Ottawa Senators @ CGY
Not pretty. The Flames looked like the better team for the first 19 minutes of the game, but a late first period goal by Cody Ceci ended up being all the Senators needed to seal the deal. Of course this was followed by 5 more goals and the Flames were embarrassed 6-0 on home ice. Mike Smith let in 5 goals on 22 shots, and was replaced by Eddie Lack in the 3rd period. The Flames statistically actually had a very strong showing, with the majority of players having positive possession games. Unfortunately, a vast amount of penalties derailed any type of momentum and the Flames never had a chance to capitalize on these offensive zone times.
Flames Player of the Game
Honestly there was no one really that deserved a player of the game nod after last night’s performance, so we are going to give it to Dan O’Halloran, Kendrick Nicholson, Vaughn Rody, and Derek Amell. Who are they you ask? They would be the linesman and referees. Why do they get this nod? Because at least they played a full 60 minutes.
Bill: Well that was something else. A significantly slower paced game than we’ve seen so far this season, this was the first bout that both the Flames and their opponent recorded less than 30 shots on goal. While it’s easy to overreact about an embarrassing loss to an Ottawa team sans Erik Karlsson, it’s precisely just that: a loss to an eastern conference non-rival. After riding high on being two games above .500 just four games into the season, a game like this could be good to ground the team. Despite the outcome, the game wasn’t all bad. The Flames had a much better start to their game, more than doubling the Senators in shot attempts by the time the period was over. It was just one of those games where any and all mistakes ended up costly, and anything that could have went wrong, did. Not many teams get the honour of allowing a Cody Ceci goal. The Flames just couldn’t build momentum and found themselves in an unreasonable amount of penalty trouble. They have flaws that they have to fix, and that goes for the whole team, coach included. While I’m strangely calm about this loss, it’s already annoying that the Flames aren’t playing their optimal roster. While it’s true we don’t have as many problems as the Vegas Golden Knights do with their roster management, the Flames are still doing themselves a disservice by keeping Mark Jankowski in Stockton. It seems as though the players are getting a bit too comfortable with their playing roles without fear of being banished to the press box. Matt Bartkowski has yet to be scratched to the despair of Flames fans and more importantly Brett Kulak. It’s true that Kulak’s preseason was a bit disappointing, but I’d definitely rather ice someone who has a potential I’ve yet to see as opposed to icing someone who I know is completely terrible. Forgive me for straying away from the game details, but after a loss like last night’s, it’s a mightily good time for some reflection. Long story short, there’s work to do, both on ice and off ice. Unfortunately for the Flames, at least for this weekend, they don’t even have a full day to work on it. Let’s see how they fare tonight in Vancouver.
John: I have a few issues that I need to talk about. Seeing as I didn’t have to wake up at 5:45 the next morning I was able to watch the entirety of last nights “game” against the Senators. I must preface with what I’m about to say by saying that I am a complete optimist and last nights game does not make me go into fire-sale mode. Last night simply makes me critique the Flames lineup and performance more than I would normally. Let’s start off with Michael Stone and Bartkowski. The fact that this pairing has stayed together for this long is mind boggling. While sure they had a CF% of 67% and 59% at 5v5, respectively last night, they were vastly outplayed. Look at the first goal of the game, which in my opinion killed all momentum the Flames had throughout opening frame. Stone completely bites on his man, and Bartowski follows suit leaving the middle of the ice wide open. Curtis Lazar, bless his heart, was the lone man who was able to watch Cody Ceci score. They may have only finished the game at -1, but their inability to consistently produce as a third pairing option leads me to believe that Kulak will be in the lineup tonight (as he should have been already). If Bartowski is only going to play 14:16 a night, then inserting Kulak into the lineup is a worthwhile experiment. Secondly, lets talk about the elephant in the room: Jaromir Jagr. The man had some serious scoring chances last night, and each time he touched the puck in the offensive zone there was an audible gasp in the crowd. Once he gets back into game shape he *should* be a threat, but since I am being a critic in this ALN, I have to nitpick. Jagr looks vastly too slow to play with this team at the moment. He for some reason also thinks that by pushing a player with his own stick, this will help compensate for his lack of foot speed (This isn’t the first time). His presence in the lineup has made line pairing impossible for Glen Gulutzan as we saw so many variations last night I can’t even list them all. I don’t expect Jagr to be playing back-to-back games tonight in Vancouver, but maybe more games is exactly what he needs. Finally, I want to discuss the other elephant in the room: Troy Brouwer. Yes we all love to hate on him over and over again, which sometimes can get old, but he was near invisible last night. Boasting the lowest CF% on the team at 40%, dropping him to the fourth line can’t even be the smartest option anymore. I understand he brings leadership qualities to the room, and that he plays a substantial role on the PK, but he has become such a liability in the defensive zone that I truly don’t know what they can do at this point. There are many options, but will GMBT be willing to cut his losses and pull the trigger? While Dion Phaneuf may have gotten the real boos, there were audible groans, through even the TV, when Brouwer touched the puck. This cannot continue. Of course all of these points may be irrelevant should the Flames go out tonight and thrash the Canucks, but still important thoughts to ponder.
Karim: Didn’t manage to watch the game last night, but kind of glad that didn’t happen. I was able to watch 12 minutes of Rasmus Dahlin highlights before realizing we don’t own a first round pick in this years draft. Not to say that we would be in contention for him after last nights game, but a boy can dream. After coming to this realization I quickly went to bed. Hopefully the Flames can put up a better effort tonight in Vancouver.
Saturday: Vancouver Canucks @ VAN