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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.

  • SourCreamGlazed

    I’m going to chime in and say it’s nice to care about playoffs again.

    The highs of anticipation, the passion of the fan base.
    Of course it’s frustrating. I rage-quit several times throughout my viewing.

    But we’re still here, talking about playoff hockey for the Flames. And I love it.

    • _vntony

      You’re absolutely right. It’s good to care about this team well into April.
      Even if a lot of our opinions vary, it’s great to be able to have good discussions about a team we all care about. Win or lose (though hopefully more wins than losses), it’s been great having playoff hockey back in Calgary.
      GFG

  • Jessemadnote

    Really Johnny gets a pass? That shorthanded goal was the killer. He had a high end chance on an odd man rush to pull the Flames within 2 and turned it into a breakaway for the Avs. That was easily the worst game I’ve ever seen Johnny play.

  • Rocket66

    If I see the same lineup next game I’m not watching. Why keep trying something that doesn’t work. I am not a Peters fan
    Nobody can keep up to Johnny but mag might
    If your best players aren’t playing well then how about playing your best players
    Bennet deserves to be playing on first line swap him with monahan

  • Alberta Ice

    Being in the playoffs is so much fun and such an emotional roller coaster ride! The thrills of victories and the agonies of defeat (especially these last two games). Go Flames. Go Jets. Go Leafs. Go Canadian teams. It aint over til it’s over.

  • buts

    Someone send a message to JG that skilled players show up for big games, they don’t turn into turnover machines. Constant passes thru players are high risk plays and if you turn it over you try like heck to get that puck back by backchecking and Jonny didn’t. Terrible play by the forwards in that our D could not standup at the blueline because of no backchecking support. A total disconnect of all our playing units, even strength, PP and PK. Undisciplined penalties and free space to MacKinnon which is mind boggling. BP must be pulling his hair out. Tattoo someone from each line on to his butt would be a start. You shut down Mac’s line I’m sure the Aves are done. This is good evaluation for BT going forward if we lose the series. Kudos to Smith for playing very well.

    • Derian Hatcher

      It was really concerning when JG made such a lame attempt to check Tyson Jost as Jost blew by him. Commitment to out work / out battle every shift in the playoffs separates the Gaudreau’s from the Mackinnon’s. If I remember correctly there were rumblings from BT last year that not all Flame players were committed to the cause. Has this changed ?

      • Toma41

        That is apparently why Hamilton and Ferland were traded. If this is the reason for trading players, then Monahan is the first one who needs to go along with Brodie, Neil and borderline Lindholm too. Speaking of Lindholm, what happened to his shot? he cant hit the net and absolutely no power behind it anymore.

    • deantheraven

      Yeah buts ( I imagine a lot of Flames fans analyzing the play of this team start with that phrase), I agree with your take on the “High risk, high rewards” mentality that worked during the season more often than not, but this is the playoffs! The hard work is harder, has to be harder, than the previous 83 games. Words like talent and skill aren’t worth the ink or the paper in the Second Season if they’re not supported by hard work and yes, Grit Factor. The Flames got run into the boards and outta the rink in Denver. Line matching is going to be a problem, so everybody needs to be playing as if they’re down 2-1 in a best-of-seven tomorrow night. I don’t think your tattoo idea is a bad one, even if it’s only in the D-zone, but it’s going to be hard to pull off. It’s easy for me to say from here that the best thing would be to keep the play in their end. Hopefully they find a way to make that happen.
      I second your kudos for Smitty, but wonder if maybe Rittich shouldn’t start Game 4 anyway. I think the Avs would counter that move by playing deeper on the forecheck and maybe open some space through the neutral zone so the Flames can mount some kind of attack. They didn’t have any in Game 3…

  • Crazy Flames

    Colorado is better prepared for the series and want it more then the Flames. MacKinnon is the best player on the ice and we knew from the beginning the Flames would be in tough against him.

    To say Peters doesn’t have enough experience and that is why the Flames are losing seems kinda strange. How much experience does Bednar have?

    Colorado has studied the Flames game, found their weaknesses and now are just outworking them. Could the Flames do something similar to the Aves? Anyone notice how quickly the Aves are shooting? It is a quick pass followed by a quick shot. They aren’t worried about quality so much as quantity. It is working.

