66
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: Blood in the water

The Calgary Flames made their lives much more difficult as they try to hunt down a playoff spot with their performance at the Scotiabank Saddledome this evening. In a game that saw the lead change hands multiple times in the second period, the Flames weren’t able to turn zone time and scoring chances into goals and the San Jose Sharks were. A four-goal performance by Evander Kane (and four unanswered goals) paced the visitors to a 7-4 victory.

The Flames aren’t eliminated from the post-season by any stretch, but their margin for error is now razor-thin.

The Rundown

The visitors opened the scoring with an odd goal. Evander Kane’s wrist shot from just inside the Flames blueline was slightly deflected by Dougie Hamilton’s attempted stick-check, but it dropped and eluded Mike Smith’s glove to make it 1-0. (All due respect to Smith, it was a shot from 50 feet out.) But the Flames answered back before the end of the period. Matt Stajan dumped the puck into the offensive zone and the fourth line went to work retrieving the puck, eventually allowing Curtis Lazar to find Troy Brouwer alone in the slot for a one-timer that made it 1-1.

Shots were 9-4 Flames and scoring chances were 8-6 Flames.

The Flames took the lead early in the second period off another nice puck retrieval shift, this time from their third line. Kris Versteeg and Garnet Hathaway did some plumber work in the corner, allowing a quick pass from the corner to Mark Jankowski for a quick wrister and a 2-1 lead.

But the lead only lasted for just over four minutes, as Kane tied the game with his second goal of the contest with a nice tip of a Dylan DeMelo point shot to make it 2-2. (This was right after Kane nearly scored while out-muscling T.J. Brodie for a puck.) The Flames regained the lead with a gorgeous individual effort from Johnny Gaudreau. Left all alone in the Sharks zone against all five Sharks – and their goalie – seemingly every defender thought he’d go for a pass. Instead, he wandered into the slot and beat Jones with a nifty wrister to make it 3-2.

But just over a minute later, the Sharks tied it up – again. Kevin Lebanc beat Smith with a bad angle shot from below the circles – from 40 feet out along the boards – to make it 3-3. Gaudreau generated a couple penalty calls in succession, resulting in just over three minutes of power play time (and 44 seconds of a two-man advantage). But the Flames couldn’t score, and Kane completed the hat trick to bury a rebound to make it 4-3 and Tomas Hertl deflected in a rebound 62 seconds alter to make it 5-3. Shots were 10-10 but the Sharks out-chanced the Flames 10-7.

Mike Smith’s night ended early in the third period, after Kane scored his fourth of the game on a nice redirection of a Pavelski slap-pass that went through Chris Tierney to make it 6-3. Micheal Ferland scored on a rebound with David Rittich pulled for an extra attacker with just under six minutes remaining, but Eric Fehr added an empty netter to make it a 7-4 final. Shots were 13-10 Flames, but scoring chances were 10-7 Sharks.

Why The Flames Lost

Tell me if this sounds familiar: the Flames had a ton of chances and a ton of momentum, but couldn’t translate that into goals. A couple goals went the other way, and they just couldn’t put the ketchup back in the bottle from there.

Usually the Mikael Backlund line is great at shutting down the top guns from the other team. But between Smith allowing a couple softies and some defensive lapses, the 2M (and Bennett) line ended up on the ice for three Sharks goals. When your shutdown guys can’t close a door and your goaltender can’t bail them out, it’s tough to win.

Red Warrior

Stajan continues to be a steady force on the fourth line. He set up a goal and won 7 of 9 faceoffs, so let’s give it to him.

