84Gaudreau Tkachuk
Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Blood in the water

The Calgary Flames have been a pretty good “big game” team throughout the 2018-19 season. But on Thursday evening against the San Jose Sharks, their game was punctuated by a few key lapses that they weren’t able to overcome. The Flames lost 5-2 to the Sharks in a key Pacific Division clash at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

The Rundown

The Flames opened the scoring early in the first period. A Mark Giordano point shot into a crowd of bodies in front was redirected by Mark Jankowski past Martin Jones to make it 1-0 for the locals.

The Sharks took the game over, though, with three goals on three shots in an 85-second span:

  • Playing at four-on-four, Joe Thornton sent Evander Kane into the Flames zone with a nice bank pass. Rasmus Andersson had position on Kane but didn’t tie him up, allowing Kane to spin and put a shot between David Rittich’s legs to make it 1-1. Rittich got some of it, but the puck squirted through his five-hole.
  • On a Flames power play, Brent Burns whacked the puck away from Sam Bennett as he attempted to enter the Sharks zone. Rittich raced to beat Burns to the puck, but his attempted clearing pass went right towards Burns, who calmly skated past Rittich and put the puck into the open net to make it 2-1 Sharks.
  • Mike Smith came into the game in relief, and the very first shot he played was a Radim Simek point shot that was redirected in front by Tomas Hertl to make it 3-1 Sharks.

Shots were 12-10 Flames and chances 7-6 Sharks in the opening period.

The Flames buzzed around the Sharks zone a lot early in the second period, but couldn’t bury any of their chances. Derek Ryan, Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau had golden chances in consecutive shifts, but passes and shots around the slot found a way to miss the net by inches.

The Sharks slowed the game down, though, and eventually extended their lead off a bit of nice passing and a bit of iffy Flames positional defense. Giordano was out-manned down low in the defensive zone. Joonas Donskoi grabbed the puck and fed Kane in the slot. Smith made the initial save, but TJ Brodie couldn’t get position on Kane and allowed him a couple whacks at a loose puck to make it 4-1 Sharks.

But the Flames got one back before the end of the period on the power play. A Brodie point shot with James Neal obstructing Jones’ view found its way into the net, making it a 4-2 deficit.

Shots were 14-10 Flames and chances 8-6 Flames in the second period.

The Flames buzzed again the early third period, including having a strong power play that seemingly did everything but score.

But the Flames just weren’t able to claw their way back into it. Hertl jammed in a loose puck on a late power play to make it a 5-2 win for the Sharks.

Shots were 12-10 Flames and chances 4-4 in the third period.

Why the Flames Lost

This one isn’t entirely on the Flames’ goaltending tandem of Rittich and Smith, but they didn’t give the team in front of them much of a chance to find their stride. The locals were a bit jumpy and a bit too cute with the puck in all three zones – resulting in quite a few lengthy stretches played in their own end – and while they eventually found a bit of of a rhythm, it wasn’t nearly enough.

Quite simply, the Flames played poorly enough that a pretty rough 85 seconds of hockey in the first period was enough to dig them into a hole that they didn’t have the ability to crawl out of.

Red Warrior

None of the Flames were amazing on this evening, but Giordano was arguably the best. He battled through the game, had an assist, and generated a lot of shots on net.

The Turning Point

Three goals on three shots over 85 seconds. This one, a shorthanded goal by Burns assisted by Rittich, is probably the one that stings the most in the Flames locker room.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
Ryan 62.5 0.0 0.955
Hathaway 62.5 0.0 0.350
Brodie 59.3 60.0 1.675
Backlund 57.7 14.3 0.355
Mangiapane 57.1 33.3 0.235
Andersson 55.6 0.0 0.225
Bennett 54.2 66.7 0.510
Hanifin 53.9 37.5 0.525
Frolik 53.6 20.0 0.750
Jankowski 52.2 66.7 1.270
Lindholm 50.0 45.5 0.170
Neal 50.0 75.0 0.950
Gaudreau 50.0 50.0 0.525
Tkachuk 50.0 0.0 -0.025
Hamonic 50.0 37.5 -0.025
Giordano 48.4 60.0 0.975
Prout 47.8 0.0 -0.200
Monahan 45.2 50.0 0.320
Rittich -1.100
Smith -0.150

This and That

The Flames used this game to commemorate Harvey the Hound’s 35th birthday. They got him a gigantic drum.

