69Andrew Mangiapane
Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames edge Canucks 4-1

Heading into Wednesday night’s game at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, the Calgary Flames had yet to win a preseason game this year. That’s hardly something worth panicking about, but there were enough little things going wrong – both in Canada and China – to cause a bit of nervousness.

The Flames likely calmed a few people down during a pretty solid effort against the Vancouver Canucks. They were quite good in a 4-1 preseason victory.

The Rundown

The Flames started the game with a lot of energy and were rewarded early on. Juuso Valimaki sprung Matthew Phillips on a breakaway and the smallest Flames prospect beat Thatcher Demko stick-side to make it 1-0 Calgary – a lead the visitors never relinquished. After a forecheck created a Canucks turnover, Dmitry Zavgorodniy’s initial shot was stopped but Glenn Gawdin put the rebound into the slot where Spencer Foo waited out Demko and slide the puck between his pad and the inside post to make it 2-0. Shots were 16-11 Canucks and the home side led in chances 7-5.

The Flames got into a bit of penalty trouble in the second, giving Vancouver two power plays – and a penalty shot on Calgary’s power play. But the visitors managed to cash in due to a bit of casual defensive attitudes by Vancouver on their power play. After a turnover Dillon Dube went for a skate with the puck, turning it into a two-on-one rush with Andrew Mangiapane; Dube fed Mangiapane for a one-timer and that short-handed goal made it 3-0 Flames. Shots were 10-10 in the second and scoring chances were 5-3 Flames.

Tyler Parsons relieved David Rittich to start the third and he was tested quite a bit in the period as the Flames’ defenders seemed to relax a bit too much with a three-goal lead. Brendan Leipsic finally broke the combined shutout on a four-on-four as the Flames had issues clearing their zone after a couple nice initial Parsons stops. But 3-1 was as close as Vancouver would get and Valimaki added an empty net buzzer-beater to make it a 4-1 final. Shots were 13-11 Canucks but chances were 6-5 Flames.

Why the Flames Won

The Flames just had an overall rock-solid game. They got strong goaltending from Rittich and Parsons. They got timely goals from Phillips, Foo, Mangiapane and Valimaki. Their young blueliners were pretty good after an iffy outing against Edmonton.

Honestly, the only thing that wasn’t firing on all cylinders was the power play.

Red Warrior

We’ve gotta go with Dube again, as he was superb. But the gap between him and the rest of the team’s good players wasn’t massive; Mangiapane, Valimaki, Foo and the goalies were also quite good.

The Turning Point

The Mangiapane short-handed goal made it 3-0 and basically sapped any momentum Vancouver had hoped to generate with their special teams work.

The Numbers

(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Natural Stat Trick)

Player Corsi
Foo 76.9 33.3 1.625
Zavgorodniy 69.2 25.0 1.025
Sproul 69.2 20.0 0.475
Dube 68.8 50.0 1.065
Robinson 66.7 40.0 0.460
Gawdin 66.7 25.0 1.045
Healey 62.5 40.0 0.475
Mangiapane 61.1 50.0 1.185
Kylington 59.4 36.4 0.150
Ruzicka 55.0 60.0 0.225
Samuelsson 54.8 45.4 0.500
Ehliz 50.0 75.0 0.125
Shaw 44.4 75.0 -0.090
Brule 37.5 18.2 0.310
Valimaki 34.4 33.3 1.475
Phillips 31.0 20.0 0.600
Quine 30.0 20.0 -0.385
Ollas-Mattsson n/a n/a n/a
Rittich 2.600
Parsons 0.450

(Natural Stat Trick didn’t have any stats for Adam Ollas-Mattsson.)

This and That

The Flames were 0-for-2 on the power play and generated just a single shot. The Canucks were 0-for-5 on the power play and generated 8 shots.

Up Next

The Flames are expected to make cuts tomorrow on a rare complete off day for the squad – domestic players and the China group all get a day of rest. The Flames are back in game action on Friday night when they head to Winnipeg to visit the Jets.

  • Brian McGrattan's Salute

    Really nice to see Mange, Foo, and Philips produce. Like the article said, there is still a gap between Dube and the rest, but not by much. Also, it is indeed a good feeling to get a dub-ya, and to see strong games from both goalies. Our big boys team still had too many flashes of olde, but ideally that’ll get worked out.

    I’m hoping Rebar is just looking at our team like “good lord, what have they done to you…”, kind of like when you go to the hair dresser after having cut your own hair.

    • SeanCharles

      What separates Dube from the pack is consistency. Its what separates all players essentially and I do agree some seem to be getting more consistent in Mangiapane, Foo, Kylington, Valimaki, Parsons which bodes well because these are the guys we need to be good. I like what Phillips, lil Z and some of the others have shown flashes of as well.

