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Quips and Quotes: Flames beat Panthers 4-3

The Calgary Flames beat the Florida Panthers by a 4-3 score on Friday night. Here are selected reactions from players and coaches following the game.

Another flat start, but Flames keep winning

As has become the habit lately, the Flames were out-played early in this game. But as has become the habit lately, the Flames found their legs, made adjustments, and managed to capture two points.

“I thought we were poor at the beginning, across the board, everybody,” said Flames head coach Bill Peters. “And then we started winning some face-offs, having the puck more, and that led to some shots and some zone time. And then we started to build a game from there.”

To his credit, Peters isn’t hiding behind the Flames’ lofty position in the standings – they’re in first place in the Western Conference following the victory. His post-game media address included some pretty blunt commentary on the way his team has been playing.

“We haven’t played well here for awhile, but it’s been masked by the fact that we’ve gotten wins, but we haven’t played well,” said Peters, going on to explain the root of the uneven play. “Because we’ve continued to win, and so they think ‘oh, we’re obviously playing well and that’s good enough, the effort’s good enough, the execution’s good enough,’ when in reality it’s not been to the level we should be at and can be at.”

Another night of line shuffles

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: the Flames got down early, so Peters had to bust out the old bingo tumbler and mix up his lines and shorten his bench.

“I thought I was going to be able to play four lines tonight, that was kind of the mindset going into it,” explained Peters. “And then we fell behind early and didn’t have any jump, so then we had to get going with nine guys and try to get nine guys more ice time and a little bit more of an emotional attachment in the game.”

The first line (Gaudreau-Monahan-Lindholm), third line (Bennett-Jankowski-Neal) and third pairing (Kylington-Andersson) were kept intact, but everything else got shuffled. The 3M Line was reunited as Michael Frolik went from the fourth to the second line with Mikael Backlund and Matthew Tkachuk, while Austin Czarnik was dropped to the fourth line with Andrew Mangiapane and Derek Ryan and saw his usage dropped quite a bit while the Flames trailed.

If you’re connecting the dots, it’s probably reasonable to expect lines to be a bit more consistent if/when the Flames return to playing 60 minutes of hockey a night.

  • The GREAT WW

    “We haven’t played well here for awhile, but it’s been masked by the fact that we’ve gotten wins, but we haven’t played well,” said Peters”

    This exactly; we have not played well at all the last few games.

    Good for you Rebar!!!!

    WW

  • buts

    “We ad to get going with nine guys”……super smart coaching for what it takes to win in the regular season. The playoffs is a whole different bag of tricks, but I’m confident in BP. In the second period when we started to come on I saw glimpses of the flames in 04, totally dominant, fast and relentless. Awesome game as these are trap games in a long season. Teams are getting pumped to play us and there’s no easy wins in the NHL. The flames look very good.

    • Getpucksdeep

      I like this shortening of the bench too. Really can’t recall the last coach here who did that? D Sutter maybe? I also think the 3 lines we saw tonght are the way we’ll enterthe playoffs. With just Frolik/Bennett/Neal maybe rotating around a bit the 2nd and 3rd lines have been contributing lately. Kinda fun the “big” line combined for the empty netter and it turned out to be the winner!

    • Off the wall

      I love that he split up Hamonic and Hanifin after the 1st period.

      There were some awful blunders by that tandem.

      I’m wondering if we see this again? Giordano- Hamonic
      Brodie- Hanifin

      It seemed to solidify Hamonic’s game, he is similar to Gio in that he likes to shoot quite a bit.

      Brodie has the wheels to get back for Hanifin if he makes a mistakes. Both are fleet of foot.

      Could this be a new thing?

