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Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Avalanche 6, Flames 2 post-Game 3 embers: It got so much worse

You know the “Dig up, stupid” quote from The Simpsons? After a rough Game 2, that’s what an abysmal Game 3 felt like. Spoiler: they did not dig their way out of what is now a series hole.

Feel of the game

Things actually didn’t seem too bad to start. The Avalanche looked like the better team very early on, but the Flames weren’t too far behind them. They even got the first powerplay of the game and Mikael Backlund hit the post; they had a chance.

Until they took two simultaneous penalties, giving the Avalanche – who, remember had the seventh best powerplay to close out the regular season – a full two-minute five-on-three. They weathered the storm initially, things were going to be different… and then Nathan MacKinnon scored.

But they only gave up the one goal. So it was going to be fine, right– and then the Flames took another penalty and gave up another goal.

Okay, not the best start, but this team can definitely overcome a two-goal deficit, especially if they get back into a proper rhythm after the penalties– and MacKinnon embarrassed them again and Cale Makar scored a goal in his first ever game, and it was over. That was it. The Flames were not coming back from down 3-0, they didn’t look even remotely capable of it. What had been a tepid, but acceptable, start quickly devolved into a tire fire, and it continued until the score was well out of reach.

The shorthanded goal against – another one – in the second confirmed it. Sam Bennett’s goal on that same powerplay not even a minute later looked meaningless. Another breakaway goal for the Avalanche confirmed it. Another goal for them to start off the third period really confirmed it, with TJ Brodie’s goal soon after also meaning very little.

The game devolved into scrums and chippiness with a handful of game misconducts, but by that point, who even cared? The Flames had been thrashed and the score was completely out of reach early on. Were the Avs supposed to feel scared, skating free with a four-goal lead and capitalizing off of a Flames team that seemed to have given up? They sure showed them.

The good news

Bennett really is a playoff performer. He has his moments in the regular season, but for whatever reason – three times, in 2015, 2017, and now 2019 – he reaches a whole new level in the postseason. In the playoffs, he’s all heart, the effort is visible every shift, and he doesn’t trade in offence to do it. Is that sustainable? Who knows, but he’s been pretty good about making himself one to watch every game.

There is only so much one could have asked of Mike Smith. The shorthanded goal and an early brain fart when playing the puck that fortunately did not result in a goal against were really the only things he could be faulted on. Otherwise, he stopped how many breakaways? That were how big a percentage of the 50 shots he stopped? The rest of the team should be embarrassed for putting him through that; he’s been the team’s one rock with game-changing potential they’ve had through the first three games.

I’m hopefully not dooming Columbus by saying this, but… you know… it could actually be worse.

The bad news

Basically everybody not named Smith and Bennett. Although some do deserve more blame than others: namely, the players who are supposed to be this team’s offensive backbone and have yet to do anything. Remember: the Flames had five 70+ point scorers in the regular season. They have combined for three goals (one an empty netter) and seven points through three games. Rasmus Andersson is the points leader on defence, which is great for him, personally, but he should at least have some company up there.

Though this is a team-wide problem, the top players hold more of the blame. MacKinnon is by far the best player on the ice, and nobody from the Flames looks close to matching him. What’s the once-vaunted top line doing? I do think Johnny Gaudreau deserves a bit of a pass – he’s clearly trying but his linemates aren’t keeping up with him – but it’s a testament to MacKinnon, really, and how he has that gamebreaking ability to take over an entire contest and dictate how it’s going to go. Smith is the only one who seems capable of doing that for the Flames, but he isn’t going to score goals any time soon. And it would be one thing for MacKinnon to be the best player – there’s no shame in that – but that there’s zero counter from the Flames’ top guys, nor from their depth that was supposed to be better than the Avalanche’s, is causing a major problem.

Penalties. For the third game in a row, penalties. This particular game devolved into something of a mess, but penalties put the Flames in a hole early and they were never able to get out of it. Their penalty kill was perfect in the first two games, but that was bound to come to an end: the Avs’ powerplay has looked that much better than the Flames’, and they were granted the jumpstart they needed to really get it going. There’s a lot of things the Flames have to do, and playing smarter is one of them. You can complain about the officiating all you want, but the infractions the Flames took early on were legitimate, and they brought everything that befell them on themselves.

