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Sharks 7, Flames 4 post-game embers: Same old, same old

And there went the last of the Flames’ leeway.

From hero to six goals against

Sometimes, bad goals will happen. It’s a thing. Even the best goalies in the world will be victimized by them. The Flames should have come out of the first period with a lead – they were the better team to start – but at the very least, they tied things up.

And then they took the lead.

Gave it up.

Took the lead again

Gave it up.

Fell behind.

Fell behind further 90 seconds later.

And pretty much were just done to start the third period.

The game prior was a goaltender’s duel between Mike Smith and Cam Talbot; this one was Martin Jones having a shaky start, the Flames not capitalizing on it, and then Smith just completely bottoming out. His team gave him offence and even looked like they had quite a bit going for them; he sucked the wind out of their sails.

Were all of the goals on Smith? No, absolutely not – but the first goal against should have never happened. The third was pretty bad. The fourth was a wide open rebound. The fifth was just atrocious, and it should have been David Rittich coming out to start the third period, though the sixth goal against was more a team-wide failure than on Smith alone.

There’s only so many times a team can score to come back in it only to fall behind mere minutes later. Three goals against in just under seven minutes that not only saw the precarious one-goal lead evaporate, but saw a multi-goal lead established – that did them in. For as much as the Flames may have tried, there was never going to be a happy ending for them once they faced a three-goal deficit. The 19 minutes with which to work wasted away easily, one successful early pull of the goalie aside.

They gave up. By the time they wanted to try again, they were facing a team better than them that knew how to just coast away.

The second half of the second period can’t happen.

This and that

Kris Versteeg is alive! He played 11:01 in his return to action, including 29 seconds on the powerplay. Curtis Lazar was the only Flame who played less than him. His shift lengths were about in tune with his linemates’ – Versteeg averaged 38 seconds a shift while Mark Jankowski and Garnet Hathaway averaged 40 seconds – and his minutes went up as the game went along. He had a pretty blank stat line otherwise, but hopefully this was a good adjustment game for him.

Dougie Hamilton led the way with six shots on net; his 234 on the season is tied for second amongst defenders in the NHL and is far and away the best on the Flames; it’s absolutely mind boggling still that it took more than 50 games to get him on the top powerplay unit.

Speaking of the top powerplay unit, though… a 44-second 5-on-3 translated into absolutely nothing more than a display on perimeter passing. The Flames had the perfect chance to get the lead back and maybe even settle things down; instead, nothing. Their 17.5% powerplay is 24th in the NHL. They are fourth in the NHL in powerplay opportunities. What a complete waste.

The fourth line has been alright as of late. Nice goal from them. I dunno, but I guess it is a fair bit harder to get mad at them when everyone is failing so spectacularly.

So… playoffs?

Don’t be silly.

Although, say this for the Flames: if they had to lose any of these California games, it was probably best to lose to the Sharks. They’re further ahead than the Kings and Ducks, and are probably the least likely that the Flames will be able to catch. Not that they couldn’t have used those two points last night – they really, really need them to even attempt to keep pace – but of all the teams they’re chasing, the Sharks are too far ahead to be concerning.

That said, if that’s the kind of effort the Flames are going to put up against a superior opponent (re: non-lottery team) when they know their season is on the line, well, playoffs save face but what else would they really do for this group?

They had it, kind of like a seven-game winning streak. They lost it, kind of like a six-game losing streak. Welcome to the season.

  • Flamesfansince04

    I can just hear GG’s post season (or should I say post job) media comments ‘Ive been telling the boys for two years now, believe in my systems, believe in my systems, blah blah blah’. Tough luck lad, if your ‘systems’ don’t work, maybe try an oil change.

  • Bob Hartley

    The biggest issues begin and end with our leaders. To often if Mony, johnny and Ferly aren’t scoring they aren’t doing anything. Mony doesn’t forecheck hard, finish his hits, fight, or ever get in your face. He is easy to play against. Ferly is even worse. Some days Ferly looks so disinterested out there it’s not even funny. How many times during a broadcast do they put the camera on Johnny and he looks like he’s about to cry!!! I can’t stand that. Body language is everything. This team plain and simple is just to damn easy to play against.

    Make Mike Smith the first ever player coach.

  • RKD

    It’s not even funny how mentally weak and fragile this team is after Gaudreau scored San Jose replied back. Then the Flames absolutely cradled. Sharks players were left out in front and the Flame d-men were caught in no man’s land. Everytime this team has a goal scored on them it’s oh no the sky is falling. This coach is useless he can never get his group ready from the start of the game and never takes any timeouts. Just too busy staring at the ipad or Jumbotron with a woe is me look on his face. His player usage doesn’t make any sense. I bet Brouwer will be on the top line soon enough. Time for Tre to make some sweeping offseason moves. This coach and personnel look great on paper but can never execute on the ice.

    • kirby

      That’s been a problem all year. The team is all talk and no heart. There’s talent but there’s no execution. There’s veterans but there’s no leadership. There’s some size but there’s no grit. There’s a big goalie but somehow pucks rarely hit him.

