclined to go Pageau given his youth.

          I honestly don’t know how we’re going to acquire either/or.
          I’m not even going to try and guess at what Treliving is thinking.

          I know we have Versteeg coming back in March, however I’m with you, in that we ease him back into the lineup with 4th line duties. I’d hate to see another Jagr incident happen to Versteeg.

          • McRib

            I would consider giving away Adam Fox to ride ourselves of Troy Brouwers contract, if a trade was possible (Brouwer has a no-trade so all we can really do is buy him out at the end of the year) the fire it’s doubtful. Reason being is Rasmus Andersson looks legit and we already have Dougie Hamilton, Travis Hamonic who both shoot right (TJ Brodie has also been historically better on the right side as well). Adam Fox isn’t lighting the world on fire anymore now that he isn’t playing on a stacked Harvard team and NCAA players are always a little bit of a risk to sign (although that is usually overblown).

          • McRib

            Adam Fox NCAA Point Totals:
            2016-2017 – 1.14 PPG.
            2017-2018 – 0.63 PPG.

            Like I said twice in my last post it will never happen because Troy Brouwer cannot be traded, so trash away all you like. But if we are going all in on a Max Pacioretty, I’m a lot more comfortable trading Fox this year opposed to last.

            If this team had anyone even half decent in our bottom six we go from a fringe playoff team to potentially elite, as our Top. 6 is so legit and we don’t have anyone who can score in our Bottom 6. Not to mention I’m fine not doing anything until this offseason, but I do think some of you on here need to look at Fox’s body of work this year, opposed to last years hype. Dude has completely regressed.

  • aye

    Again, you are wrong on what happened on the goals. Zacha’s goal was not a redirect, it was a sneaky back-hand shot with his back to the goalie. On Monahan’s second goal, the initial shot was not saved by Kinkaid, it beat him but hit the post. If you didn’t watch the game, at least watch the gif in your own post.
    Sorry to pick on you about these things, but you do get it wrong way too often to make me wonder if you actually watch the games, and whether or not your analysis of the game is credible, or you are merely pulling and compiling stats from various sites.

  • UpTkachuk

    95 points!! GG was quoted in the offseason, telling us that this could be a 100 point team. I think the goal that the players have is to reach 100. I hope the goal is to still push to try to catch first place!! Vegas hasn’t had a swoon of major proportions and every team will be making a push to the post. Beating Nashville and/or Boston should be a goal, but winning the 2 games before we face them is the kind of thing that will get you into the playoffs.
    Finally, David Rittich is a gamer!! With the kind of play he showed tonight, Calgary has a strong tandem in goal and he has earned himself a spot on an NHL roster.

    • Mickey O

      “You can have good numbers and lose one, nothing. Or if you get two points, numbers don’t matter. Two points are the most important to me.” – David Rittich on the Flames site.

      I remember a quote from Huska down in Stockton. He said if Rittich won 10-9 he would honestly be walking around the room with a big smile on his face. All he cares about is winning, and he absolutely hates to lose. It is that competitive nature and his great sense of humour that makes his teammates play hard in front of him. He’s a keeper.

      • aye

        There were talks that Gillies might be the currency to add at TDL, and Rittich may be in play as well, I really hope Tre thinks better of trading away Rittich, he really deserves to be here, and has earned more starts too.

        • everton fc

          Rittich is our next #1 goalie. A golden needle in the haystack, like Kipper. Smith may be able to play until he’s 40. If moving Gilles also gets rid of Brouwer, make the move this evening.

          • aye

            I don’t have any sources, just reading what’s out there. True or not, who knows, but here’s from TSN’s Pierre LeBrun a couple of days ago:
            “… I think the Flames covet a scoring winger if they can pull it off. Here’s the problem, they don’t have a first or a second-round pick – those picks went in the Travis Hamonic deal last summer – so they have to be a little more creative. And what I’m being told is that they might listen on a guy like Jon Gillies. He’s a 6-foot-6 beast of a goalie who is 24 years old. They’re loaded in goal as people know with Tyler Parsons to David Rittich, who by the way they might listen on him as well, but Gillies is the guy that I think Calgary would move in a potential deal that made sense for a scoring winger. Not a rental, but a player that can play past this year.”

      • Off the wall

        Great post Mickey.
        Rittich has all the tangibles and intangibles to be a great keeper’ on our team. I admire his no nonsense way of saying things.
        He’s a beauty!