They gave up. Even when the game still could have been in reach, they ensured it wouldn’t be by playing sloppily, giving the Avs yet another prime scoring chance that occasionally turned into a goal. (Seriously, so many breakaways.) It was pathetic and absolutely nothing like what we’ve seen from them in the regular season this year. The only message the Avs should take from this game is that the Flames told them they could be pushovers when it came to actual gameplay, not scrums for show when down by four goals.

Numbers of note

46.94% – The Flames’ 5v5 CF. It was worse in Game 2 because then, the Avalanche still had a lot to play for; the game was close. In this one, it was over after the first period. The Avs could step off the pressure. They weren’t being threatened.

20:51 – MacKinnon’s ice time. He did get seven shifts in the third period, so his ice time wasn’t limited drastically with the game out of reach, but still: you’d think if there was one thing the Flames might be able to do that would help them, it would be to hopefully see MacKinnon get too much ice and potentially render him less of a threat later in the series. Wasn’t happening this game.

4 minutes – MacKinnon saw almost eight Flames forwards for about four minutes each in 5v5 ice time. There was no linematching to be had, and it didn’t really make a difference either way.

21:09 – Gaudreau’s ice time, not far off from MacKinnon’s at all. Did it seem like it?

13:51 – After playing over 23 minutes in the first two games, at least Mikael Backlund got a bit of a breather. Some of that was probably due to his double minor, though.

17:47 – Even with Rasmus Andersson’s promotion, he still didn’t see a big jump in ice time (likely in part due to not playing much on the penalty kill; he only got a minute shorthanded. Travis Hamonic and Mark Giordano got over six).

13:14 – Oscar Fantenberg’s ice time, the least out of all the defencemen. If there’s a change on the backend, I would assume he’s the one to come out: his removal would cause the least amount of disruption and wouldn’t put too big a load on the next defenceman to theoretically come in. Fantenberg has mostly been steady but unspectacular since joining the Flames, and that would be all well and good for this team normally, but now, they need something a little more spectacular.

56 – The number of shots the Avs had. The Flames could only manage 29. The Avs had 26 shots in Game 1 and 39 in Game 2, so this was definitely much worse.

Final thought

Remember when this series was supposed to come down to goaltending, and how if the Flames got good goaltending, then combined with their top-heavy nature and formidable depth, they wouldn’t really have any holes? So that’s not how things are working out at all.

Things do not need to be blown up – the Flames could still very much win this series, and they still have a lot they can build on for next season – but wasting Smith’s best performances since he came to Calgary? Yeesh.

    • Jessemadnote

      Agreed. So far we’re three games in and 11 out of 16 teams have lost a game by 3 or more goals, and that includes the Avalanche. Calgary needs to focus on a low event hockey. A game with a combined 60 or fewer shots plays to their strengths, trading chances the way they have been is a terrible tactic against the Avs.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Yanover nailed it in one. If the top line on the Flames ain’t doin’ it, why should I, a Jankowski or a Frolik or a Ryan, bust my hump?

    Johnny in this series reminds me of that old joke about the steer humping the heifer: “I’m trying! I’m trying!”

    Guess Johnny didn’t the memo that trying ain’t enough in a results-oriented business.

    If there is a silver lining in the Flames floppa it is that Tre is going to have a lot of new leverage on Matty when they lock horns on a new contract. I’ll bet that Tre in his video presentation to Chucky’s people will have that clip from last night where Chucky is showing his unblemished chin to the ref to no avail followed by Tre saying, “$9 million guys don’t do that. $8 million dollar guys don’t do that either.”

    • Theo 2.0

      Been saying it for years. Mony is the furthest thing from being a true number 1 centre. Yes he’s good in the regular season. Post season he’s a joke. He wouldn’t get in someone’s face even if they made fun of his mom. Gaudreau has and will always be scared in the playoffs. It gets super rough and the intensity level is raised immensely. Johnny hates that kind of hockey. He likes the soft sleepy regular season teams that are easy to pad your stats against. The sad part is after next year Johnny hockey will want a massive pay raise lol

    • Luter 1

      Terribly disappointed in Jankowski, Ryan too but was surprised he was playing as well as he did at year end. Johnny seems lost and a little scared because he has absolutely no one other than Prout that can actually go, Hathaway’s a tryer but way to small.

