Oilers 1, Flames 0 post-game embers: Remember that time Anthony Peluso scored a goal

It’s wild how the Flames somehow lost a 1-1 game.

Feel of the game

It wasn’t a particularly great outing by either team. The start was incredibly tepid, as though both teams were wary of one another (all the while having to combat with not-great ice conditions). The Oilers found their legs before the Flames did, resulting in Connor McDavid opening the scoring; it was probably good fortune the Flames were only down by a goal, with a ton of time left to make up for it.

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And that’s exactly what the Flames started to do in the second period, as they slowly but surely found their game. It even culminated in Anthony Peluso actually scoring a goal, the beneficiary of an Alan Quine shot, but for the goalie interference challenge that successfully overturned things. But whatever, they were only down by a goal. Plenty of time to tie it up, right?

That was the case but for the third period, in which the Flames took far too many penalties and couldn’t regain their momentum because of it. They did towards the end of the third, but by that time it was the Flames against the clock, and the clock won.

All in all, it was a decent effort by a tired, depleted team.

The good news

Some forward praise: Johnny Gaudreau is a thrill to watch, particularly when he has these moments in which he decides he’s just going to control the entire game, and nobody on the opposing team can stop him. (There was a downside to this, though; he seemed to lose trust in his linemates as the game went on, but passes were tough to receive, so he was probably right to switch to trying to do everything himself.) And Garnet Hathaway on the penalty kill was a ton of fun to watch (and he probably had better scoring chances than the powerplay did, which actually is pretty bad, but hey, point in Hathaway’s favour).

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Bill Peters has frequently turned to using Rasmus Andersson in extra attacker scenarios (granted, the Flames haven’t had too many of those lately), and he did exactly that against the Oilers. We’re seeing quite a bit of it this season, but it’s a delight to see a coach put trust in his rookies, and even better when the rookies reward that faith. Andersson’s been successful before (he picked up his first NHL point helping tie the game against Washington, in particular). Though it didn’t go the Flames’ way Sunday night, Andersson and Noah Hanifin put on a clinic when it came to keeping the puck in the offensive zone. If Andersson’s trusted in that situation, it’d be great to see him get a shot on the powerplay, too, like Andrew Mangiapane did.

David Rittich had a great game, and was often times the only reason the Flames had a chance. The goal against wasn’t his fault, and he shone through the entire night. His previous two outings (pulled after the first period in Columbus, flubbed the puck in overtime against Dallas) were less than stellar, so this was an excellent rebound game for him after some time on the bench.

The Flames were missing two of their top defensive players in Mark Giordano and Mikael Backlund and still only lost by one goal while playing the second of a back-to-back. Maybe McDavid scores that goal if Giordano and Backlund are in the lineup anyway, but either way, the Flames kept the outcome in question until literally the last second. They’ve done a great job handling adversity thus far – and Giordano will be back next game.

The bad news

Giordano’s return can’t come any sooner. Dalton Prout was trying his best, but he’s just not NHL caliber (and I honestly think it would have been the better call to dress Rinat Valiev: maybe he would have been worse, but Prout just cannot play at this level). Both Giordano and Backlund’s absences were incredibly noticeable, and played a part in the Flames having a tough time getting going in all aspects of the game.

Specifically, the goal against. Derek Ryan is Backlund’s direct replacement, and he turned the puck over in the offensive zone that ultimately led to the Oilers scoring. TJ Brodie is Giordano’s direct replacement, and for some reason, he decided McDavid of all people didn’t need to be covered, which allowed him to score pretty easily. Not a banner moment for those two at all.

I don’t think it can be understated just how terrible the Flames were in the first. They did not come prepared to play. It’s understandable why, but still. James Neal in particular really stood out for an absolutely atrocious first period, though just about everybody was out of sync and couldn’t connect a pass to save their lives.

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Let’s be honest with ourselves: refereeing is generally pretty bad most games. And it was kind of weird how the Oilers could get away with mugging Flames players all night while the Flames were continuously called for penalties. (That said, the Flames’ powerplay was pretty bad, so it’s debatable if calls going in their favour would have helped them.) But it was goalie interference in particular that stood out, and for all the wrong reasons. Peluso standing beside Mikko Koskinen is goalie interference, somehow? Koskinen had every chance to make the save even with Peluso there. And Sam Bennett’s goalie interference penalty might have been the most egregious of the night: he was crashing the net and had literally nowhere else he possibly could have gone. He wasn’t running Koskinen, he was abiding by the laws of physics, as most hockey players tend to do.