    • BendingCorners

      They could easily reach 100 points even with their weak PP and their questionable third period play. In their last 28 games they are 13-7-8 for 34 points. If they do the same in the remaining 28 games then 64+34 = 98. In with a shot at a home opener.
      SJS going into tonight had 29 games left and were 14-9-6=34 in their past 29 so again 64+34=98.
      LAK have 29 games left and in their past 29 are 16-10-2=34 so 63+34=97.
      No guarantees but if these three teams finish the way they started the Flames open at home against SJS by virtue of more R/OT wins.

      • aye

        Personally I think LAK are trending downward, they are also embarking on a 7-game road trip with 2 sets of back-to-backs. I’m more concerned about the Ducks, especially now that they are healthy.

        • BendingCorners

          I don’t think the duckies get there. Kesler is still hurting even though he’s playing. The rest of them are slowing down a bit too much. Anything is possible and if they do get in they will be dangerous. Happy to let Vegas deal with them in the first round.

          • McRib

            LA has the second best goal differential by a mile in the Pacific. Four of those Seven games are against non-playoff opponents and they have won their last two. I wouldn’t be writing off LA any time soon.

  • Atomic Clown

    A) Monahan is an elite finisher. If the dude could carry the puck a bit more, Jed be cracking 40 goals every year. B) After Smith, Gio is probably the flames MVP. Rarely have I seen a dman so poised and consistent day in day out, especially since he plays a more physical game. Lidstrom, Suter and Niedermeyer come to mind watching Gio. Absolute beast

  • Chiz

    how would Jarome iginla look as Rw3? Sentimentality says it would be awesome. And there is no doubt that the flames could use a right shot rw with offensive upside to mentor janko and Bennett. But, on the other hand, what does iggy have left to offer? We don’t need another slow 40 something out of game shape and prone to injury… I would just hate for iggy to not get to retire on his own terms, as opposed to quietly fade away.

    • flames2015

      These posts about bringing Iginla back are both irritating and non logical. Look at the facts here, Iginla has not skated in an NHL game since the beginning of April last year. He had hip surgery in the fall, and was not even offered a try out offer by any of the 31 teams in the league. We opted for a 45 year old Jagr instead. This game is built on speed, and the game has passed him by. Move on already.

  • everton fc

    Also…

    Hate to say it – I like Bennett. But he was drafted to be a more prolific player. My sense is he may be a 3rd liner, “ceiling”. I really wonder what a solid RW would do for both he and Jankowski, both still kids, being asked to do some pretty heavy lifting, in terms of secondary scoring.

    Can Lomberg play RW one game with them?! I think Hathaway was a better “spark” than old-man Brouwer (Stajan has matched Brouwer’s goal total, and may exceed him, come season’s-end. Brutal.)

    Would anyone Matt Martin for Brouwer, if we ate salary? Or is this a wash…??

    • BendingCorners

      No to Martin. He lacks the talent.
      I like Lomberg but as an energy guy. I don’t think he will score much in the NHL. I would not be surprised if BT did nothing much until next summer’s camp, and monitors how Foo is doing.

    • KKisTHEproblem

      Yup, Bennett is absolutely a 3rd liner. Remember when he went back to Jr the year he had surgery and had 24 points in 11 games, then had the awesome playoff? Where is that guy? He is not the same. Don’t know what happened but 36 pts to 26 pts, on pace for 27 points this year. Pitiful for a 4th overall. He just does not make good decisions with the puck, does not make his line mates better, he does fore check well and is OK defensively but there is not even close to even 2nd line offense there. Its too bad, such high hopes, our highest daft pick ever.

    • Puckhead

      “Hate to say it – I like GG. But he was chosen to be a better coach, especially with the young players. My sense is he may be a junior coach. I really do wonder what a solid PP coach would do for both he and…”

      Sounding like a broken record here but I think a majority of FN followers would like to see 21 year old Bennett under a different coach before parting ways.

  • BurningSensation

    Assorted things:

    GG is fine, but Cameron has got to go. The PP is horrific, and that is on him

    Rittich looks like the long sought after backup goalie who can actually play. We haven’t had one of those since maybe ever.

    I’ve assumed Brouwer getting good ice time was a result of trying to pump and dump him. Because I see no earthly reason he should ever play. If he’s ‘good in the room’ make him the PP coach, but for heavens sake don’t ever put him out on the PP.