  • WildfireOne

    The problem is intensity. It didn’t come through in the regular season that this team could up its battle, its drive, its puck hunger. The first game against a grim Dallas team that lost a bunch in a row, the Flames seemed tepid and hesitant in response. We looked impressed. We shouldn’t look impressed, we should be trying to outdo them. In the words of any Sutter, win a effin’ puck battle, boys…

    The other problem is defensive structure. With our personnel, it should be far more effective than what we saw over the entire season (let alone the past game). Somehow, whatever system we’re using is making the defense LESS than the sum of its parts, which should never EVER happen in the NHL.

    Don’t get me wrong, I loved watching this season. But until these two issues are addressed, there’s no parade.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      No intensity in the reg season? Bull tweet! How many times did you hear Ball and Wills boast about 3rd period goals by the Flames. Led the league by a huge margin in scoring in the third when goals were scored to win games and not pad stats ala McDavid.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Defensive structure? You’re joking, right? Gio is showing in this series why he ain’t built for postseason. Andersson is still a rookie. Hanifin is 4 years in the NHL but is still regarded as “like a rookie.” “He’s so young; he’ll learn eventually.” Brodie is a give away machine is brain farts more than my plop-plop. Hamonic is squirrelly after all the injuries he has had this season. Man needs a good 4 months off to regain his health. Fantenberg is a castoff from what was one of the worst clubs in the NHL this season. Peters hates Kylington and doesn’t trust him. Prout is too slow and unskilled. Stone hasn’t had it since he was a Hitman, and Valimaki is too young to play in the playoffs. He needs sheltered minutes in meaningless regular season games before he will be ready for the real action. That seems to be Peters’ thinking. Lucky Kale ain’t being coached by the overly cautious Peters.

  • Day1-Cfan

    It is not over until someone sings. But wow these Flames are not giving me a whole lot of hope at this point. I will still keep fanning these flames until that someone sings.
    Did the boys get all dreamy watching Tiger on Sunday thinking that they can’t wait to get on the golf course themselves. Probably not but it seems that the care factor is not there now that they are not collecting a paycheque.
    Come on boys get your head in the game and make a series out of it , you now have to win 3 of the next 4 to move on. If not BT will make sure that some of you will move on over the summer. GFG!

    • BlueMoonNigel

      If as your handle implies that you have been a Calgary fan since Day 1–Day 1 of the team or Day 1 of you–you should know the history of what has happened to the Flames when they enter a playoff series as the prohibitive favourite and the series doesn’t go according to Hoyle. Apart from the epic series win against Vancouver in ’89, whenever the highly-favoured Flames have struggled in a series, they lost, and you don’t need a fat dame to sing it to ya.

  • Toma41

    I cant wait to hear boring Sean’s next interview on how he needs to pick it up and play better. Only to do the complete opposite on the ice. How many times has Johnny skated with the puck into Colorado’s end and had to wait several seconds for boring Sean and ghost Lindholm to catch up? Way to many. 1 guy cant beat 5. Well, MacKinnon can I guess. Too many guys coasting. Lindholm has 2 goals in his last 26 games. That’s not 3rd line.nevermind 1st. Andersson is a stud though! Good for him.

  • Ben.

    the danger of a dominating defeat like that is it instills huge confidence in the Avs, they know if they play hard and fast and as a team they can defeat the Flames.

    And the Flames now know it too and if it stays in their heads they are done.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Avs have had no pressure on them from the start of the series as they were given no hope of beating the vaunted Flames. Hell, Calgary’s notorious municipal government which is usually deaf when listening to the citizenry even halted a major infrastructure project to open the Red Mile. I wonder what kind of a property tax hike the city is going to ding the homeowners for this “delay?”

      In contrast, apart from the ’89 champs, the Flames have never worn the moniker “playoff favourites” well. Think about it. Two of their three trips to the cup finals were unplanned and unexpected. How many times in their inglorious past have the first-place Flames been swallowed alive in the first round? Chucky can ask his dad about that.

      Flames don’t do pressure good.

