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Photo Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: An Avalanche of goals against

The Calgary Flames lost to Dallas on Tuesday night. It happens, as their goaltender was really good. The Flames lost to the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night in Denver by a 5-2 score. The visitors were good enough for the first half of the game, but then some old habits crept in – shaky goaltending, inopportune penalties, and a general loss of composure in the latter parts of the game.

As a result, the Flames let two crucial points slip through their fingers in the very tight Western Conference playoff race.

The Rundown

The Flames weren’t amazing in the first, but they defended reasonably well despite not having the puck a ton. They managed to open the scoring with Tanner Glass in the penalty box. Mikael Backlund caught Ty Barrie off-guard, stole the puck and beat Semyon Varlamov on a breakaway to make it 1-0.

Shots were 11-6 Avalanche and scoring chances were 6-5 Avalanche.

The visitors extended their lead to 2-0 off a nice passing sequence between Backlund, Matthew Tkachuk and Michael Frolik, ending with #67 beating Varlamov at close range.

But then things fell apart. With Tkachuk in the box, Nathan MacKinnon made it 2-1 with a really nice wrist shot that beat David Rittich short-side. 68 seconds later, Nikita Zadorov wandered into the Flames zone unobstructed and beat Rittich glove-wide with a wrister to make it 2-2. The Flames had a brief power play later in the period, but Dougie Hamilton hauled down an Avalanche attacker attempting a short-handed shot just 16 seconds into the man advantage. On the ensuing four-on-four sequence Mikko Rantanen, MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie combined on a nice passing sequence that was finished by Barrie depositing the puck into a completely open net to make it 3-2. Finally, Colorado made it 4-2 as a Carl Soderberg pass eluded Travis Hamonic’s coverage and landed on Matt Nieto’s stick for a tap-in. Shots were 11-14 Avalanche, but scoring chances were 8-8.

The Flames had many shots and chances in the third, but could not bury any. Johnny Gaudreau got a stick in the face midway through the period and was called for embellishment – earlier in the game he caught Sam Bennett’s skate to his neck and was understandably jumpy about things hitting him around that area – and then he received a 10-minute misconduct for arguing the call.

Gaudreau was effectively tossed from the game, and that was that. Duncan Siemens added an empty-netter to make it 5-2 and ice things. Shots were 13-4 Flames and chances were 7-2 Flames, but the result of this one never seemed in doubt.

Why The Flames Lost

There were a few reasons. First, their goaltending wasn’t quite up to snuff. Jon Gillies was decent enough last night, but Rittich had a couple lapses in the second period (on the MacKinnon and Zadorov goals) and it sapped the Flames of a lot of momentum. But the Flames took a ton of penalties, especially when the game was close, and the team collectively seemed to completely lose composure. For the second game in a row the team got additional penalties for arguing calls with the officials rather than focusing on the opposition.

Whether it’s the team’s leadership or their coaches, they need to stop getting in their own way.

Red Warrior

Backlund had two points, so let’s go with him. But the entire 3M line was solid once again. (As usual.)

The Turning Point

The game was 2-2 and the Flames had a power play. (Yay!) Then Hamilton took a minor 16 seconds in to negate that power play. (Boo!) Then Colorado scored to go up 3-2, giving them a lead they would never relinquish. (Louder boo!)

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Glass 80.0 60.0 0.000
Hamilton 79.3 60.0 1.000
Stewart 77.8 66.7 0.400
Stajan 75.0 50.0 0.295
Tkachuk 69.2 66.7 1.415
Giordano 67.9 60.0 1.025
Kulak 66.7 100 0.425
Backlund 66.7 80.0 2.055
Frolik 60.0 75.0 1.415
Bennett 60.0 83.3 0.430
Gaudreau 54.6 66.7 0.225
Monahan 54.6 66.7 0.045
Brouwer 53.9 0.0 0.050
Hathaway 50.0 75.0 -0.150
Jankowski 50.0 75.0 -0.010
Hamonic 46.7 62.5 -0.275
Brodie 45.8 62.5 -0.175
Stone 43.8 100 0.000
Rittich -0.100
Gillies

This and That

Gaudreau entered the game with 12 penalty minutes this season. He took 12 penalty minutes in the third period alone.

The Drive to 96 (Points)

The Flames now have 73 points with 17 games remaining. They need 23 points over their remaining schedule – the equivalent of a 11-5-1 record to hit the 96 point mark that’ll probably be the playoff cut-off.

Up Next

The Flames (32-24-9) fly home tonight. They’re off tomorrow, then host the New York Rangers on Friday night at the Saddledome.