    Bennett should be on Jankowski’s wing until further notice,

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Maybe the worst move in Flames history was in the early autumn of 1989 when Fletcher accepted Peplinski’s retirement. Why would a bottom six forward whose best days were behind him cause the defending cup champs to crater? Pep was a heart and soul guy who would do whatever was required in whatever situations he was put in. Even more importantly, Pep’s dressing room presence was legendary. He could get his teammates to believe in themselves, each other, their coaches, the system and the organization. When he retired, a huge void was created that was not filled for many more years.

      What if Brouwer is today’s Pep? Make him a coach? No, that won’t work because then he would be working the other side of the fence. He’d be part of management–the arch enemy of the players.

      Losing Pep and gaining Soviet legend Makarov should have been a huge win for the ’89 Flames. It was not except for player stats. As a team, they were out in Round 1 to Grekzky’s Kings, and things just got worse from there.

      There is more than meets the eye, and maybe Brouwer is the more. We know what the team is with Troy, but what are they without him? Finding out, especially at this juncture of the season, might tip the balance so that the Flames will be battling the Oilers in April, not in a best of 7 but for best tee times.

      • Off the wall

        Nigel, I must say I enjoy how differently you look at things.

        For the record, I don’t trash posts.I just don’t cheer them, I think it says the same thing, while being a bit less contriving.

        That being said, your post made me burst into laughter. Sorry

        If Brouwer is the glue that holds our Flames fabric together, then the Flames deserve to have the threads come undone. One by one.

        By the way, I edited this 3 times just so I wouldn’t offend you …

        • BringtheFire 2.0

          @OTW

          So, instead of providing a rebuttal to any of Nigel’s fine points, you just say; “I laugh at you.”

          That’s some GlensGel-level commenting right there, buddy. You’re dropping logic bombs here, buddy. Keep it up.

          * claps *

    • The Beej

      Yes I agree 100% gg is fine the powerplay is the problem.

      GG is way too heavily criticized on this site. He has our scoring chance numbers up very high which bodes well.

      It is the powerplay which is killing us.

      Goaltening – fantastic. Defense pairings are coming around and team defense had improved. Penalty kill is pretty double plus decent now.

      There are a few things you can knit pick with GG and his player usage etc but he has agreed to follow the development plans that are in place for the young players and he has helped graduate 4 this year. 4!

      Cameron needs to go.. but to all you arm chair GMs out there who advocate penciling prospects into roster spots… firing Gulutzan every time we hit a rough patch (even though he instantly helped take us to the playoffs and become a positive play driving team… oh and the scoring chances… some of those are going to start going in).

      Overall Gulutzan done a good job and helped improve the team.

      If you really think firing your coach every year because he has a couple flaws… penciling in prospects and ignoring development plans is a good way to build a team then you should cheer for the oilers. That is 100% oilers management style. Please explain to me why flames fans on this site want that style to come here?

      Gulutzan has helped our scoring chance numbers get very high. If you replace him there is a good chance we will get worse… not better. I feel many fans on this site have a short term view but should look longer and have some patience. Let this team build. Let the prospects develop.

      • BendingCorners

        I don’t know if I should cheer this post or start crying. If the Flames make it to the third round I’ll agree that GG’s flaws are small enough to give him another year to iron them out. Best I can do, even though your comment re the Oilers was bang on.

      • cberg

        GG has ‘responded’ to a lot of the specific, well-deserved criticism sent his way and the team is playing better. At this point in the season he’s here till the end. If he continues to improve and the team plays well there will be less call/need for his firing. We can say the same about players. Results matter, we are now getting them and let’s enjoy it while it lasts. Having said all that, this team would likely be much better with a better coach…. that’s the conundrum.

      • JusAFlamer

        “GG is fine” ?!?!
        i can understand looking at the numbers and saying, well we have improved. BUT so has the roster, the sheer number of head-scratching decisions made continuously is the reason for the anti-GG sentiment.

        Road vs Home records alone testify that he cannot line match when gets the chance. The baffling PP, the strange player usage and ice-times, the 0 emotion (except for the 1 time in season where he was told his job on the line).

        The guy is a good/great assistant coach (defense) in NHL, has no clue or instincts for Head Coach at NHL level. Gave him a year to show what he had, and the flames are winning in spite of the coach not because of him.