  • First Name Unidentified

    Wow Mac looks like he’s possessed, reminds me of Iggi in the ’04 run. MacKinnon wants it more than all of the 19 players combined on the Flames. This series is over folks. Johnny and Mony are getting tossed around like little babies, Mac makes them look so incompetent!!
    It looks like the Flames brought a knife to a gunfight!!

  • Skylardog

    Anderssen should be added to the list of players that have been playing great. The guy anchored Fantenberg and has 3 points while only allowing one goal against at 5v5. That goal was the OT winner where he di his job but Gio and Backs let Mac go in untouched. Not too bad for a rookie DMan.

    Maybe we need to turn this over to a boatload of rookies…

  • Skylardog

    Really confused as to how the teams leading scorer in the playoffs can some how have the second least icetime on a night and in a series when he is one of the few getting the job done. Granted, he did take a 10 minute last night. That shouldn’t have mattered. Add to that that the only guy with less icetime last night is one of only 2 guys to get a 5v5 goal in the series, and I am not talking about the guy that scored with a Master’s worthy lucky chip shot. Mangi an Benny have made the most of their limited icetime.

    I got my wish. We saw the best players, Gaudreau, Monahan, and Lindholm, get icetime last night, but it was clear very early that they are not playing anywhere near the level they need to be at. But they continued to get rolled out, at the expense of icetime for the Ryan line and Tkachuk, and of coarse the best playoff performer we have, Benny.

    And in the series, Benny has the least icetime of all Flames players. On what planet does that make any sense?

    So far, my worst fears are beginning to be realized, just 3 games into the playoffs. I love what Peters has done during the season. But I have always said I was concerned about his lack of experience leading a team into the playoffs. Bednar is eating his lunch. Peters has had no answers so far. His decision making is suspect.

    Peters strength during the season was to recognize what was working, what wasn’t, and make adjustments on the fly. That isn’t happening now, and didn’t happen down the stretch when it became clear that the top line had become disfunctional. He let a 30 game slump go uncontested and unabated. Let me give you a tip: A 30 game slump is not a slump. Slumps don’t last 30 games or more. It is a full out failure that needs and needed to be disassembled.

    While I am at it, how is that trade deadline pick up working out for us? We really needed a top 6 centre and/or RW. It would have been a difference maker to have had a another scorer or two out there 18 minutes a night. Duchene, Stone, Muzzin… All key difference makers in their series so far. Zucc also potted one to give Dallas a chance last night.

    Then again, if Gaudreau and Monahan are going to fade into oblivion at 5v5 during another play run, we might as well have saved the assets. There is no window if the pair don’t get this figured out.

      • MiamiRedhawks

        So you question BP’s decision making. Am I the only one who thinks the flames lose whenever the other team clogs up their blue line? It kills our speed and passing.

        • Albertabeef

          I questioned him months ago but kept my mouth shut. “we don’t care who we play, we are just going to keep playing our game”, had me worried back in November. He may have had a little extra room on the leash following such a horrible coach before him.

      • KKisTHEproblem

        Glad someone has some optimism because I have none. They have been completely outplayed, dominated might be a better word. They are lucky this thing is only 2-1 as the Avs out played the Flames for the 1st 30 minutes of game 1 and only smitty saved their bacon, it could have been 2 or 3-0 Avs easily.

        Where is the vaunted speed? Avs are waaaaay faster. Where is the compete to win puck battles? Where is the defense? They have no answer for McKinnon. He is a true #1 center unlike Monahan. I agree with those who say we’ll never win with him as #1 C. So slow, no compete, lets guys go in D zone constantly. He needs to be a winger with limited D responsibilities and snipe someone else feeding him.

        This thing ends 4-1 Avs

  • Jimmyhaggis

    Time to shake things up, playoff hockey isn’t regular season hockey, put our best, ummm, players the top 2 lines. Come on guys, you don’t get many chances to win the Stanley Cup and this team has a chance if they start playing with heart.
    Plus Peters is going to have to figure out a way to slow the Avalanche down, they just look so fast.