The Turning Point

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Monahan 60.7 80.0 0.800
Hamilton 60.0 85.7 1.100
Giordano 59.5 85.7 0.450
Hamonic 56.8 81.8 0.400
Frolik 56.4 90.9 0.000
Backlund 56.4 90.9 0.180
Bennett 56.4 90.9 -0.040
Gaudreau 56.3 80.0 1.400
Brodie 54.8 81.8 0.175
Ferland 53.3 80.0 1.650
Hathaway 45.0 20.0 0.675
Versteeg 45.0 20.0 -0.100
Jankowski 42.1 20.0 0.885
Lazar 39.1 16.7 0.725
Stajan 34.6 16.7 0.350
Kulak 33.3 25.0 -0.525
Brouwer 33.3 16.7 0.735
Stone 30.3 25.0 0.050
Smith -3.100
Rittich 0.700

This and That

Down in the NCAA, Harvard blew 3-0 and 4-1 leads against Clarkson and lost 5-4 in overtime. Based on their placement in the overall NCAA rankings, Harvard’s season is probably done. Adam Fox’s sophomore year is probably complete, and we’ll see whether or not the Flames take a stab at signing him.

Gaudreau jammed his wrist in a collision with Joakim Ryan in the first period, but stayed in the game. Smith took a puck to the neck in the second period, but also stayed in the game.

The Flames had a lead for 5:45 of this entire game.

Quotable

“I look at it as the power play, the five on three, was an important piece for us. We could’ve gotten momentum there. Kind of the story is our power play isn’t really helping us when we need it most. It’s scored at times, but when you need to get in a game, or get up in a game, or get close in a game, it just hasn’t been as reliable.” – Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan on his club’s special teams challenges.

The Drive to 96 (Points)

The Flames now have 80 points with 10 games remaining. They need 16 points over their remaining schedule – the equivalent of a 8-2-0 record – to hit the 96 point mark that’ll probably be the playoff cut-off.

Elsewhere

Ottawa beat Dallas 3-2 in overtime. Nashville beat Colorado 4-2. Anaheim beat Detroit 4-2. The Flames got precisely zero help from the out-of-town scoreboard.

Up Next

The Flames (35-27-10) practice tomorrow, then fly to Vegas. They visit the Golden Knights in a Sunday afternoon game.

  • FlamesFanOtherCity

    “I look at it as the power play, the five on three, was an important piece for us. We could’ve gotten momentum there. Kind of the story is our power play isn’t really helping us when we need it most. It’s scored at times, but when you need to get in a game, or get up in a game, or get close in a game, it just hasn’t been as reliable.” – Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan on his club’s special teams challenges.

    Sure, blame the one area you weren’t completely responsible for. The goalie was bad for 3 goals on 6 shots, but you decided to keep him in. The Backlund line was completely outmatched, but you make zero changes to the line. You continue to start the 4th line after a goal for.

    • Hockey4life

      And he fails to ever call a time out to get his team back in the same page because he’s more worried about whether he can challenge goals then to settle the troops and try to create some

  • Calgarycandle

    The Flames remain an incredibly frustrating team for me. World beaters against Edmonton with Smith playing out of his mind and horrible against Evander Kane who never scored more than two goals in one game in his career.

    8-2 does not seem realistic for this group. They are just too fragile. Is that the players or coaching? Let’s hope the latter cause I can’t see BT retaining GG and particularly DC when the PP is such a screw up. Just like the Vegas game when they gave up the tying goal they let in the next in quick succession. I used to be a Brooklyn Dodgers fan and the mantra was always “wait till next year.” One of these days I’ll pick the team I root for more intelligently.

    Pike is not correct the out of town scoreboard did them no favors. They could have picked up ground on Dallas and Colorado leaving them in a wild card race probably with Anaheim. I think we’ve run out of teams to catch–Dallas, Calgary and Colorado don’t find musical chairs. What a f-ing disappointment.

  • SgtRoadBlock

    we need a real 2nd line, i’m sorry but Backland and Fro r 3rd line and PK pro now… The Core is at Fault,Not the 11min and under per game players, this is the same thing as the last 2 season…..

    • calgaryfan

      Backlund contract is going to be awful and Frolic is done. The Flames need a coach to kick some butt and make players on this team accountable. The old country club is back. The only players who shows up consistently are Gio and Johnny.

