98Mike Smith
Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Wild spoil the Iginla party

Prior to Saturday night’s game, the Calgary Flames honoured their greatest player. Unfortunately, they couldn’t keep the party going. The Flames dropped a close 4-2 decision to the Minnesota Wild before a jam-packed Scotiabank Saddledome crowd.

The Rundown

Despite sitting through a lengthy ceremony prior to puck drop, the Flames had a ton of energy early on. They couldn’t bury their chances, though, and the Wild did. Off an icing, the Flames won the defensive zone draw but TJ Brodie was muscled off the puck by Jason Zucker, who fed Eric Staal in the slot for a quick shot and a 1-0 Minnesota lead.

Austin Czarnik seemingly tied the game up midway through the first, jamming in a loose puck off an initial scoring chance from Sam Bennett. But the Wild challenged on the basis of goaltender interference and it was judged that Bennett’s contact with Devan Dubnyk impeded him so the Wild maintained their lead.

Shots were 14-5 Flames in the opening period, while scoring chances were 13-5 Flames.

After the Flames had a fruitless power play to open the second period, they handed the Wild an extended advantage after Garnet Hathaway was given a match penalty for smashing Luke Kunin’s face into the top of the Wild bench while avoiding a hit.

The Wild generated precisely one shot on the ensuing PP, which was negated when the Flames drew a penalty. The home side received a 23-second PP after Hathaway’s major expired, and Johnny Gaudreau found Sean Monahan at the top of the crease for a quick pass and tap-in to even the score at 1-1.

Shots were 14-7 Flames and chances 9-6 Flames in the second period.

The Wild took a lead early in the third period. Mike Smith was caught behind the net playing the puck. The Wild grabbed the loose puck, Smith was seemingly blocked in behind the net by Noah Hanifin, and after a scramble out front Matt Read poked the puck into the wide-open net to make it 2-1 for the visitors. It was on the first registered Minnesota shot of the period.

The Flames pressed, but Minnesota struck again. Rasmus Andersson whiffed on a puck at the point, which allowed Jordan Greenway to grab it and go into the Flames zone on a two-on-one. Bennett rushed back to break up the odd-man rush, but Ryan Suter snuck in as the trailer and beat Smith with a wrist shot to give the Wild a 3-1 lead.

But the Flames got one back with five minutes left in regulation. Travis Hamonic fired a shot at the net that found its way through traffic and just beat Dubnyk inside the far post to cut the Wild lead to 3-2.

That’s as close as the Flames got, though, as Ryan Donato put one between Smith’s wickets with a quick wrist shot late in the third to give the visitors a 4-2 edge. The Flames challenged on the basis of off-sides, but the challenge failed.

Why the Flames Lost

To be blunt: Minnesota’s goalie was better than Calgary’s. Dubnyk was busier and faced scarier chances, and Smith made more mistakes than his opposite number.

It’s a shame, though, as the Flames carried the balance of play for much of the game. They just couldn’t translate enough of that offensive zone time into goals.

Red Warrior

Bennett was superb in this game. He was engaged, physical and dangerous around the net. He had a chance lead to a disallowed goal and had another chance go off the post. If he had any luck, he would’ve had a couple goals.

The Turning Point

Smith’s puck-handling gaffe, and the ensuing goal, really sucked the air out of the building and out of the Flames’ sails. They had chances after that, but couldn’t get enough of them past Dubnyk to even things up.

The Numbers

(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Natural Stat Trick)

Player Corsi
Gaudreau 77.1 80.0 1.800
Monahan 76.5 80.0 2.315
Lindholm 71.4 80.0 0.770
Giordano 71.4 70.6 1.625
Jankowski 70.4 66.7 0.520
Frolik 70.0 60.0 0.685
Brodie 68.8 75.0 0.950
Czarnik 66.7 70.0 0.375
Andersson 64.3 80.0 0.550
Tkachuk 60.6 66.7 0.650
Hanifin 60.0 42.9 0.875
Hamonic 59.5 37.5 1.275
Fantenberg 59.3 80.0 0.350
Bennett 55.6 75.0 -0.075
Backlund 51.9 66.7 0.590
Mangiapane 46.7 33.3 0.075
Ryan 42.9 25.0 0.135
Hathaway 22.2 0.0 -0.400
Smith -1.100

This and That

Monahan’s second period goal was his 30th of the season. He’s scored 30+ goals on three different occasions in his career.

Up Next

The Flames (41-17-7) are off tomorrow, then host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night.

  • THE WW Bandwagon

    Was there ever any doubt? Not for me.
    As soon as I opened up the box score and saw 1-1 I knew not even Iggy night can awaken the now dead and buried offense.
    Mike Smith is a cock block. He single handedly ruined this night with his pathetic tending.
    I’m NOT happy!