  • CalgaryBornandRaised

    That was perhaps the worst playoff game I have ever watched the Flames play, and I was at the game the Brian Elliot let in a puck along the ice from a bad angle against the Ducks

    Might be time to break up Lindholm, Monahan and Gaudreau permanently, they have done nothing this series and are getting crushed by the Avs first line

    Wednesday is must win, or we might be like Tampa and on the way out

    • BlueMoonNigel

      “Might be time to break up” those bums? They have been doin’ the pooch for more than 2 months now, but Peters keeps them together. What is it that Calgary sports fans are so fond of saying? Continuing to do the same thing when it doesn’t work is the definition of insanity. Billy Peters is insane keeping the Purpleade trio together.

  • Jobu

    Next game will be a true test of the clubs mental toughness and whether we deserve to be called cup contenders. Jobu believes. But last night this team sure looked like the fragile-hearted club of years past.

    Get it together guys! You got this!

      • The Sultan

        I don’t see any difference in play or intensity between Games 1 – 3 with the exception of Mike Smith standing on his head in Game 1. Avs have gotten better as the series goes on, not looking forward to seeing how hard they come out in Game 4.

  • Raffydog

    Wheres all this depth everyone was telling me about? When I said Colorado would win this series everyone kept going on and on about depth. Flames have to much depth, Avs cant handle their depth, so much depth it’s coming out their ying-yangs, depth, depth, depth. What you all forgot to take into account is this is the Calgary Flames. Choking in the playoffs is what they do. Doesn’t matter how much depth you think they have, when it comes to playoffs they fold like a chep tent.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      While I agree with your Flames’ history of choking in the playoffs as that is fact, the one thing that was totally novel about the Flames heading into this year’s playoffs was that the club was not expected to win the Pac let alone the Western Conference, so an unexpected first place finish it was. That had never happened in the history of the franchise, so this was the first time the club headed into the playoffs as a very unexpected first-place seed. Sadly, their playoff performance to date is a bad show that we have seen before.

  • Raffydog

    I said earlier in the season that you cant win a championship with a player like Gaudreau on your team. He disappears in playoff hockey, and that’s akin to losing you best player to injury right before playoffs start. Only it’s worse because there is no replacement, your just basically playing a man short. Blame Monahan all you want, but Guadreau is the star, hes supposed to be the driver on that line, and just like his previous playoff experience, he disappears.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Gaudreau doesn’t have a large enough body of playoff work for you to diss him as a crappy playoff guy. 12 points in 18 playoff games is nothing to sneeze at. Great, no, but hardly vanishing.

      Does Johnny have to play better? Absolutely. Can he play better? We will see.

      If the team continues to crater in this series until they are ousted, then the likes of Johnny must be called out.

  • Off the wall

    If anyone has seen how MacKinnon trains in the offseason, it should be no surprise he can be dominant.
    I picked him to win the scoring title, just based on his work ethic alone. He’s incredible, no doubt about it!

    However, he’s also prone to being very emotional and gets frustrated easily. See game #1.

    We took away the neutral zone and we’re keeping him to the outside. That’s how we’re going to beat the Avs.

    I know everyone is frustrated with our effort level yesterday. But that’s not our real Flames.
    The Flames who won the Division and Conference.

    Myself, I believe we will get back to playing the way that worked for us against them in the regular season. We’re a better team. It just didn’t look like it yesterday.

    The key is to get to them early.
    Silence the crowd. Activate our D and keep them hemmed in their own zone. Clog up the neutral zone and take away the speed. It worked great in game 1. And MacKinnon was extremely frustrated.

    It’s a 7 game series. Don’t give up because of the results thus far. We will be better. Peter’s isn’t going to roll over and concede.
    Neither is our beloved Flames.

    I’m behind our team, whether we win or lose. That’s why we’re fans. It certainly doesn’t make sense to base the entire series on ONE game. You can trash me all you want, but this series is FAR from over.

    We’re going to come back and then we’ll all feel much better!
    Go Flames Go 🔥

      • Off the wall

        Oh Raffy, do you need another HUG? They’re always FREE!

        I know last nights game must have fed your optimism, but I believe in our team. It’s not baseless friend. That’s just silly talk.

      • Captain Ron

        The Flames are still very much a good NHL team. The Flames will win game 4. Then you can go away for a while. When they lose another game you can come back and tell us all how incredibly bright you are with your pessimistic predictions.
        The Av’s have scored 9 goals and we have scored 8. This is far from over but guys like you throw in the towel at the first sign of adversity. You would suck as a team mate.

