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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.



    • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!!

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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..

  • 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?

  • 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

  • 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!