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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Maple Leafs 6, Flames 2 post-game embers: Not as bad as it looked

It’s not that often you could say the team that lost by four goals may very well have been the better one overall. But… well…

Feel of the game

The Flames came ready to play. Unfortunately for them, so did Frederik Andersen, who seemed to have little problem fending off wave after wave of attack. Still, the game started exactly as you’d think a game between two of the top teams in the NHL would: fast and aggressive, with both getting their chances. The Leafs struck first with Johnny Gaudreau sitting in the box for a defensive zone slash, but again, you had to just think: whatever, they’re the Flames, they’ll probably get it back.

The end of the first period didn’t do much to soothe that notion, though. A weird bounce put the Leafs up by two, and a breakaway-turned save-turned non-kick quickly made it 3-0. The Flames, as a whole, played really well, it’s just that their own chances wouldn’t go in, while the Leafs could apparently do whatever they wanted and it would somehow end up in the back of their net – through no fault of David Rittich, at that.

The Flames didn’t seem deterred, though. They came out for the second much as they had for the first, continuing to try to score; much as they had in the first, the Leafs got another break and made it 4-0. It took a Flames powerplay – their one and only finally called near the end of the second – to get them on the board, but even then, heading into the third period down three goals facing Andersen seemed a daunting task.

And it kind of was. The Flames still tried to score, but by that point, the game felt very “whatever” – Rittich finally let in a bad goal, the Flames got one back, and seconds later the Leafs just scored again, riding out to a 6-2 final. The Leafs didn’t have much to play for come the third period, and as time fell off the clock, neither did the Flames.

The good news

The result was bad, but the Flames played legitimately well. They were the more dangerous team; it’s just that Andersen had a really great night. Not all of his big saves were flashy – a sign of a goalie well in position – but the Flames did send wave after wave of offence (all four lines got in on it, the first and third lines in particular, I felt). They just couldn’t beat him – but damn, if the effort wasn’t there. Especially when it came to keeping the puck in the zone: individual moments by Sean Monahan and Oliver Kylington in particular really stand out to me in hindsight, but the team was working really hard to score and generate offensive zone pressure. They play like that again, and the next game probably goes a whole lot better.

Specific player shoutouts, offensive-wise: Austin Czarnik had this one shift in particular he just went absolutely nuts, but he was buzzing a fair bit alongside Mark Jankowski, as well. And I really do think this is the top line starting to turn things back around after a sleepy February: Monahan looked really engaged offensively against the Wild and it was carrying through in this game, though not as dramatically. Rasmus Andersson and Andrew Mangiapane also had some strong moments (this is now two games in a row it seems Mangiapane has been far ahead of his linemates in the offensive zone, too).

Even when the Flames were facing a four-goal deficit early in the game, their demeanour didn’t seem to change. Things petered out once it became clear they weren’t going to win later on, but that they were still able to play a good game most of the night is one of those annoying moral victories one could point to and remark that the night wasn’t a total loss (other than in the literal sense). They still battled most of the game – and with a playoff spot and probable home ice advantage all but locked up, that’s a positive sign carrying forward.

The bad news

Mistakes happen every game, but it’s not every game they turn into goals. The Leafs’ third goal was probably the most dramatic in terms of “why did it come to this”, though. For as much as the team worked in the offensive zone, a bad pass by Mikael Backlund, combined with Noah Hanifin completely unable to keep up, turned into a breakaway – and Travis Hamonic’s inability to force the Leafs’ trailer out quickly made it 3-0, and was probably the first nail in the coffin. On their first and fourth goals, the Flames let a Leaf get open in precarious position to score. Everything seemed to go right for the Leafs while everything went wrong for the Flames, but those were all instances that, with a little more attention to detail, could have been completely avoided. It’s not a great trend following the Wild game, especially when the Wild’s first goal that evening was the result of letting a player hang out alone in the slot, as well.

Rittich’s numbers were rough, but you really couldn’t blame any of the first four goals on him too much (an extra save here or there would have been nice, but they were either high danger chances, an absolutely bizarre bounce that would not be replicated even if the Leafs tried, and already being taken somewhat out of the play making a dramatic breakaway stop already – and he had to do that twice, too). The fifth and sixth goals, though? Not great. Though it didn’t look like the Flames were going to score enough to win, the fifth and sixth goals against completely sealed it.