Both goaltenders took tripping penalties in the third period.

Up Next

The Flames (34-15-5) practice tomorrow, then hit the road again. They’re off to scenic Vancouver to play the Canucks on Saturday in the late game of Hockey Day in Canada.

  • Em Durp Em Hrudey

    So after the game I sat down at my computer, placed my spectacles on my face and did some research. First I looked at the standings….still on top, but thats not what caught my eye. Did you guys know there are other teams in the league who have also lost games!! Yes apparently other teams lose sometimes as well. Sometimes they lose to good teams, sometimes even to bad teams …I was shocked to say the least. Then I went back to last year and the year before that and the year before that…do you know what. Every team that has won the Stanley cup as far back as I could search had 1 thing in common….they lost some games. So in conclusion, sometimes teams lose, it’s kind of part of the game. The world is not ending, the team is not tanking, and Harvey will continue to beat his drum.
    Chin up flames nation. We have a great team here. Enjoy the ride.

  • Weirddave

    I have a question. First of all, here i am outing myself as a noob. Wanna rag on me, go ahead, get it out of your system. I’ll wait.

    I’m a Yank, didn’t grow up on hockey, never really paid it much mind. Went to a few Clippers or Bandits games, just for fun, but they meant as much to me as the Blast (The previous sentence was a tip-toe through minor league Baltimore sports teams of the 80s and 90s). Want to talk football or baseball? Fine, I’m with you there, break out the stats, I understand them all. We can even talk CFL (Baltimore Stallions, baby, only American city with a Grey Cup, thankyouverymuch). Wound up marrying a Canadian gal from Calgary, and even though she wasn’t a huge hockey fan (beyond the genetic component, eh?), I decided to check the sport out and naturally settled on the Flames (You think I’m gonna pick the Crapitals? For a Baltimore boy a DC team is about the same as if someone suggested that y’all root for the Eskimos because “It’s still Alberta”. Not happening). Just in time for the run to the Cup finals against Tampa Bay.

    Hey, this hockey stuff is fun!

    But then lockout, mediocre seasons, and you have no idea how hard it was to find a Flames game to watch on TV 15 years ago when you’re on the east coast of the States, etc. My Flames fandom simmered on the back burner. Still, it rekindled when we went to the second round of the playoffs, I was disappointed at the collapse last year, but this year I went all in, bought the TV package through the NHL app, and I’ve watched almost every game this year. I struggle to understand corsi, and I honestly have no idea what it means when someone says a player is “+29”, but I’m working on it.

    All that being said, watching the game tonight, it “felt” like we should have won. Baring that 90 second stretch in the first (which reminded me of 90 seconds against the Golden Knights last year). Yes there was some sloppy play, but we came out and dominated the first half of the 2nd, slipped back a little, but were right back on it by the end of the period. Overall we did well in the third. There were multiple occasions when there was a shot, a rebound, a scrum in front of the net. Jones played lights out, and the Fins got a bit of luck, but in my (limited) experience, typically we (or any team) will score on at least 2-3 of those, and then it’s a whole new ball(er, puck)game.

    What I’m saying is that it seemed to me that overall we played well enough to win this game (despite the goalie follies), and most nights we would have. Tonight the skill of the Sharks and the breaks just meant that we happened not to. I don’t know hockey well enough to say that however, but it seemed to me that overall, we played the better game tonight.

    Am I wrong?

    • THE WW Bandwagon

      Good post. You hit the nail on the head.
      There are underlying issues that need to be cleaned up but I’m hopeful those changes will happen.

      Nice to have you on board. ?

    • Albertabeef

      Good post. We may have played a better game for parts but teams tend to not try as hard up by 3 on the road.

      Just thought I’d try to help a bit. The plus minus stat is something that goes up and down as your line scores and gets scored against at even strength. When your team scores everyone on the ice at the time of the goal gets a +1 and a -1 for goals against.

      Corsi is a shot production count which in theory is a means producing offence. This again is a “player on ice stat”. Count the shots on both nets while the player(or team for team corsi) was on the ice with 50% being even. This is mostly an even strength statistic. So Backlund with a 56% corsi means his team gets more shots than the opponent while he is on the ice. Hathaway with a 46% means that the team sees more shots against while he is on the ice. Other than counting shots which can be a sign of driving play offensively it’s almost a useless stat. Unless you are a stat geek like me. It can show things like how you play up or down by a goal among other things. Combined with other stats it can paint a pretty good picture if you know how to view it.

