Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: Locals take their lumps against Columbus

Things haven’t been going great for the Calgary Flames lately. Entering tonight’s date with the Columbus Blue Jackets, they had some trouble scoring goals and some trouble keeping pucks out of their own net. That trend continued on Thursday night at the Saddledome. A familiar combination of porous defensive play and a snake-bit offense contributed to their seventh consecutive loss, this one a 5-1 setback at the hands of the Blue Jackets.

The Rundown

The Blue Jackets struck first in the opening frame. After an icing, Mark Jankowski lost a faceoff and the whole team basically froze for five seconds wondering what to do. That allowed Matt Calvert to corral the puck and find Markus Hannikainen out front for a quick tap-in goal to make it 1-0. Midway through the period they struck again, as a lapse in defensive coverage left Pierre-Luc Dubois all by his lonesome with a clear lane to the net. Artemi Panarin found him with a beautiful cross-zone pass and Dubois one-timed it past Gillies to make it 2-0. Shots were 14-13 Flames and chances were 18-12 Flames.

Four minutes into the second period the Jackets struck again. Panarin poked a puck out from under the red line and Cam Atkinson delivered a very slick tap-pass to move the puck into the slot for a wide-open Dubois for another one-timer goal and a 3-0 lead. The Flames pressed but couldn’t bury anything. Shots were 13-5 Flames and chances were 9-3 Flames.

The visitors added two more in the third period. Markus Nutivaara scored on an odd-man rush and Dubois completed his hat trick on a similarly out-manned play to make it 5-0. Chris Stewart batted in a rebound with 21.4 seconds remaining to spoil Sergei Bobrovsky’s shutout bid, but that was all she wrote. Shots were 11-10 Flames and chances were 13-4 Flames.

Why The Flames Lost

The Flames were pretty flat early and really rough with their defensive zone coverage, which gave the Jackets a few high-quality looks. Once the Flames got down a couple they reverted to some old habits: occasionally cheating to try to get some offense going… which only served to give the Jackets more odd-man rushes and high-quality looks.

Other than that, it was the usual recipe for the locals: lots of zone time and scoring chances, but not enough grade-A looks or goals.

Red Warrior

Bless his heart, Sam Bennett sure is trying his best to get things going. He led the team with five shots and stayed out of the penalty box.

The Turning Point

The second goal for Columbus ended up being the game-winner, but it was just a fantastic lapse in judgement by everyone on the ice in red. You really shouldn’t leave a player like Dubois that wide-open in the offensive zone. It never ends well.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Glass 83.3 50.0 0.625
Hamilton 81.1 57.1 1.375
Stajan 76.9 50.0 0.500
Giordano 74.4 69.2 1.625
Bennett 73.5 85.7 1.035
Brouwer 71.4 75.0 0.525
Backlund 70.0 75.0 0.515
Lazar 66.7 50.0 1.375
Shore 66.7 50.0 0.740
Ferland 64.5 50.0 0.450
Andersson 64.1 60.0 0.400
Hathaway 63.2 42.9 0.175
Kulak 58.8 45.5 0.450
Stewart 54.6 42.9 1.065
Stone 53.7 37.5 0.275
Jankowski 46.2 37.5 -0.090
Frolik 39.3 33.3 -0.250
Hamonic 31.3 25.0 -0.600
Gillies -1.450

This and That

Matt Stajan was presented with a silver stick to commemorate his 1,000th NHL game. Then, his son Elliot was presented with a silver mini-stick in a pretty cool moment.

Travis Hamonic left the game after the first period with an upper-body injury. He collided awkwardly with Boone Jenner in the first period but stayed on the bench until the end of the frame. The Flames played the rest of the game with five defenders. Following the game, head coach Glen Gulutzan noted that Hamonic “is going to be out for a bit.”

Rasmus Andersson set a new career high in ice time (18:53), while Brett Kulak cracked the 20-minute plateau for just the fourth time in his NHL career.

Chris Stewart’s goal ended the Flames’ goal-less draught at 167:36, just 15:20 shy of the all-time record from Nov. 2002.

Up Next

The Flames (35-33-10) practice tomorrow, then are back in action on Saturday night as Spencer Foo makes his NHL debut against the Edmonton Oilers. That sounds fun.