    This team obviously did not listen to their GM and obviously were not inspired enough by Iggy’s speech to come out and give us a win on a very special night.


  • Jumping Jack Flash

    The first goal just can’t happen….leaving a guy unmarked in the slot. The Flames did not trail for a minute on their 7 game winning streak and today they never had the lead. The top line needs to be broken up..they are not generating much 5v5.

    • The Sultan

      The backbreaker was the 4th goal. Smith can be Smith all he wants behind the net, but a clear shot with no traffic in the dying minutes of a game when your team is down by one? Talk about kicking you while you’re down.

  • aye

    Despite the loss tonight I would gladly take Minny as our first round opponent. Flames were unlucky on the 2nd goal (Janko’s clearing attempt going off of Wild player’s skate and in), which changed the game. But the Flames were clearly the superior team, and I can’t see the series going more than 5 games if that is the matchup.

  • Hockeysense9393

    Wow…1st loss in 8 games. Outplayed the opposition. Bad goaltending from the backup. The Sky Is Falling, The Sky Is Falling!!! On the wagon…off the wagon. This is quite comical actually reading some of these comments. Relax people, the Flames are still a couple years away from being like the Bolts, and they are already pretty damn good. Everybody talks like this is a Cup or Bust year and they didn’t even bother stacking up yet at the deadline. Fans need to relax a little and enjoy lol.

    • dontcryWOLF

      People just expected more on iggys night with a full house.

      They deserved to win in all areas. And would have, without Smith.

      My only other concern is the first line. Said it before, but still cant remember the last time they got a 5v5 goal. Dont think they had a single one in that 7 game win streak.

    • Director772

      All this whining about the best Flames team we have had pleasure to watch in a very long time..come on enjoy it.
      Guess what they are going to lose some games now and then are you going to lose it every time?

  • LannyMac

    This team has crossed off a lot ? people had going into this season except for the one that even the most peripheral of fans had. Our goaltending is sh!t. As much good as Tre has done how the hell did he not see the goaltending as a major issue. I dont expect this team to win the stanley cup but if this team bows out quickly like there last visit with Brian Elliot the position players will get minimal playoff experience. The only way to learn how to win in the playoffs is to experience competitive games in the playoffs. If your goaltenders are sieves in the playoffs its hard to learn anything.

  • LannyMac

    No matter how good or bad the playoffs go Monahan needs to go. Just before the 4th goal Lindholm was battling in the Wild’s corner and did a great job against two player to get the puck to Monahan who was one on one with a Wild player and to me it looked like he could not give a sh!t about retaining position and almost immediately the guy easily got off of the boards and got the puck out. Even if he is playing with an injury at crunch time again this year all the more reason to get ride of this China Doll. If he isnt injured its obvious he has no interest in turning up the intensity when it is needed. If Tre is as good as a GM as he has shown at times Monahan will be traded in the off season.

  • redhot1

    How was Donato’s shot a “quick wrister”? He wound up a slapshot in the middle of the rink. I see this mistake often in these writeups, is it just a matter of lazy editing ? Or are we not sure of the difference between a slapshot and a wrist shot?

  • Hockey4life

    This loss is on Smith no doubt about it. But there’s a lot of other things that have changed since the top line was on fire. Their commitment to the defensive side of the game has gotten way worse. Johnny floats in the middle of the zone waiting for someone else to do the dirty work along the boards. Then when he gets it he flies into the zone and button hooks back to the blue line and gives up the puck. When he was having success he was driving deep into the zone and dare I even say it, crashing the net. Oh yah, he was also shooting the puck rather then continually pass into nomansland. Then there’s Lindholm who has been the most consistent of the 3 but he’s been missing the net a ton. And Monahan basically stands in one spot waiting for a pass even if he’s covered. And Tkachuk used to work his ass off along the boards and behind the net, keeping the puck in deep, but lately he’s throwing it back to the D when they are already covered and it’s leading to major turnovers. The 4th lines been the best one because they work their asses off, forecheck hard, backcheck hard, keep the puck in deep and they shoot when the opportunity is there.

    • LannyMac

      That was an excellent assessment H4 life. And how do we summarize that assessment and believe me when I read what you wrote says exactly this. The 2018/19 Calgary Flames are a very soft team and I can GAURANTEE you Dallas or Minny know that and will play us accordingly

    • Speed Kills

      Absolutely 1000% Hockey4life…. Now is this “play style” dictated by the players? or the coach? Because right now the top line seems to be playing GG Hockey and it is Corsi-Ugly as in good corsi but, P-Poor actual real results! And Someone Please Coach #13~#23 How to Defend~!