Numbers of note

50.63% – The Flames’ 5v5 corsi on the night. Their first period was brutal – a 38.24% – but they picked it up as the game went on. Sure, they were chasing, but that’s still encouraging: you can’t really fault this group for effort.

26.67% – McDavid’s 5v5 corsi against Sean Monahan’s line, which was the line he most frequently played against, to the tune of around 7:30. He was a 54.55% player away from that. Small sample size alert, but that’s interesting that the top line seemed to do a pretty decent job against him.

2:28 – Peluso’s ice time. To which the logical question is: what was the point? Even if his goal had counted, that’s still the question. The Flames were on the second of a back-to-back and Peters made their lives that much more difficult by putting their roster down a man for… what? One fight? (That was initiated as the Flames were entering the Oilers’ zone for a scoring chance?) What is the point of dressing a guy if you don’t trust him to play even three minutes? (Tangentially, I am extremely confused how Austin Czarnik is frequently scratched, but when he’s in, he’s on the powerplay. It’s really all or nothing with him for some reason.)

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14:56 – Matthew Tkachuk’s ice time. The only forwards he played more than were Bennett, Mangiapane, Hathaway, Quine, and Peluso. (If you take away special teams, Bennett played more than he did, and he got more 5v5 ice than Ryan.) That’s not a good sign if one of your top forwards isn’t playing all that much – and another reason why I’m in favour of having Elias Lindholm centre the second line until Backlund gets back. Tkachuk needs someone on his level to play with, and he doesn’t have that right now.

0.967% – Rittich’s save percentage, and by the numbers his second best non-shutout effort of the year (first was him stealing that game against the Rangers with a 0.978% after stopping 44 of 45 shots). His season save percentage is 0.922%, which puts him in the top 10 among goalies with at least 500 minutes played. Please continue to play him; Smith is nowhere near as bad as he was earlier in the year but Rittich is still performing at a high level and deserves starts, for both his own good and that of the team.

Final thought

The Flames were bound to lose again at some point. But, at least where things are at right now, I do believe moral victories mean something: they’re still likely to make the playoffs, and they showed that they can be a threat even without two of their key players. It wasn’t a pretty game on the ice, and there will always be room for improvement, but there was nothing disheartening about the loss.

On a totally personal note, after attending both the Saturday and Sunday games (first time watching hockey in Edmonton for me), I think I can safely say the Saddledome is a more entertaining building to watch hockey in. The company in Edmonton was great; the rivalry is absolutely delightful and incredibly fun in person. And I’m not faulting either team for their efforts on in-game entertainment at all. But whenever the Flames get a new arena, hopefully they won’t try to model the main rink after what Edmonton has – it was kind of muted and soulless. Maybe a better game would have left a better impression of the building.

  • Heeeeere’s Johnny

    One thing I learned last night. If we ever lose to the Oilers regular Flames contributors to this site should just forget about any meaningful dialogue afterwards. In fact that may happen again this morning. If the knuckle dragging trolls show up again I propose the true FN contributors just leave and let them share their incredible insights with other organisms that have an IQ lower than cheese mould.

    • Matthew Turtlechuk

      My mom said if i put my mouthpiece in my mouth for the whole game i could stay up later than Brady and have whatever i want for a snack. I couldn’t do it, Brady got pizza rolls.

    • Pete_R

      I took a look at ON out of curiosity, and I was actually surprised at the nastiness of the comments. Definitely a lot of inferiority complexes on display there. There is homer bias, and then there is whatever delusions are going through the minds of some Oilers fans these days. I feel sorry for any fanbase that considers a 1-0 win over a team that is missing 5 regulars and has played 3 in 4 a ‘beatdown’.

  • withachance

    Dont want to take away from the Oiler’s win, like good for them for getting the job done. But holy hell that was a boring game…. I guess the only way for the Oilers to win now is to take the most electrifying player since Sid and Ovi and play the most boring style ever. Heres hoping the two teams dont meet in the playoffs if this is what Hitch is going to do every game.

    On the other hand, damn the Flames missed Gio and Backs. Here’s hoping Backs injury isnt too serious and comes back soon. Happy to get 2 points out of the NSH and EDM back to back without two of the most important players on the team, back to winning ways on Wednesday!

