73Flames lose
Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames sing the blues in St. Louis

The Calgary Flames had their win streak halted at two games. They suffered a one-sided 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night at the Enterprise Center.

The Rundown

The good news is the Flames opened the scoring! The bad news is everything that followed. A Dillon Dube forecheck created a turnover. Sam Bennett couldn’t beat Jake Allen, but he fed James Neal for a quick wrist shot that made it 1-0.

The Blues tied things up very quick, as the Flames got caught watching Jordan Kyrou on a zone entry and he was able to feed a wide open Alex Steen to make it 1-1. A little later Rasmus Andersson coughed up the puck due to pressure from Jaden Schwartz, which allowed Brayden Schenn to feed David Perron for a one-timer and a 2-1 lead.

Later in the period Mike Smith made an initial save on Robert Thomas, but he booted out a rebound right to a charging Joel Edmundson and he buried the rebound to make it 3-1. Sean Monahan drew a penalty shot late in the period but hit the post. Shots were 14-8 Blues in the first, chances were 9-5 Blues.

The Blues went up 4-1 in the second period as Smith mishandled a Blues power play dump in, allowing Perron to tap in a pass into a wide-open net. He completed the hat trick off a decent little passing play later in the period to make it 5-1. Shots were 11-10 Flames but chances were 7-6 Blues.

The Flames attempted to make a game of it in the third period as David Rittich game into the net to mop up. Austin Czarnik’s initial scoring chance was stopped, but he fed Derek Ryan for a one-timer from the face-off circle to make it 5-2.

A Mikael Backlund pass went off Bennett’s skate as he drove the net and beat Allen to make it 5-3. Because the hockey gods hate Bennett, Backund got credit for the goal.

But that’s as close as the Flames got. Shots were 15-8 Flames, chances 13-6 Flames.

Why the Flames Lost

Tons of iffy defensive zone play, both at even strength and on the penalty kill. They just couldn’t get organized enough in their own end and they were prone to turnovers. Neither are good things against the Blues.

And Smith wasn’t great at all, allowing five goals and making only 19 shots.

Red Warrior

Let’s give it to Bennett, who was pretty dang good. Backlund was also pretty strong.

The Turning Point

There are two, really:

  • At the end of the first period, down 3-1, the Flames get a penalty shot and a power play. They don’t score on either.
  • In the second period the Flames get an extended two man advantage. They don’t score.

If the Flames hit the scoresheet on either of those moments, it’s a much different game.

The Numbers

(Percentage stats are 5-on-5)

Player Corsi
For%
OZone
Start%
Game
Score
Giordano 80.0 60.0 1.850
Brodie 75.0 66.7 1.050
Lindholm 69.6 50.0 1.265
Bennett 69.2 14.3 1.475
Backlund 63.0 25.0 1.550
Ryan 55.0 57.1 1.255
Dube 54.6 0.0 0.645
Tkachuk 54.2 75.0 1.100
Czarnik 52.2 75.0 1.150
Peluso 50.0 50.0 0.225
Neal 50.0 14.3 0.750
Andersson 48.0 62.5 -0.225
Hanifin 46.4 11.1 0.225
Frolik 45.5 50.0 -0.200
Gaudreau 44.4 50.0 -0.025
Monahan 44.4 55.6 -0.065
Valimaki 42.3 66.7 -0.475
Stone 41.7 11.1 0.050
Smith -1.850
Rittich 0.800

This and That

The Flames special teams had some tough sledding. Their power play was 0-for-4, while their penalty kill went 4-for-6 (allowing a pair of Perron goals).

Dube got his first NHL point with an assist on Neal’s goal in the first period.

Up Next

The Flames (2-2-0) finish off their road trip on Saturday evening when they visit the Colorado Avalanche.



  • The GREAT WW

    “Backlund was also pretty strong.”
    Seriously; what game were you watching?!
    I know he had a “””goal”””” and all, but Backlund was horrible!!!

    WW

  • FlushedOut

    Why do some people have to hate on our own players no matter what to the point that they basically cheer against them. With WW it’s Backlund. To others this loss was only Stone’s fault no matter what. Even though Neal and Ryan scored tonight of course they are over 30 and must go. I just don’t understand it sometimes.

  • BendingCorners

    On the bright side, the Flames got some secondary scoring and Bennett continues to play well.
    Unfortunately, Smith had a bad night and too many Flames seem to genuinely dislike physical contact. Backchecking is hard work and they need to do more of it.
    Maybe it was just an off night and maybe they just need more time to settle in, so no panic, but they have a few things to work on.

    • FlushedOut

      Not to mention this was the last home game before the Blues hit the road and were 0-2 so far. You know they were desperate to get a home win and had a lot of jump. If you had told me Monday we would of got a split between Nashville and St. Louis I wouldn’t have been too unhappy about that.

  • BendingCorners

    Can one of Andersson’s admirers explain why they like him so much please? I don’t have a strong opinion either way, but he isn’t very big and he isn’t very fast and he isn’t overly physical. He is a decent puckhandler but not outstanding. What am I missing?