      • Weirddave

        Thanks! I actually understood both explanations. That really helps.

        And I like your name. Look, I am what I am, and I’ll put corn fed Nebraska beef or a Texas T-bone up against anything, but damn Alberta beef is good stuff. My wife and I typically go down to Washington to the Canadian embassy on July 1st every year, they always have a Canada Day party and the featured food is always, you guessed it, Alberta beef. As much as you can eat, and it’s all free! I’ve made it my mission to eat your nation into poverty. I haven’t accomplished it yet, but….I’ll die happy trying.

    • canadian1967

      Your feelings were mostly right.
      We had enough opportunities to score that it could have been a different game, but no, we didn’t play better than The Sharks.
      We gave them the 2 early goals and then had a few spurts of dominance, but that’s it.
      We actually played into The Sharks hands by not being physical with them. Case in point, Hertl’s Slash on Hathaway. We needed to go out and physically dominate them. Benny and Hathman should have been firing their bodies into every Shark, and Tkachuk needed to play his Arsehole role to take them off their game as well. There was no intensity whatsoever. Waste of my money going to that game.
      Kane can’t be a Flames Killer unless we let him just skate around calm, cool and collected. Need to bait/goad him into running around and taking bad penalties.
      JH and Monny are out of Sync right now, but a few games played will help that. But of course, Monny needs an intensity shot before each game so he gets more involved.
      Monny is so non-physical that Denis Savard thinks that Monahan plays like a Pansy.

  • Off the wall

    I think Derzie made a great point during the game. Sharks are big team and can skate with skill.

    That’s a team destined for playoffs. Trash away but you know it’s true.

    We’re a very skilled team, however you still need a few heavier bodies to step up in the game when things get a bit murky.

    It’s not a bad idea to look for options at the TDL for a player or two that fits those needs.

    • Jourflamesfan

      This is what bothers me. We had this big discussion about Matt Tkachuk getting paid yet where was he tonight?
      We have seen him take over games just by his chippiness and scoring prowess.
      These are the games where we NEED him to rise to the occasion.
      However, the past few games I havent seen $$$MT?!

        • Manginasal

          I think the main issue has been that they just haven’t been playing any games.

          9 day break then 4 day break in close succession. How can you get into a game rhythm? You can’t. They just need to play regular games again and get their timing back. I kind of get why they might have got in their heads waiting a few days to build up a big game that was probably made bigger by the wait (for a guy like Rittich especially and that showed), while the Sharks were playing every odd day leading into it.

          Such dumb scheduling. I’d rather start playoffs in March than have the interruption. I’m pretty sure Monahan is still on the beach in Cancun right now between the ears.

    • calgaryfan

      2 of the flames better players are not great skaters and they are on the ice a lot. What do you do? I have no answer. One has some grit and usually plays hard, the other scores but is soft and does not like to use his size. I am leaning towards not doing anything and see how the team does in the playoffs before deciding which way to go.

  • SgtRoadBlock

    This is why i hope we do 0 at the trade deadline.. just ride what we got and get Peter and the rest some playoff games time.. and do the big cap moves at the Draft where BT shines…


  • THE WW Bandwagon

    There are some trends that are occurring that we saw last season around this time.
    1) Monahan. Fades down the stretch.
    What is it this time? He needs 4 surgeries again?
    2) Rittich. Starting to lose his net more often. Just like last year.
    Boy, if you cant handle the heat then stay out of the kitchen.
    3)Cold out of the break. You want to be a top team. You gotta be ready as soon as its go time. Flames are .500 since the 1-2 since the break.
    4)Team defence. How can we expect this team to win alot of hockey games if they keep spotting teams a trio of goals in the first 20 minutes?

    If anyone here thinks they will be okay despite these concerning signs then guess what…
    Ding Dong, your wrong!

  • Alberta Ice

    Flames looked like a team that hadn’t played much in the past two to three weeks. And the other team is rolling now through Canada on a very hot streak. Ugh.