  • Justthateasy

    Looks to me like it’s time to fire Gillies. How do you shoot over top a guy that’s 6 ft 6. It’s probably because when you’re on your knees you’re only 4 foot 2. We are kidding ourselves if we think this goalie will ever amount to anything. He should have his mechanics down by the stage of the game.
    For the flames it’s time to stay after school and shoot targets. It is harder to score on a real goalie that stands up and comes out with a good glove.

    • everton fc

      I watched the highlights. Didn’t see the game. On some of the goals, he had no defencive help. But on all the goals. regardless, Gillies did not look like an NHL goalie. Rittich is way better.

      • MiamiRedhawks

        From seeing these guys in Stockton, Gillies maybe at the height of his career right now. So trade him for a pick? Rittich played solid, so keep him around and see where that goes.

  • McRib

    “Rasmus Andersson set a new career high in ice time (18:53), while Brett Kulak cracked the 20-minute plateau for just the fourth time in his NHL career.”

    I was at the game Stone and Hamonic were unmitigated disasters so who else where they going to play…. Stone got turnstiled on two goals. Hamonic was just letting men walk through the middle. I would so sell high right now on Hamonic. People have been blaming Brodie all year, but considering we’ve won what one game when he’s been out of the lineup, maybe, just maybe, it’s the other way around? I mean after all Brodie has been great his entire career until Hamonic showed up. Let’s callup Edmonton and recoup some of our loss on that Hamonic trade and get a first rounder while the getting is still good. Worse case can Tyler Wotherspoon really be worse? Doubtful. One thing is for certain Andersson is miles ahead of Stone.

      • Flint

        Hamonic is not immune to criticism, and he has had his share of bad games. As does any player.

        But youre kidding yourself if you think he’s hurting Brodie. Nothing supports that, not the eye test, not the stats. Hamonic may have bad games no and again, but Brodie is being measured in bad seasons at this point. When was the last time Brodie had a good defensive game? 2015-16?

        • L.Kolkind

          The stats certainly support that Hamonic is a source of Brodie’s career worst year. hamonic was the worst corso for rel in the entire league when he was on the Islanders, and Stone was in 2nd last. Those two trades show how Treliving isn’t actually a progressive GM and we would be best to be rid of BT.

          • Cfan in Van

            I’d like you to refer to today’s article, grading the Flames Defense. Hamonic and Brodie, CF%=51.3, GF%=45.2… Hamonic without Brodie, CF%=52.3, GF%=53.3… Brodie without Hamonic, CF%=48.7 , GF%=48.5…
            So yeah, that just doesn’t seem true. Hamonic has had a huge bounce-back from his last season with the Isles.

    • everton fc

      Again, watching the highlights only, I saw Stone get “turnstiled” on two goals.

      I wonder if Wotherspoon’s actually better than some of our regular defenders?

    • Trevy

      Brodie has only been good when he played alongside Gio. Since then, he’s played with Hamilton, Stone, Engelland, Wideman and Hamonic and never developed chemistry with any of them. I like Brodie, but he’s inconsistent and makes poor decisions at times, time to see what we can get on the open market

  • Pizanno

    I’ve paid a small fortune to travel to Calgary and watch Saturday’s game. I don’t care what the lineup is. I want my money’s worth. This is the NHL ffs.

    • Franko J

      Sorry to hear that you spent so much to go watch the Flames at time in their history where they are clearly not very entertaining to watch. The best part is you will be in the house for Spencer Foo’s NHL debut and you will be able to watch probably one of the best players in the NHL in McDavid.

    • GER

      I can’t say I know a lot about hockey, but I am pretty sure our coaching staffs are not NHL ready. I also think that the management have misjudged our team when they thought we can go deep into the playoffs. Most Stanley cup winners have two solid scoring lines, with two centers able to score 30+ goals, along with a good shutdown line. I think with addition of a top line RW might not be enough to get us deep into playoffs. For next year I rather we have a real NHL coach that can get our players ready for battle every game. To be honest, even though we played boring hockey under Hartley, at least our boys never gave up, and that’s what I want to see, win or lose we don’t give up.

