Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Game: Flames lose shootout in Shenzhen

The Calgary Flames made history on Saturday afternoon in Shenzhen, China. They played their first games outside of North America since their 1998 trip to Tokyo, Japan. After digging themselves a 3-0 hole in the first period, the Flames managed to battle back and force overtime. But they couldn’t finish the job, losing 4-3 to the Boston Bruins via shootout.

The Rundown

The Flames had some jump early, generating several good chances early on. But they couldn’t bury them and some defensive lapses led to a string of Bruins goals. First, Trent Frederic and Martin Bodak were sprung into the offensive zone off a bad Flames line change, ending with Frederic catching Jon Gillies sliding left to right and beat him on his left side to make it 1-0. Ryan Donato scored soon after on another two-on-one, beating Gillies with a nice shot to make it 2-0. John Moore finished a really nice Peter Cehlarik pass with the Flames running around in their own end to make it 3-0. But Sean Monahan answered back for the Flames late in the period on a power play off a nice pass from Matthew Tkachuk from below the goal line (with 0.1 seconds remaining) to make it 3-1.

Shots were 14-10 Flames, but scoring chances were 7-5 Bruins.

The Flames were quite good in the second period, generating a lot of good chances. Elias Lindholm had the best two chances in the period: an early chance in the slot off a nice pass from Monahan and another late in the period on a two-on-one rush with Johnny Gaudreau that beat Jaroslav Halak but hit the crossbar. Shots were 12-3 Flames and scoring chances were 9-3 Flames.

Odd-man rush off an early turnover, Giordano snuck in from the point and tapped in a Gaudreau pass to make it 3-2.

The Flames had a lengthy (1:54) two man disadvantage after Garnet Hathaway high-sticked a Bruin and Travis Hamonic cleared the puck over the glass. But a very nice performance from Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik and Giordano ate up the majority of the time and bought the Flames a bit of life. The Bruins ended up giving the Flames a full two minute two man advantage with 2:08 left in regulation due to a roughing call and a bench minor, which allowed Giordano to power through his second of the period to tie the game at 3-3 with 46 seconds left (and Gillies off for the extra attacker). Shots were 14-5 Flames and scoring chances were 7-2 Flames.

It was off to overtime! Mikael Backlund took a minor in extra time for tripping Brad Marchand, but the Flames killed it off. Neither team could score in OT, though the Flames had an edge in scoring chances (1-0). In the shootout Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk scored for Boston while Matthew Tkachuk responded for the Flames, giving the Bruins the victory.

Why The Flames Lost (in a Shootout)

Boston was able to bury their chances while the Flames weren’t. In particular, Boston scored on three consecutive scoring chances in a span in the middle of the first period and that swung the game wide open.

It was Vintage Gulutzan Flames, but only for a little while:

Gillies wasn’t amazing in net, but his team didn’t make life easy on him during the first period. They were the better team overall and deserved a better fate, but they played just poorly enough in the first period to need a Herculean comeback to get this one to overtime.

Red Warrior

Let’s go with Austin Czarnik, who was buzzing around all game. Lindholm was also quite effective, as was Giordano.

The Turning Point

The Flames were arguably the better team but for a short span in the first period where they lost focus and gave up three goals – two of which were off odd-man rushes. When you take your eye off the ball, bad things happen.

This and That

The Flames had an overall 22-11 scoring chance edge. Lindholm led the way with 3 chances, while Tkachuk, Czarnik, Bennett, Gaudreau, Neal and Monahan all had multiple scoring chances.

Garnet Hathaway took a skate to the face on his first shift of the game. Thankfully he wasn’t injured too badly and returned to the game.

Who inherited Troy Brouwer’s alternate captain’s A? Nobody. They played with a captain (Mark Giordano) and one alternate (Sean Monahan).

Up Next

The group in China jets off to Beijing later today and prepares for a game on Wednesday night (early morning in Calgary) – they changed their travel plans slightly due to the impending arrival of Super Typhoon Mangkhut in the Shenzhen/Hong Kong area.

The main camp group prepares for a domestic preseason game on Monday night at the Saddledome against the Edmonton Oilers.

  • Alberta Ice

    Got the feeling a lot of ramping up to do as this team learns to play together. Don’t get too excited about any valuations yet as it’s so early. (However, kind of painful knowing Bergeron, Krejci, and Chara weren’t playing against us. That’s some pretty top end talent missing for the other team. They should be a top rated team again this year.)

    • cberg

      Ironically, bringing in the hungry prospects often brings better results than the proven vets, especially so in preseason. Almost assuredly Boston had a faster team than with their vets.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    My take on the game….

    The speed and scoring chances by the Flames was very encouraging.
    The new blood looked really good….however I expect Lindholm to bury the 2 on 1 because Ferland probably would.

    Neal was underwhelming but he did drive to the net which we did not have much of last year. The old me was going to turn the TV off after 3 quick Boston goals and given the time. But I persevered and stayed up and I am glad I did because Calgary kept coming wave after wave. This was a different mindset than last year and I don’t expect to be turning off the TV (something I only did during the GG tenure).