  • Heeeeere’s Johnny

    The officiating decisions, ranked in order of ‘WTF!?!’ to ‘I can get my head around it

    1. No call on Lucy for his late hit interference on Hamonic.
    2. Goaltender interference on Sam Bennett? He’s making an aggressive hockey play trying to score
    3. No goal due to goaltender interference. I could live with that being goaltender interference if it was always goaltender interference.

    • FuNky ANGER

      I would have your number 3) point at number 1. That was a very weak interference call to disallow that goal. Koskinen barely made an attempt on that shot cause it was 2 feet wide before going off a shin. If Koskinen actually fought to get at the puck then fine, but talk about a very marginal call. Had that counted perhaps it gives the Flames a little more life.

    • Skylardog

      The rules are very clear when it comes to making contact on a goalie in the blue paint. Where the questions usually arise are from whether the contact was in the paint or not. In this case it was very clear that his foot was in the blue.

      So was he pushed? Initially, one might think so, but if you watch, Peluso is clearly pushing towards Koskinen when the bump occurred. The Oiler then disengaged, yet Peluso’s foot remained in the paint obstructing the ability of Koskinen to make the save.

      Sorry – that call was an obvious slam dunk.

  • Orrwasbest

    Again I point to Dube should have been in replacing Bacs. No one else has the skill level and he needs the reps to learn as he will eventually be the 2nd line defensive center. All you had to do is watch Anderson play first d minutes to see how talented players need that first line reps to eventually be able to handle the assignment. The key is you have to have the basic talent to start with to make these first line reps pay off in the end. We saw first hand Janko and Ryan don’t have the skill set to be a second line shutdown centers so these reps are wasted on them.

  • Flaymin Frank

    Interesting to hear Ari’s take on the arena. Couldn’t agree more. The visiting teams have dubbed it the Library due to its “muted” vibe.

    I don’t go to many games but found myself checking my watch during the 3rd period. As in when ” when will this snooze fest be over”.

    James Nil looks like he’d struggle to keep up with the Oil Kings. Johnny was dancing tho.

      • Flaymin Frank

        Maybe it’s all relative. But my trips to the Saddledome and ole Rexall would never be described as a library moment. I suppose it’s always a challenge to build these huge theatres without losing that small town feel.

      • Derzie

        On TV, Edmonton games in Rexall and Rogers come across as library games. Dead crowd. Calgary is not much better. It speaks to who can afford the tickets. The fun people tend to be on the non-corporate side of the ledger.

        • Ari Yanover

          I’m not even faulting the crowd – I honestly think it’s something in the construction. Sound carried way better in the Saddledome. There was a big difference even between hearing mascots bang their drums; in the Saddledome it booms and at Rogers it was like a muted little thum-thum-thum.

        • The Doctor

          Like the old Stamps games and any soccer game you go to across the pond: the fun rowdy people are in the cheap seats. Problem with the nhl these days is lack of cheap seats.

  • freethe flames

    No excuses; the Oilers won a game; it’s one game folks. Time to move on.

    More pressing for the Flames is what to with James Neal? More pressing for the Flames is how long will Backs be out? How soon till Frolik and Valimaki are back? (I’m in no hurry for Stone b/c the nature of a blood clot suggests it’s longer term)
    If BP likes Anderson as the 6th man why is he not getting any PP time?
    How did we access Quine time up with the big club?
    Rittich played well again.

  • Skylardog

    While being tired and the loss of Gio and Backlund are a possible explanations for last nights loss, it should not be overlooked that shots on goal has dried up over the last 3 outings. Up until the game against Minnesota, the Flames had been held to 25 shots or less on just 1 occasion all season, the 3-2 loss to Montreal on the road in October. They have now been held to 25 or less in 3 straight games. None of these games were run a-ways where the score played a factor.

    They were held to just 24 last night, 25 against Nashville, and a season low of 20 against Minny. They have been outshot in those games 88-69. Yet they managed to walk away with 4 of a possible 6 points in those 3 games, a credit to some solid goaltending and a continued focus on reducing scoring chances aganist. They held the opposition to just 3 goals over those games, a 0.966 Sv% while scoring 7.

    The story rings true: If you shut down the Monahan line, you win the game. The problem is that our regular opposition, teams in the Pacific Division, understand this and have game plans designed to shut that line down, just like we have a game plan to shut down McDavid. Anaheim, San Jose, Las Vegas, and Edmonton have all neutralized the Monahan line in the 4 losses against those teams this season.

    The Flames have just 3 goals in those 4 losses, and were shut out twice, while allowing a very respectable 9 in the 4 games, a 2.25 GAA. Against the Pacific contenders, even good goal tending is not enough when they have such solid game plans to neutralize Gaudreau, Monahan, and Lindholm.