Speculation time! What I’m most worried about, though, is that the Flames will immediately turn back to a goaltender who singlehandedly creates goals against instead of the one 10 years his junior who has been largely better all season, has more athleticism left in the tank, is much more likely to be better the following season (a time in which the Flames’ goaltending will be – once again, ever since Miikka Kiprusoff retired – in serious question), and doesn’t fight with his own defencemen for six seconds behind the net. Rittich didn’t have a great game, but he didn’t have a disastrous one, either. And he deserves the chance to get back-to-back starts and get back into a groove. Period.

Numbers of note

58.4% – The Flames’ 5v5 CF on the night. You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, but score effects,” but that doesn’t account for the 61.54% first period they had, with a particular ramping up after the Leafs had just one goal. They were just legitimately good, even with the score trying to tell a casual observer they were not.

60% – And their 5v5 HDCF, including 63.64% in the first period. Seriously –  the Leafs were getting the majority of the breaks (their second goal compared to the puck just hopping over Mark Giordano’s stick with a clear shot at an open net comes to mind as but one example).

0.946% – Andersen’s save percentage on the night. He is a 0.924% goalie on the season, tied for seventh in save percentage among all goalies with at least 20 games played. At even strength, he’s a 0.936% goalie, third league-wide under the same criteria. The Flames were good; he was better.

-3 – Plus/minus can be extremely screwy, but it’s maybe worth pointing out that the top line, Hanifin, and Hamonic appeared to be the most victimized Flames, on the ice for three even strength goals against each. So, while it looks like the top line’s offensive games are coming around – and they need to – maybe a little more attention can be focused on this side of things, too. Scoring one’s way out of trouble is something the Flames were able to utilize earlier in the season, but as has become extremely clear, it’s not a reliable every-game solution.

0 – Michael Frolik was the only Flame to not get a shot on net. It’s probably more noteworthy, in this case, that almost every single Flame had at least a shot on net – not that Frolik didn’t have one. Garnet Hathaway and Jankowski led the way with four, so at least there continues to be little reason to worry about the bottom six.

11:51 – Mangiapane played the least out of all Flames forwards, but it was also only the third time he’s exceeded 11 minutes of ice time since mid-January.

18:09 – Kylington returned to the lineup from injury and received the second most ice time he has all season. The most he’s played this year was 18:59 on Jan. 13, a 7-1 win over the Coyotes.

Final thought

Though the Flames are now only three points up on the Sharks, the sky isn’t even close to falling. The Flames genuinely played well and deserved a better fate than what they got. It happens. There’s still plenty to like about them, and there will probably be plenty more as the final month of the regular season closes out.

    • KootenayFlamesFan

      I’m more worried about scoring and team defence at this point. We’ve had those at many points this season, and goaltending becomes a non-issue when we do.

      • CowtownKid13

        Let’s not forget Toronto is no slouch of a hockey team. I’d rather lose big knowing it very well could’ve gone the other way and lose big playing like complete garbage. Calgary did also beat Toronto earlier in the year if I’m not mistaken. That of course was without Matthews in the lineup.

    • Alberta Ice

      Why would there be any angst when your two goal tenders give up 10 goals in two games at this time of year? Anyone seen my bottle of Tums? (Hey, we need a little humor to lighten things up, eh.)

  • Frunobulax

    As a Flames fan, I am quite embarrassed on how loud the Laffs fans were!!! The Saddledome is notoriously quiet but why couldn’t we out cheer the visitors??? That’s how it came across on the TV.

    • Derzie

      Alberta fans are high in hockey interest and pretty darn low is showing it. Both arenas would be silent if they turned off the PA speakers. Except when goals happen but otherwise, library mode.

  • Day1-Cfan

    Definitely not the way I had hoped the way the game would turn out. Did the team learn anything?
    This is the team we have for the rest of the year, so no point in getting to high or to low. Go out and put in a decent effort each game and the chips are going to fall where they fall.
    We will get some playoff experience and will be better for it next year.
    BT and the higher ups will make some changes in the off season and I am sure they will be good changes.
    This team has exceeded my expectations already this year everything from here is a bonus. I will still be a fan when this year is over.
    GFG!

