Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: Flames feel the grind in Beantown

The Boston Bruins are a really good hockey team. They’ve been playing some of their best hockey of the season lately. The Calgary Flames have also been fairly good, but they’re (a) five games into a lengthy road trip and (b) without Mike Smith, arguably their best player. They sure looked like a tired, shaky bunch throughout a 5-2 loss to the Bruins on Tuesday night.

A game against a top team can be construed as a measuring stick; on this occasion, the Flames did not measure up in the slightest.

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The Rundown

The Flames got off to a rough start. The Bruins generated a bunch of chances off the opening face-off, and 28 seconds in Riley Nash buried a pass from behind the net from David Backes to make it 1-0. But the Flames answered back a minute and a half later, as Garnet Hathaway’s crashing and banging behind the net dislodged the puck… which squirted right out front to Sam Bennett for a tap-in to make it 1-1. Midway through the period, the Flames took the lead. On a shift that generated multiple scoring chances, Johnny Gaudreau tapped a rebound past a prone Tuukka Rask to make it 2-1. Shots were 11-10 Flames, scoring chances were 9-7 Bruins

The Flames were flat in the second. An early power play resulted in jack squat, but it gave the Bruins some energy. A bit of tic-tac-toe passing after a kill allowed Charlie McAvoy to set up Nash for a tap-in and his second goal of the game to tie things up at 2-2. That was all the offense anybody got in the second, but the Bruins were all over the Flames throughout the period. Shots were 15-8 Bruins, chances were 8-3 Bruins.

The Flames played awful in the third period, so here’s a picture of a dog.

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What a good boy.

The Flames were scored on thrice in the third. First, with Michael Frolik in the box, Patrice Bergeron was sprung on a partial rush by Torey Krug. Bergeron’s wrister beat David Rittich to make it 3-2. Later in the period, the Bruins got a three-on-two rush off a bad Flames line change. The initial scoring chance was broken up, but Brad Marchand’s subsequent shot – with fresh Flames skaters scrambling to cover somebody (anybody!) ended up with a Bergeron tip and a 4-2 lead for the home side. Zdeno Chara added an empty netter with just under four minutes left to ice this one. Shots were 10-8 Bruins, but chances were 5-5.

Why The Flames Lost

Boston was flat-out better than them, but the special teams opportunities the Flames got really should’ve given them a chance to stay in the game. They did not. Special teams cost them points tonight.

Red Warrior

Let’s go with Bennett, who scored a goal and was crashing and banging throughout the game.

The Turning Point

The Flames had two power plays while the game was tied. They had another power play when they were down 3-2. They generated nothing. Pick any one of those three woeful PPs, which gave tons of momentum to the Bruins.

The Numbers

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

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Player Corsi
Bennett 57.1 66.7 1.215
Stajan 53.3 33.3 1.175
Lazar 50.0 33.3 0.140
Giordano 50.0 37.5 1.100
Hamonic 50.0 33.3 0.275
Tkachuk 47.6 28.6 -0.135
Brodie 46.4 40.0 -0.100
Hamilton 42.3 37.5 0.150
Gaudreau 41.9 50.0 0.800
Ferland 40.0 42.9 -0.325
Backlund 40.0 28.6 -0.685
Monahan 39.1 42.9 -0.285
Frolik 37.5 28.6 -0.850
Hathaway 35.7 50.0 0.800
Jankowski 35.7 66.7 -0.095
Stone 31.0 66.7 -0.700
Kulak 26.9 50.0 -0.375
Lomberg 22.2 33.3 -0.250
Rittich 0.650

The Drive to 96 (Points)

The Flames now have 66 points with 25 games remaining. They need 30 points over their remaining schedule – the equivalent of a 15-10-0 record to hit the 96 point mark that’ll probably be the playoff cut-off.

Up Next

The Flames (29-20-8) jet off to Tennessee tonight. They’ll play Nashville on Thursday night in the finale of their road trip.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Would rather be watching Marchand wearing the red, white and black of Team Canada and not that unimaginative “B” hacking and slashing little Johnny and trash talking and subtlety spearing Tkachuk in the goolies and goading the volcanic one into taking a boneheaded retaliation penalty. Getzlaf scores for Canada on the ensuing PP and America’s Miracle on Ice gets put on ice for yet another Olympics. Am I right, folks?

  • Mickey O

    Marchand could be looking at a suspension for that hit on Frolik’s head by the net. Frolik was pissed, and then Marchand grabbed him by the face mask in a scrum, all the time knowing the guy has a broken jaw.