    They can’t hold them back every night. That line is too good to not score even against a solid game plan executed by the opposition. But those teams do shut that line down on most nights. In this case, the Flames are just 2 wins and 4 losses against those teams this season, with the wins in a game that snowballed on Vegas, and a win against Edmonton in the first meeting where they Oilers totally controlled the first two periods only to fall apart in the third. Those breakdowns will not happen against a Hitchcock coached team. He has already shown how bad McLelland was.

    And it all leads to my conclusion that this Flames team, one of the best, if not the best team since the late 80’s early 90’s, will have a great deal of difficulty getting out of the Pacific. Much like they have gone 2-4 in the Pacific against the main contenders so far this season, they will find themselves losing 4 games to something in a 7 game series once the playoffs hit, because the top Pacific teams, can shut down the Monahan line more often than not, and have been doing that since JG and Mony came into the league.

    • freethe flames

      I don’t disagree with you on many of our thoughts. The question remains how do you get more out of what they have. At this point with Neal falling so short of expectations both in production and the intangibles the Flames seem short at least 1 top 6 forward or they have yet to properly identify roles for the guys they have. After having a game where the first line did not produce is now maybe the time to look at adjusting the lines? It would be easier if everyone was healthy up front but one of the big problems remains what to with Neal(reminds me of the Burden).

    • withachance

      I’d like to respectably disagree here. First of all, the Flames absolutely crushed VGK in their other game, so you can’t really exclude that game no matter the circumstances. Secondly, they’ve played a total of 4 games against ANA, SJS and VGK, I’d say that’s way too small of a sample size. Subjectively speaking, it’s unrealistic to think a team could consistently hold the JG – Monny – Lindholm line to 0 points over 7 games. They’re a premier line in the NHL and deservedly get the attention of other teams, regardless in the Pacific or not. It’s all fun to over analyze the one or two games the Flames have played against each individual Pacific games, but I’m pretty sure the production of the top line or shot generation is the top of Flames’ concerns right now. They’re one of the top corsi teams in the league with an average shooting percentage, so not overly concerned with some off games.

      • Skylardog

        No where did I say they would hold them to zero points.

        Will and can hold them to 0 or 1 GF on 4 of the 7 nights they would play. They can break out for 3 or more on those other 3 nights, but it just won’t matter in a 7 game series.

        Also, this is not a small sample, at least when talking about JG and Mony. They have had and will continue to have break out nights, but on most nights against these 3 teams, they get shut down. Here is the data for Mony and Johnny’s careers against the 2 main Pacific leaders, Anahem and San Jose.

        Against SJ
        Mony 13 points in 24 games. 0 points in 12 games, 1 point in 11, meaning 0 or 1 in 23 of the 24 games played.
        Gaudreau 10 points in 20 games, 0 points in 12, 1 point in 6, meaning just 2 multi point games and 0 or 1 in 18 of the 20 games he’s played against the Sharks.

        Against Anaheim
        Mony 13 points in 23 games. 0 points in 13 games, 1 point in 8, meaning 0 or 1 in 21 of the 23 games played.
        Gaudreau 15 points in 19 games, 0 points in 8, 1 point in 8, meaning just 3 multi point games and 0 or 1 in 16 of the 19 games he’s played against the Sharks.

        When you are relying heavily on the first line producing to win, and that line gets 0 or only 1 goal in 80% to 90% of the games played, you are going to struggle, despite having some break out nights where they are just running amuck over the opposition.

        And thus my point. You can’t win a series when you have that line shut down most nights.

        In the Anaheim playoff series in 2017, Mony had 5 points, and Johnny 2 in 4 games. But all of Mony’s, and all of Johnny’s points came on the PP. They were both -4 at even and held off the scoresheet at 5v5. Only Mony had a multi point game, and Johnny was held scoreless in 2 of the 4. In that series they were actually better than their average regular season stats point wise, and yet the Flames still went down in 4 straight. Goal tending did let them down, but 0 goals or points at 5v5 is simply awful.

        Forget the breakout games, they pad the stats, and they are also few and far between against the teams they must beat to go deep in the playoffs. Sample size is large at 5 seasons of data.

        • calgaryfan

          I like your analysis Skylar but going back to career against teams, how valid is that? The Flames are a better team now and these players are reaching there peak years. The Flames have been horrible against the California teams as they were all Stanley Cup contenders and the Flames were not even a playoff team. Times have changed and I would expect the stats to change also.

