50James Neal
Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames streak snapped in Anaheim

The Calgary Flames headed to Anaheim to face a team that had played, and lost, the night before. On the opening night of a three game road trip, the Flames just weren’t good enough in a 3-2 loss to the Ducks.

The Rundown

The Flames got down early in this one. Jakob Silfverberg blew past Noah Hanifin and beat Mike Smith five-hole off the rush to make it 1-0 Ducks. Later in the period Anaheim made it 2-0: Josh Manson’s point shot through traffic was stopped, but Smith booted a rebound right to Adam Henrique. Henrique buried the rebound to make it 2-0 Ducks.

But the Flames got on the board before the period ended. They had a power play and they scored in four seconds. Sean Monahan won a faceoff back to Mark Giordano, who reversed it to Elias Lindholm, whose shot was tipped by Matthew Tkachuk to make it 2-1.

Shots were 11-9 Ducks but chances were 6-5 Flames.

Neither team scored in the second period, though the Flames had their chances.

Shots were 13-10 Flames, chances 11-5 Flames.

With Mikael Backlund in the box, the Flames tied things up short-handed. They won a battle for a loose puck inside their own blueline. Mark Jankowski won a battle, the puck squirted out and sprung him and Lindholm for a two-on-one rush. Jankowski opted to shoot, beating Ryan Miller glove-side to make it 2-2.

But just after that power play expired Rickard Rakell drove the net. He didn’t get a shot off, but Ryan Getzlaf took advantage of the chaos and tucked puck behind Smith to make it 3-2. The Flames had the game tied for all of 27 seconds. They pulled Smith and drew a late power play, but couldn’t generate enough good looks to tie things up. Shots were 17-3 Flames, chances 12-6 Flames.

Why the Flames Lost

Turns out you can’t spot a divisional rival two goals and the try to claw back. The Flames couldn’t get anything going at even strength and had to rely on their special teams to dig them out of a three goal hole: they weren’t able to.

Also, they didn’t get key saves at key moments. Smith wasn’t awful but he also wasn’t particularly good, and it cost the Flames points.

Red Warrior

Monahan led the Flames in scoring chances and high-danger chances. He was noticeable all game for positive reasons.

The Turning Point

The Flames were chasing for most of this game. They tied it with a short-handed goal. And then Getzlaf’s goal, the game-winner, came just 27 seconds after they drew even. They kept chasing but didn’t have the gas in the tank to tie things up.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Andersson 77.3 50.0 0.725
Hanifin 70.7 50.0 0.950
Neal 68.6 66.7 1.140
Valimaki 68.4 33.3 0.325
Bennett 68.4 33.3 0.475
Jankowski 66.7 0.0 1.335
Gaudreau 64.5 62.5 0.750
Hamonic 64.1 50.0 0.600
Tkachuk 62.9 66.7 1.400
Ryan 62.5 33.3 0.160
Monahan 59.4 62.5 0.680
Frolik 58.8 50.0 0.000
Lindholm 58.6 62.5 1.090
Backlund 58.3 61.5 0.600
Czarnik 57.1 0.0 0.075
Giordano 48.5 70.0 0.725
Brodie 46.9 63.6 0.175
Peluso 37.5 0.0 -0.250
Smith -0.150

This and That

The Flames held Anaheim to just seven high-danger scoring chances (per Natural Stat Trick), but just weren’t able to convert any of their own at even strength.

Anthony Peluso played in place of the injured Dillon Dube. He played 4:20 and was minus-1. Get well soon, Dillon.

Up Next

The Flames (9-6-1) are off for a couple days. They’re back in action on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

  • The Sultan

    I’ve comprised a series of questions to help determine an accurate percentage of whether or not the Flames will win a game. The questions are as follows:

    1) Is Mike Smith in net?

    2) Did the Flames have two or more days off prior to this game?

    3) a) Did the opposing team play last night? and b) did they lose?

    4) Is the opposing team starting their backup goaltender?

    5) Is the opposing team, or any players on the opposing team, in a slump?

    6) Similar to the previous question, does the opposing team feature a rookie looking for a first? i.e. a player looking for first goal, goalie looking for first win

    7) Is the opposing team the Anaheim Ducks?

    If “yes” for any of the questions the chances of the Flames winning drops significantly.