    • FlushedOut

      Apparently to one person on here he is our 2nd best defencemen on the team. I’m not cheering against him or knocking him, but that’s just crazy. Hey I’d love if he one day turns into a top 2 dman but being top 2 in AHL is a whole lot different than top 2 in the NHL. People on here go a little too nuts about our prospects without ever really getting to watch them in the AHL. The only real expert on our guys in the AHL here is Stockton’s Finest because he actually gets to see them play, not just look at their stats. Hamonic is still out for a few weeks so we will find out finally if Anderson truly is ready for the show or not.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      He made a rookie mistake and lost body positioning. His passing is very good but can be caught flat footed…once he gets more experience and gets his first point maybe he will start it show his abilities.

  • Alberta Ice

    With the loss and the Canuck’s win, we are even in points with them, halfway in the standings pack. A win tonight would have really looked nice in the standings. (But, Hey. It could be worse. We could be the only team in the league that has no points yet like a certain team from the North land.)

  • Off the wall

    I hate to say this, however Neal isn’t suited for 1st line duties.
    I’m not sure why Peters removed Lindholm and inserted Neal in the game. I know Neal had a goal, however Bennett and Dube set him up perfectly. Even I could have put that in the net.

    Tkachuk- Ryan- Czarnik had some chemistry among Peters line blender. I thought Bennett- Backlund- Lindholm looked good too.
    I’m still not sure why Dube was shuffled to the 4th line. Was it his ankle bothering him?
    He definitely looked better than Neal. Yes, I’m being hard on Neal, but when a guy comes in with the attitude that he’s going to make a HUGE difference to this club and plays like he’s 30 lbs overweight, I’m not buying what he’s selling. Sorry, I don’t care what excuses you give him, he has to be the player we paid for, not the current one.

    Rittich played well in the 3rd. It’s time to give Smitty some rest.
    Great shutout against the Predators, rest up buddy!

    • Korcan

      I wouldn’t read too much into it. My guess is Peters was hoping that Neal goal was going to lead to another if given more opportunity. I actually liked that Peters used the 3rd to experiment with other line combinations. And were it not for some impressive Allen saves it might have worked too. I love that the Flames have enough talent this year that they can try different combinations. That was not so easy last year.

    • Cfan in Van

      We’ve heard that Peters loves the blender, so we should be prepared for him to try variations after something already appears to work. Maybe he wanted to see if Lindholm could boost a different line? I just hope that Janko finds his way back in the lineup soon, because 3 games in a row of spectating seems a bit excessive.

  • Puck Head

    Rest easy. The difference was that the Blues started the season off poorly, let in 10 goals in two games, and had 3 practices to work on their defensive system. They were well rested and hungry for a win.

    It was a good learning experience for our boys. BP will not be happy, some guys will get bumped out of the lineup, and others will see reduced minutes. The guys will clue in and the cream will rise to the top.

  • FlushedOut

    I was kind of surprised Rittich didn’t start the 2nd period just to try to change things up. One thing I really like that Peters did, I didn’t get to watch all of the first 2 periods but what I saw Valimaki and Anderson seemed to struggle a lot and seemed always stuck in the our end, but instead of letting them ride the pine in the 3rd he seemed to put them out lots. Basically get out their boys and get this thing figured out. Seemed to me they both played a lot better in the 3rd.

    • TheBear64

      Maybe it’s not such a great idea to have your two youngest defensemen on the same line together? I think they’re both pretty talented guys, but maybe you’d see less breakdowns like we saw tonight if they were individually playing alongside a veteran player.

      • FlushedOut

        Problem is Hanafin is the same age as Anderson so is 2 21year olds on the 2nd pairing much better. With how much better Brodie is playing don’t want to mess around with the 1st pair. And I think the 2 kids together is better than sitting out one of them for Prout.

  • Captain Ron

    Glowing comments from Keith Tkachuk about how good a player Backlund is and how fortunate his son feels to be playing with him for the last two years. When a guy like Keith says he is one of the most under rated players in the league you pay attention. He sees what most of us have known for a long time.

      • Captain Ron

        He could beat the crap out of lots of guys in his day. I met him on a couple of occasions back in the Peg at the local hot spot in the early part of his career. Don’t think I would have wanted to tangle with him and I’m by no means small. He had that look about him. I was always a fan of his game.

  • Play Jankowski

    Why is Jankowski benched? I know we have depth, and the coach is crazy about Dube. But an injured Dube is now better than Jankowski? To be honest the reason I think Jankowski is sitting is because Tree didn’t draft him. If he was Tree’s guy Jankowski would be in.

    • SGRietzey

      He might not have drafted him, but Tre was the one who actually signed Jankowski and he played 72 games last year. If it were a matter of “Tre didn’t draft him” as you believe, I’m pretty sure at least the latter doesn’t happen, if not the former as well. He was under no obligation to actually give him a contract.