      Dube is on another level however and I look forward to main camp where I think he will make the team.

      You don’t have a guy that Gaudreau says should have made the team last year and comes in the following year and starts ripping it up again and not expect him to end up on the team when it actually makes sense (after he continues to impress in main camp).

      He’s not junior eligible with a WJ gold to win anymore. His contract starts running now regardless of where he plays. If he has 2.25 productive years in Calgary, with 0.75 of it in Stockton, it won’t be too much different from having 3 productive years in Calgary when considering his ELC.

      I think if he remains consistent in playing his game he should make the team as the 12th forward. Jankowski not making the team last year was different as there is an actual roster spot available this year, same goes with defense and goaltending.

      My money is on Dube and Andersson taking 2 of those spots, and goaltending I no longer bet on.

  • Korcan

    Rittich looked great, as did Parsons who, if he can build on his impressive start to training camp, may find himself usurping Gillies as Stockton’s no.1 this season.

    The prospects stood out much more than the pto players and all the kids we want to see succeeding seemed to play well. Kylington i thought looked solid on D, Dube and Mangiapane showed good chemistry, Foo and Gawdin also looked good. Phillips had a nice goal and Valimaki made some nice plays.

    It was the goaltending, however, that i was most pleased about. All three os Smith, Rittich, and Parsons had strong outings today — hopefully a sign of good things to come.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I wouldn’t say Rittich looked great. His rebound control was suspect at times but he seemed to find his confidence which is what we need. Parsons is one of the most exciting keepers I have seen, this can really rally a team and get the crowd into the game. I do see why he gets injured so much because he is far busier than he needs to be. He is the type of goalie that when he is on he is unbeatable but when is timing is off he is going to struggle. I am not sure why they brought in Glass on a PTO since there is not enough net to go around.

      • Al Rain

        Haven’t seen Parsons play much before last night. Reminds me a bit of Mike Palmateer – making dramatic saves from out of position. Just me?

        Ya, I’m that old.

  • FlushedOut

    What does everyone else think about throwing Brule an AHL contract? Seems good with Phillips. I’ve always heard about how fast Phillips is but Dube looked even faster to me
    Something else I’ve always wondered about. After 2 full seasons in the NHL Chucky is still waiver exempt but wasn’t Lazar ineligible when we traded for him in the 3rd year of his ELC, anybody know why?

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      There are a lot of comparables for Dube but I was thinking he has a similiar style to Larkin. His offence might be at that level as well. I have been really impressed by how Mangie has upped his game with Dube playing lights out.
      Dube’s consistency might be the deciding factor. I hope Lazar is sent to the AHL to play on a top line to help his confidence. I also think Ehliz is starting to look more comfortable on the NHL ice.

  • Garry T

    I watched this game with a lot of interest. Kyllington played a terrific game. Parsons and Rittich were standing up and played bigger in net. I was really impressed with the speed of the game. These young guys are fast and I mean real burners out there. The
    Fore checking was marvellous and our Defense was very pleasing to watch. Later in the season, we are not going to have to make trades. Whatever you need is going to be available from Stockton and it has been years since I have been able to say that.
    Vancouver has drafted really well. If Leipsic ever becomes available, I would do what it takes to land him. He is a sleeper and has leadership qualities to boot. Over all really impressed with this group. Our D were terrific to the extent I really did not know we had so much talent. If we can get Smith to stand up in net and get back into the net more quickly a fter being away from the net, we are going to have a good season. Go Flames Go

  • Chucky

    It would be nice to know what happened to Rittich over the two days, not only did he look sharper but his positioning looked far better. He also seemed to have a lot more confidence. Was he sick against the Oilers or was there a coaching correction? It seems odd that a guy can change that much without something happening.

      • Cfan in Van

        You mean we shouldn’t panic after a poor goalie performance, in his first game of the preseason?

        “Professor, without knowing precisely what the danger is, would you say it’s time for our viewers to crack each other’s heads open and feast on the goo inside?”
        “Yes, I would, Kent.”

    • Rudy27

      After spending many many years in sports (hockey, TaeKwonDo, baseball), I can tell you that there is ring rust you need to work through after being off for a season break or injury. The amount of time training and playing at a highly competitive level to get up to snuff varies for each athlete and some positions more than others. It’s a mix of conditioning, timing and mental focus.

    • cberg

      Its called “hockey” or even “competition”….. there wasn’t much difference, just more stops, more luck, more support. Geeesh, yesterday Lundquist gave up 5 goals on 22 shots before he was pulled. The BUM! Maybe we can get him cheap cause the NYR will be dumping him quick with that abysmal performance.