        • Spider you muda&@#ker

          Hey Dog don’t underestimate the emotions and energy levels put into the Nashville game. I think the players emptied the tank the night before kudos to Edm in the win they deserved it played a sound defensive game with a minimal amount of mistakes ON she be proud. Just dont forget the flames played one of there more uninspired games and there interest level was moderate at best you could possibly say one of there worst games. So that being said if Im an oilers fan that has to give me an uneasy feeling considering my team played one of there best games and barely squeaked out a win on home ice. I do agree with you that pacific teams definitely put the onus on shutting Monahan down and making his night rough which in turn makes JG look more like a perimeter player especially with last change. Its up to BP now to lay down a game plan to battle those scenarios but hey glass half full bro.

          • Skylardog

            Agree on the tank being empty. As was said before the game, it was a scheduled loss.
            But the Oilers are totally different under Hitch compared to McLellan. They will be back in the playoff picture given the change. That still means that 1 or 2 of Anaheim, SJ, LV, Edm, or ourselves will miss the playoffs. I don’t foresee any way the Flames should be one of those missing.

          • Spider you muda&@#ker

            If the flames miss the playoffs at this point alot of things will go wrong for them all at one time. I agree with Hitchcock hes got McDavid buying in and the rest of the team has followed his footsteps but the style they are playing is a very tough one with not alot of room for error. One or two injuries or a stretch of bad puck luck and they could be right back at the bottom. Plus Oilers might struggle on the road with there depth and style of play when line matching isnt in there favour. I feel alot more comfortable with the flames style of play currently and they can play any kind of game. I also really like how they have been able to storm back in games when they are down great trait to have. They can beat you so many ways and theres still over half a season left to get more comfortable with new players and coaches. Sorry ON flames arent going anywhere and they will be near the top of the standings till the bell rings for the post season so better get used to it!

        • withachance

          I wouldnt bring previous seasons into your stats. BP’s system is completely different from GG and Hartley’s system. This entire team is playing completely differently. Dont get me wrong, I think secondary scoring is the biggest issue along with goaltending on the squad, but I think your approach on focusing on the top line being shut down is a weird perspective.

          If you shut down any teams top line (see Mckinnon line for Avs, Bergeron line for Boston), no team is going to have a good time, Flames included. But I wouldnt bet any amount of money that any team can consistenly shut down this year’s version of the Flames top line for 7 games in a row. Also, bear in mind the ANA and SJS game were away games where Flames couldnt line match. That’s not going to happen consistently every game in the playoffs, especially if the Flames keeps their current position in the standings.

          • Skylardog

            Agree on the previous years being less relevant, however, the trends so far appear to not be changing.

            As you probably know, I am advocating the spreading out of scoring across 3 lines with Backs line in a strictly shut down capacity with a few goals mixed in for good measure.

            It is my view that no one in the NHL could shut this team down if they had 3 balanced scoring lines where guys like Neal, Janko, Benny, Dube, Mangi, and even Czar are contributing points and goals they way they can and should be. Even Tkachuk is underutilized in this line scheme (just 4 goals at 5v5 so far, really).

          • withachance

            Yeah I’ve been reluctant to label the need for Backs to be a 3rd centre, as he’s simply the second best centre on the roster, but yes Backs needs to be on the de facto first line for shutdown roles. I just dont see the possibility of putting Lindholm away from JG and Monny anytime soon as hockey coaches will always be reluctant to split such a hot line. We’ll see come playoffs but BP is definitely capable of turning on the blender on any given night.

            My ideal lineup would be Chucky – Janko (provided he grows into a legit offensive option) – Neal as 2nd scoring line. Shutdown line of Benntt – Backs – Frolik. Ryan as the best 4C in the league?

    • Skylardog

      Just for info.

      In the 4 losses to Anaheim, San Jose, Edmonton, and Vegas, Mony has a single goal, and Lindholm has just one assist. Johnny has been shut out.

      • withachance

        In the two other games they played against VGK and EDM (havent played ANA and SJS since):

        Johnny has a combined 5 points, Mony has 5 points, Lindholm has 3 points.

          • withachance

            And we can apply caveats to all the other games as well. Did the Flames play on the back end of a back to back? Smith playing caved the players confidence? I’m just providing the other end of your narrative that the Pacific teams shut down the Flames top line.