    Great talent, but the guy isn’t learning squat. If he isn’t suspended, next week someone really needs to give Marchand a tune-up.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Marchand needs to learn what exactly? All the kid has ever done is win. Two world junior golds, World Cup of Hockey gold and a Stanley Cup. Marchand is Canadian hockey at is filthiest best. Gordie Howe beget Bobby Clarke who beget Brad Marchand. It’s guys like Marchand who make Canada the #1 nation in the world in hockey. He has the will to win, just like Howe and Clarke did, and that’s what made them beasts to play against and what Flame fans hope Chucky will become.

      As for someone giving him a tune up, why didn’t Lomberg try and do the nasty? The mouth breather was just taking up space tonight as were most of his teammates.

      • Mickey O

        If Tkachuk pulled two stunts like that I’d be saying the exact same thing. That’s bush league crap, and shows zero respect for an injured players’s safety. If you want the short version…99%

        • BlueMoonNigel

          Marchand has always been a winner because he does whatever it takes to win. You can’t teach a guy that. That is what gives Marchand his edge.

          Go back to the World Cup of Hockey finals and Chara of Team Europa famously baring his bruise-covered arm after the first game courtesy of his Bruin teammate Marchand who whacked and slashed him the entire game.

          Marchand is seldom the best player on the ice on any given shift, but there is nobody in the league who has his compete level and win-at-all-cost mentality. That is what sets Marchand apart from his peers and makes him a fan favourite whenever he slips on a Team Canada jersey. Marchand is Canadian hockey at its finest.

          • Mickey O

            “Whatever it takes to win” shouldn’t include elbowing guys who are in a vulnerable position. The game has changed. Gone are guys like Stevens who would take your head off, or Marchment who never saw a knee he didn’t want to destroy.

            I’ll stand by my original post. If Marchand doesn’t get the player safety message by now, he’ll never get it. One of the Flames’ scrappers better clue the guy in.

  • Chucky

    If Guluzan was watching tonight he might see that a well coached team.
    One goal down, get the puck deep and apply pressure.
    Tied, get the puck deep and apply pressure.
    Defend a one goal lead, get the puck deep and apply pressure.
    Defend a two goal lead, get the puck deep and apply pressure.
    Maybe there is a pattern.

    • Mickey O

      Backlund will get Bergeron. Good luck, Mikael.
      If the other lines hold their own, there’s a chance.
      One of them powerplay goal thingies would be great as well.

      “If you will it, Dude, it is no dream.”

  • Vernon30

    11-4-4 over last 19. If they score 1 more (or any) PP goal in those loses, they’re probably 17-2. Just think what this team could be with a PP that was average or slightly above. Fire Cameron now.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Does Huska Suck at Special Teams? If Not….. Give the Heat to Cameron and Bring Huska Up to try and Fix the Special Teams! Serious! Something NEEDS To Change with their PP or Kiss whats left of play off hopes/the season Good-by… The Islanders must be tickled pink at the thought of where their(our) draft positions are going to end up being!

  • aye

    Wow, none of the 4 pacific bubble teams picked up a single point tonight. I guess you can say the Flames dodged a bullet as the California teams missed out on very earnable points against some lesser competition.

    VGK handing CHI its 7th straight loss was also good, CHI is due for a win, and they play the Ducks next.

  • The Fall

    FN: Posts story about shot attempts not being an accurate measure of performance.

    Also FN: Posts Corsi results after ever game as a measure of performance.

    • Mickey O

      …and another thing. There were 9 minors given out in the game. None of them were off-setting. Corsi only tracks 5v5, so 30% of this game isn’t even accounted for. That’s not even including when the Flames pulled their goalie, so jack up that percentage even more.

      It seems to me that special teams play a rather large role in a hockey game.

    • Burnward


      So. Take numbers as just those.

      Smart hockey people figure out what matters. Others run the Coyotes.

    • 1. Are the writers here not allowed to disagree? FN isn’t a single unified set of opinions, nor should it be.

      2. I don’t know the article in question that you’re referring to, but I’ll bet your summary of it here is reductive.

  • Franko J

    Starting watching with 3 minutes left in second and just knew this Flames were going to falter in the third. 5 on 5 this teams plays not too bad. However when it comes to specialty teams they basically suck and really take the wind out of their sails. As well, tonight another lesson not learned how to play against teams that are clearly better than the Flames and when only 2 or 3 players come to play and put in a honest, hardworking effort the result will be 5-2. Hopefully they can finish off this road trip on a winning note in Nashville.

  • Calgarycandle

    Hockey Gods smiled on Calgary tonight–Detroit 2, Anaheim 1, Arizona 2, SJ 1, Carolina 7, LA 3. We remain in a marginal playoff position one point ahead of LA, but with one more game played!

  • WillyWonka

    he Flames clearly adjusted their game-plan going into Boston; opting for a “physical” game with lots of big hits they gave up the speed game and puck pursuit elements, and this is why they lost.
    and the power play – there was one point where all 5 guys were literally stationary, passing around the parameter. Boston would take that all night.