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Islanders 5, Flames 2 post-game embers: So. Well. Uh. Hm

Once again, the Flames dominated every single aspect of the game, except the scoreboard. The 2014-15 inverse continues.

Who is Christopher Gibson?

… Some guy who made 50 saves, I guess??

That was Islanders goalie Christopher Gibson’s seventh game of his NHL career, and his first career regulation win. The season’s tradition of random backup goaltenders coming up from nowhere and absolutely dominating the Flames continues, evidently.

And look, you can whine about how the Flames rack up shots but none of them are actually dangerous, or whatever. With 94 corsi events over the course of the entire game, they certainly missed their fair share of shots. Only 18 of them were in high danger areas, as opposed to 11 of the Islanders’ 48. But still, Natural Stat Trick judged the Flames as having 41 scoring chances to the Islanders’ 23; it is just beyond comical that the Flames only got two goals out of all of that. They did absolutely everything in their power and nothing.

Sean Monahan had seven shots on net and got all of one assist to show for it. One of Mark Giordano’s six shots turned into a goal, but that was it.

Perhaps worth noting that, for the second straight game, Mark Jankowski did not register a shot on net; he was the only Flame to fail to do so.

But man. Some of those chances were really, really good. It just was not the Flames’ day. Again.

Saviour?

The good news: Mike Smith closed out a game against the Islanders without getting hurt.

The bad news: his team wasn’t prepared to start the game, and he wasn’t prepared after.

Going down 2-0 before the game was even three minutes old was the first step to sinking the Flames. Sure, Smith was handily screened on the first goal, and the Flames gave Nick Leddy all the time in the world to shoot. And sure, Troy Brouwer tipped Johnny Boychuk’s shot 18 seconds later.

The Flames showed signs of life, though, when Johnny Gaudreau drew them back within one about five minutes after that. But Smith’s rebound – which, to be fair, neither of his defencemen could get a stick on either – three minutes later plunged the Flames back into hopelessness. And the fourth goal, also courtesy of a rebound, not even a minute into the second period, pretty much put an end to things.

Smith was not the difference in this game, and there’s no way to tell if David Rittich would have made things any better. And there is absolutely a fair bit of leeway to extend for a 35-year-old player who missed a month of action. But it simply wasn’t good enough. Not as panicky or drastic a meltdown as the other goalies exhibited during Smith’s absence – which certainly helps, and is something to build on going forward – but it was what should have been a winnable game both shot and kicked away.

This and that

Why was Garnet Hathaway picking a fight when his team was getting shots on net? Time and place and if your team is in the midst of a scoring chance you do not drop the gloves.

It’s not as though an influx of rookies from Stockton would improve the Flames’ scoring efforts. Jankowski and Hathaway are the Stockton forward graduates and they have all of three combined points in the past 10 games. They’re all Jankowski’s. They’re all against Arizona and Buffalo, the two worst teams in the league. Hathaway had 19 points in 18 games for Stockton before being called up full time, Jankowski had eight in six; AHL scoring does not automatically translate to the NHL.

The only teams that have won fewer games at home are the Coyotes, Sabres, Canucks, and Red Wings. The Flames are tied for 15th league-wide in overall regulation and overtime wins, though.

The Islanders’ four most recent victories have come against the Flames, the Rangers, the Hurricanes, and the Flames. It has been a month since they first played the Flames. They have won four times in the past month and half of their victories have been over the Flames.

There are 12 games left in the season and plenty of time for things to either go horribly right or wrong.

There’s no consolation when the Flames have consistently outplayed their opponents throughout the year only to lose and have it come crushing down on them at a point of the season that seems to suggest their year will end sooner rather than later. Close doesn’t cut it. Not when you don’t have a first round pick. The Senators, in their bizarre stretch of moves to swap Kyle Turris for Matt Duchene back in November, a third round playoff appearance fresh in their minds and looking like they could at least keep the pace with the rest of the East for a spot, saw it fit to lottery protect theirs.

