42Faceoff dog
Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flat Flames fail in Phoenix

The Calgary Flames continued a stretch of less than stellar play on Thursday night in Phoenix. In a rather sleepy affair, the Flames failed to generate many dangerous chances and were shut out by the Arizona Coyotes. They lost 2-0.

The Rundown

The Flames were shut out, and Arizona scored twice on a couple defensive miscues.

Travis Hamonic was caught on a pinch midway through the first period. That left Noah Hanifin alone to defend a two-on-one rush from Christian Dvorak and Clayton Keller. Hanifin chose to utilize the Ian White Starfish, dropping to the ice in an attempt to block the pass. But Dvorak got the pass across anyway, allowing Keller a beautiful one-timer chance that beat Mike Smith to make it 1-0.

The Coyotes made it 2-0 on a weird sequence in the third period. Noah Hanifin was shoved down while battling with Dvorak at the top of the crease. He fell on Smith, and the 36-year-old took four full seconds to get up. In the chaos, Jacob Chychrun fired a point shot past Smith. The Flames challenged for goaltender interference but the official ruling was that no interference occurred; either Hanifin fell on his own, or he could’ve avoided falling on Smith, or that falling onto Smith occurred far enough before Chychrun’s shot (or wasn’t severe enough) that it didn’t make a difference.

Sure.

The Flames were out-shot and out-chanced early, and the Coyotes did a good job limiting chances once they got a lead.

Why the Flames Lost

They weren’t all that good. They were good early, but the rest of the game they were in the right spots but not really battling or kicking it into higher gear. They were positionally sound, but flat.

The Coyotes won most of the battles, and actually generated as many or more high-danger chances as the Flames in every period. The home side was more desperate, and so the Flames left empty-handed.

Red Warrior

Mikael Backlund led the Flames in shots and battled here and there, so let’s give it to him.

The Turning Point

The second Coyotes goal was a back-breaker, as the way the Flames have been scoring (or not) a two goal deficit seemed like Mount Everest.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
For%
OZone
Start%
Game
Score
Andersson 80.0 77.8 1.100
Bennett 76.2 66.7 0.475
Backlund 69.7 20.0 0.925
Fantenberg 68.0 70.0 0.625
Mangiapane 66.7 66.7 0.525
Czarnik 61.1 66.7 -0.025
Brodie 61.1 33.3 0.525
Giordano 58.3 33.3 0.600
Tkachuk 57.7 20.0 0.415
Lindholm 56.5 33.3 0.175
Frolik 56.0 25.0 0.450
Ryan 55.6 66.7 0.235
Jankowski 55.6 66.7 -0.190
Hanifin 51.3 28.6 -0.125
Gaudreau 48.3 28.6 0.100
Hathaway 48.0 80.0 0.025
Monahan 46.4 28.6 0.005
Hamonic 41.0 25.0 -0.300
Smith 0.800
Rittich

This and That

The Flames have not had a lead in their last 12 periods. Or, put another way, they haven’t had a lead in March.

Sam Bennett left the game in the third period after this nasty hit from Jordan Oesterle.

Up Next

The Flames (41-20-7) fly home tonight. They host the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday night.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Tonight’s Takeaways:

    The Canadian anthem was anemic; the Yank one was worse. Singin’ cops have never been my thing. That puck-dropping dog, however, scratched my itch and then some.

    Flames started strongly but faded steadily as the period went on. Not terrible but not terribly inspired either. So much for Peters’ pep talk earlier in the day.

    That Coyote howl remains the best goal celebration in the NHL bar none. It is pure Count Floyd. Usually takes all my willpower to not howl along with it.

    Most of the second period was a prime example of both teams playing who gives a damn hockey. The play was not helped any by the quality of the ice either.

    Not much pushback from the Flames after that 2nd goal. Did they even get a SOG with the extra man?

    Instead of just losing it when the refs called it a good goal and got himself booted, Peters just sucked contentedly on his water bottle. Shades of the dispassionate Gully or what.

    Peters should now be well aware what all of his predecessors eventually learned: coaching the Flames ain’t no pleasure cruise.

    Can’t hang last night’s loss or tonight’s on the heavily-criticized goalies. All these guys having career years, it’s time they went back to work.