  • aye

    Not as bad as the score, other than a few bad mental breaks, thought they played a decent game, it came down to Sharks capitalizing on their chances, and the Flames not being able to hit the net on theirs.
    I usually don’t mind the Sharks, but are really starting to hate them because of Kane.
    Now I have to cheer for the Oilers to beat them on Saturday. Yikes

  • Manginasal

    tough loss…

    but really, a loss to Washington on the road in their first game back and losing to SJ considering how they were beat down last game vs Calgary isn’t a total surprise…

    need a strong effort to come out with a win versus Vancouver though… gotta shake it off as you don’t want the team to go into a funk.

    i hope that go back to Rittich on Saturday… confidence is a big thing and i think Peters needs to show confidence in Rittich moving forward.

    thought Tkachuk was a little too cute with the puck…and johnny to a lesser degree… need to be a little more direct when you are down 2 goals

  • buts

    We found a way to lose which has been rare. Pulling Rittich didn’t work but BP thought it would work….not. We definitely outplayed them in the last 40. Can’t win em all. Kane is KRAP.

    • Cfan in Van

      I didn’t like Rittich being pulled. As much as those two goals were horrible, a cold Smith is rarely the answer, unless it’s more out of hand. I don’t blame Smith for the quick goal against, but I gotta wonder if Rittich would have played that better, and the team would have probably been less scrambley/tentative with Rittich still in.

      I’m with you, we carried the majority of the play, their goalie was better, and their good. Kane IS crap!

  • Derzie

    I could never, ever play a sport. If Kane did that crap to me, he would be wearing a stick and I would be kicked out of the league. I don’t have the ability to fight but I would ensure he doesn’t play for a while. Again, I’d get one shot and be out of the league (or maybe in court.) Worth it though. I despise cheap shot players.

  • RKD

    They’ve been playing just ok even before the all star break but still found ways to win. Until they reverse their first period woes they will be in tough. I know they scored the first goal tonight but then they spotted the Sharks 3 goals in 1:24. They need to come out of the gate with better starts consistently. The Sharks played a full 60 tonight and looked like a well oiled machine.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I am not sure that Jones stole the game as much as it was the D blocking high danger shots. They were very lucky but also put on a clinic on blocking shots. I was disappointed that BSDcould not live up to his name but I thought he deserved a longer leash. He makes a lot of puck handling mistakes but he is still learning. I think average goal keeping wins the game but there were a few shifts where we were pinned in our zone.

    • KootenayFlamesFan

      Things were just not clicking tonight. Lots of chances but it seemed like the puck was bouncing on them all night all night long. Giveaways were terrible as well tonight.

      Goaltending was not great but a little luck (or even a little less bad luck) would have put them over the top.

  • Abagofpucks

    Are you gonna beat the Sharks in the playoffs lol, your not getting past the 1st round Book it. Regular season doesn’t mean as much as you all think, sure it’s nice if you do well but if your out in the 1st round what does it matter. And yes it’s still possible your playing the Oil.

  • Abagofpucks

    Hey weirddave your version of football is the most boring thing in the world the CFL kicks ass compared to your game. your players are better than ours but i’ll watch our game over yours anyday.

    • Weirddave

      Indeed. It also has the advantage of only having 3 downs. If you’ve lost a couple of fingers to frostbite while servicing the glory holes on the oil patch, this is important.

      (No offense to Stamps fans, hell, I *LIKE* the CFL. But trash talk is trash talk, y’know?)

  • How's She Goin'

    Wheels fell off for 85 seconds…..that’s all it takes in the NHL where the margin for error is so slim. Learn from it, move on, and focus on the next 2pts in Vancouver.

    • Cfan in Van

      Wow, the weakest attempts at trolling! 9-5 goal diff and 2-1 record against the Coilers this year, and the coil have one win in 7 games? You guys are a real power house, shakin in our boots over here.

    • Weirddave

      Y’know, here in Baltimore, we have a deep dislike for DC fans, because they’re really horrible people. We also, however, have a reluctant pity for them, because really, they can’t help it that they were born to married cousins into squalor and have never seen a toothbrush. It’s not their fault.

      I guess what I’m really saying is that I can relate to Oilers fans. I don’t like ’em, but I can relate.

  • CalgaryBornandRaised

    Flames made their own mess in the first after being up 1-0, should’ve expected the big push by the Sharks

    I think pulling Rittich was a bad move, I get the logic behind it, but it was only 2-1, and Smith lets in a goal on the first shot he faces, gut punching

    Also, to be fair, Flames had like 4-5 Grade A chances in the 2nd and 3rd and probably could’ve tied the game if it hadn’t been for posts and Jones standing on his head, so I hope the boys take this as a hard lesson of what you will probably face in April