      Been one of the most disappointing seasons i can remember. Especially early in the year, seeing Anaheim struggle, San Jose struggle, LA slow start, Edmonton (who so many “experts” for some reason assumed were suddenly Cup contenders lol) was nowhere to be found. We had a chance to take a stranglehold of the division alongside Vegas right from the start, SHOULD have played this entire season with the lead. But everytime they got the slightest bit of momentum they’d loaf around, get complacent, and give it all right back. We had an opportunity to seize an opening in the balance of power of our division, but instead we sh** all over ourselves at every single turn.

      I don’t know if there’s some egos in the locker room, or a sense of entitlement, or what. But all season long, they’ve simply played like a team that doesn’t get the point. A team that doesn’t understand how to grind. Some questionable GM moves (i’d gladly give Hamonic back for those picks in a second if possible but it seemed like a solid addition at the time), some questionable coaching logic, but at the end of the day it’s the players on the ice who haven’t gotten the job done. Their talent, regardless of systems, regardless of pairings and lineups, should EASILY be FAR BETTER than they’ve shown this season.

      Especially on home ice, what an embarrassment. Remember when the Dome used to be a hard place to visit? Now it’s basically just free points for whoever rolls into town while our guys sit there feeling sorry for themselves. What a joke.

      • LannyMac

        Yes exactly the same thing we have been talking about since the 04/5 lockout give your a head a shake people this is a deep rooted cultural thing with this organization. It’s looservile top to bottom. There needs to be new ownership. I sit and hope that d bag M. Edwards moves on.

  • PlayitagainSam

    Gulutzan should be axed today!! The season is not done yet and this team needs a kick in the teeth to get going.
    What a statement it would make to the players on this team to get their a$$ in gear.

  • Squishin

    My thoughts:
    – It’s depressing to see the team you care about completely collapse like that during a game.
    – Johnny is outpacing his linemates by leaps and bounds. Their skill level is not even close to his. He needs someone better to play with. The year that Hudler was really hot (2014-2015) would have been the closest that Johnny has come to having a linemate to match his skill.
    – I feel that Frolik needs to be taken off the second line. It is clear that he is not a top six forward and is better in a third-line capacity. I would love to see them try Tkachuk-Backlund-Bennett as a second line. To me, Jankowski is not yet ready for the top six.
    – Brodie and Hamonic do not work well together. I really like them both as players individually, but it is clear that their styles do not mesh.
    – I have been very impressed with Kulak lately. Why not try him on a pairing with Hamonic? Brodie and Stone already work reasonably well together, so they can be the other pair. I did suggest this change months ago, and I still believe it would work better than the lineup as is.
    – I do not think the current coaching staff has the skill or vision to correctly assess when things are not working, and to appropriately fix things in a timely manner. The season could have been saved back in November had they figured out even a few of the problems.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I am curious why some people want to trade Johny? After a sub par year last year he has been awesome. He has proven that with 2 healthy linemates he can challenge for the scoring title. If he had a winger like Kessel or Laine he could win a scoring title. IMO our window to win a Stanley Cup is directly contingent on the remaining years of Johnny’s contract.

    • SgtRoadBlock

      Not going to Win a Cup with Jonny, he will be the next Iggy for years. Keep building around one player and failing when the better move would be to trade that piece to fix the holes now.
      For Years people said all we need is a Center for Iggy, 6 years Later we trade him for junk..
      Now we have people saying we need a Elite Right Winger in the top 6.. we not going to draft it, so overpay a ufa player that what 29years or older? lol This is iggy all over again build a team around 1 guy .. play him on all 4 lines, the power play is run by him..

  • everton fc

    BT hired Gulutzan. He signed Brouwer, and traded away picks for Hamonic, who I actually like, and Lazar, who is nothing more than a 4th liner. BT did this when our farm team and pipeline has no real eye-opening prospects, amongst the forwards. Hiring GG was a poor decision. So was the rest of the “aforementioned”. We hire Maloney, and look more and more like the Coyotes of the past. Why?

    I say go for someone like Paul Fenton, as GM. Fire Burke, and King, of course, “prior”. Clean house. I like Queenville, but also like Lindy Ruff, and Vigeneault. But Hynes in NJ, and Cooper, in particular, are proof an astute, wize GM (see Yzwerman), can find a coach that’s off the radar. This team is not, and has never been, as good as we all may have thought, “on paper”. We squandered a dream year for Smith, who could have driven us deep in the playoffs, because of poor trades, a poor hiring behind the bench, and poor player usage. Everyone I have mentioned, is to blame. I also believe we need a front office, a GM, and coach, who won’t put up w/prima donas. I think we have a few prima donas here. Just a feeling….

  • Alberta Ice

    Saw some of the Oilers game this afternoon. Rattie and Bear, AHL call ups, are auditioning for next year and look pretty motivated. Any chance we get to see some of our farm assets soon if the dreaded “e” happens? (Like Andersson, Dube, Philips, or Gawdin to name a few.)