  • Skylardog

    Way back when the top line was rolling, and the rest, save Tkachuk, were struggling, I suggested that in the long run, splitting up the top line was a necessary evil because eventually, teams would shut down Mony’s line. It has happened. The problem is, not only have they been shut down, but their defensive game has tanked as well.

    The second line has also turned into a tire fire.

    The only difference from last year, is that out of nowhere, lines 3 and 4 have picked up their game. It is the sole reason we had gone on a 7 game run before facing Minny.

    Since the all star break, the wheels have come off for 9 of our top 10 players. Only Gio, no surprise, has avoided being an issue. We are talking abut 15 games here, not a small sample. In fairness, Brodie has managed to stay at even, a factor of playing with Gio more than his own good play.

    In terms of GF/60, these are the players listed from the worst to the better. Kylington, Hamonic, Hanifin, Monahan, Tkachuk, Gaudreau, Lindholm, Backlund, Frolik.

    In terms of GA/60, from worst to better: Bennett, Monahan Tkachuk, Gaudreau, Gio, Hamonic, Brodie, Lindholm, Janko, Hanifin, Backlund

    Ky at least has played even. Gio has been on for more GF than GA. Brodie has also been even. Frolik has been on for more goals for than against, by benefitting from time on the third and fourth lines. Bennys time on the top 2 lines has quite frankly been a disaster.

    That means that the core, Mony, JG, Tkachuk, Hamonic, Hanifin, Lindholm, Backlund, and to some extent Brodie, as well as a dragged down by TJ – Gio, are quite frankly stinking out the joint, both offensively and defensively. Its tough to win when your best guys are your worst.

    Nevermind the goalie situation. They have been bad, but how about playing some hockey in front of them.

    But what surprised me last night was the lack of any sign of a blender from Peters, both up front and on defense.
    This team needs a shakeup.

    And for goodness sakes, pick up your man in our own end.

    • buts

      I agree 100% skylar, our teams top players are really struggling as other teams crank it up. 15 games since the break and that’s a large enough sample to make all concerned. My god every time JG throws the puck away by a bad decision, nudge or by just over handling the puck I’m going to break my tv, yet his potential as a superstar is unbounded.. My biggest concern is last night and whenever Rittich struggles he is not tracking the puck and he is our only hope as Smith not only has lost some skill he is making terrible puck handling decisions which makes me not optimistic going into these playoffs. We have to be able to win close games and for god sakes it would be nice if a goalie can steal a game or two. Memo to BT good teams start from the net out.

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        Rittich definitely struggles with tracking pucks but I find that his concentration in the game wavers. There is a reason that he only has one shutout and that is because of his lack of concentration for 60 minutes. You could see this when he refused to let teams get the tieing goal yet as soon as we got the insurance goal he would let in a weak one.

    • cjc

      You have to chalk it up to bad luck, to some extent. Since the AS break, the team has taken 506 shots in 15 games. That is an average of 33.7 shots per game, a very good number. They have scored just 44 goals on those shots, an 8.7% rate, well below their season average. In the last 6 games, they are shooting just 6.5%. It’s not a matter of teams figuring out the top line – they have been the focus of other teams’ best players the whole season.

      Meanwhile, the goaltending has also been below average. They have faced just 428 shots since the AS break (average of 28.5 per game), with a save % of just 0.895. Very few teams will survive that, yet somehow Calgary is still 8-5-2 since the break.

      • Skylardog

        Its who is shooting.

        In the last 15 games, shot per 60 leaders are Backs, Mangi, Frolik, Hath, Neal, and Bennett in order. JG is next at 7.92. Mony is 14th on the team at 6.26.

        In the first 51 games JG led the team at 9.07 shots/60. Mony was 5th at 7.80.

        Shots by guys that can score have been replaced by shots by guys that can’t. That is why the shooting percentage is down, not because we are “unlucky.”

        • Skylardog

          Remember too, not only are the bottom guys getting more shots/60, they are also getting more TOI per game, while the top guys are dropping in TOI/game and in shots per 60. It is a double whammy.

        • cjc

          That’s a fair assessment, but you can’t discount that JG, SM and MT have seen a drop in shooting percentage as well. MT: 2 goals on 37 shots, JG: 1 goal on 38 shots, SM: 3 goals on 30 shots. Together they are only shooting 5.7% since the all-star break. That is not likely to continue.

