Post-Game: Flames fall short in Boston

The Calgary Flames played some good hockey for much of Thursday night’s game against the Boston Bruins. But a combination of some rough special terms performances and some iffy goaltending saw them skate away with a 6-4 loss to the Bruins at TD Garden.

The Rundown

The game opened with the Flames taking a minor penalty, then a double minor, which resulted in 1:55 of five-on-three time for Boston. The Flames killed off the five-on-three, then Mark Jankowski had his shorthanded rush stopped but the rebound was knocked in by Michael Frolik to make it 1-0 Flames.

But in the second half of the double minor, the Bruins got one back with their man advantage. John Moore’s shot from the circle found a way through Mike Smith on his stick side, making it a 1-1 hockey game.

The Bruins took a lead later in the period, as Jake DeBrusk redirected a puck past Smith. Oliver Kylington and Rasmus Andersson both played it correctly and had position, but they didn’t tie DeBrusk’s stick up and he managed to redirect David Krejci’s shot to make it 2-1 Boston.

Shots were 11-9 Flames in the first, but scoring chances were 6-5 Bruins.

The Flames tied the game back up early in the second period. Johnny Gaudreau got a breakaway but was stopped by Jaroslav Halak. Elias Lindholm followed him in, though, and poked the loose puck in to make it 2-2. The Bruins challenged the goal, but the ruling was there was no goalie interference.

But 36 seconds later Boston took the lead for good. Torey Krug’s point shot looked like it was going with, but Brad Marchand redirected it past Smith to make it 3-2 Boston. He wasn’t tied up by Travis Hamonic, who had position on Marchand.

Shots were 11-10 Bruins, but chances were 10-6 Flames.

The Bruins got a two goal lead early in the third, as Krug’s dump into the Flames zone bounced off the end-boards and went right to David Pastrnak. He froze Smith, deked around him, and tucked the puck in to make it 4-2 Boston.

But the Flames kept scrapping. Gaudreau snuck a shot in from a bad angle off Halak’s body to make it a 4-3 game.

But the Bruins answered back, as DeBrusk scored off the rush – beating Smith stick side again – to make it 5-3 Boston.

A little bit later, Mikael Backlund beat Halak with a back hand shot off a goal-mouth scramble to make it 5-4.

But that’s as close as the Flames got. Brad Marchand added an empty netter to make it a 6-4 final for Boston.

Shots were 16-7 Flames, chances 13-5 Flames.

Why the Flames Lost

First and foremost, this game was basically what’s known as a “schedule loss.” The Flames played the night before in Detroit and came to face a rested team. Every Flame (aside from Austin Czarnik) was playing their second game in roughly 28 hours, with travel. A bit of sloppiness because of fatigue is to be expected.

But the Flames lost for two big reasons: Boston’s special teams were better than their special teams (2 power play goals versus zero from the Flames), while their goaltending was also better than Calgary’s.

The first and third Boston goals weren’t great and were pretty close to identical – shots that beat Smith somehow on the stick-side seemingly through his body.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the fourth goal (the Boston dump-in that rebounded), but Pastrnak did beat out the defenders for the loose puck so that’s probably excusable.

Brad Treliving often jokes that hockey should just be called “goaltending,” because if your team’s goalie is better than mine you’ll probably win. Boston’s goalie was better than Calgary’s, so they won.

Red Warrior

Another fine evening from Gaudreau, who had six shots, a goal and an assist. He was dangerous all evening.

The Turning Point

The fourth Boston goal gave them a cushion and the confidence to hold on the rest of the way. It was also a tough one to see the Flames give up, coming just 54 seconds into the third period in what had been to that point a one goal game.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Brodie 75.8 40.0 1.100
Giordano 74.2 50.0 2.000
Jankowski 72.7 62.5 1.350
Hanifin 72.7 64.3 2.000
Gaudreau 71.0 44.4 3.000
Monahan 69.2 50.0 1.745
Lindholm 69.0 50.0 1.390
Neal 68.4 62.5 0.200
Tkachuk 68.0 83.3 0.700
Hamonic 67.6 60.0 1.050
Frolik 65.0 60.0 1.675
Czarnik 61.9 66.7 0.475
Bennett 61.1 42.9 0.325
Ryan 60.0 66.7 0.290
Hathaway 60.0 100 0.150
Backlund 57.1 60.0 1.600
Andersson 52.4 60.0 0.575
Kylington 47.6 60.0 -0.350
Smith -1.150

This and That

Jankowski now leads the NHL in shorthanded points.

Up Next

The Flames (25-13-4) are off to visit Gritty. They have a matinee game on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

  • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

    It kind of blows my mind we gave Neal what we did as a FA, after just looking back on Neal’s point totals the past couple of years nothing said he was worth anywhere close to $5.75 Million. To be honest, I haven’t followed his career all that closely since the Pittsburgh days, but he has not broken 60 Points since 2013-2014, plus he’s only broken 45 Points once in the last four years. Oof, that isn’t great.

    I’m done defending Neal, at this point we’ll be lucky to get 25-35 Points out of him a year if everything goes right in a third line role, but he ain’t doing that with what we have in our bottom six.

    I miss Alan Quine to be honest, he was the only one Neal showed some potential with.

  • everton fc

    How do we get a better backup goalie, by trading Neal? That’s what I’d be looking into.

    Or… I just read that the Hurricanes are speaking to Ferland, and if they can’t get a deal, he’ll be moved. Why not bring him back, and send Neal the other way?

    If Rittich is out for a few games, I’d start Gillies next game. My adventurous side says send Gillies down, call up Parsons, and give him a start. Smith’s done.

  • Flint

    We’ve got Big Save Dave…. and we’ve also got Three Strike Mike.
    Man, the amount of times he’s “and a swing…. and a miss” this year is unbelievable.

    In reference to winning the ‘goalie battle’ Patrick Roy used to say “Never let in the first goal, Never let in the last goal, and never let in the next goal” So, sure, Smith didn’t let in the first goal of the game, but you look at his first goal against and his last goal against and that sums up his day.

    Swing and a miss…

  • FlamesFanFromMI

    Score was 5-4 not counting empty netter. Should have made the save when needed Mike. Now when I see him in net I am more surprised when he stops the puck compared to when it’s a goal. One or 2 more saves and we had this one too

  • Albertabeef

    Johnny keeps this up and he is going to command a lot of money to keep from heading back east. He is awesome though. He has way more confidence this season too I’m noticing.

  • FlamesFan27

    The highest level of hockey I ever played was Midget “C”. My memory may not be accurate (it was a long time ago), but am sure our goalie never let in as many ridiculously bad goals as Smith.

    • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

      Yup, a 0.808 Save Percentage is basically shouldn’t be in the league anymore bad. I just hope Tyler Parsons can get on a roll here in the AHL and maybe he can come up later in the year, because I have ZERO confidence in Gillies.