    • MDG1600

      The difference between an NHL calibre goalie and AHL and between a starter and back up is really all about consistency. We need Rittich to bring his A game like last night 80 or 90% of the time. Flames have Jeff Glass on PTO and he was fantastic in the NHL last year for about 3 games and then faded away to the point of not having a contract for this year. I don’t need Rittich or Gillies or Parsons to be spectacular as much as reliable.

    • MDG1600

      I agree, he might be the biggest surprise for me. He looks like he would be a top 4 D man in Stockton right now where last year he couldn’t crack the line-up. I understand there may have been some injuries holding him back so hopefully we are seeing his true colors now.

      • Baalzamon

        Actually he could crack the lineup last season… when he was healthy. He was just always injured.

        He was absolutely better than Josh Healey last season.

      • canadian1967

        He skates way better than I expected and was physical without being the type to draw penalties. Looked just fine wit the puck on his stick as well.
        I think the Flames must believe there’s something there to have brought him back. I think there might be also.

      • Baalzamon

        What people just don’t seem to get with Kylington is that there will ALWAYS be things happening with him on the ice. There will always be gaffes, every game. But there’s also ALWAYS more good than bad. Always.

        He’s a high-event player. That means there’s always stuff going on with him, at both ends. There will be moments that make you grit your teeth, and moments that drop your jaw. And, on balance, more of the latter than former.

        That said, he’s not NHL ready yet. Nor is Valimaki.

        • MDG1600

          You seem very adamant that the good outweighs the bad. So why was he a team worst -12 in Stockton last year? Frankly I haven’t seen anything remotely close to the elite offensive talent that will outweigh his defensive mistakes. Wotherspoon had more points than Kylington in Stockton. Valimaki has passed him on the depth chart already.

          • Baalzamon

            Ah +/-. The refuge of the person who wants to pretend they have an argument but actually don’t. Kylington was a +3 the previous year, what’s your explanation for that? Linden Vey (arguably the best player on the team) was a 0.

            Wotherspoon had more points, but played more games, got more minutes and played with Andersson instead of the Goloubef/Robak/Prout combination Kylington did. Kylington was far more efficient at scoring, with less help (although Goloubef is alright).

            Oh and he’s four years younger. You did notice the part where I said he wasn’t ready for the NHL, right?

    • JMK

      I think a lot of people forget that AOM was rated quite highly going into his draft year but disruptions (injuries or family issues can’t remember which) caused him to plummet. A good draft year and he would have been picked in first 2 rounds. I do wonder if the game has changed too much for a player like him but I’m still hopeful and I’m excited to see him play a full year in the AHL.

  • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

    For what Corsi is worth Phillips has been absolutely buried the last two games. While he has some flashes of great offensive capability his all round game needs to mature a lot.

    • Zalapski

      I think guys like him need to find their game at this level.I think he’s a really nice player and has some great vision and his amazing scoring numbers in jr are nice, but he’s still gotta find his game. He may be a purely offensive guy with a soft defensive game or could develop into a perimeter passer due to his size and skill set. If he gets more confidence and strength on the puck and can put together consistently good shifts like some of his best ones he’s shown flashes of in the games he’s played so far, he could be great. It’s just gonna take him time.

      • Cfan in Van

        For an offense-first player, he was always pretty solid defensively in the Dub. Played some PK, and definitely played solidly at both ends of the ice during the playoffs. I think it’s a matter of him finding his game overall at this level.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I noticed Phillips Corsi was amongst the lowest in the last 2 games but he still makes something happen every shift and plays hard defensively. I am afraid that the Phillips and Yamamoto of the world tend to only shine on the PP or when sprung on a breakaway.

      • Off the wall

        Perhaps we’re forgetting that Phillips had 20% OZ starts, and 40% the last game.
        It’s obvious that Cail trusts him defensively.
        Give him 60-70% OZ starts, with skilled players and watch him rise to the occasion.

        Even Backlund gets at least 40% OZ starts, so I wouldn’t be too concerned about Phillips Corsi..

    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      Keeping in mind that he’ll play another two years in stockton, I’m not worried about that. He’s shown great apptitude around many parts of the game, is driven, and has the raw talent to pull it off if his size doesn’t get in the way.

      I’ll be interested to see how his time in stockton goes, and I expect good things to come.

    • calgaryfan

      yes p
      Phillips gets only gets buried with defensive zone starts, while Dube does not. Fans all jump on the Dube bandwagon. Taking nothing away from Dube he is on his way to being a future Flame. Just shows how coaching can affect the fans take on a player.

