25Juuso Valimaki
Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA Today Sports

Quip and Quotes: Flames beat Avalanche 6-5

The Calgary Flames beat the Colorado Avalanche by a 6-5 score on Thursday night. Here are selected reactions from players and coaches following the game.

The Flames stuck with the program

The Flames trailed 4-1 following the second period despite carrying the bulk of the play. But head coach Bill Peters gave his team kudos for sticking with their systems and not giving up – the main adjustment they made was getting a few extra bodies in front of Semyon Varlamov.

“After 40 it didn’t feel like we played the way the score reflected, the 4-1 score,” said Peters. “I thought we played a little better than that, and I give the guys credit for sticking with it.”

Flames captain Mark Giordano concurred with his coach’s assessment of the team’s effort through 40 minutes, and noted the game’s momentum shifted with the third period power play.

Honestly, it didn’t feel like a 4-1 game. we were really disappointed we were down by three after two. But we had a good opportunity with the power play there to get one back, and we did, and momentum shifted. We didn’t lay off the gas, that’s for sure.

Sam Bennett sticking up for Mark Jankowski

Both Peters and Giordano identified Sam Bennett sticking up for Mark Jankowski and tangling with Ian Cole late in the second period as one of the turning points of the game.

“That’s a big thing amongst teammates, when they’re willing to go to battle for one another,” said Giordano. “We got a power play out of the whole situation and they made it count. So a combination of those things created some momentum, and then we stuck with it. We were really aggressive and capitalized.”

Peters noted that Bennett, Jankowski and Garnet Hathaway sitting for much of the third period was a product of the situation, not Jankowski’s health – he’s fine, folks. The coach rolled with three lines for basically the entire third period, primarily due to the fact the team was chasing and that Bennett had sat for 17 minutes of game-time (or roughly 45 minutes of real time) and it would’ve been tough to throw him back out there in a close game.

Juuso Valimaki steps up

One of the common themes of the post-game chats was the impressive pinch (and hit) by rookie Juuso Valimaki that resulted in James Neal’s goal that tied the game at 4-4 in the third period. Flames forward Mikael Backlund had praise for the Finnish defender following the game.

“That was very impressive,” said Backlund. “He’s been impressive all year. I’m very excited for him. He’s done a great job stepping up and playing with a lot of poise, a lot of key situations or any situation in the game he’s been playing with a lot of poise out there. He’s a good player. I’m very happy he’s been doing well.”



  • Lazarus

    Bennett can throw them, I have been barbarically waiting all year to see that and he didn’t disappoint
    The Real Deal with the 25m knee drag to tie it? Fuhheddaboutit…

  • Sven

    Games in hand and all that but-

    The Flames currently have 4 of the top 26 point producers in the NHL

    and

    David Rittichs save percentage (0.939) is third league wide behind
    only
    Halak and Rinne….

    the power play is at 21 – league wide and the PK is at 27-

    improve the special teams and ………………

  • Brian McGrattan's Salute

    Some notes:

    Smith. Wow. I’m wondering what is up with him. His positioning, movement, flexibility, reflexes, and puck tracking, are all seriously questionable right now, which is a major issue.

    Real interesting that Mony was stapled to the forth line. Hopefully to teach him how to back check?

    Bennett is doing his damnedest to contribute, even if he’s cursed from ever scoring. I hope that boy crushes it with 20 goals 45 points this season.

    Must be really frustrating for guys when your coach only plays three lines for an entire period.

  • Garry T

    Great game. Colorado is a great team. So fast. So much talent. But to me,
    Giordano played like a man possessed! He played that game with perserverence and shear desire. Where is that speed coming from with him. Wow!

  • Chucky

    This could turn out to be a significant win. The ability to step up and fill the net when they are down is one of the differences between a struggling team and an elite team. Totally different feel than last year.
    It is a little confusing that Jankowski and Hathaway have been determined to not able to score but Ryan and Dube can. I believe that Dube could grow into a 20 goal man but Ryan just does not look comfortable in the offensive zone.