  • Off the wall

    Well that was fun. The 5 on 3 PP was the turning point, that much I agree with.
    However, why on earth wouldn’t you call a timeout at this point? GG has the 1st line PP out and after the 2nd penalty he put the 1st line PP out again. A 30 second regroup would have been a decision most experienced coaches would have made. Also GG could have pulled Smith and put Rittich in at that point. The game was still 3-3, and that bad angle goal by the Sharks, merely showed Smith was off.

    I know Smith is our MVP, but this was a game that we could (should) have won.

    There are no excuses for this loss. Oh well, let’s just hope Gulutzan’s time is winding down.
    Let’s start the countdown.. 10…

    • Off the wall

      Absolutely, apparently GG believes we are going to win the next 10 games with his coaching tactics?!

      Coming from the guy who never uses his timeouts, it’s even more absurd!

    • ThisBigMouthIsRight

      Like that wasn’t a well prepared line for when we lost tonight… man what a crappy end to a disappointing year. Anyone looking forward to the Last 10 games? Anyone?
      From the player interviews after the game I sure as $#!T Don’t think they are pumped or fired up about them… Going out with a whimper it seems.

    • Bring back Darryl Sutter

      I miss Bob Hartley at least he was entertaining and allowed the players to play to there strengths . If we fired Bob a season after he won the Jack Adams you would thing gg is gome for sure.

  • Bob Hartley

    The Hamonic deal alone should cost Treburke their jobs. These 2 guys were the only ones who could possibly see a window opening after just barely making the playoffs and ultimately getting swept in 4 games. We didn’t win a single frickin game and they seriously thought now was the time to sell the farm for a Steve Steve Staois 2.0? What a joke. Now we miss the playoffs and truly have nothing to look forward to this offseason. So what if we get a new coach. Babcock couldn’t fix this current roster.

      • Bob Hartley

        Unfortunately a lot of the players didn’t like me… I was to old school they said. Gulutzan is fake as the guy who hired him. Too soft on the players 95% of the time but when a TSN camera is nearby rolling he loses his mind. This confuses the players no doubt and they are no dummies thus why they have probably lost respect for gully.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      The only negative about the Hamonic deal is that we lose an unprotected 1st. He’s a better d-man than Brodie.
      But hey, let’s keep Brodie on his wrong side because he’s a lefty. Coaching has lost more games than Hamonic has been responsible for. So has Brodie.

      Smith let in 6 goals before he was pulled. In what world were the Flames going to score 7? They might have been able to score 4 or 5 against the Sharks, so why wait till the score is 6-3 to make a change?

  • flames2015

    Well this was a painful one to see live, only consolation was I didn’t pay a dime for the ticket and got some free ice cream.

    The 5-3 powerplay was a mega bust. I’ve never seen a 5-3 worse than the Flames. That shifted the tide. But let’s keep Smith in FOR ONE MORE GOAL so it’s really out of reach before we pull him… and when Ferland scored, I knew GG was going to pull the goalie and we’d get scored on shortly after. I’m running of words to describe how abysmal the coaching is.

  • Bob Hartley

    Steve Staois averaged way more points than Hamonic is and Hamonic is in his prime:/ Also +- isn’t even close. I don’t remember anyone selling the farm for a Steve Staois. Nuff said.

  • Kneedroptalbot

    Our defence was just dismal tonight. We traded away all those future draft picks for Hamilton and Hamonic. This team might improve slightly in the next year or two. Changes needed on the back end to become a contender.

    • ThisBigMouthIsRight

      Not Saying there shouldn’t be some D-personnel changes this off-season but Really?
      I’d trade Zachary Senyshyn(1st), Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson(2nd), and Jérémy Lauzon(2nd) for Hamilton Every time!
      The Hamonic draft picks are yet to be determined, so its kind of hard to say if they will be of good worth or just throwaways. As we Know … not every draft pick (even first rounders) are a guarantee to be NHLers.
      C’mon The Coilers should know that better than Any team out there…. ~Please!