    • calgaryfan

      I like your enthusiasm Off the Wall but the Flames have not been good since the All Star break. Don’t see them stopping the Avalanche that are rolling. Hope you are right though.

  • _vntony

    I know there are a lot of fans who are upset over other’s comments regarding our top forwards. But calling other fans ‘fair weather fans’ or ‘bandwagoners’ or just to basically get lost (certainly harsher words were used) cause their opinion is negative or different to your own is appalling. Is it wrong for a fan to want the Flames’ best players to be their best players? Especially, at the most crucial time in the season?
    Believe me, I know the playoffs are a best of 7 series. But if we keep downplaying it by saying ‘it’s only one game’ we’re just letting them off the hook. If they continue to play this way, this series will be over before you now it.
    I for one, am glad that people are starting to see the faults of the top line and especially that of Monahan. This means we know that there’s a problem that needs to be addressed and improved upon.

    I truly do not believe Monahan is as good as he is said to be. He is far too reliant on Gaudreau to drive play for him. So I have decided to compile a list of teams with centres better than Monahan. True bonafide #1 centres.
    BOS – Bergeron; BUF – Eichel; CAR – Aho; COL – MacKinnon; DAL – Seguin; EDM – McDavid; FLA – Barkov; LAK – Kopitar; NYI – Barzal; PHI – Couturier; PIT – Crosby/Malkin; TBL – Stamkos/Point; TOR – Tavares/Matthews; WSH – Backstrom/Kuznetsov; WPG – Scheifele

    Maybe Better or Equal to Monahan:
    ANA – Getzlaf; CHI – Toews; CLB – Duchene; DET – Larkin; NYR – Zibanejad; STL – ROR; VAN – Petterson

    That doesn’t leave many teams that don’t already have a better centre than Monahan…
    ie. ARZ, MIN, MTL, NSH, NJD, OTT, SJS, VGK
    Way back when, we used to say ‘Iggy’ could never win because he ‘never had at #1 centre’. How long before people start saying ‘Johnny never had a #1 centre’.

    I realize that this is the unpopular opinion, so trash away.

    • canadian1967

      Maybe Better or Equal to Monahan:
      ANA – Getzlaf; CHI – Toews; CLB – Duchene; DET – Larkin; NYR – Zibanejad; STL – ROR; VAN – Petterson

      These ALL need to be in the category of Better than Monahan.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        The only maybe bettes are ROR and Zibanejad and Duchene. Pettersson is still a rookie, so comparing a rookie to a vet don’t cut it. The other centres, as you pointed out, are all better than Monahan. Getzlaf and Toews are future HOFers. I’d trade any Flame roster player or farmhand for Larkin. He is outstanding!

        Nonetheless, a few weeks ago when I suggested Tre should think hard about trading Monahan in the offseason, I was given double digit bad digits for even daring to say such fiendish words. Reminded me of last season when I said the same thing about Dougie and was equally roasted. I suspect that a couple of weeks after the Flames are eliminated, fans will forget their current hate on for Monahan and again regard him as an untouchable.

        • Albertabeef

          I think you are mistaking frustration for hate. I just can’t hate a kid who has the same amount of regular season points and more playoff games at the same point in his career as Iggy did. It just doesn’t make sense to me. It sounds about as foolish as buying out Marty St Louis’s contract back in the day because the new management couldn’t see him fit with the team lol. Or trading Stillman because he never hit the 30 goal mark lmao. Just wow!
          I’d rather keep Mony and maybe one of our big Slovaks will bump him to second line in a couple years.

    • Kevin R

      Not going to trash you because I just dont see the point in this debate. Soooo you are comparing playoff Monahan to Bergeron yes agree, Bergeron is elite but the Bruins are still down 2-1 like the Flames & has the same amount of points as Monahan. Eichel…interesting…how many playoff games has Mr Eichel played? He also vanished in the stretch. Aho? Canes are still trailing 2-1 & Aho isnt dominating the score sheet but he’s young & wont argue he “may” be a better top line centre than Monahan. Can go on, where is Crosby now, not one stinking point & I know I have him in two pools.
      Now comparing him to Larkin Zibanejad, Pettersen for God’s sake. Im sure you have lots of stats to back your opinion. The only thing I think I will cheer you on is yes this is your opinion.