        • GER

          No you are right, have two solid centers or two solid scoring lines doesn’t mean you guarantee to win the cup, I just felt that the very good playoff teams are usually built that way. You look at Pit, TB, Ana, LA, or like the red wings in the 90s with Yzerman and Fedorov for example, or Pit with Lemieux and Francis. It’s just my stupid opinion, pls don’t mock me. And if I could give the cup to a team, it would be the flames, but they are not in the playoff.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Well, on the bright side there is no way we’ll catch the 1974–75 Washington Capitals who had a goal differential of -265, So there is always that!
    The 2018/19 Season can not come quick enough.

  • Franko J

    As usual the majority of the team started the game in a fog once again. After toying with the Flames in the first period the CBJ’s coasted the rest of the way. All I have to say is if the Flames management truly believe they are one or two players away from being a contender they are sorely mistaken. Plenty of heat is on both the coaches and the team, however, BT has assembled a team and hired a coaching staff this season that has been a disgrace and in turn not good enough on a nightly basis. Since the trade deadline I don’t think I have ever seen a Flames team that truly plays and looks like an expansion team. I thought LKV was supposed to be the expansion club this year.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      You will find the overwhelming majority of posters here think all the Flames need for a deep playoff run next season is the right coach and a right winger in his late 20s to early 30s who makes north of $5M a year and who can score about 30 goals while logging first line minutes..

      • PlayitagainSam

        A lot of people would be wrong . The defence is as horrible as the goaltending. Team needs an overhaul on defence.cant win unless goalie stands on their head, and after Gaudreau ,Monahan,and Tkachuk there’s not much on this team to cheer about.

  • Burnward

    They were laughing at us 3 minutes in up a goal.

    We’ve become the Oilers. And not the down year this year Oilers, the Oilers everyone disrespected and rolled over.

    • Rocket66

      It almost seems like they are tanking. The only thing that would make any sense to this at all is if there has been a behind the scenes discussion on. I give you draft pick. I want Tavares
      Other than that I am totally confused on what’s going on here

  • TheWheeze

    King and Burke aren’t going anywhere. They are in The Club. George Carlin had a piece on the subject. The Rich Connected Men’s Club. Get used to it. Gillies needs to be shipped out. But he won’t because the goalie situation is too lean. GG is 50 50. They might clean out the assistants and keep him. Could happen. Yes. This team is a mess. Torts comments alluding to the brass calling shots as per player deployment is probably true. For all we know GG had a proverbial gun to his head. Far too much ego in this organization. Comments I’ve read about Burke running the show are probably true. If you look closely at GG, he has the defeated look of a guy who may be handcuffed. Rant over. I feel better now

  • Vernon30

    Other than Foo debuting on Saturday night, and JH back, there is no reason to watch this crap. If Dube, Gawdin or Phillips’ teams lose, could they appear for a cameo? Or does that count as a recall? This has been the most God awful season.

    • Cfan in Van

      Dube could join (I hope he does), as Kelowna is done now. Phillips is still in it, Victoria won last night 7-3 to tie the series at 2 each. The only reason I’ll watch on Saturday.

  • Ranchman

    This team is an embarrassment. All anyone wants to talk about is SOG and Corsi. Boomer/Warrener/Pinhead spent the whole morning trying to justify 6 (now 7) straight losses with “well, they haven’t quit” and “they outshot they opposition”. Then Pinhead goes on his Oiler rant to make him feel better about the Flames predicament. Wake up people. We have a 7 game losing streak and the coach has convinced the media and everyone else in town that they’re not door mats. We have crappy team defense, no team toughness that can play the game (except Tkachuk) and have two 4th round/a 6th round and two 7th round picks in the upcoming draft. This team is BAD and will be getting worse. Let’s stop fooling ourselves. It may be fun to take jabs at the Oil but it doesn’t change the facts… we suck.

    • Beer League Coach

      You make the draft situation sound even worse than it is. Flames have their own picks in rounds 3, 4, 6, and 7 and Florida’s pick in round 4 from the Jiri Hudler trade a couple years ago. 5th rd pick to AZ for Mike Stone. The 2nd pick in the 7th rd that you referred to is not ours. It was a conditional pick for Thomas McCollum traded to Detroit. Conditions were if he played at least 20 minutes in at least 15 NHL games this season Flames would get Red Wings 7th rd pick. Conditions were not met so Flames get nothing. Seems fair since they gave up nothing.