      • KootenayFlamesFan

        I’m sorry Skylar, I generally respect your stats, but if you don’t include all available ones it kind of invalidates your conclusion. The complete stats say that you can’t keep the first line off the scoreboard all the time and when they’re on, we dominate. When they’re off, we have nobody to pick up the slack. The other thing the stats say is that, contrary to popular opinion, much of the Pacific division is the hardest division in the league to play against. They consistently beat top teams.

      • canadian1967

        Whaaaaaat? You mean to tell me that in the games they lost, some guys didn’t score, and in games they won, some guys Did score?
        Wow, thanks for that incredible info.
        That never occurred to me before.
        But seriously Dog, you might need to be medicated during the Playoffs.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      I think you need to first look at the so called 3M line. Since Bennett joined it, Tkachuk basically only scores on the PP. Having Backlund get chances and miss wide open nets is one thing, but Bennett kills offense. He drives the net, he gets a penalty. The main reason for that is he is trying to go through the team and score a goal without help.

      Without Backlund and Frolik, there needs to be a change on the 2nd line. Provide Tkachuk with a player or two that can do something. Neal and Janko? Neal and Quine? Janko and Hathaway? Janko and Czarnik? Janko and Mangiapane? Tkachuk didn’t even seem to get anything close to a scoring chance. Why, because Ryan is not able to cycle that well and Bennett is lost.

      • Skylardog

        Tkachuk actually has scored more with Benny than with Czar or Frolik. He has 4 goals at 5v5 since Benny was put on the line, just 1 before, and that goal was scored with Czar on RW, not Frolik.

        Could you imagine what it would cost us to resign Matty if we put him with some offensive players?

        • FlamesFanOtherCity

          And how many of those were a direct result of Bennett? I counted 1 goal assisted by Bennet (secondary assist) and one goal by Bennett with Tkachuk getting the only assist.

          Frolik had a rough start to the season. He may stifle Tkachuk’s scoring a bit, but Bennett’s doing jack squat for him right now. The eye test supports that, as there is little offense these days. Bennet had 3 good games in a row and that’s about it. Has done nothing since.

    • I should be GM

      Skylardog…breathe man!!

      This team is alright. Did you notice where they are in the standings? Did you notice that they actually got secondary scoring Saturday night? This team would have destroyed the team from last year. Not just based on the horrendous coaching last year, but because we were only a one line team last year…

      We will be alright!

      • Skylardog

        I have always, and will continue to point out things that are huge issues, way before the problem raises it’s ugly head. It is what makes this site a blast to come and read. Stirring the pot is just part of the fun.

        They are just 6-5 in the Pacific so far. Like it or not, it is almost only beating these teams that matters. And they are just 2-4 against the contenders…

        • Off the wall

          We might not like what Skylar has to say, however that doesn’t preclude the notion that it’s always wrong.

          I agree, we should have 2 scoring lines. One is never enough. How that looks is as always up for debate.

          Im glad he brings these tough questions up. Secondary scoring is paramount to winning in the long- term. I think we all know that.

          Tinkering seems to be Peters thing. It’s never a bad idea to have options. Isn’t that what Skylar is pointing out?

          • FlamesFanFromMI

            I agree completely. Here is my question, Neal, Czarnik and Lindholm was signed in the hope of secondary scoring. And their numbers prove that but there is none . Who should we blame? Or how do we get secondary scoring? What needs to be done to fix it? Could you imagine another scoring line and 2 shutdown line? We all know it’s a problem but how can we fix it?

        • KootenayFlamesFan

          Like I’ve said before, if you look at the Pacific teams that we’ve had trouble with, the rest of the decent teams have also had issues beating them. I’ll continue to argue that the Pacific is not the group of hacks that everyone makes them out to be. Two teams are not great (Arizona and L.A.) the rest of the teams give everyone fits.

  • Longshot1977

    If I know one thing in this world, it is this:

    If the Flames were to make it to the Stanley Cup final, and the winning goal was to be decided on some kind of reviewable play; the Flames are not winning the Cup.

  • Jimmyhaggis

    Loosing 1-0 is not the end of the world, Rittich was a wall, good for him. Now, what is going on with Neil, not only is he not scoring, he’s making bonehead decisions with the puck. I didn’t know that much about before, but he seems lost in Bill Peters system, out of position and sloooow, he just can’t transition fast enough, if you watch him he’s always trailing the play.

  • Off the wall

    At this point I don’t even want to see Neal dressed for games.
    To me, he deserves the Czarnik treatment. Let him sit and stew.

    Maybe if we’re lucky he asks for a trade.