          I also think it’s important to be wary of the sample size. 15 games vs. 51 vs. 66 – what should we put the most weight in?

          • Skylardog

            Most weight? The most recent sample. It tells you where we are right now, and keep in mind, we weren’t exactly playing well in January either. That’s not just my words.

            I agree, they are way down in shooting percentage.

            But does the low shooting percentage of our top guys speak to luck, or to poorer chances than they were getting 20 to 30 games ago? I would say a bit of both.

          • cjc

            Skylardog, recency bias is exactly where many gamblers and GMs go wrong. They look at recent events and say “well, this must be the direction of the team” and forget the other 51 games played. Gotta look at the season as a whole, and at very least you need some controls (e.g. players from other teams). All players will go through lulls.

            I am not saying that it’s all luck – there are myriad factors that could be influencing Gaudreau and Monahan’s play, which show up in both their underlying numbers and their counting numbers. Could it be they have played a road-heavy schedule (9 out of 15) where Peters can’t control matchups as easily? Could it be they have faced a lot of tough comp during that time (Washington, Carolina, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Islanders (twice), Toronto)?

            I’d be happy to wager that Gaudreau and Monahan’s numbers over the next 16 games will better reflect their season numbers that the last 15 games.

  • 谢谢兄弟,我爱你

    For most of this game I kept thinking, man the leafs are good but we’re better. We have tonnes of zone time, lots of offensive pressure, and more shots.
    For the rest of the game, the leafs scored.
    The leafs played well, too. Lots of shots and zone time. Just not as much as the Flames, it seemed.

  • The Sultan

    Sugar coat it all you want but that was a bad game by the Flames and a bad game by Rittich. BSD needs to step up if he ever wants to secure a full-time starting position and he’s been very mediocre at best.

    The Flames are a soft, muffin team who lob shots from either the goal line or the blue line. You start playing a tight-checking, physical game, clog up the neutral zone, play the body and collapse on the puck and the Flames as have absolutely no idea what to do.

    The best thing to happen is for the Flames to get swept in the first round because we aren’t going anywhere with this group.

  • Skylardog

    My “send the team a message” line up:

    JG-Janko-Czar
    Tkachuk-Monahan-Lind
    Bennett-Ryan-Neal/Hath/Lazar
    Mangi-Backs-Fro/Lazar

    Gio-Anderssen
    Hanifin-Hamonic
    Fantenberg-Brodie

    Don’t get worked up on order. Just put out the lines that show some jump. Frankly, to start the game I am putting out the Mony line last.

    • calgaryfan

      I would like a shake up to send a message. More ice time for the so called 3rd and 4th lines and start sitting Monahan and Tkachuk, Backs and others when they are not going. It is time for the forwards to start playing some defence.

    • MiamiRedhawks

      Like the Czar and JG. Not sure how well Janko would mesh. Like seeing TJ and Gio broken up, they both are terrible in front of the net. Always seems Gio is right in front of the net or TJ tips it when it goes in.

  • Joel Ottos Jock

    I dont know what game most of you were watching..but the flames out played the leafs. It was an entertaining game. 2 fluke goals in the first period. Snake bitten flames. Between posts and picks jumpin over sticks in high scoring areas on the flames, could have easily been a flames win. The Ennis hat trick goal is the only goal against that was on BSD.

    • Skylardog

      The problem is that the bottom 2 lines were creating the appearance of outplaying the opposition, while the top lines were getting outplayed, at least in terms of high danger chances.

      Anderssen and Ryan allowed zero HDCA last night. Impressive in a game against a high power offense.

      In terms of HDCF%, these are the guys that were above 50%, or created more chances than they gave up, in order:

      Ryan, Anderssen, Czar, Benny, Hath, Mangi, Gio, Hanifin, Hamonic, Brodie.

      Not a single guy from the top 2 forward lines on that list, yet that list has 5 of the 6 defensemen on it. That is how bad the top 2 lines are playing.

      In reality, you are not outplaying the opposition when your top 2 lines are getting slaughtered.