        Sorry BUT anyone that comes out and states he wants them playing to get to overtime IS NOT who you want calling the shots. You need someone with the drive that wants to WIN

  • Guest

    Been a while since I posted last here. I think the Flames are pretty good. Some random thoughts:

    – Brouwer is a mess. When Versteeg gets back does Brouwer move the Lazar/Lomberg types to the press box?

    – on Lazar, I’m in record as hating the trade just from the principle of throwing away that 2nd. If we trade Lazar at the deadline what can we get?
    – speaking of trade bait, what would Stone fetch? There would be no downgrade to Andersson. Could Lazar and Stone net a few picks back or a decent third line RW?
    – no way Cameron is back next year if they don’t completely rescue special teams
    – let’s hope when the season begins next year they stop throwing away games because of Grossman/Glass/Lack absurdity again. Those points cost us every year!

      • BendingCorners

        Crazy thought of the night (4 glasses of really cheap wine will do that to me – $28 for a 4L box of red). Brouwer plus Lazar plus Stone to Arizona for Fischer. Our motivation should be obvious. The ‘Yotes could benefit too though – they need an RD who can play and Schenn isn’t it. They also will need some veteran leadership with Richardson leaving, and Brouwer won’t be in the way of the other youngsters that Arizona will still have. Lazar still has potential and can play well defensively, and is cheerful.
        I don’t know – good idea? bad?
        Would we need to retain some salary too (it is Arizona after all)?
        Would we need to include another 3rd round pick that becomes a 2nd if we make the playoffs?
        Not sure he’s worth all of that, but Fischer looks pretty good. Add in the cap space and the roster space that opens up and it might be worth even the higher cost versions of the trade.

  • Guest

    I guess since we are throwing out crazy things… I’m 99% confident Backlund signs (it would be easier without the freaking taxes here but I digress). I love Backlunds game. He’s so under appreciated.

    I would like to see Janko, Tkachuk and new right winger as a line next year. Bennetts biggest issue is that he doesn’t receive passes well. Backlund makes it so easy for a guy like Bennett. Janko would benefit from having MT as well – but they need another high IQ speedster on that RW to complete that line. And it would be the new second line. I can see that being dangerous. Who is this ideal RW? I’m not sure but he can be smaller and relentless.

    • Off the wall

      Call me crazy then as well. I like it. A whole lot.
      I believe Bennett would benefit from Backlund ‘s game.
      He needs some one who can help drive play, and is often trying to do this himself, but lacks the experience. I think this is where Backlund can be his biggest asset, teaching him the games ins and outs, while witnessing it firsthand in game situations.
      You can watch other lines do it from the bench, however the best learning comes from playing in those moments. It’s a memory response, guys like Bennett seem to respond better to.

      Cheers for your crazy thoughts!

      I really hope we don’t give up on Bennett.

      • everton fc

        The Leafs will move neither. Leivo, Carrick, Martin, Soshnikov, maybe Komarov… These are the guys I think get moved. And for picks only, or packaged, 2 for 1.

    • Cfan in Van

      If he keeps it up, he’ll likely get a bigger load next year, as Smith isn’t getting any younger. Honestly, that might be the best way to Maximize the 2yr Smith contract… Go a bit lighter on Smitty (60/40), and let him go ape when it matters.

  • BendingCorners

    Just watched the last of the Vegas-Sharks game. Vegas never quits. Dominated the last ten minutes till they scored, then weathered a surge by San Jose and got an empty-netter. Then kept pressing.
    One other thing I noticed is that having a mix of left and right sticks makes controlled passing easier.

  • Calgarycandle

    With SJ loss just now, Calgary and them have identical 28-18-8 64 records. SJ under .500 since Thornton was injured on January 24th. Couldn’t find update on when he’ll be back, but the original forecast was “several weeks.”

    • aye

      I think SJ might slide a bit as well with Jumbo Joe out. Never was convinced that Jones is legit, he really only had one great season, and benefits from SJ’s solid defensive system.
      Not sold on the LAK either, they still can’t seem to score. Yes, the Flames also can’t score, but we have the talent and generate more, just can’t seem to bury them. The Kings are just boring. Didn’t even deserve to beat the Oilers last night if it weren’t for Talbot giving up goals on first shots of the 1st & 2nd period.