    • HAL MacInnis

      I still think Dube needs to go down to Stockton. He’s got the talent, but he hasn’t developed enough confidence and patience under pressure yet… the thing that players usually get in the AHL. Man, can that guy dig out the pucks from the corners though. Dube will find his game eventually. I just think it should happen in the AHL.

  • deantheraven

    Here’s a quote for you. Early in the season I said “Vali can stay for 9 but should be in Stockton for a ‘slide’ year of seasoning.” Please disregard. Thank you.

  • JoelOttosJock

    Biggest issues with this team right now is Smith, Jankowski, and on a lesser, Brodie. Smith needs to go. The team doesnt have the confidence in him anymore. We are thru the first month, and he has only had 1 good game. Last night was ridiculous. I like BP splitting up Monahan and Gaudreau. Gives the Flames a 1-2-3 punch up the middle that is capable of competing against any other team in the league up the middle. That gets Janko off that 2nd scoring line. He is softer than my poop years ago on fridays after $0.25 draught night at cowboys. Having Lindholm, Monahan, Backlund as the top 9 centers opens up ice. I really just wish BP would break up the 3M line. Tkchuck needs to be moved. I do think with a little tough love, that Janko could eventually be a successful contributor here. Move Tkachuk up to a line with Bennett and Monny.

    Bennett Monahan Tkchuck
    Gaudreau Lindholm Neal
    Frolik Backlund Czarnik
    Dube Ryan Hathaway

  • everton fc

    Smith is ranked 60th out of 66 goalies, in terms of save percentage. He is the worst in the league, of those with more than 5 games played. A potentially huge problem. He can have a good game, then give up 4, 5, 6…

    I just watched all the goals. The first was a real “howler”. The second was a fluke, though the Avs were all over the net. Third goal was a defencive breakdown. The 4th, another “howler”. Brutal. Smith isn’t quick enough anymore. The 5th goal was a cluster in front of the net. Happens.

    Smith should be the backup. Nothing more, at his age.

    If Neal begins to score… Watch out.

    I wish we’d send Prout down and bring up another forward. Foo, Mangiapane… Give them a shot. Why Ryan is on the PP, remains a mystery. I’d rather see Dube there.

    What is most encouraging, is Peters knows how to get these guys back in a game. Like the days of Hartley, you never feel our boys our out of it (unless it’s 9-1!). Nice to see Frolik’s ice time increase. And even if Bennett never amounts to more than a 12-15 goals-a-season forward, he’s a keeper.

  • oilcanboyd

    Posters on FN shooting from the hip said

    Trade Brodie, Bennett, Frolik
    Break up the 3M line

    Brodie feeling his old self again after his game went south under GG for 2 seasons
    Bennett provides real value to the team, especially in the Giveadamn category. Has a good future with the Flames.
    Frolic has scored 6 times tied with Monny.
    The 3M line shut down the number 1 line big time and earned 6 points on the night. Biggest contributors to the Flames win.
    Stay the course…the team is tending upward, playing with passion.

  • freethe flames

    I just finished watching the third period again and here are my comments on the game.
    1. Smith was to blame on 2 of the first 4 goals(1 and 4) but made the save he needed to in the 3rd period. The goal off Andersson’s skate is just bad luck ad the other goal against is a bad effort by Monny on coverage.
    2. Bennett stepping up for Janko was great, it was great to see Janko pissed off after the hit; maybe this will get him going. For those thinking that Monny and Johnny will be split up long term give your heads a shake. In the third period the Flames were down to 10 forwards; Janko was stapled to the bench and Bennett was in the sin bin. BP had to keep the 3m line together so he juggled what he had left.
    3. The difference between the Cole hit on Janko and Valimaki’s hit. Both happened in roughly the same spot of the ice. To hit Janko on the chin means it’s a high hit; he’s 6’5″. Valimaki’s hit was right in the chest.