  • TKO

    the top line isn’t scoring, and monny and johnny both missing defensive coverage and costing goals, but they will work it out. they are learning what it takes to make it to the stanley cup finals…

    • EddyBeers

      This team is soft. Tkachuk is an agitator, not tough. Let’s face it, he’s a more talented burrows or Lapierre. Hathaway is playing the right way but he’s a middleweight at best. This team wouldn’t scare me if I was playing them in the first round. Shut down the first line and ignore Tkachuk and you’re going to win.
      I’m glad Tree didn’t move much at the tdl. This team will be good next year when they address team toughness and goaltending.

  • SetTheWorldOnFire

    I’ll be honest. After the 4-0 goal I watched curling on TSN instead. Our boys were getting chances and not burying them and the Leafs didn’t even need chances and could score on them anyway.

  • canadian1967

    I have been scouring CapFriendly looking at ALL the goalies on there.
    The only Goalie, and I mean the only one that I would seriously target knowing (HaHaHa) that he could be a dead certainty as a trustable Number 1 that I think “Could be available” is Jusse Saros.

    Rinne is signed for 2 more years so maybe Saros could be pried out of there, but it’ll be very expensive.

    Like a 1st plus Gillies plus a prospect.

    But Saros is the only Goalie I would be confident is capable RIGHT NOW of being a True Number 1.

    I still think there’s something there with Parsons, but our team is not in a position to just throw a goalie in to see what he can do like Philly did with Hart.

    Tristan Jarry is the only other non-starter who looks like he may be capable but not a certainty but you have to believe that he will be a “cheaper” target for the rest of the League.

  • Skylardog

    OTW and I have been talking about decorating vehicles for the playoffs. We think the whole Nation should get involved.

    Both OTW and I have red trucks. We want to go all out and make them Flames trucks for the playoffs. Whether it be with temporary paint, window stickers, whatever. We also were thinking we need to put on numbers making them rolling sweaters.

    After seeing pics of OTW’s truck, he clearly has a Neal Truck. It is old and broken. But he insists on having a #28 on his.

    For me, I am clearly driving a Tkachuk Truck. On its ELC and in line for a big payment for the next 7 years once the initial lease is up in the summer. However, I am going with a #4 Anderssen all the way.

    If you have car or truck join in. If you know how to decorate them, can suggest any paint brands that are temporary, whatever, give us feedback.

    Looking forward to a long playoff run. We are after all, 2nd in the whole darn NHL.

    • Off the wall

      Wohoo, it’s on Dog!
      How dare you compare my old truck to Neal. It’s never in the shop for repairs…😉

      #28 is going to look spectacular on it. My trucks name is “Stanley”, as in Cup!
      It’s a 1989, same year as … you guessed it, the year we won it ALL! That’s no coincidence. It was planned. It even has a cassette deck, wohoo! Don’t know why I’m excited about that, since I don’t have cassette’s.

      Regardless, I’m looking forward to seeing how many vehicles we can get a rolling sweater on.

      Who’s up for it Nation?!!!!!!

    • Ari Yanover

      I think, closer to the end of the regular season, I’ll set up a general community post on “what are things we can do for the playoffs?” So from things we can do online – like set up a playoff pool – to having a dedicated space for the community to organize other fun ideas (like the truck-decorating one).

      Only thing is I’m trying to think of when that should be, especially since I don’t want it to be too early but it has to be early enough that people can plan! Is mid-March for the best? Late March? Early April, just before the regular season closes out, or after it does and we’re waiting for the playoff schedule to be released?

      • Skylardog

        Thanks Ari! Sharing pics of our vehicles is a must to really enjoy this. Not sure how you do that. I do not want to set up a separate blog to do that. Too much respect for the work you do on here. But we need pics!

        IF members can suggest how we decorate stuff (ie safe car paint etc) then we could do that in mid to late March. But we have to have time to get supplies.

        • Ari Yanover

          I can always throw out my email for people and I can upload them to the site myself, or people can just upload to imgur and link to their pics in the comments… couple of different options!

          I like the idea of having a post like this on a Sunday, so that would mean March 17 or March 24, if either of those works, or if you have a different idea all together.

          • Skylardog

            If we talk up supplies and ways to decorate stuff on here each day, then the 24th.

            I did some initial research on car art paint and have no suggestions. I was thinking of hitting up a car part store to try and see if they know of options.