    Flames are in trouble unless they can make the necessary adjustments, play as a team, and out battle the Aves. The first line was terrible last night. When it was 3-0 I was hopeful Peters was going to blend the lines. I would have done:

    Johnny Ryan Bennett
    Frolik Backlund Lindholm
    Tkachuk Janko Mangi
    Hathaway Monahan Neal

  • SgtRoadBlock

    it all over man it over.. we lost any it only Oct 18th oh wait sorry that was a nightmare i had and i was a drunk crosseye Oiler fan in it , never again…
    GFG

    • SgtRoadBlock

      Oilers will try and sign Bennett next year oh wait no Caproom room or a real GM…

      Soon Seattle is coming to the NHL and the Oilers know it one more team better at Drafting and doing roster building with a Caphit then them 🙂

      • _vntony

        God the thought of that terrifies me. I know it would never happen but imagine a world where Bennett is back on McDavid’s wing like when they were growing up.
        McDavid has his enforcer and Bennett can finally pick up regular season points on a McDavid/Drasaitl line.
        Tre make sure this never happens.

  • Off the wall

    I use my noise canceling headphones to concentrate while I’m at work. It helps immensely, keeps my clients from trying to talk to me about the Landscape I’m constantly trying to make better. I work exceptionally hard at making everything beautiful. It’s my nature to always appreciate the gift of being self-employed.

    But, I deal with a lot of Strata’s. Every strata has a liaison I’ve benchmarked for dealing with any issues should they arise.
    The Strata Owners always think they know what’s best.
    But they also haven’t been to school for 4 years, learning my trade. It’s funny how much you learn about your clients when you’re at work.
    Because of my friendly nature, clients THINK they can dissuade me from sticking to my policy of, “ It has to be agreed upon by the Strata Board” before anything is implemented.

    And usually when the Board asks me a question about an item that a Strata member has brought up, I have a dozen valid reasons why it would not be advisable. However, if there’s something legitimate, I’m the first to provide comprehensive information as to how it would improve the Landscape. That’s my job, to be open and honest.

    You know in life, everyone has big ideas. Some are good, some not so good. But perhaps the best thing to do, is to cancel out the notion that we’re smarter than the coach, players and GM of this team. I’m sure glad I wear hearing protection. It clouds out the noise of the day. And it’s something the Flames will need to do. Cuz we’re all just a bit emotional over the playoffs and our loss yesterday.

    This is my last post for the day. I try and focus on the things I’m good at. I’m sure the Flames are too. My job right now is to be a fan! And I will be, right to the end!

  • aflame13

    I share Off the wall’s view of things. Watching the last couple games has been very frustrating for us all (I live on the east side of the country and I’m an accountant in the middle of tax season, it’s not easy to stay up and watch), but I assure you the players, coaches, trainers and management of this team are not careless. For pity’s sake, I can play a game of Rocket League on Xbox and get absolutely smacked one game and can verse the same team next game and pull out a win. It’s not because I didn’t try or care. I just got frustrated, out smarted a few times, or something else relating to circumstances or execution of a play.

    To my eyes, the Flames are purposefully trying to play a slower tempo game, but got totally outsmarted the last couple games.

    This is not about skill. The Flames goal differential and record show that.

    Peters has done a great job through the season adjusting and I think we’re going to see some changes next game. I’m absolutely convinced this team can win this series handily, they’ve proven they have the skill and effort.

    Let’s see how they respond next game. Reacting to potential circumstances (like losing) now isn’t helpful, just anticipating the next game and looking forward to more playoffs is what is enjoyable and reasonable for us all now.

        • aflame13

          I understand what you’re saying Raffydog, but I think your words come across a bit harsh. I would suggest that it may appear, based on the last couple games (and even some games before the playoffs for some players), that there is no leadership, heart, talent, or chance, but just because it appears that way, doesn’t mean it actually is that way.

          We know based on this team’s history, both this season and in previous years, that there is plenty of skill and heart. The question then is whether or not the team can stabilize and overcome and execute in the next game, not whether or not they have talent or heart or leadership. I’d argue it’s more than possible, but we’ll see what actually happens next game.

      • aflame13

        Yes, Dougiefred, this time it has. They can’t sweep or completely dominate the entire series now. But I just meant they have proven their abilities, even against Colorado, all season long so this series is far from over.

  • oddclod

    There’s two sides of the locker room right now.

    Monohan floatation styles VS Bennett’s stache. There needs to be a line drawn in the room because Monohan’s cozy “there’s something special in this room” Followed by talk and no action, is coming off as apathy.