    Or perhaps I should just build a special rocket ship for him. I will make it do the very things he does. Miss it’s target, take 3 seconds of burst- then flame out.

    I’m at a loss. You could give him 100 chances and somehow he’ll still flub it up.

    Bench him Peters. Stop with the narrative that he’s getting chances. He’s not. He’s more perimeter than Czarnik. And m-u-c-h slower.

    I hate Monday’s, especially after losing to those goofs up north!
    I need a nap..

    • Skylardog

      Give him a practice and a night off and call them maintenance days. Probably the best thing they could do for him right now. Bet his stick has finger marks crushed into it by how tight he must be holding that stick.

      • Off the wall

        That’s probably a better idea Skylar.

        I don’t know why he frustrates me more than anyone else on the team?

        He came to Calgary with this cocky attitude, like he was THE answer. If you read any of his earlier comments, you’d think he was royalty.

        I’d rather have a Hathaway that does his job, than Neal who would have us all believing he’s getting his chances.
        Btw: Does 31 games, constitute a start? That’s 37% of our season.

        He doesn’t deserve to play with a talented Johnny. Leave him where he is, in no mans land- let him figure it out.

  • Alberta Ice

    I am laughing at how the Oiler fans are really at the top of their game for trying to make it sound as though their team is the end all of be all after that game last night. You would have thought they won the Cup last night with such a Herculean effort against the Mighty Flames. All I ever read on the blogs is how the Oilers are in the heads of the Flames. LOL. And the ribbing on Tkachuk is absolutely hilarious. Yep, Tkachuk was pretty quiet last night. Gassed out like most of the rest of those Flames who have played so many games in a short amount of time. Suspensions and non calls and overturned calls aside and an incredibly overloaded schedule, it was encouraging effort from this team. I am so glad to know they are taking today off, getting a practice in tomorrow, and playing on Wednesday. Yep, time to recharge the batteries, enjoy your being at the top of the division, and take delight in a great outcome after a wickedly heavy game schedule. The Oilers are playing well. The fans are completely in nirvana. Games the rest of the way will be easy, right? So don’t be surprised if Colorado beats Edmonton on Tuesday. Meanwhile, we will look forward to the next BOA game in January.

    • calgaryfan

      The NHL schedule and Hitche’s trap game is to blame for last nights boring hockey. The Flames had no legs to skate through the checks from the Oil. 3rd game in 4 nights, 5 games in 8 days the last 2 back to back. The NHL is taking fans money and providing an inferior product with schedules like this

      • wot96

        We don’t like it, but apparently the Oiler’s fans are just fine with it. That’s the thing about sucking for a decade, you don’t mind the trap if you win a few. And that suits Bettman just fine.

    • Oilers fan here, I admit jaded somewhat, McDavid is a treat to watch, but you have to watch the rest of the team too. Beaten into submission so many times with laughable management, it is hard to believe that they might be on to something. Fear not .The 3 Amigos are still employed. The longer they keep dumb, dumber and dumbest, the better the Flames chances.

  • Toma41

    Anthony Peluso and Dalton trout should never,ever,ever play in the NHL. Why is czarnik sitting, but these randoms from the ahl who are nothing more than ahl players at best, playing? I just don’t get it. Czarnik needs 20 or 30 games in a row to see what he is. I dont know why treviling is letting this happen. Also sets a bad precedence

  • ChuckaHuck

    Ive been an oilers fan my whole life, but regularly follow the flames and flamesnation because of the great content that is written on this site. I can respect the rivalry both teams have with one another and think that the flames are a really good team this year. However I dont really understand the argument that rogers is a lackluster barn. The new arena does not necessarily have the same atmosphere as rexall place once had but to suggest its a “library” just seems like a “my dad can beat up your dad” level chirp, id take rogers over the showing that teams like Arizona and Florida put out on a nightly basis. I really hope one day we can meet in the playoffs and settle these arguments without the toxic oiler trolls ruining it for everyone.

    • Flaymin Frank

      I think you might be missing the point. My observations regarding Roger’s is all about the physical acoustics of the joint. Nothing to do with the “showing” by the fans. Glendale’s arena actually has a decent vibe to it despite the lack lustre crowds.

    • Ari Yanover


      I don’t think I put my point very well, either: I thought the crowd in Edmonton was great. Really friendly, down for some goodnatured trash talking, the nice Oilers fan in front of me showed me where the live band was playing when I couldn’t find them (and having a live band is amazing). It was as good a fan showing as possible for what ended up being a bit of a snoozer of the game. Like Flaymin Frank said, I honestly think my issue with the arena is with how it was built, which is 100% out of the fans’ control, and kind of disappointing considering all the hype there was around it.