          • Ari Yanover

            I’m gonna play it by ear as the season progresses and we see when they actually clinch a spot… March 17 is nice because there’s no game March 18 but March 24 does feel much more fitting… We’ll see but it will happen!

        • Joel Ottos Jock

          Couldnt we email them to ari possibly and they could use our vehicles as the pictures on here? Just a thought..and Ari..the more time I have to prepare the better..gives me more time to procrastinate 😉

          • Off the wall

            Thanks Ari and Skylar.
            I just talked to my sign print guy here, and he’s already working on some ideas for “ole Stanley.”

            Everything I’m using is vinyl signs, automotive friendly.
            The only exception is the magnetic sign I’ll have for removing once the playoffs are finished.

            The truck will be finished in a few weeks, so perhaps Sunday March 24, would be a great time to share?

            I’m very excited to see what “ole Stanley” is going to look like!!

            GFG!!🔥

        • Skylardog

          If done on the right site, we can do online drafting allowing anyone to be in. But then again, if I sense my FN right, the locals should be able to fill up a group no problem.

  • Off the wall

    Quite frankly, I’m surprised at our fans. I can guarantee you that if I were at the game yesterday, I’d have the fans drown out the drones of the Leaf chants!

    Where the hell is our Flames spirit!
    Last time I had the pleasure of attending a Flames game, I won the loudest fan contest. No lie.

    In Vancouver, I lost my voice drowning out Vancouver chants.
    What a disappointment to allow the Leafs to overtake our barn.
    Not on my watch..

    We need less librarians, more passionate fan base at games. You don’t think that has any effect on the teams performance? I do, because I’ve witnessed it first-hand.

    Give me your tickets, if you want to sit on your hands and watch.
    I’ll get the fans so worked up, you’ll have to wonder if everyone is Otw.

    Remember when we use to play the Oilers, ( 80’s) and it was deafening? Yeah, that was fun.

    Yeah, a gentler, kind Nation we’ve become. That’s fine if you’re a curling fan, unacceptable as a Flames fan!

    Pfft…

  • cjc

    Toronto, Tampa Bay, San Jose and Washington have all beaten Calgary since the AS break (The only other regulation loss coming to Minnesota). I think that actually says something about the league pecking order, and I have been thinking for a while now that Calgary is good, but not elite. Tampa, San Jose, Boston, Toronto are all a bit better than Calgary, or at least have more high-end talent. Washington, Winnipeg and Nashville are about on par, and Vegas as well now that they have added Stone. In my estimation Calgary is somewhere between the 5th – 8th best team in the league.

    Calgary’s overall record vs. teams currently in a divisional playoff spot is 13-10-2. Here is how other teams look:

    Tampa Bay: 10-6-3
    Boston: 15-7-2
    Toronto: 12-11-1
    Washington: 11-10-1
    NYI: 9-13-3
    Carolina: 7-12-3
    Winnipeg: 13-6-1
    Nashville: 13-12-1
    St. Louis: 17-8-2
    San Jose: 11-10-2
    Vegas: 8-14-1

    Interesting that St. Louis and Boston have feasted on good teams, while Tampa has actually struggled a bit (and has a lot of games left against good teams).

    • Skylardog

      Tampa is having trouble with Nashville and Winnipeg (although game 2 is tonight). They are also just 500 against Boston and Toronto with 2 games against each remaining. Boston has outscored them.

      Sine the allstar break Boston is a ridiculous 0.929, 12-0-2. Carolina is third, believe it or not, at 0.800.

      Flams are 11th and behind Arizona.

      Tampa is not getting out of the Atlantic.

  • Lazarus

    So Rittich is 2-3-1 in his last 6. Twice a sv% over .880 and those were against popgun offenses in Ottawa and NJ. Let’s in 6 goals last night, pretty much gets a pass on FN and the clamor is “hope he gets in next game!” On what grounds?!
    Then there is Smith 5-1-1 last 7, only 2 games over 2 goals allowed and 3 times under .930sv%. 2 of which were..895s.
    What a thankless fanbase.

    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      I agree re the issues of the fan base.

      But I wanted to add that I heavily suspect Rittich’s confidence has not been the same since getting pulled after two goals that one game.