      • _vntony

        I wasn’t making a comparison between playoff Monahan vs playoff whomever. I was just making a comparison of Monahan to other top centres in the league. And by my assessment, there are only 8 other teams that would have Monahan be their top line centre.

        Yes this debate is pointless right now, but it’s something this team needs to address going forward. Good teams with good centres usually do well. Look at MacKinnon in this series.
        Crosby, Toews, Bergeron, Backstrom, Kopitar, Kuznetsov etc. all have cups and played pivotal roles during their cup runs. Centre position is important and should be addressed going forward, I just don’t like the narrative that Monahan is a true #1 centre and he must be hurt, sick, or whatever. These guys are paid to play their hearts out, especially during this crucial time in the season. So let’s stop making excuses for them and have them earn their keep.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      How come the Canes finally made the playoffs after Peters bolted? Coincidence?

      Should the Flames have targeted Rod the Bod instead of Billy Peters? Love the Bod’s intense grimace. He does not look like someone to be trifled with.

      I also understand that Ferland is a lock to re-sign in Carolina as he can supplement his income by giving fighting lessons to his teammate Svechnikov.

    • Kevin R

      Cherry picking a bit my friend. Mike Smith has more points than Kuchera, Point, Stamkos, Crosby, Guentzel.

      Im not happy about WTF is happening but this is the first year we have locked up a playoff spot so far in advance. We did something right…right?? Now Tre will need to look at what we need to become a playoff team as well as a successful regular season team that can comfortably qualify for playoffs. If you ask Tampa or Calgary players what is more important, winning Conferences or success in the playoffs, the answer will be a no brainer. We have some real tasty assets that can be used to fill in a few pieces. For now, lets see who rises to the battle. A win tomorrow & this series is tied & we get our home ice advantage back. More importantly, we need our swagger back.

    • Albertabeef

      The way BP played the $hit out of Lindholm all season, and in all situations, I wonder if he is out of gas. Him and Hanafin both saw a rise of around 200 minutes in ice time over last season.

      What you fail to mention about Dougie, he also has 4th most ice time among the D corps. Which is how he should have been used here. He is not a top 3 defender, and should never be used in top pairings. It will take decades for my hate of GG to dissipate. GG actually made me appreciate “crazy uncle” Bob Hartley. I’d still like Bob back as an offensive coordinator.

  • MiamiRedhawks

    I’d like to see Lomberg cover Mackinnon. He would be a constant pest, slow him down and keep him from shooting. He would still move the puck though.

  • Jimmyhaggis

    I don’t think its the players, we’re being out coached. Regular season you play different teams every game, coaching us about systems and sticking with them, but the playoffs you play the same team for 7 games in a row, you have to constantly adjust your game plan, Peters is loosing that aspect of the game.
    The talent us there, utilizing your talent is the key.

  • Derian Hatcher

    I feel the challenge is how to stop the Avs on the reload. They head north very quickly and can create odd man rushes out of seemingly nothing. How to stop this? Well, that’s why BP gets paid the big bucks and I’m just a simple hockey fan. But it’s a real problem and the Flames need to counter this…or else.

    • Off the wall

      Good morning Derian.
      Yup, we’re all a happy bunch. I do agree with you though, the transition game is hurting us.
      That is supposed to be our strength. However, as you know when you let McDavid gain speed through the neutral zone, you’re just asking for trouble.
      Same with MacKinnon. We’re making it too easy for him. When Cole can get a breakaway, you know we’re not playing well.

      But we enjoy trashing our team. Sound familiar? Myself, I try to keep things in perspective.
      I guess that’s not popular today, cuz I’m blind with optimism?! 😉

    • Kevin R

      Yup, how do you slow down a Ferrari? You restrict the fuel line. All year I commented the big difference in the Flames from last year was their speed on the forecheck & causing turnovers & cycle time & the fact we didnt allow entry into our zone as easily. Not sure what is causing the players lack of execution of what got them the Western Conference but yes BP needs to be looking at game film real closely to see what is breaking down our game to shreds.