  • Alberta Ice

    Really liked the pace of the that game last night compared to the yawn pace in China. Our main team looked like they were jet lagged; holidaying; in another world; still needing to get back to the pace that happens when the NHL season starts. Hope the main team can catch up to the pace of the ones who didn’t have to make that cross world adventure. (But I hope they got some good team building done through it. Even before they left us I was worried they might hit a Wall!)

    • Cfan in Van

      I think the pace aspect in China wasn’t helped by the big ice surface. It’s easier to look a bit sluggish or slightly out of position on the bigger ice.

  • freethe flames

    So here are my insights from last nights game which I watched in two parts. I caught the 3rd period live and had PVRed the 1st and second period and watched it this morning.(the joy of being retired)

    Let’s start with goal tending; why was Rittich better last night than the game vs Edmonton. I would begin with his positioning; he seemed to higher up in his crease for most of the night. This give shooters less to shoot at and that makes him better.

    How are the players adapting to the coaches systems? After watching a practice and the 4 games it is starting to be clear what they want to do with zone entries. The more skilled guys are maintaining possession and creating opportunities from odd man rushes and players are recognizing when to do the dump and chase forecheck. In the forecheck situation they get pressure on the puck quickly and often double team the puck guy and the other 3 skaters are doing a much better job of reading the outlets and knowing when and where to pinch. The other thing I liked was how hard guys worked to get back into D zone coverage after the puck moved past them. If they are going to play this style that will be essential. I also liked the work of the PK units; lots of quickness there.

    What about individual players? We all love Dube and there is a very good chance he makes the Flames out of camp but if he does not he and Mangiapane should eat the AHL alive. Foo’s also very solid and will be complimented by the likes of Robinson, Quinne and Shaw giving the Heat good AHL depth. This will allow Phillips to develop; he is quite skilled. I really like Zav’s game and think in a couple of years we will be talking about him like we talk about Mangiapne and Ruzica had some solid shifts. I would likely play them both on Friday and then return them to their CHL teams. Ehliz had a solid game nothing spectacular but nothing significantly bad he will be a good AHL energy guy.

    On D I see the potential of Valimaki and while he makes a few mistakes it is mostly positive. It’s funny reading the different views of Kylington; some think he’s great and others like WW don’t care much for him. Both positions are accurate he makes some dumb a$$ plays and then he makes some great plays. AOM was probably the best of the rest and I could see him as the partner for either of the two stars; steady and solid. Healy will be 5-8 for the Heat and both Sproul and Samulesson will be in a battle with the other PTo’s to add depth for the Heat.

    With 2 exhibition games left before we see the main group we should see both Parsons and Glass in net and maybe a few more of the PTO guys.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      Confidence is a funny thing in sport and life in general. Rittich really needed this bounce back game. I think he has been doubting himself since he was returned to the AHL last year. After a long layoff over the summer I am sure he did a lot of soul searching but this did not comeout in his first game. His second game started out with him giving up some hellacious rebounds but he found a way to keep the puck out of the net. You could see his confidence growing with every minute he kept VANCOUVER off the scoreboard. Sometimes these athletes have to be reminded to have fun…and it looked like after he stopped the PS he was back to having fun.

      This is why it is so hard to give up on some of these athletes like a Gillies and Bennett whose games could turn around with a bit of puck luck and belief.

  • Sea of Redd

    Not much talk of Gawdin. I thought he had a good game. He’s a big body and good at retrieving the puck on the forcheck. Has good hands in tight. Wont make the team this year, but could be a gem of a free agent signing.

  • The Doctor

    I loved the fact that most of our top prospects made highlight-worthy scoring plays last night. That bodes well for us becoming an offensively deep team that can be Vegas-style dynamic and roll four scoring lines. It didn’t get a lot of attention but Valimaki’s one timer stretch pass to Phillips was very impressive. Dube’s pass and Mangiapane’s one timer, that was totally elite level stuff. Gawdin’s set up work on Foo’s goal was also not really noted by the homer Canucks commentators. Gawdin gained the zone control by going in hard and deep for the puck in the first place and then a couple of seconds later his pass to Foo was perfect instinctual stuff.

  • ThunderBoldt

    I haven’t seen much of the rest of the preseason so far, but one thing I noted in last night’s game, was the way the defence was standing up at the blueline and making the opposition’s zone entries a lot harder. I am very happy to see this. I have felt that for the past couple years the Flames have given up their own zone FAR too easily. It’s like they were afraid to get burned by someone faster, or making a good deke, but it just meant that the other team got to set up in the zone every single time they brought the puck down the ice. I like the new approach of forcing the other team to make a good play in order to gain the zone. Make them earn it.