  • Off the wall

    Wow, we should have won that one. But we didn’t.
    1.Gaudreau-Nice feed from Neal, hits post
    2. Backlund- open net, shoots 40 feet wide
    3. Ryan misses one
    4. Czarnik misses two

    Other notes:

    Peluso can’t skate fast enough for the NHL

    Smith should probably stay away from our goaltending coach Sigalet – he’s F’d him up

    We need 2 more Lindholm’s, not Neal’s and Ryan’s

    I’m not so upset that we lost,(we’ve won 4 straight) it’s that I hate losing to the Ducks more.

  • Korcan

    Smith gives me ulcers. That first goal . . . Ugh! This loss is definitely on him. Happy to see Janks pot one, hopefully he can build off it and stick on the 3rd line. I like Neal on the 2nd line for his offense, but it is not nearly as effective defensively with him on the wing — not sure what Peters can do about that. Hopefully Rittich gets the start next game and shows us he is ready to take on more of a work load. If he can’t the Flames may need to go shopping.

  • Flaming moe

    James Neal is with us till 2024. He is slow and past his prime. This signing could really handcuff the team. He has 4 points in 16 games. Even Alex Chiasson has 6 goals in 9 games for the Coilers. The trolls will really be out if Neal’s streak of 20 goal seasons ends in his first year in Calgary.
    $5,750,000 for Neal $650,000 Chiasson

    That’s a lot of money that could have been spent on a goalie instead.

    • Redleader

      Ryan,Neal ,Frolik, may go unprotected in expansion draft , it could be BT plan all along is to have Neal for a year or two and see if Seattle takes him .

  • Greg

    By my count, that was 1 good goal, 1 bad one, and 1 more “yet another rebound right in front of the net on the opponent’s stick”. Smith has been terrible at giving up dangerous rebounds this year.

    I’m done with Smith. Time to roll with Rittich and if that doesn’t work out, time to make a personnel change.

    Flames offence is good, but you can’t spot the other team 2 goals every game and expect to keep winning.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    The first goal on Smith was very demoralizing, the second goal was brutal rebound control. However, it was the shots that didn’t go in that have me the most concerned. There were 2 shots by Eaves in the slot that if they were on the net Smith did not have a clue where the shot were going. The one shot where he through his body and stick reminded me of road hockey goalie. We need to start leaning on Rittich while he is feeling confident.

  • JoelOttosJock

    Hopefully the brass and coaching sees what we as fans do with Mike Smith. If not, the team is going to get what it deserves. Not sure how you can say Smith didnt play bad Pike. Call a spade a spade pal.

  • Greg

    ” Smith wasn’t awful but he also wasn’t particularly good”

    Can we stop calling ~.875 SV% “not awful”. Playing “not awful” enough to not get pulled isn’t good enough. Smith has been awful this season full stop. He needs to be parked in a backup role till he either gets a groove back or fades into retirement.

  • flames2015

    “Smith wasn’t awful”

    Yes. Yes he was. That first shot should have never gone in. The fact that his reaction was that he thought he had made that save makes him even worse. In his last 10 starts, he has allowed 4 goals or more in 6 of them. Yet, somehow the coach seems putting him in gives us the best chance to win night in and night out.

    This is a game the flames should have had. Ducks are riddled with injuries, they have lost 8 of their last 9 games, they played in a back to back, their using their backup in net, yet every time we play in the pond, no matter how everything should play out in our favor it doesn’t. Easy shots go in, and Getzlaf schools us. Man, I hate the ducks. Especially spotting them two points.

    Backlund was garbage tonight, I’ve lost count on how many grade A chances hes had this season and have shot 20 ft wide. 6 on 4 pp and can’t even gain zone entry. The casual fan could even draw up the play, everyone just bump it back to Johnny and all stand idle while he tries to one man it in the zone. 4 ducks line up on blue line and play is neutralized.

    4th game in a row playing from behind. Offence can’t bail out the goalie every night.

  • Captain Ron

    How good would we be with a top goaltender in the net?

    Having Peluso out there accomplished nothing tonight. Hathaway is a better option. At least he scores now and then.

  • Sven

    Previously noted:

    Mike Smith has the ability to lose the Flames games they should win this year


    David Rittich has the talent to win the Flames some games this year that they should lose

    This year to date Mr Smith has a save percentage of 0.871% – the absolute worst of all 42 net minders to see the ice this season – and his 3.71 goals against average is the 7th worst in the league

    This year to date Mr Rittich has a save percentage of 0.927% – 12th of all 42 net minders to see the ice this season – and his 2.24 goals against average is the 9th best in the league

    and in looking at the advanced data comparing goal-tending performance against the league average (goals saved vs league average performance)

    having Smith in net has cost the Flames 9 goals over the 550 minutes he has played this year (worst in the NHL) –
    while having Rittich in net over the 348 minutes he has played has saved the Flames 4.3 goals (9th in the league with less time on ice than all of the goalies above him)

    The take away?