      The Oilers fanbase is outstanding though. Absolutely no disrespect meant there. I know there’s definitely bias on my end but it was bizarre going to two games in arenas 30 years apart in age and finding the older one provided the better atmosphere.

  • The Doctor

    We were terrible for the first 30 minutes and only a bit better after that. I wish I had a dollar for every stupid play a Flames player made last night. And it wasn’t just one player or a handful of players. It’s like every single flames skater made at least one really stupid play and some made several. Bad passes, bad clearing attempts, bad entry attempts, over passing, not getting shots away fast enough, it just went on and on. Edmonton did do a good job of disrupting and getting sticks and bodies in the way, their stick checking in particular was relentless. But still we beat ourselves with stupid decision making on a massive scale IMO. We shouldn’t have to be in a position to complain about the refs. After the Peluso goal-non-goal, why did our guys not figure out that it’s a good idea to get pucks to the net?

  • Derian Hatcher

    So….I really enjoyed last night game – not just cause I’m an Oiler fan, but because I looked forward to the game all day because both teams have been playing well and the probable winner was not predetermined. The fact is, if the rivalry is intense and these two teams keep battling it out and playing well, that’s the type of hockey that most fans want and enjoy. Could you imagine a playoff battle between these two teams?

    As far as the juvenile name-calling and trolling, that’s just unfortunate, and really, just lends insight into the level of maturity of the commenter. You have a number of commenters on this site that post thoughtful, intelligent comments, as I feel ON does as well. Unfortunately, to find some of these comments, we are forced to wade through some ridiculous, immature banter (on both sites). I hope the Oilers can keep pace with the Flames as it will make these games all the more intense.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    While the sudden passing of former referee Mick McGeough was tragic, I can’t help shaking my head in dismay seeing those “MICK” sleeve patches officials are wearing to honour one of their own because, quite honestly, McGeough was the worst NHL referee I have ever seen. Seldom did McGeough call a game where he didn’t find himself in hot water mainly because of his ineptness, incompetence and inconsistency. Don’t take my word that McGeough was poor at his craft. A certain radio broadcaster for the Oilers used to remark, “Oh boy” at the start of games when his colour man mentioned McGeough was referring the game. A former New York Ranger player and TV analysist with strong connections to Calgary was also no fan of McGeough and was never shy to voice his disapproval of Mick’s numerous shortcomings as a ref.

    Watching the officials butcher and blunder last night’s tilt while wearing those “MICK” sleeve patches had me thinking that “MICK” was less a tribute to McGeough and more Mick’s stamp of approval for a poorly-called game.

    Bad officiating is a disturbing trend that is creeping into more and more Flames’ games and affecting outcomes. The league can and must do better.

    • The Doctor

      And the more franchises the league adds, the more diluted an already sorry pool of referees gets. In 1967 the league had 6 franchises. You think the pool of referee talent is 5 times deeper than it was 50 years ago? Because we now scientifically breed referees on an industrial scale?

      • BlueMoonNigel

        I think we are supposed to believe that because refs are trained better now than at any time in the history of the sport and that the rigorous selection standards for those who are called to the NHL are tougher than ever, it is going to result in more and better quality refs. I have grave doubts that this is actually the case. If it was, why does the NHL still forbid the playing of “Three Blind Mice” at NHL arenas? Never bought the league’s explanation that since there are now four officials on the ice during games, the song is out of date.

        A striped shirt, black pants and a loud do not a great referee make.

        • His Dudeness

          Are you guys seriously sitting here ripping in the refs as the reason we lost last night? All the penalties against us were pretty fair I thought. And the disallowed goal call was made by Toronto not the refs on the ice. Blaming the refs is bush league and better left to the knuckle draggers over at ON.

          • His Dudeness

            “Watching the officials butcher and blunder last night’s tilt while wearing those “MICK” sleeve patches had me thinking that “MICK” was less a tribute to McGeough and more Mick’s stamp of approval for a poorly-called game.

            Bad officiating is a disturbing trend that is creeping into more and more Flames’ games and affecting outcomes. The league can and must do better.”

            What slant should be taken? Please enlighten me…

  • CamBaron

    Boohoo. McDavid was held up all night. OIl should have had a few more PPs. It is goalie interference when you impede the goalie when you are standing in the crease.