    This is Bennett’s team. This is Gio’s team, this is Tkachuck’s team. They reflect our veterans (aside from chicklets). Everyone best follow the code, and drop the bromance and save it for Fortnite with your bum buddies.

    • fretsey

      Ya….Monny is such a bum…no heart..he doesn`t care…..
      Monahan first had left wrist reconstruction surgery, followed by two hernia surgeries and a groin procedure. This was about a year ago. He was shut down only after we were not going to make the playoffs. tied a career high with 31 goals and set a new personal best with 64 points in a career-low 74 games this season. Those numbers are made all the more impressive, however, when you consider he played through considerable discomfort for much of the 2017-18 campaign.
      I`m sure he is playing completely injury free right now, I mean he has shown in the past he has no heart right

      • _vntony

        Did you see the last minute of the Toronto game yesterday?
        Marner, arguably the Leafs best player, put his body in the line in pursuit of a victory for his team. He blocked what, two shots consecutively before time expired. So Marner, who in his own right isn’t that big of a player; scores, hits, and blocks shots. Not sure about you, but that to me sounds like a guy who has heart and is putting everything on the line.
        Now when was the last time you saw Johnny or Monahan go and block a shot?

      • Rockmorton65

        Fretsey – I like Monahan. But his injuries last season have no bearing on the fact he’s been essentially M.I.A. since the all star break. It’s not bad luck when he’s spent the last month of the season and the first three games of the playoffs thinking he’s a figure skater. He’s one of the players who doesn’t seem dialed in.

  • Hockey4life

    I just don’t get how you battle all year long to make it to the show and then don’t show up to play when it matters most. It’s embarrassing to watch.

    • Franko J

      Classic case of cracking under the pressure. Outside of Joel Otto’s size 14 skate deflecting in a goal 30 years ago, and surprizing run in 2004 and very unexpected. When the Flames are considered to be the favorite in a series they most often than not choke. I was hopefully this year was going to be different, however, they once again have under performed. Most disturbing I have not seen this team all season long play like they did last night. The question now is how badly this team hates to lose.

  • Em Durp Em Hrudey

    At the draft this year if things continue on this path BT needs to pick up the phone and offer up Monahan and Brodie to the Rangers in exchange for Kreider and a third round pick. Kreider don’t float and Kreider can score while punching faces. Man I want to wear my Flames Kreider jersey so bad!!!

    • fretsey

      Tre needs to get a rumor going that we are going to have trouble signing Sam and Tkachuk….dangle JG at the draft and have all the East Coast teams start a bidding war for him…max out the return for a 4th round Gem.
      JG is a one trick pony that needs an elite Center and rugged right winger capable of protecting him. The Flames are not likely to land an elite big Center or an Iginla-type RW anytime soon so why not trade him

      • SgtRoadBlock

        we R not going to resign Jonny or Sean they going to ask for $$$ in the years to come, so we will see them be move before the contracts ends, but a smart Gm would move one of them next year when the Hype high the return would be Epic,
        we have Rookies fighting for ice time next year on all lines and Net = door open for other players to be moved
        This team 3 players and year away from a Cup Final..

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        I am as frustrated as anyone with Johnny’s game but I firmly believe that he needs skilled gritty wingers so he can play bigger. I know this sounds like jargon but try going through life as a professional in a contact sport in a 5”7 160 lb child-like frame. We really can’t expect Johnny to be a difference maker when we can’t protect him. It is clear the slashing and obstruction isn’t called in the playoffs and his effectiveness drops.

        I don’t like how Johnny’s negative body language and sulking demeanour takes over when things are not going his way…but he has always cared. If we are going to ride Johnny to post season success we need to help him succeed. Playoff Bennett is a different animal than Regular season Bennett just like Playoff Johnny plays smaller than regular season Johnny. But before people give up on Johnny remember back to the World Championship when he was on team North America U-23 and outshined players like McKinnon and McDavid. Playoffs are a different animal and need to be treated as such. Johnny has brought us out of our seats with his electric style and I don’t see that ending anytime soon.

  • Zorn

    Just because and well, why not? –
    Johnny – Doc – Byng
    Sammy – Backs – Hath (play these guys against McKinnon line as much as possible)
    Mangi – Lindholm – Czarnick
    Janko – Mony – Frolik

    Gio – Fat Ras
    Hanny – Hammy
    Vali – TJ

    • BendingCorners

      I agree they will mix things up a bit. Your lines are radical but might work. Overall I think they need one player on each line to focus on shadowing MacKinnon and making his life difficult. Preferably a RHS since it’s easier to tie up a stick if both players shoot from the same side.

