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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.



  • Bob Hartley

    Didn’t really get Smith calling out his teammates. His numbers were horrible and he let in 2 of the first 3 shots and still has the nerve to blast his buddies post game. I’m thinking some of the boys lost a little bit of respect for him for that. There is a time and a place for that. But not when you just let in 4 goals on 24 shots and your teammates got over 50 shots on a rookie tender. Look in the mirror smith.

    • imthedude63

      Smith has carried the team all year. He has watched the team for the last month. Leaders some time need to be brutally honest as Smith was yesterday. When’s a good time to call out the team for lack of compete…April 8th? The calling out and accountability should have been done earlier in the year.

  • Guest

    Everyone is freaking out. Their goalie was very good. Smith was not very good. We played better and lost. It happens. Keep playing better than the other team and have your goalie show up then you win more than you lose. Whether we can win enough for the playoffs who knows?

    Cameron has to go though.

    • Jessemadnote

      I said that for the Buffalo game, the rangers, the stars, the kings… all games where we’ve outplayed the opponents and lost. There’s a common thread. If you’re wallet gets stolen every day it’s you who needs to make the change. If opposing goalies are stealing every game…

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • Trevy

    Treliving is a smart man, maybe not all his decisions have been 5he right ones, but overall he’s a good judge of talent. At the beginning of the year, he and a few sports reporters, deemed the Flames are an upcoming team with loads of talent in their core. Treliving assumes this as well by going out and paying a high price for Hamonic and Smith, possibly the final two pieces to make this team a contender… not just to make the playoffs, but an actual contender. Fast forward to now and we’re on the verge of not making the playoffs at all. The inconsistency, lack of identity and lack of discipline of this team is hands down a reflection of the inexperience of our coaching staff. There is no doubt in my mind that GG is as good as gone at the end of this season. When you have your players literally chuckling after GG goes into a stick throwing temper tantrum, you know they have no trust or respect for this man. I personally thought it was comical myself and sure it worked for a bit, but while it was uncharacteristic of GG to go off like that, the team still viewed it as a joke. Time to bring in a veteran coach and assistants. I’m sure there will be a few that will become available at the end of this season and it’s up to Treliving to correct another one of his rookie GM mistakes, cause I don’t think he’ll have too many more chances after this one

  • KeepitReal

    We lead the league in shots missing the net. How about crowd funding for a Tutor Shooter?

    Smith looked shaky as hell. Obviously a little rusty. Not liking our chances against the cOilers if he starts the game. I’d go with Rittich. Byng’s fall looked innocent but his injury status is worrisome.