  • RKD

    Treliving needs to shoulder a lot of the blame he hired Gulutzan and he could have fired him last season, last summer, before Christmas and he’s still here. Treliving has made a lot of changes and tweaks to the forward group when it needs a major shakeup. $25 million tied up on the backend is too much. We don’t fringe guys or depth guys in the bottom six we need top six forwards who score and some guys who hate losing.

  • Al Rain

    “the entire 3M line was solid once again. (As usual.)”

    Except for Tkachuk taking dumbazz penalties that lead to goals, changing momentum and losing the game. Except for that he was solid.

  • Off the wall

    Ironic that our shortcomings can’t be masked anymore with Smith out. I guess we all know who’s the real MVP this season.

    The Corsi has to be wrong.
    You telling me that Glass, Stewart and Stajan were our best forwards? I need a six pack- of Pepto Bismol

  • aye

    Good news is that we are basically done with the Central, only 1 game left against the Jets. 10 more vs Pacific, including 4 against SoCal, then the rest against “weak” (except PIT) Eastern teams. So, if they just stop chocking, we are still very much alive.

  • Big T-Rev

    Please shake up the D pairings . Please GG, Brodie and Hamonic aren’t working. Doooooo something! Remember when Brodie and Gio were one of the best pairings in the league??? Oh yea, that was Hartley, He knew how to shake things up. To bad he fell victim to some of the worst goaltending in franchise history…

  • WillyWonka

    oh well, maybe the new coach will get them farther next year with an
    un-corsi system. corsi is obviously a bad thing cause they won the corsi and lost the season.
    i thought the team was done by christmas, but their winning streak made them look hopeful.
    better luck next years guys! may the corsi gods shine on you at the golf course

    • stuhfan

      Saw this comment on twitter, but the Flames being generally good from a possession standpoint this year but barely making/missing the playoffs is the universe’s way of making things right after the 2014/15 season where we made it in while riding unsustainable metrics.

  • Dougiefred

    This game was my WTF moment. Working long hours in the central time zone, went to bed about 5 minutes into the 2nd. Team up 2-0 playing well but taking way to many penalties……

    • WillyWonka

      Hamonic is a very good 2nd pairing defender, and bringing him in this year did not sink the year. a team grows year to year, this is not the end of the growth. picks traded for Hamonic for next draft will not be ready by the time this team peaks, so wouldn’t have helped the rebuild.

      • McRib

        Travis Hamonic has ONE GOAL!!!!! In todays day and age where offensive depth is paramount that just isn’t second paring material in the slightest. If you even look at his possession numbers the last couple of years from a shot suppression standpoint those numbers had fallen off completely as well, so he really wasn’t that good defensively. Last year he was the worst defender in the league I believe from a Corsi standpoint. You don’t have to even believe in possession statistics to know it was likely going to be moronic to pay what we did for him at that point coming off the year he just had, Garth Snow of all people absolutely fleeced us. Hamonic was barely worth a second rounder let alone another second and a non-lottery protected first rounder, when the playoffs were unlikely in our rebuild. Everyone is blaming TJ Brodie all year and some of that is founded, but Brodie has been a good to great defender his entire career before Hamonic showed up and forced him to the other side. Hamonic doesn’t ever have any glaringly bad mistakes, but his skating is below average and he always just seems slightly out of position, look at last nights highlights if he had blocked off the route to the net earlier for goals 2-3 they would have been prevented. TJ Brodie all year has gotten caught trying to compensate for Hamonics lackluster positioning and that has really caused some glearingly bad mistakes, but most of the times there are two forwards pressure Broide and you have to ask yourself, where is Hamonic? Hamonic was good early in his career, but now that the pace of the game has sped up his effectiveness has really decreased.

        • canadian1967

          Brodie is a show pony who looks good with the puck. You say he is compensating for Hamonic? Brodie is so far out of position it must be very difficult to play with him. I believe that Brodie looked good with Gio only because Gio was so good that he could make up for the chaos that is T J Brodie (this means that Gio was 66% Brodie was 33% of the pairs 100% effectiveness).

          Hamonic would be fine playing with any of our other D-men, but seriously unless you ARE an elite D-man like Gio, who the Heck could play with Brodie?

          Brodie is a square peg.

