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Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA Today Sports

Flames lose Giordano, ground in Pacific race in Sharks loss

The Calgary Flames played another divisional foe on Tuesday night, hosting the San Jose Sharks. The Flames were better than they were on Saturday against Edmonton, but they weren’t great. Worse still, they lost captain Mark Giordano to an injury late in the second period.

Following the game, interim head coach Geoff Ward declined to speculate on the severity of the injury but did note losing Giordano would be a pretty big loss for the club.

Giordano is, to be blunt, impossible to replace because of how much damn time he logs:

  • 1st in overall ice time
  • 2nd in five on five time (behind Noah Hanifin)
  • 3rd in power play time (behind Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan)
  • 2nd in penalty kill time (behind Travis Hamonic)

He leads the team in overall ice time by about 140 minutes. He’s played more than two full games more than the next-nearest player, Hanifin. While not quite in Norris Trophy form to the degree he was last season, Giordano has been an absolute workhorse for the Flames.

“He’s our best defenseman, probably our hardest workers and one of our best, if not our best, player every night,” said Matthew Tkachuk post-game. “That’s definitely a big hole, but guys in this room are capable of filling that just by committee. Not one person can do what he does, so we’ve got to do it by committee back there.”

Giordano infamously tore his bicep late in the 2014-15 season on Feb. 25, just four days prior to the trade deadline. He missed the remainder of the season and the two rounds of the playoffs that the Flames played. This injury comes 20 days before this season’s trade deadline.

Defensive play improved (but not quite enough)

The Flames weren’t quite as leaky defensively as they were against Edmonton on Saturday. But while they didn’t get their doors blown off by the Sharks, they did have defensive lapses come back to haunt them in a game where they were out-scored 3-0 at even strength.

“I thought that overall we were happy with the defensive productivity we had,” said Ward. “But the three breakdowns that we had that allowed the score were big breakdowns. So on one hand we’re happy with where the number of pucks were that we gave up from the inside, which was much improved, but at the same point in time we allowed them three real good chances on the inside that they capitalized on. And those were all on us, for sure.”

The Flames are now 1-3-1 in the first five games of the latest seven game series, and 1-2-1 since the All-Star Break. Ward emphasized that the team needs to harness their anger about how the season is going if they want to turn it around.

“When we’re sick and tired as a group of seeing this and losing games, we’ll find a way to fix it,” said Ward.