    • Chopper #2

      We need to put some players with speed out there. I’d love to see Benny with Dube on LW and Czarnik on RW. We could call the line “Benny and the Jets”. LOL

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I keep thinking that only elite skaters can play in the new NHL but then I see a player like Stone who is far from that but can still dominate. Now I believe you can still excel in this league if your elite mind and anticipation can help make up for that lost half step. Tkachuk shows this elite hockey sense and Ras has this trait as well. Players like Kjillington have the physical tools but the processing speed is a challenge. Then there are players like Neal who I think Monny is trending towards in 3 years that need to find an edge.

  • Brownblazer

    Just want to add a couple of observations of last night’s debacle. For me the turning point in that game was Backlund’s post. If that goes in, the game is totally different – flames get some moxi back. Instead they got that flukey 5 o 3 pp (too many men pen delay just as MacKinnon is rushing down the ice?) Then, we’re back on our heals and they draw a penalty and another one of our d men’s sticks blow up essentially making it another 5 on 3. Mac scores again – the building’s hopping and many of our guys who’ve never played a play-off game on the road before are totally disorientated. On their heals, totally flat-footed, passes are off and they are RATTLED! Then, the kid who is playing his first NHL game ever scores against his childhood team – the AV players are going wild and believe they are world-beaters. The pyschological momentum was in their favor in a huge way.

    A few factors will be significant if the Flames are to get back their momentum and take this series over.

    1. Score the first goal.
    2. Johnny played horrible that game – overthinking – he needs his mojo back.
    3. Get the power play going (Peters has to change the units up back to what he used briefly when they were on that four game skid in March – once the SJ game was well in hand, he went back to the old units – the looks those new units had was way better- I hope Peters remembers that)

  • Brownblazer

    Is it just me, or have the flames sticks been blowing up on the penalty kill more than usual in this series – thereby making our pk essentially a 5 on 3?

  • Joel Ottos Jock

    This is edition of the Flames is NOT a championship team. I’ve been trashed all year for stating the obvious, but here it is again.
    Sean Monahan. Not an NHL centerman, let alone a #1 center. He is a one trick pony.

    TJ Brodie, not a top pairing or top4 dman on a championship team. Too soft. Terrible with the puck, and just doesnt have the hockey IQ

    Backlund is not a #2 centerman. He is most effective in a shut down role. Should never see PP time.

    Mike Smith has played decent this playoffs, but the team doesn’t play well in front of him. They truly do not trust or believe in him for good reason.

    Giordano had a good offensive season, but is not a good 2 way dman. He is too slow, gets caught out of position to often and is getting way too much ice time.

    A lot of this falls on BP. He has been out coached by a mile this series. I also put part of the blame on the Boston pizza kid. You did nothing of significance at the trade deadline. Look at the jackets and knights. The two teams most of you donkeys made fun of for making moves, well its these moves that are making the difference. Also, Frolik is NOT a top 6 player on a championship team either. I really hope BT looks at this roster objectively. Blow up the garbage.
    Out
    Monahan
    Brodie
    Frolik
    Stone
    Smith

    • SgtRoadBlock

      you do know that no Canada team was winning the Cup this year? Vegas betting odds is like 8%…..

      you should be happy we won the west with one of the best Caphit team in the NHL no one making $7million over more like other teams Roster.. next year will even be better.

      GFG

      • Raffydog

        Next year will not be better. The books out on how to beat the Flames. The easiest team in the league to play against by a large margin. Did you hear that? That’s the sound of the window slamming shut.

      • Joel Ottos Jock

        Why? That’s a loser attitude roadblock. I’d rather pay a real star to play here instead of having wannabes. You sound like the kind of guy who talked about his Ford mustang how it was so cool, but bought the economical 4 banger. Go for it! This team is like purgatory.

          • Joel Ottos Jock

            No. I want to have a true superstar. I would gladly take either of their big contracts. Funny how feeble minded people on here just make annoilers comment when they have nothing.