    0-4 and counting. Flames still look like they are grinding through the dog days. I’d say it’s about time they Old Yeller the flea-bitten, mangy mutt and send it to the puppy farm.

    The late, great Al Rollins declared in ‘70s that growing bananas in Winnipeg was a more lucrative business venture than selling pro hockey in the Arizona desert. More than 40 years later, his words still ring true. When Bettman finally retires, will his biggest flop as commish be his dedication to force feeding the NHL to an unappreciative market in Arizona?

    • The GREAT WW

      I don’t know what you guys have been watching; but I haven’t seen the Flames win a game in a month…..

      We really needed that trade deadline trade BT was working on to inject some excitement…..

      Time to put Quine and Rychel in instead of Mangiapane and Czarnik…..

      WW

    • Alberta Ice

      Hey, why be motivated to win when you have such a big unexpected point lead and hardly have to work now to make the playoffs? And what of the 5 who all ready have set new personal records? And didn’t we all ready give all the NHL awards away to our players back at the break? And wasn’t it a week ago that this team was getting all the raves of the hockey pundits on the radio and across the league on the heels of a 7 game winning streak? Maybe being a point out of a wildcard would put more fire into the play. On the other hand, there has been a lot of wacky travelling across North America; we’ve been playing an inordinate amount of back to backs; and we can’t win any of our coaches challenges but we can sure lose them to the other team’s challenge. Could be an interesting 14 remaining games to reveal if this team is a contender or pretender.

  • Franko J

    The team might as well stay in Phoenix and start on their golf swings. What is the sense in flying back. This will give the Players a much needed start to their off season.

  • Chrissu

    The Flames have not scored more than 3 goals since Feb. 20. That ‘top line’ has dissipated and turned to ash. The offense that was praised and potent earlier in the season has turned flat and stale. Get it together or so hockey Gods help me if you miss the playoffs this season

  • TheRock

    Man, whomever gets the lucky draw in the first round to play the flames might as well be awarded a bye through to the second round.
    They can’t make saves. Can’t score goals. This team is lifeless!

  • Puck Head

    I’m actually intrigued to see what comes out of this and how the team responds. This is BP’s first big test and I would rather it be now than in the playoffs.

  • Hockeyfan

    This clubs mental makeup is disturbing right now. This swoon and lack of compete seemed to coincide with MT talking about his future contract? That was not a pro team display in the slightest, disinterested and almost lackadaisical execution.

  • Gus Fring

    The boys look like they are playing with very little to no pulse! The offense is non existent I really hope we can get this thing straight quickly. This is not the time of year to start going into losing streaks!

  • SgtRoadBlock

    Like i said back in Dec this was a Hype over load fun time now we r back to normal 🙂

    Draft day BT do you job build this team goaltender out and trade the people we not going to resign by or after Seattle joins the NHL.

    GFG

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    It could be worse…we could be Oiler fans watching in vain their futile effort to get into the playoffs. Flames will right the ship and learn from this hiccup. Lost in all of this is that both goalies are finding their games. It is funny how in the 7 game winning streak we did not trail for a minute…those were the days.

  • SouthernFlame

    This is either genius play by BP and staff or pure incompetence by BP and the staff. Let off a few games relax and play at other teams levels dont get hurt and step up last week of season and turn it on during playoffs, test waters? God please let me be right….If not please bring in Lazar and others to switch it up a bit

    • Speed Kills

      This seems to be as good a place as any to let my head explode into a crazy town rant… so here goes 🙂
      With the way the team has been performing over the last month (7 game win streak was compliments of the supporting cast) I’d do much more than that.
      Here is my jumped off the cliff idea 🙂
      Sit the failing young core for at least 2 games win or lose and keep them on the pine, if the tweeners are winning games (the more NHL EXP the better, esp for the playoff injury replacement guys) let them roll… AHL looking line up … Whatever, this might be the energy and effort this team is currently lacking.
      Sit: Gaudreau – Monahan – Backlund – Frolik and Hanifin… You want to play like poop then sit until you get it together. Bring up Kerby Rychel, Dillon Dube, Spencer Foo and Alan Quine (if Hath needs some repair time also bring up Lomberg)

      Questionable line up? 100% … But what the Flames are right now isn’t working!
      Go with this… Because why not, better now than after another 3 game losing streak without doing anything.