    • FlushedOut

      Hanifin is still very young, don’t start panicking. He’s a keeper. Every other defenceman on the team has had a brain fart moment like him in the first period at some point this year.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        Hanifin may be young, but he has 3.5 NHL seasons under his belt. When Hamilton came here, many defended his miscues by alluding to his tender age and his enormous ceiling. By the time he was traded, those same Hamilton defenders were calling him a bum. Hanifin will never be a solid NHL defender. It’s not in his makeup. He has the wheels of a King Karlsson or Brett Burns but just doesn’t have the same hockey IQ and offensive upside as those gems. I’ll be very surprised if Hanifin is still a Flame when his contract expires. I’ll further speculate that if the club has another epic playoff flop this spring, a lot of bad things will be said about Hanifin’s good name.

        • The Iggy complex

          Or it could just be Hamilton. Same thing happened in Boston and now the rumor is Carolina is looking to trade him. After a few teams you have think it’s the player and not the team

        • Kevin R

          Seriously BMN??? This team is in first place in the conference & all I see here is nitpicking & complaining.
          Honestly, so what if Hanifin makes mistakes, they all do. I see a lot of plays where he engages in the offensive zone makes plays to keep the cycle going to create an offensive scoring chance. He is only on pace to do what…..45 points this year. Yeah lets b!tch some about him.

          • BlueMoonNigel

            I don’t question Hanifin’s offensive abilities, though I think it unlikely he will ever become an elite offensive defenceman. The way he defends is frankly quite scary. Yes, we can blame it on his youth and inexperience and even on Billy Peters for playing him as much as he does, but the fact is, he is very weak defensively, a fact not lost on the opposition. Yes, all defencemen make blunders, but at what point does it become a concern that requires serious correction.

            As for nitpicking and complaining about the recent wins, I need only to defer to Peters who doesn’t sound too happy with them either to make my case.

  • FlushedOut

    This latest string of wins has to be driving Billy nuts. He keeps promoting we need to play a full game and we keep getting away with playing good for around 30 minutues. Makes games fun to watch though. I don’t know how games now this season I’m like f**k this is terrible, we’re going to lose, and by end I’m like what a great game and Yah Baby!

    • cberg

      This, plus the excellent success against the best teams just goes to show how dominant this team is, or can be. Mentally they are still maturing, versus a TBL who I would say have a very strong mental make-up after years of dominance, but that is to be expected.

    • Getpucksdeep

      When we signed that guy I really remember reading how chocked a lot of Jets fans were at the time. Everyone likes Lindholms 200 foot game but Froliks was been playing that Selke type game his 1st 2 seasons. Lindholm has a far better shot and offensive skill set but an up to speed Frolik is just what we need right now. It would seem he’s recovered from his injuries finally and now he and Backlund are that great defensive 2 way pair, that can chip in a few, are back again.

  • FlamesFanFromMI

    He played Brodie with Noah. What does it say about Brodie’s confidence and game away from Geo? And to all people saying trade him cause he is only good with Geo

  • Chucky

    It is not surprising that the Flames are slumping in January, this is the time when team like Florida feel like their back is against the wall. It is also the time where teams like the Flames take a little break after pushing to the top. The good news is that the slump does not involve losing games just mediocre play for part of the game.
    The Hanifin situation is very concerning but there is a solid replacement in Valimaki. If Hanifin’s problems continue they will need to decide who plays with Hamonic, Kylington of Valimaki, the only thing that is guaranteed is that it will not be Giordano.
    With the performance of the Bennett, Jankowski, Neal line it seems that they have three solid lines that can control play. However, they are still looking for a fourth line and are having trouble finding a compliment to Ryan and Czarnik. Maybe it is time to look outside and see who they can get for those two guys that would fit with Hathaway or just a centre for Hathaway and Mangiapane / Quine / Dube.
    In any case it would be nice to see the experimentation end soon and a set lineup appear after the all-star break.

    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      I think the forth line of Czar Ryan and Hathaway is dominant, and Hath is great on the PK. The only issue is that Neal is a bit of an anchor on the third line. Solution? There isn’t really one, but it would be nice to sit Neal for Mangiapane.