  • I should be GM

    It seemed like the boys figured Smith is back in so that’s a guaranteed win. Nobody told them that they still have to play the game out! I was expecting a stinker against either Buffalo or Ottawa or both but I guess we got that yesterday. Biggest game of the year and the boys weren’t ready. First games back from any road trips this year have been nothing but tire fires. Could the coach not have the boys ready to play for once?

    Speaking of which, I don’t think I have ever seen such a smug coach. Maybe before the game, he could give the boys a pep talk instead of thinking how great he is and making sure his hair is perfect. Either way, this coaching staff has to go.

    As far as all the shots, we got them right in the isles logo. Gibson’s jersey is probably ruined because of all the shots to the chest. The shots are either wide, soft or right in the logo. Yes, lots of shots. No, not many were dangerous.

    We won the Corsi battle right? If Corsi factored into the score somehow, we would be way higher in the standings. Should the nhl change it up so the team with the highest Corsi wins the cup? Probably not so next year let’s just focus on not being so predictable and maybe some goal scoring.

    Oh did I mention that Gully needs to go?

  • Jobu

    As much as I’d love to think the Flames could get 9 out of 12 wins to close the season out, lets be realistic here – this team simply hasn’t played well enough to show this is possible.

  • The GREAT WW

    Unlike with Hartley, GG and the rest of the coaching staff needs to be fired immediately after the season is over, so BT can jump on any high calibre coach that may shake loose (Q?!)
    NO PROCRASTINATING THIS TIME BT!!!!!!!!!

    WW

    • Mickey O

      The Rangers might go in a different direction in a rebuild also. Practically anyone would work better than GG, but Lindy Ruff would be a very good coach for the Flames, in my opinion. I think the players would respect him, I don’t think they have ever respected Gulutzan.

  • buts

    Same old same old, no traffic to screen and just plain pour execution. We make average goalies look good. The flames didn’t practice before Ottawa and played great, light skate before Buffalo and won, our 2nd games of back to backs we play well, I think we have one of the leagues best records on the 2nd game of a back to back. We practiced Saturday and when we play our first game after a road trip and have lots of days to prep before a game we stink the joint out. One reason and that is coaching

  • Off the wall

    Finish this sentence.

    If I had a _____ for each time the Flames ______ , I would be ______

    Eg: If I had a hemorrhoid for each time the Flames missed the net, I would be one sorry a$$.

    Your turn…

  • Joeyhere

    What are the odds- Coincidently I am reading this at the Vancouver Airport and Brian Burke is ahead of me in line – he’s headed off on vacation. He looks overweight dishevelled, and confused – I am not inspired. We all deserve our privacy so But I will refrain from suggesting to him that maybe he should extend this vacation into a retirement. but please Brian when you come back be part of the solution not the problem!!

  • Justthateasy

    A predictable scenario! First game back after a road trip home team starts slow. Combined with weak goaltending equals disaster. This is the coach’s job. Motivate your team when they come home after a road trip. Why does every visiting team come out with fire.? It’s about mental motivation. What’s the coach doing? That’s his job. Motivation.
    How many times does it have to be said? If you can’t win a draw do not ice the puck. Where is the fire in Jankowski on the draw?
    And do not ice the puck when you are the home team. What a no-brainer!
    And now leading the league in missing the net. So now we have to put that fire out.

  • Korcan

    “It’s not as though an influx of rookies from Stockton would improve the Flames’ scoring efforts. Jankowski and Hathaway are the Stockton forward graduates and they have all of three combined points in the past 10 games. They’re all Jankowski’s. They’re all against Arizona and Buffalo, the two worst teams in the league. Hathaway had 19 points in 18 games for Stockton before being called up full time, Jankowski had eight in six; AHL scoring does not automatically translate to the NHL.”

    Well said. There is a HUGE gap between the two leagues, especially in skill positions.

  • calgaryfan

    bought season tickets in 1980, flames first season had them until 1994 when they expanded the saddledome. The flames took away my lower bowl seats to build the boxes and offered upper bowl as replacements. Told them to take a hike. So glad I did, they have been pretty much a pretender every year since 1989. They are on par with the Cleveland Browns or Buffalo Bills of the NFL. Poorly run team year after year!