      Tkachuk – Jankowski – Lindholm
      Bennett – Lazar – Czarnik
      Mangiapane – Ryan – Foo
      Rychel – Dube(Quine) – Hathaway(Lomberg)

      Giordano – Brodie
      Fantenberg – Hamonic
      Kylington – Andersson

      David Rittich

      Extras – Prout, Quine and Lomberg

      It isn’t pretty… but it would be at the very least a full tempo, give it your all performance worth watching.

      OK, time for Meds and Bed (lol)… Have a good night FN … the sun will still come up tomorrow. Go Flames 🙂

  • Gus Fring

    It’s not the goaltending! The last few games I think the goaltending has been good enough to win. There is no chemistry among the forward lines. The top 6 just seem out of sync. The passing is off the timing is off and the O zone pressure has very limited scoring chances. I think this might be a short playoff run I hope I am wrong but I just have a gut feeling. The team is good but not good enough!

    • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

      “The last few games I think the goaltending has been good enough to win.”

      Maybe the last two games, but the two games before that they averaged five goals against and Mike Smith was letting in softies from the blueline and overhandling the puck out of his goal.

      That’s the real problem though, we can’t win games unless we score 4+ goals. How many games this year have the goalies stole for us? I honestly think I can count two, which frankily isn’t enough. We’re losing all of the close goalie duel games. Our offence has covered up our goaltending weaknesses all year and now when we need them to shut the door to win a close one because he offence is struggling , they aren’t getting the job done. I just hope they don’t sign Mike Smith next year, he’s done like dinner.

  • BendingCorners

    I only saw the 2nd period and they looked okay then. Maybe they are tired or a few of them are playing through some injuries? Not ready to wail and gnash my teeth but I do hope they shake off whatever is bothering them and play better Sunday.
    Other teams now are playing with more structure, so the Flames will need to take some hits skating through the middle instead of dancing around the edges. Might be time to add Lazar to the lineup to see if that helps.

  • RKD

    They aren’t hungry enough nor are they fighting for a playoff spot. They’ve been #1 for a while now so other teams are shutting down Gaudreau, Monahan and Lindholm. Opponents have honed in on their tendencies. On the flip side the Flames haven’t shown creativity trying to score. either. Team looks a bit gassed maybe a lot of travel in February with so many east coast trips. However being tired and travel aren’t excuses. Maybe they thought after 7 wins in a row they were home and cool. They aren’t battle tested the playoffs are going to be a war of attrition. They will be pushed like they’ve never been pushed before. Better they face adversity now. Monahan is what he is scores his 30 goals and wins faceoffs but he won’t hit, fight or backcheck. If you expect that from him you are mistaken. I wonder how good he would be without playing with a guy like Gaudreau on his line? These guys are one of the highest scoring teams in the NHL while. Even Tampa got shutout tonight. Hate to say it but I think the boys were waiting to get home to hit the reset clock.

  • deantheraven

    The photo of the dog dropping the puck captured the prophetic moment. Damn dog didn’t even look at Gio and just gave it to OEL. No “shake-a-paw” or anything. Like Gio and the Flames weren’t even there. Not a fair drop at all. And the refs?!?!
    Keumper was unbeatable and Smith… wasn’t.
    OK, now that the excuses are out of the way (oops, I forgot 2nd game in two nights!), let’s just admit the team got out worked by a hungrier group.
    Back to the Dome for a couple good practice days and a rematch with VGK.

      • Luter 1

        You’d be scared too. If every dick on the other team is allowed to maul you. Obviously he doesn’t have the room to move like earlier in the season but after passing the puck the interference against him is appalling. Reffing has been the sh$ts on this roadtrip so Peters should be taking it into his own hands and dealing with a few of these guys. Eakins for instance the other night should have had to deal with a Prout right cross but for some reason we like to see our skilled guys abused. Mony even worse because he can’t skate so he is taking lots of punishment. Where Is Ferland when you need him!