  • cgyokgn

    Just watched Vegas take out the Sharks after a sluggish start… they sure know how to play a third period and finish strong. And St. Louis beat up on Colorado so we got a bit of help tonight and are in second place in the Pacific… probably until tomorrow when pending LAs game vs Florida tomorrow… can’t see Florida winning but we can only hope.

    • aye

      And ARI shockingly came back from 3-0 down to beat MIN in OT, so we are currently tied with MIN and SJ with same number of games. Too bad MIN currently has the tie-breaker over the Flames, but we have the tie-breaker over the Sharks.

  • SydScout

    Because I’m crap at knowing where the data is, and worse at analysis, could FN do a piece on how we fare in the third carrying a lead shots-wise? And for relevance, how we do relative to the league when carrying a league ie do we sit back more or less v others in the third or with a lead towards the end of a game? Maybe relative to the better and worse teams too. I know, it’s akaing you to do all the work. Sorry!

    • Cfan in Van

      I’d bet the opposing team averages 3/1 shot differential once we’re ahead in the 3rd.
      The defensive shell that many teams use during the last couple of minutes makes sense, but we tend to do it for an entire period. It’s also a mental problem, because if they coast for a half period and the game gets tied up, then they’ve got a huge mental shift to make to get back in attack mode.

  • bushwick bill

    no idea how a large number of you guys can rip on GG consistently. obviously the powerplay needs a fix but no one here has any idea what GG says to that team and i guarantee it wasnt “get one shot in the 3rd boys and lets play on our heels” blows my mind how he can be blamed for everything

    • Chucky

      If a team continually does the same thing in the same circumstances then it is coaching. The Flames go into a defensive shell if they get a lead in the third period, if the coaching staff was driving them to get another goal the team would eventually change. That combined with Gulutzan’s earlier comments about getting a point and getting to overtime put abysmal third period play squarely in the coach’s corner.

    • freethe flames

      Not sure if anyone said that GG told them to quite playing in the third. The reason people are so against GG has more to do with his boring system that does fit his team, to his frequent poor player usage and the fact that after a year and a half his staff has not fixed the PP despite having the talent to do so. These are the consistent complaints against GG; unfortunately it gets lost when people complain about his hair gel etc.

      This team cannot continue to expect the top line to score 3 goals to make the playoffs; it’s great and it’s fun to watch when they are cooking but we all know that they run into droughts. The second line needs to score. The third lie being centered by a rookie and having both Bennett and Brouwer together (note: GG tried this last year and it did not work with Tkachuk; why would you try it again?) The problem is we need another high hockey IQ guy playing with Janko or a guy with high energy levels who can skate to make this line effective. Those expecting Versteeg to make the difference are IMO fooling themselves.

      • everton fc

        Grabner would be a good addition, as our 3rd line RW. And he’d come relatively cheap. Pageau, as well. Both fast. Grabner also good on the PK. Hathaway helped that 3rd line more than Brouwer. Not by much, but seems that way…

        Our depth at forward on the farm is not good. Everyone loves Mangiapane, but he was a 6th round pick for a reason. I like him too, but he may be nothing more than a tweener. Ditto guys like Hrivik (getting old) and Foo. And we have no idea about Klimchuk. Something to consider, as the team is in sort of a win-now mode, w/no picks…

  • Flint

    I’d be so much more confident in our team if we could aquire a C/RW to bolster the bottom 6. It doesn’t have to be someone who needs to have a big development potential, just a solid, good skating, bottom 6 right shooter who can play C or RW.

    The playoffs are a war of atrition. I know we’re getting Versteeg back soon. But that Jankowski line is looking bad of late. Stajan should be in the presser with Lazar as depth/injury replacement.

    I feel like we’re one depth forward and one Versteeg away from being a pretty daunting team. As we stand, I think we’re a first round and out… if we make the playoffs.

    • Flint

      I guess Carolina would feel they’re too close to trade a guy, but Derek Ryan maybe would be the type. Good skater, smart. Cheap, UFA. Not big, but… Another one, maybe, would be Tommy Wingels. UFA, Cheap, can play both positions. Sure, Wingels may not be better than what we have in a totally healthy line-up, but with injuries, and playoff battles… I say load up.

      I think both Wingels and Ryan would be better than Stajan and Lazar short term. Plus, they are UFA’s, they’d be dirt cheap rentals I think off two teams, especially Chicago who are going to miss. Send a tweener/someone from the farm over, maybe even try and recoup a pick?