      Even in his two regulation wins, he didn’t look the same as he did when he was carrying us to the promise land earlier this season. He did not look that way last game, either.

      I’m not sure where to go from here, but it would appear Rittich needs a good shot of confidence.

    • Flint

      On the ground that RIttich has been the better goalie all season and Smith has 14 quality starts out of 34GP (32GS) this year.
      So, 44% of the time Smith is good. 56% of the time he’s crap.

    • Flint

      Rittich to let you know has 22 Quality starts out of 34 games started. So, 64,7% of the time he’s good and only 35,3% of the time he’s crap.

      So, you tell me why you’d prefer the goalie who is good 44% of the time over the one who’s good 65% of the time.

    • Flint

      And in fact, since you keep coming in here pumping Smith’s tires. I’ve got a math exercise for you. Take 7 games. Multiply it by RIttch’s Quality Start % and by Smith’s Quality Start %. What do you get? You tell me who should be the starter in the playoffs and down the stretch.

      I’ll save you the trouble: Rittich 4.55 games. Smith 3.08

      Even if it gets to seven games Smith won’t give you more than 3 good ones. We better plan to score a lot of goals if we if people who feel like you do are making the decisions!

      • Lazarus

        And it’s not so much I am pumping Smittys tires as its providing an alternative viewpoint and showing disdain for the mob mentality that descends onto Smitty. It was palpable even as he was putting up wins the last 3 weeks. You just felt all the eyes on him..DYING for him to screw up so he could be lambasted. It happened as it was always bound too and sure enough the pack of coyotes descended.
        I have no problem going back to Rittich, just let’s show a bit of respect to the other half of the tandem instead of vulturing around rubbing hands together for him to do something wrong

  • Brian McGrattan's Salute

    I gotta say, I think Czarnik has been our best offenseman since he’s been up. Its not just the goals, tho those are good, but it’s the scoring chances, the shots on net, the good passing, the tenacity (if he had a bigger body he would slay), and the effort.

    He’s playing BPs system perfectly by my estimation.

    I’m not saying he’s better than everyone else, but man, if everyone played more like him we would be back to our first half dominance I think.

    • MiamiRedhawks

      Fast clean hockey seems to be the system, which he plays. Though at times some grit would go a long ways, esp on D in front of the net. That has costs us a lot of goals. I see the top line playing the same way, except teams (Wild) like shutting down the top line with the same formula that BP hasn’t caught onto yet.

  • Brian McGrattan's Salute

    Lines at practice today:

    Gaudreau-Monahan-Tkachuk
    Mangiapane-Backlund-Lindholm
    Bennett-Jankowski-Czarnik
    Frolik-Ryan-Hathaway
    Lazar

    Giordano-Andersson
    Hanifin-Hamonic
    Brodie-Prout
    Fantenberg-Kylington

    Rittich
    Smith

    Very interesting. I like the looks of that second line. Mangiapane could gain some more traction playing at a more high octane level offense.

    For the first line, very nice to see Chuck there. I just liked the feel of that line when they played.

    • Lazarus

      I thought it was Bang On. Rittich is the Golden Boy and Smith is the whipping boy.
      Rittich had looked like crap for the majority of the last few weeks and allows a 6 spot and it’s all good. Smith had one rough game in weeks and yeah let’s burn him at the stake.
      Let’s get a grip here

    • Korcan

      For the record, i do like Rittich. I like his demeanour in net, how he moves and his efficiency in the crease (especially when contrasted with Smitty), and i do think he has a good chance at developing into a stud goalie for years to come. Having said that, what i have noticed in his first two seasons in Calgary is that he is really strong in the first half of the season and struggles in the second half.

      Is this because of pressure? In both seasons, he was considered the back-up in the first half, but then had starter expectations placed on him in the second half, faltering both times. Or is it just mental fatigue of playing longer seasons with more games than he experienced in the Czech league or in the A? Only Rittich can answer those questions and i doubt even he knows.

      Still, it is concerning that when the pressure of the games increases Ritter appears to struggle. I am hopeful that he figures it out and rises to the occasion, because, despite what Smith can bring when he is on his game, when Rittich is on he is nearly unbeatable. But until then, i don’t feel very confident in either goallie, which, if their teammates secretly feel the same way, doesn’t bode well for the playoffs.