      • Flint

        You’re crazy! Don’tyou know how easy it is to find 6’6″ right shooting defenseman that can play top line minutes and score 15/40 every season. With the three picks we traded for Hamilton I’m sure we could have picked 3 Dougie Hamiltons… maybe four! And the Hamonic picks. Surely 2 Hamonic’s and two Gaudreau’s guaranteed with those picks! At least if I was picking it would…. like shooting fish in a barrel.

      • The Swell Brother

        The Dougie Hamilton trade if u look closely is the root of a lot of problems . If the flames scouting staff would have been on the ball, Barzal, Boeser and Kyle Connor were still available when flames were up to pick. Do u think any of these guys would have helped right now? With the hiring of Burke and then Treliving and then Gulutzan the flames changed course from rebuild to contender ( at least in their mind). Now what ?

  • SgtRoadBlock

    This Core has failed for 3 Seasons same old same old, The Main goal next season is don’t sign anyone and give them a NTC/M-Ntc… Think we have 12 last time i check,

    • Flint

      Yup. We all say changes need to be made yet we just doubled down on Backlund. And don’t get me wrong – I like Backlund, he’s a very good player, but if you’re only going to change a couple of fourth liners and a #7 D you’re shuffling chairs on the titanic. See: Oilers, Edmonton.

  • Flint

    I thought it was really odd when people here seemed to strongly disagree with me when on the deadline day I said that although we maybe didn’t want E.Kane, we certainly didn’t want the Sharks to get him. Still think it’s odd.

  • PlayitagainSam

    This team has zero character, just like last year choking in the final games of the season. Treleving should be gone along with the coach. He had a chance to put us over the hump at trade deadline and did nothing.

  • buts

    Bottom line is this coach doesn’t know how use his players, doesn’t know how to coach a pp, doesn’t know when to pull a goalie, doesn’t know when to pull a goalie for a extra attacker, doesn’t know when to use a time out, doesn’t know when a player is hot and should be double shifted, doesn’t know sheet. I said it before but BT could have salvaged the season in December or January when everyone and the dog could see this coach is crap. I’m blaming BT for not swallowing his pride and admitting he made a mistake. It’s on him now to make this wrong a right or he will be gone in a year.

  • Hockeyfan

    i for 1, am sure happy we got backs signed to too many and too much rather than getting a 1st and a scorer. His all round game, HAHAHA, will only benefit the Flames for all those grossly overpaid years.

  • With Respect

    Someone needs to remind Smith to be sharper at the start of games, must have been the coaches fault. People need to back off Hamonic a real steady solid player and all round good citizen off the ice with a very good cap hit and it wasn’t his fault the Flames invested all those picks for him he had nothing to do with it. The first and fourth line played well the middle six were junk. If the team finishes 8 and 2 they would be on a roll for the playoffs if not they are toast again.

      • LannyMac

        I read all of your comments about which player is useless which coach needs to go. People stop this is the big picture. Again the Atlanta flames hired Cliff Fletcher. He took a a very subpar team similar to the one this year and progressively turned it into a champion. Since then the Calgary Flames have absolutely no f in ability to create a winning culture. If by chance I live another 30 years I could copy and paste this text and it will apply the only difference will to delete the 3 and insert a 6. Once more a mult billionaire insert d bag owner here has gone to the people of the city and asked for their money to build his mansion. Many people in the city live paycheque to paycheque just scraping enough money together for property taxes. Murray Edwards you continually put a garbage product on the ice that embarrasses the city and then you ask us to help you pay for your mansion. Your an a hole leave pls just leave and if you want take your team with you. I’m done enough is enough.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Can’t blame the lads for losing focus last night as their minds were clearly on getting a redeye to Vegas. As you wingnuts slept last night, our Flames were a holy terror on gaming floors throughout Sin City. I can well imagine that some of them are still at it as I write.

    Knocks on Frolik extremely unfair. The guy spent almost all of Friday with a phone sewed to his ear trying to arrange last minute tickets for Wayne Newton and Forever Liberace. His wife doesn’t have the English to do this. For what he lacks as a player, he more than makes up for as a good husband and a well-prepared vacationer.