      Cant help but remember an old coach Badger Bob when we went up against the invincible Oilers at the time. David versus Goliath & even though Oilers went on to win that Cup, the best series of the playoffs was the Calgary Edmonton epic.
      First off Badger took the team to banff & watch Raiders of the Lost Arc & then he assigned 1 guy to shadow Mr Gretz.
      Dont worry about anything else, just stick to him & shadow him wherever he goes. Time to go to the archives & figure out how to slay Goliath, whose name right now from a Flames perspective is Nathan Mackinnon. The kid is dominating us more than McDavid has. I also think its time to shut down the neutral zone, will sacrifice a bit of forecheck, but I havent seen that part of our game since the series started.

  • Righty Defenceman

    Are we overlooking that the team has rested it’s hopes on a 37 year old goaltender who posted a .898 save percentage this season? Last nights .893 was basically the seasons average – expect more of the same for the rest of the series.

    • Theo 2.0

      Bill peters is afraid of his Vets. Let’s Neal call him out in practice in front of the fn team. Gio should have 2 handed Neal in the back of the legs. Then you got Smith who i guarantee was all up in treliving and Peters ears. “I’m a 37 year old vet with playoff experience.. you have to pick me over ritter”

    • Albertabeef

      FYI since January first up till the end of the season, one goalie had a .902save% and a 2.83 goals against while the other had a .907save% and a 2.47 goals against. Which one would you play regardless of name or experience?

  • canadian1967

    Gaudreau needs to be a complimentary piece, playing with a GREAT Center. Hockey teams need to be strong up the middle. Monny is a 2nd liner. too slow. I hope Lindholm has a severe injury that we don’t know about, or that’s a problem as well.
    I don’t want to be negative. I’d love to be ignorant like most Carolina or “insert American team that made the playoffs here” and just cheer on my team, but I want my team to win, and it hurts when they lose, but those other fans can just enjoy the moment for what it is without any worries due to their total ignorance.
    Must be nice. So much pain. This is what it feels like to be a Browns fans I bet. Oh, that’s right, I decided last year to cheer for the Browns. Because I am a Glutton for Punishment.
    Being a Flames fan must be kind of like BDSM without the Fun stuff.

    • Albertabeef

      Where have I heard that before, oh ya you just changed Iggy for Johnny lol. For the record Mony has exactly the same amount of points as Iggy had after his sixth regular seasons of NHL. Now Iggy got to play playoff games when he first came in, but did not play another playoff game until 7 seasons later. This is Mony’s third playoff try in six seasons. I really don’t get how people can talk so badly about him, as if he doesn’t even belong in the league. Very sad.

      • _vntony

        Great Monahan has more playoff appearances than Iggy. Why might that be?
        Right, the current iteration of the Flames are better players now than the players surrounding Iggy.
        I don’t remember Iggy having anyone of Gaudreau’s calibre. Iggy had a team of misfits and carried them to the finals. Everyone is lauding this team for it’s “depth”. Iggy never had a 1st place team in the west. This team has a lot more potential and with that, more expectations. In the most crucial point of the season don’t you want your star centre to show up?
        Monahan certainly belongs in the league, but he’s playing higher in the line-up than his ability.

        I can justify my disappointment of Monahan in a few ways:
        1) As others have said, he’s a one trick pony. He’s got a great shot but can’t drive play. Which makes him overly reliant on Johnny. If Johnny struggles, you can bet Monahan is invisible. If Johnny excels, Monahan will have points.
        2) Watch Nathan MacKinnon. Same draft year, leagues apart. One guy can drag his team into the playoffs and then be a gamebreaker; Monahan, not so much.
        3) 6’2, 200lbs. Doesn’t have game breaking speed, doesn’t hit, doesn’t block shots. If he doesn’t get on the score sheet, what does he do? Look at the Leafs young kid Marner, 6’0, 180lbs. Playoff time he scores, hits, and throws his body in front of shots in the last minute to defend a lead.

        • Albertabeef

          I think Kipper and Gelinas might argue a bit with you. And Iggy was never as good as Jaromir Jagr either. Why compare two guys like Monahan and Mackinnen? We had zero chance to ever acquire Mackinnen, or Marner either. I don’t get why people have to bring up all these guys who are supposedly better that we have had no chance to draft and now no chance to acquire. We don’t have those players, we are stuck with what we have. Be happy we are at least an okay team as it could be worse.