      What I’d say is far more likely is that a) they want a good look at Dube to see if he can stick, and b) probably don’t want to pay Derek Ryan $3M a year, especially this early in the season, to sit in the press box. I had this concern when we picked up Ryan as I’m sure they didn’t bring him in with 4th line duties in mind either, but optics being what they are I don’t think he’s sitting for any stretch.

      I think people also need to temper the “Janko as 2C” expectations. Jankowski had a good rookie season, but he was in a pretty sheltered 3C role and offensively, a bit streaky (take out a meaningless 4-goal game and his totals are solid but not exactly outstanding). When he gets back into the lineup, expecting him to improve to the point that he pushes an established 2-way 2C down the lineup is unrealistic. Over the course of the season, sure, it could happen, and all the power to him if that comes to pass. A more realistic expectation would be that he shows he can drive play and contribute offense more consistently, be defensively responsible, and hold his own if needed to move up the lineup. If that can happen, a push for 2C next season is a lot more reasonable.

  • Puck Head

    Herein lies the problem with guys like Prout and Peluso. Gudreau gets slashed, Peluso looks for retribution later, but there are no takers…..The only way it’s going to work is if you have functional toughness in the lineup who can respond immediately.

  • Skylardog

    Home late and had to watch the game on the PVR.

    We got secondary scoring! We didn’t get first line scoring. Not sure why Dube Bennett Neal were split up, they looked good. Bennett still looked good after the blender whipped the lineup into a froth. His best game in a while. Peluso was a waste of a lineup spot. Frolik may be sitting. He took 2 penalties and really isn’t doing anything. How Dube ends up on the 4th line blows my mind, unless his foot was too bad for a regular shift later on in the game. Only time Backs can score is when the opposition kicks it in their own net. If he can have that happen another 19 times he’ll get 20 this season.

    Andersson and Vali are great at finding seams to move the puck up, but rookie errors are hurting them. I would do this.

    Gio-Brodie
    Hanifin-Andersson
    Vali-Prout

    Everything else got mixed up why not the DMen too. This may stabilize Andersson, and Valis best game was with Prout. Sometimes it is about chemistry.

    Rittich looked solid. Good sign.

  • aye

    I truly didn’t think the Flames played that terrible, and a couple of turning points could’ve really made this a very different game. Smith letting in that softie tying goal just seconds after the Flames open the scoring really was a momentum killer, and then Monny hitting the post on the penalty shot just gave me the feeling that it was going to be one of those nights, and of course Smith misplaying the puck leading to the GWG just sealed their fate.
    Honestly, there were still encouraging signs, they didn’t just fold after giving up bad deflating goals, and never stopped pushing like they did so often under GG, they just never got a break or save and couldn’t find a way to get back into the game.
    Great game from Bennett! If BP wants to move Neal up with Backs and Chucky to get him going, Bennett-Dube-Czarnik could be an interesting line with speed and skill.

    • Cfan in Van

      I mostly agree. A lot of D structure errors, but they certainly weren’t getting the bounces in this one. Hit the post a couple times, a couple Smith softies. Could have definitely gone to OT with a slightly different “luck distribution”.

  • Korcan

    I thought the depth players played well, but, unfortunately, johnny had a rare off game.

    Andersson made a big mistake on that one goal, but credit to him he didn’t let it throw off the rest of his game — i wondered if it might. I don’t see the same upside in Andersson that is there in Valimaki, but i can see him eventually getting second pairing minutes. He does appear a bit slow though, that’s something he will have to keep working on.

    I thought Rittich looked great in the 3rd. That should help his confidence going into Colorado. I really like his playing style and am hoping his rough stretch last season will result in growth, mental toughness, and an even better back-up this year.

  • JoelOttosJock

    Going to do my WW impersonation..but with Mike Smith instead of Backlund. Wow, Smith has been bad and lost the Flames 2 games. That’s two out of 4. Is he going to be the direct cause of losses in half his starts? The Flames need to do something about goaltending. Mr. Inconsistent is not the awnser. Bennett played well. Monahan is bad in his own zone, I still think he needs to be moved to wing. Maybe Lindholm should center that line, at least he is responsible in his own end. I dont mind a loss, but guys need to step up. Peluso should have been doing something after the slash and hit Johnny took. Also, I’d like to see Tkchuck moved from Backlund, and Backlund should be moved off of the PP. Having him out there is about as logical as having Johnny and Monny on the PK.

  • Vernon30

    I’m encouraged by the fact they didn’t quit, and really had chances to tie it in the third. Smith stops that Perron shot at the end of the 2nd, and doesn’t give them that goal in the 1st…well…doesn’t mean after now. Gaudreau got dropped several times last night, and in Nashville. I hope that changes.

  • KootenayFlamesFan

    The depth guys and Rittich are the only ones who showed up last night. Here’s hoping the whole team shows up in Colorado.

    The Blues are a tough team to play against and they were motivated last night. They have speed, skill and size. They have great D, and their goaltender showed up last night. That would have been a tough win for anyone, but they seem to just have our number lately.