    I thought all 4 lines showed well at times. The fourth line showed good chemistry between Janko and Bennett but Janko has to be better on Face offs and Bennett needs to finish these nice feeds. I don’t think Hathaway was bad but that line needs more in the way of Mangi or Dube.

    I will take that effort all year. Flames win with Smith in net. They win the shootout if they use Monny or Neil as the third shooter…but why not give some other players a chance in a nothing game.

    • Baalzamon

      The new blood looked really good….however I expect Lindholm to bury the 2 on 1 because Ferland probably would.

      Right, because Ferland never rang one off the post in that situation.

    • Zalapski

      You’re not wrong. I know it’s one game, but he made some incredible on ice vision and great puck handling at speed.

      Though Lindholm settled in and i do believe that line could be elite. Monny was also dangerous

    • Speed Kills

      Yeah…. After “one game” I got to thinking completely out of the box lines for game # two, based upon performance and possible chemistry(skill/speed/style of play) and I thought these lines could be interesting… Based on keeping the same forward group with no +/- players involved.
      Matthew Tkachuk – Sean Monahan – James Neal
      Johnny Gaudreau – Elias Lindholm – Austin Czarnik
      Michael Frolik – Mikael Backlund – Derek Ryan
      Sam Bennett – Mark Jankowski – Garnet Hathaway…

      • canadian1967

        Corsi would be the only reason for Hathaway to be in the NHL, but no matter what anyone says, Corsi doesn’t win games.
        Scoring wins games.
        It looks like now we can build scoring lines without “fillers” such as Hathaway, Brouwer and Stajan etc.

    • Chucky

      I was able to rewatch a good part of the third period. Czarnik had 7 shifts, at no point did he even engage in a puck battle. If someone managed to get the puck to him when nobody was checking him the handled it well and passed or shot well before getting checked. On three occasions he gave up the puck either a shot or a bad pass, every time it was like being 10 years old again and watching #27 take a pleasure skate behind the other team’s net. Unfortunately this guy is not the Big M, Frank would have scored two given the opportunities that Czarnik was fed. AHL material if there ever was one.

  • Avalain

    Well, if the Flames are going to lose a preseason game, this is certainly the way to do it. Stoned by a hot goalie but had the majority of shots and control of the game is fantastic.

  • Zalapski

    Gillies needs a new goalie coach. The team didn’t do him any favours but he hasn’t looked the same since his first start against LA. I distinctly remember him being much more dynamic then. Now he’s out of position and seems to be on his heels.

    Ryan was solid and at times dynamic. He reminded me of a more dynamic Versteeg. I think he is a legit NHL contributor and i hope i dont eat my words.

    Czarnik was dynamic. In the early part of the broadcast they talked a lot about Ryan even though i though Czarnik was driving the play. I think he’s going to score at the NHL level. The confidence and play making was great, and he was a nice skater.

    Neal made some high skill plays. He wasn’t super noticeable but he handled some long passes nicely that would have blown by a lot of players we’ve watched the last few years.

    Brodie looked completely different. Almost like he was more upright and less over the puck ready to push up ice and carry effectively. It was a beautiful thing. Brodano may not have the numbers that Gio-Ham did, hit sure are a thing of beauty to watch. I hope Brodie can bounce back.

  • calgaryfan

    I know it will not happen but it would be nice if the NHL went to a bigger ice surface, really enjoyed the speed and play making on the bigger ice. Gives the better players like Johnny more room to do what they do. Fun to watch!

    • Korcan

      You would think that would be true, but my understanding is that many of the European players who play in the NHL say the opposite and prefer the smaller ice.

  • Lamepoop

    Bennett and Janko had some good chances but Hathaway needs to go. I think they should put Czarnik on their right side and maybe this line will start producing more

    • everton fc

      Man, Hathaway “looks good” one game, but needs to “go”? Others here who saw the game said Hathaway was fine – he did catch a skate in the face. He’s a better option than Mangiapane. He’s got some sort of chemistry, with Jankowski. I’d leave it alone, but a line of Bennett-Jankowski-Dube would be an exciting one. To my eye, Dube may be the best prospect we have, at present. He is the only one – including Foo, Mangiapane, others – who has a chance to make the big club. And maybe Klimchuk, if he actually plays some games. Proper roles will create chemistry, and define this team. We have a coach who seems more able to get his troops to “Never Surrender”. Sort of like Hartley. But Peters has a much better, deeper roster than Hartley did. If Smith and Rittich can be steady in net, and with a possible surprise line of Frolik-Ryan-Czarnik that may be the key…

      Then again, it’s simply one pre-season game! 😉 Go Flames!!

  • oilcanboyd

    Wow…such in depth analysis of their first pre-season game after just one practise. Some good things did happen out there and outweighed some of the negatives. They will be better the next game.

  • DoubleDIon

    Somewhat concerned at how bad Hamonic looks out there in transition. Paid a steep price for a guy who is basically Michael Stone with a better right hook.

  • Korcan

    My first impression of Czarnik and Ryan was very good — surprisingly good. Their chemistry together reminded me a bit of Marchessault and Smith from VGN. Frolik was good with them, but Neal looked better.
    Neal didn’t seem to click with Tkachuk and Backlund as well, and is probably why Peters put Frolik back with them for the 3rd.