        • SgtRoadBlock

          only crazy people thinking you going into a Casino and coming out with house money the odd for a Canada Market to win it all is so low just look at Vegas odds each Seasons…

          and yes i will pass on $10million or more per season players, when you can get two core players with Hart and drive that can play all 82 games for one over price player…

          • SgtRoadBlock

            look at Tampa what a Season to waste they should fire every one lol.
            top teams lose every year in all Pro sports in the playoffs…

            should be happy at what we done with what we got this year…plus add Bill Peters a rookie to the playoff scene, Some coach’s can’t cut it in the playoffs vs Seasons … time will tell for Bill he only 1-2

      • Chopper #2

        You do know that NO Canadian team has or will win the cup as long as Gary Bettman (aka Weazel face) is the commissioner of the NHL. Just think back to2004 Flames and 2006 Oilers. IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

    • Luter 1

      Hey Jock Strap, incredibly I have to agree with almost everything you said, except you are missing a couple big ones. Neal needs to go – useless all year and looks to be a cancer. Mang should be presently cemented on the first or second PP, maybe on the point instead of limp wristed Brody. As I have preached all year, team is small and soft, lacking overall toughness to a large degree. I’m not sure Byng is the answer to this teams future either at a big price tag, his skating is very suspect. What we we get in return?

    • Albertabeef

      So you are saying you prefer Jankowski over Monahan? I think you are drunk or something. Three games into the playoffs and Jankowski has not been on the ice for a single Flames goal yet. I’m starting to agree with my friend calling him Jinxkowski.

      • _vntony

        Jankowski has been atrocious. He’s literally done nothing lol.
        Actually the only thing he’s doing is dragging down our playoff saviour Sam Bennett lol.

      • SgtRoadBlock

        you do know any one pair with Neal that you ice time will get cut. Janko getting the shaft from this. plus he only in his 2nd year in the NHL let’s calm down, we have given Sam years and now he he good

        Dam Mag going to have a bad year but in the end he going to be a good player in time too..

        Trust in the Flames Scouting we have been picking some gems Since Sutter gone, but the ufa signings have hurt us more..

  • jupiter

    Sometimes adversity runs you right over. Like your girlfriend telling you she has been cheating, and all the recent circumstances becoming much clearer. That’s what this looks like.

  • BendingCorners

    The biggest issue is effort – play with some heart and go hard on the puck and remember to backcheck.
    If personnel changes will help, then maybe these:
    Replace Neal with Dube – speed and enthusiasm in place of an invisible shuffler
    Replace Jankowski with Lazar – speed and physicality in place of casual clumsiness
    Designate one player on each line to always play above and on top of MacKinnon – ideally this would be four different RHS to facilitate tying up his stick but having one player on each line would mean he at least was never ignored. Lazar, Frolik, Bennett, Hathaway would be my candidates, or maybe use Ryan instead of one of the lefties. I’d suggest Lindholm but he actually isn’t very defensively minded, in spite of his reputation, and is playing hurt. Re-arrange the lines to make it work.
    Might as well try Valimaki with Brodie on third pair also – a minor shakeup that could add some skill.

    • Joel Ottos Jock

      It’s not effort. That is a cheap way out. It’s the Flames are not that good at playoff hockey. They dont have the grit or sandpaper. Too many pretty boys with marginal skill and not enough sam bennett

  • Rockmorton65

    Depending on the degree of a shakeup BP wants, maybe something like

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

    Giordano-Hamonic
    Hanifin-Andersson
    Valimaki-Prout

    In: Dube, Prout, Valimaki
    Out: Neal, Brodie, Fantenberg

    Each line has offensive potential, defensive responsibility, past chemistry and some speed. Plus it throws something at the Avs the haven’t seen yet.

  • Hard Dump in the Corner

    Holy crap guys, take a pill. The Flames weren’t going to win the Cup this year. It doesn’t work that way. How long did it take Ovechkin and the Capitals? Ask Joe Thornton and the Sharks how easy it is to win in the playoffs.
    This year should be treated as a learning experience for the Flames. You have to lose before you win. You might argue they shouldn’t lose to an 8th place team but everyone’s in the same boat – ask Tampa Bay.
    I’m sure Monahan and Gaudreau are as frustrated as the fans but the key is to learn from this and build on it. Win or lose against Colorado, get better next year and the year after. Their turn will come!

  • The Beej

    Players need to be aware when Mackinnon is on the ice and manage the puck accordingly.

    We keep trying to force passes through traffic that arent there and quite a few times there were silly giveaways direct to Mackinnon. Shooting… holding on to the puck… turning it into a scrum on the boards… all better options than passing it right to Mackinnon.