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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.

  • 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.

  • CalgaryBornandRaised

    So many poor showings at home have doomed this team, time after time

    Could be 2nd in the Pacific if they didn’t have one the worse home records in the NHL, and some of the most passionate fans that so desperately want to get behind them

    I’m going to the game tomorrow against Edmonton, and I am deeply concerned we are going to let McDavid and company walk all over us

    This team has under performed massively, time for the ownership to take a good look at everyone in the organization

    • Mickey O

      He’s had a couple of rushes like that in recent games. Toned Ras is really feeling it these days, and has outstayed his welcome in the AHL. Stone has a modified NTC clause, but the team has to find room for Andersson.

  • Dougiefred

    Opposition on a 8 game losing streak, their scoring has dried up and a rookie goal tender has never won an NHL game equals Flames loss. I am so tired of this year after year.

    • everton fc

      Shows the level of inspiration here. Not only dies the coaching staff need to go, I wonder about some of the players. We need a coach here who won’t put up w/prima donas, whilst rewarding for inspired effort, which includes the youth on the farm, and with the big club.

      • Dougiefred

        Same thing has happened to all the coaches in the last 30 years with the exception of Sutter and Hartly for about 1 season each. Maybe its the altitude, but they sure are trying to dig themselves down to sea level.

  • Jessemadnote

    “They have won four times in the past month and half of their victories have been over the Flames.”

    Check the schedule again their Ari, I think you’re confused with the Rangers.

  • JMK

    I’m still not quite ready to throw in the towel but the next two games are absolute must wins now. No room for error left I’m afraid. Calgary have gone 9-7-3 against Pacific teams this year, with 10 games to go against divisional teams that record will need to look superb by end of season (17-9-3 or similar).

  • Joeyhere

    3 fixable issues for the off season and one major problem that causes even more concern:
    Coaching – player useage, deployment and pp system – replace the coach
    GM over other for Hamonic don’t protect the lottery, no RW – brad can learn
    Middle players – 8 replaceable guys as the bottom six, not enough scoring on the wings – pick your best 4 guys, sign one free agent, buyout Brouwer , develop one rookie These are all fixable

    But Character- that’s the concern – coming out flat is inexcusable, so many half efforts this year in so many games – where is the leadership and drive to win – that’s the bigger concern

  • imthedude63

    Based on todays standings the Flames are 9-7-3 (9-10) at home versus non playoff teams. That includes some horrid losses(Florida, Mtl, yesterday and on and on). So thats 17 points lost due to lack of preparation and being ready to play at the NHL level. I put alot of that on the coaches but the players and the leaders within the team need to ensure that they sent the tone and the game day mentality.

    As for Smith calling out the team….Good for him. There are way to many passengers on this team. Who on this team would you want on your side in case of a battle….Chucky, Smith, Gio, Bennett? Its not a long list.

    This teams needs to find some (consistent) heart and attitude. Anything can happen over the next few weeks but based on the lack of consistency all year I think all of us who enjoy the great work of the FN team will have more free time on our hands come early April

    • everton fc

      Add Ferland on the list above. I’d take Ferland over Bennett, actually, and would love to see these two on the same line, for a while. Kulak work hard. Hamonic’s not a “passenger”. But I get your overall point here.

      • imthedude63

        Agree with Ferland and Harmonic. Comes back to consistency. How many games this years have all these teams guys/physical leaders been playing and leading by example. Is that on the players or coaches? I think its on both but more on the coaches as they need to know whose and what buttons to push on each player.

  • BrennyBaller

    We beat the Islanders the last time we played them…. so that last comment of “They have won four times in the past month and half of their victories have been over the Flames.” is incorrect.

  • Tanner

    The Flames need to add goal scorers.

    Statistics from the 2017-2018 season:
    HDCF%-55.38% (3rd best in the league)
    SCF%-53.44% (3rd best in the league)
    SF%-51.77% (6th best in the NHL – even though the Flames lead the NHL in missed shots!!!)

    The Flames are elite when it comes to generating scoring opportunities, BUT CANNOT SCORE!

    The Flames need to add goal scorers.

    I think it would be amazing to get Hoffman or Kane in FA.

    • redwhiteblack

      Things to concentrate on in the off season:

      1. There is clearly not enough scoring on the wings.
      2. Defensive zone coverage is awful most nights.
      3. Player usage
      4. Special teams

      GM needs to fill the RW scoring gap from within and externally.
      Could lump 2, 3 and 4 together under bad coaching so those are fixable with a better staff.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Is it really a goal-scoring problem or a goals-against problem? Granted the team is way too dependent on scoring from a select few individuals, but if the club could keep fewer pucks out of its net, how many more points to the good would it be? Me thinks that cutting goals against is an easier and cheaper fix than raising goals for, especially when the club tries to acquire scorers on the hyper inflated free agent bazar.

  • 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…

  • Off the wall

    12 games left. 7 of these are at home. We need a 9-3 record to make postseason.

    Do the math. At .500 at home, our season is already done.

    Fire GG and Cameron today. Open up the vault and send the word out. Experienced NHL coaches only need apply.

    Send resume to:
    Ifyourhairisnicerthenyourrecorddontapply.ca

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      Don’t know if any new coach will want to come here if you fire a second year coach in the middle of a playoff push.

      Then there’s the assumption that any good coach would WANT to come to Calgary, what with the pressure of a Canadian market and the loss of nearly half of their wages in taxes. Not to mention that the Flames are clearly a team with a hard cap on ALL spending. This is the biggest flaw with the; “Fire GG” crowd. It might be a good idea but people act like we could just pluck a coach from whoever is available and they’ll just want to come here.

  • 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

  • Off the wall

    Good thing we moved our clocks ahead one hour. Now we’re even closer to missing postseason!

    My prediction is we end up with 90 points for the season. 4 points worse than last season.

    Yes I’m panicking, no you can’t stop me..