    Lindholm looked good with Johnny and Mony, but with Monahan’s wrist reportedly feeling great i wonder if we will see Neal on that line in game two and Lindholm somewhere else, maybe with Czarnik and Ryan.

    Bennett and Jankowski looked pretty good. I really want Bennett to capitalize on some of those chances so he can get his confidence going before the season begins. That, IMO, is the only thing keeping him from taking off — the skillset is obviously there. Hathaway looked good, but doesn’t have the skill to really compliment the other two. If Dube continues to impress, i can’t help but wonder if his addition to Janks and Benny could be the elixir that makes this line very exciting. Up to this point (admittedly still very early) Dube has been dynamic and appears to have the edge over Mangiapane for that final roster spot.

    On D, Brodie and Gio looked like they hadn’t skipped a beat. The second pairing looked like they are two guys learning to play together. And Stone looked fine, but Kulak appeared to be struggling at times. Is it just rust, or is it the uneasy feeling of Andersson’s breath down his neck?

    Finally, Peters says the guys who didn’t play will be playing next game. I’m looking forward to seeing how Andersson and Klimchuk do, as well as what the line combinations will be.

    It feels so good to be watching the Flames again!

    • Puck Head

      So if what you say is true, it means Prout and Peluso are both in. Our lineup will be bigger, slower, less skilled and meaner. Wonder if they’ll find any dancing partners? Wonder if the fans there would like a little fisticuff?

  • Nieuwy Knows

    I’ve been lurking on this site on a daily basis for many years and thought I’d get involved in the discussions finally.

    My take aways…

    This is going to be a team that players with better tempo. Czarnik, Hanifin and Ryan all skate well. Ryan has way more jump then I personally expected and czarnik and Hanifin have great speed and superior edge work.

    Brodie looked more decisive to me, less second guessing going on. I thought Haminic contributed to zone exits in a positive way. Gio is his beastly self. The third pair needs work. Fat Ras please.

    Neal was off but I’ll set that aside and hope it takes the big man a few days to get going. Lindholm is more physical then I expected (even though I’d heard those reports) but seemed a half second off in this game. Johnny and Mony looked like the top line Gems that they are. Bennett moves so well but his hands are reminiscent of Todd Marchant of oilers ilk. I still hold out hope he can become a solid contributor as the skills are evident.

    Gillies game did nothing to change my mind that goaltending is a weakness for this team. I can’t believe how small he looks in goal. I know shootouts are not everyone’s thing but those pucks just seemed to go right through him. He seems to play scared. I’ve been hoping all offseason that Tree would steal Sparks or Pickard from T.O. The flames are due to win a trade with the leafs. Aren’t they?

    • Kevin R

      The team seemed way faster than last year & they seem to have more desire to forecheck & attack. PP looked refreshingly different. Last year if I saw all the forwards skate fast through centre to just stop at the blueline because of that drop pass back to Gaudreau this year again, I think I would just stop going to games. Gio & Brodie looked solid together. Kulak didnt impress me & yes Hathaway is a gritty kid but sorry, he is unable to finish plays at a fast pace. Actually, from what I have seen of Dube, put him on that RW with Janko & Bennett & I think we may just have something here. Tkachuk & Backlund were ok but not what I call a noticeable night from them. Just love Lindholm on that top line. He is light years better than Ferland in my opinion.

  • Burnward

    On the only thing that matters to me this pre-season is we see the boys playing with a little joy.

    We know they’re good. This is all practice.

    Just go out there and have fun with hockey. Hasn’t been here since Hartley.

    • Puck Head

      And Burnward gets the best comment of the week.

      What you said is so simple that we all lose sight of it but it may be the most important ingredient to a successful team. Thanks for closing the loop and putting everything into perspective.

  • Garry T

    Why the Flames Lost was goaltender coaching. Everyone working with our goalies take their marching orders from Sigalet. All of our goaltenders do the same thing and that is protect the net with the flop/pads spread. The shooters are so good that this style of play which has not changed for 4 years can put the puck over the goaltender’s shoulders. This style of play does not result in a quick side to side save recovery and leaves gaps between their hips and their arm pits as well. If our tenders play this style again this year, we are going to be hard pressed to win our fair share of games unless every game is a run and gun affair. My question to our hockey brains who watch this team, night after night, why do they not see and do something to have our tenders play a standup style? The Flames need to address this with Sigalet and if he refuses to change, FIRE HIM before it is too late. Our goalies do not suck. Sigalet sucks big time!

    • freethe flames

      Gary: As I said in a previous post; I watched the NA practices the other day and what you said is true. Prior to the full practice the Heat goalie coach was on the ice and what did they do? They were deep in their net and going down early. Coaching at this level needs to be individual; catering to each goalies strengths and working on their weaknesses. Both Smith and Gilles are huge men and should be out further giving shooters little to shoot and and they should go down later than the do. Everyone should go back and compare where Gilles was in his net and where Halak was in his net. Go back a see where Gilles was when he made a couple of big saves; high in his crease when he was scored on deep in his crease and going down.