      • McRib

        The thing I really don’t understand about the Travis Hamonic trade and the Michael Stone three year signing is Rasmus Andersson was worse case last summer a year away if at all (I don’t think at all) and Adam Fox was looking like an absolute can’t miss stud who was also only a couple of years away. Why spend all those draft picks and cap space to commit to two players who likely are going to be replaceable internally in the organization before those contracts are up? You look at what Boston, Tampa Bay, Colorado, etc have done bringing in cheap young defenders to fix holes in defensive cores. Charlie McAvoy is a year younger than Rasmus Andersson and Anderssons numbers have always been slightly better. Rasmus Andersson could have played in the NHL easily this year and I know for certain he would have been better than Stone and likely Hamonic. The game has changed folks, young defenders are ready at 21 years old now. You also honestly can’t tell me that Wotherspoon-Brodie would have been much worse than Brodie-Hamonic, not to mention there was plenty of other FAs this past summer that could have been signed for a short term one or two year deal. Hamonic is honestly at best just above a replacement level third pairing defender. Gio-Hamilton, Brodie-Franson/Wotherspoon/Whoever, Kulak-Andersson would have put us in the exact same position with Mike Smith still having to stand on his head for us to win games, but these pairing would have had way more upside. We were still in a rebuild and I honestly think at this point if Andersson was on the team all year he would now already be miles ahead of Hamonic and certainly Stone. When Kulak-Andersson were a pairing for one game earlier in the year they were both +2 and our second best pairing that night by a mile.

  • Vinnsanity12

    Going to have to disagree with the turning point. Love ya to death, Chucky, but that was a ridiculously selfish and stupid penalty to take with the team up 2-0. After that, the wheels fell off. Shouldn’t have happened, these are professionals, but sport is sport and it did.

    • Chucky

      The turning point was when they filed the lineup card. The declaration that “we are going to take a lot of penalties” (dressing Glass) was received by the officials. Then Glass decides to run Siemens through the boards and follows the penalty with a fight. the refs thought “declaration confirmed”. For the rest of the game they obliged.
      A lineup that declares the intention to win with speed and skill can get away with obvious penalties, a lineup that indicates the intention to win with truculence gets away with nothing.
      Please Burke or please the fans by winning, the choice is clear. So are the results.

        • Chucky

          General consensus is that Anaheim gets away with murder and maybe they do, but the Flames know that they are penalty prone. If you are a penalty prone team dressing Glass in a must win and putting him on a line with Stewart is going to get a response from the refs that is not going to help.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        If Burkie is helping Tre do his job, then why isn’t Tre helping Gully do his? Why aren’t Gully’s lineups first approved by Tre? Doesn’t Burkie tell Tre which kinds of players he should acquire and who should and shouldn’t be here? Wasn’t it more Burkie than Tre who snapped up Stewart and promoted Glass?

        If as some believe that Burkie is the “Hand of God” behind the Flames, why doesn’t Tre out him like Jolie finked on Weinstein and declare that Burkie’s interference has made the workplace hostile, intolerable and unproductive?

        As I see it, too many of you yokels continue to give Tre a free ride. His failures are blamed on Burkie and Gully.

        The history of the Calgary Flames tells us that at some point the tender love and deep respect you have for the GM will shift and then you bush apes will take up torches, pitch forks and scythes and try and run him out of town.

        My advice is that you might want to critically look now at what Tre has been up to and question it as it is he who is going to be tasked with finding Gully’s replacement and players who are an upgrade over the talent currently here. The immediate success of your team is intimately linked to this guy and I am not sure he is all that you like to believe he is. Put another way, he looks a lot more like the final year of GM Darryl Sutter than GM Sutter circa 2004.

  • cornwallroyals

    Someone please tell GG the trade deadline has come and gone and we don’t need to showcase Glass. Geez, what is that man thinking? Our biggest off season move has got to be to hire a new coach. Forget the top line RW. Get a new coach. Make it happen TRE!!!!!!!

  • Rusty Shackleford

    Tanner Glass? Really? As much as we like to rip the coaching staff, doesn’t the guy who put this team together need to take some heat? Less then 20 games to go and the forward groups being slapped together reek of desperation and lack any semblance of consistency.

  • The Fan 960 was again saying that Gulutzan should have healthy scratched Stajan and the only reason he seems to get minutes is that he’s a popular player. Then they hinted darkly that since Stajan has reached 990 games, and likely wouldn’t even get a PTO next season that the only reason Gulutzan is still playing him is so that he reaches career 1000 games.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Looks like Gully is making a friend. Stajan could very well be coaching or GM material once his playing days are over. No reason why Gully shouldn’t cultivate this relationship as it may lead to major benefits down the road.

    • ThisBigMouthIsRight

      Just to keep it real… Stajan hasn’t been the worst Flame on the ice in a long time…. Stewart has not yet been better than anyone scratched he was suppose to be an upgrade on, I’d even be bold enough to say he has been much slower and defensively worse than all of the guys he was here to replace. I’d say Glass & Brouwer arn’t far behind or ahead of that same boat! Which is why this boat is starting to sink beyond recovery.