    Smith is as bad as any goalie currently playing in the NHL


    Rittich is better than most

    The Flames need to play David Rittich

    • Captain Ron

      I picked Rittich off waivers this week and put him on my fantasy team. At some point in the near future I’m predicting he takes over. This edition of Smith is not the same guy who had a swagger to him. I don’t know if he can get it back. This could be the end of the line for him. We can’t keep starting him with those results. At those numbers there should be someone in the organization that is better night in and out than he has been. My leash is super short right now.

  • SgtRoadBlock

    we may need to trade a core player for Real Goaltender or this will be the 3rd or 4th year bubble seasons for us..
    and it killing the core players prime years for us…

  • oddclod

    Sad to say Smitty’s gassed. What a career though. Good enough to go to the finals and good enough for team Canada olympics. I hold this man in the highest regard. I wish he coulda stretched a bit more of that elite pedigree out. I’m really feeling for my dude right now.

  • deantheraven

    Gio and Brodie fought the puck quite a bit tonight, especially in their own zone. Shooters missed chances and hit posts. Maybe the Flames played down to the Ducks level but they definitely lost the goaltending battle. This one’s on Smitty.

  • Toma41

    Peter’s in the pre game interview says czarnik will play and will get playing time to see if he can do anything with it. Game is done, 8:04 is what Czarnik gets.wtf. Peter’s after the game also said Smith played well. This guy is blatantly lying. Ive noticed it a few times now.

  • Vernon30

    I thought Jankowski looked good. Why did they start Smith? He’s now 5-5-1, with a GAA in the high 3’s, sv.% in the .870’s. Rittich is 4-1, GAA around 2, SV.% around .940. There was a shot in the 2nd where he completely flopped, both arms out, fell to the ice and lost his stick. 2, possibly 3 of his starts would have been won with a better goalie, and that’s being generous.

  • jhust86

    Can anyone explain what Ryan does on this team? Besides winning a faceoff or two he is allergic to the puck. Unreal how the player on this team
    Miss wide open nets with such regularity.

    • Toma41

      31 year old Ryan takes 24 year old Jankos spot. This way Janko, who the flames drafted when he was 18 years old and put all this time and money into, gets pissed off, plays poorly and eventually asks for a trade. Maybe to the Canucks or Canadiens where he will be given a proper chance to play and score 15-20 goals a season like Sven Bearschi and Paul Byron. But hey, we will have Ryan doing what he does. We just need to find out what that is exactly…

      • everton fc

        It’s an issue.

        Jankowski needs to be taught how to play an NHL game – use his size, et al. He can only accomplish this, by playing. Like Bennett, they have to give Jankowski a chance.

        As for Czarnik… Still not convinced. As for Peluso for Hathaway – I know people say Foo wouldn’t be much better than what we have. But what I like about Foo, over Czarnik, is his grit. He is willing to at least try and win battles. He seems to have a “spark” to his game. We could use this. If you look at the guys Czarnik played w/in Providence when he had his best years, only DeBrusk is a solidified NHLer. Others include Seth Griffin… Jordan Szwarz… And our pal Kenny Agostino. Hate to say, I think the comparable to Czarnik, at the NHL level, is another Providence Bruin, Frank Vatrano. We have to give Czarnik a chance, of course, and I hope he begins to produce. But I’d rather see Foo.

    • everton fc

      Remember Ryan’s linemates, the past two years. Not playing with the same calibre players. ‘Canes fans pointed out Ryan’s weaknesses, on their version of this site, during the off-season. Of course, Bruins fans pointed out the pluses of Czarnik’s game, prior to his signing here.

      Wish we would have signed Roussel. Alas…

      I still feel god about our team. Our defence is much better. Rittich should be our #1. Smith would be an okay backup.

      The Ryan signing was certainly a BT dice-roll.

    • Redleader

      To me Ryan looks like he don’t even want to be here , so far he just gets knocked on the ice and gives up the puck and then just coasts , small,weak,slow and can’t skate , don’t see a backbone yet. 3mill? How did he get a contract like that ?

  • The Doctor

    We got out-goaltended, plain and simple. And that has happened way too often this season when Smith is in net. This has become a serious Peters/Treliving blind spot.

  • Derzie

    Negative game scores = root cause.
    Game scores below 0.500 = contributed to the loss
    Above .500 = pickup your paycheck with pride
    Above 1.00 = you deserve a bonus