Vancouver Canucks vs CGY
To everyone’s surprise, Eddie Lack did not get the start despite the Calgary Flames playing their second game of a back-to-back with (short) travel in between. With the way the Flames played against Ottawa, they knew they needed to refine their game, stay out of penalty trouble, and stick to the systems that they know they can work. However, like some sort of cruel joke, the referees sent the Flames into the box five times before the period was over. If there was a pregame plan to play a clean game, it was surely discarded of quickly. Thankfully, the Vancouver Canucks failed to convert on any of their chances, and instead surrendered a shorthanded goal courtesy of Mark Giordano. Travis Hamonic also notched his first goal as a Flame, and Jaromir Jagr recorded his first ever Canadian club assist on the powerplay. The Flames find themselves atop the Pacific Division after tonight, but the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights each have two games in hand.
Flames Player of the Game
We speak on behalf of the Czech Republic when we say our vote is for the town sheriff Jaromir Jagr. The 45 year-old phenom checked off a lot of things off his to do list last night. He got his first point as a Calgary Flame, was given the Calgary Police hat for being the hardest working player of the night, and led the team with a CF% of 66.7% in all situations.
Bill: While the number of penalties taken in the first was just ridiculous, I think the Flames received a big boost from their special teams, seemingly gaining momentum with every penalty they killed instead of losing it for every penalty they took. This was crucial as it led to a rapidly deflated Canucks team against a tired Flames team that found their second wind. The Flames absolutely cannot afford to play many more periods being down a player for half of it, but they were lucky to do so against an unorganized Canucks’ powerplay, which managed just seven shot attempts on the man advantage in the first period. The second period was pretty much all Flames as they completely shut down of the Canucks and scored two goals from the blueline. At the final buzzer, the Canucks had a slight edge in shot attempts, but it was the second straight game that the Flames held their opponent to under 30 total shots. That in itself is a noteworthy improvement. However, I have been of the opinion that high shots against aren’t necessarily a bad thing if they’re low danger shots, and I feel as though the Flames have done an alright job at limiting their opponents’ scoring chances. If they keep tweaking and deal with their underlying issues, then things will continue to look up for the Flames. I’ll sound like a broken record as I said the same thing yesterday, but they need to sit Matt Bartkowski and give Brett Kulak his chance already. Oh, and sorting out their fourth line wouldn’t hurt either. Matt Stajan has had a solid start to the season and was not deserving of a being a healthy scratch. I can think of three other players that should have watched the game from above instead of Stajan. All in all, it was a good bounceback effort by the Flames, and they’ll have more than enough time with a four day break to work on ironing out the kinks. I’m low-key very excited by the thought that Jagr’s gotten a few games under his belt already and will continue to get in better shape in the coming days.
John: As mentioned in yesterdays About Last Night, a thrashing of Vancouver would help the team ease their minds over the loss to Ottawa. Of course, last night I was preoccupied and couldn’t watch the full game:
That being said, how quickly can the team get Mark Jankowski to Calgary? We are well aware of Freddie Hamilton’s capabilities (or incapabilities depending on how you view the situation). If you are going to healthy scratch someone like Stajan, do you not want one of your key young stars to get some playing time? He has 4G 1A through his first three games. He is clearly NHL ready and could serve a stronger role compared to some of the other players situated on the fourth line.
Karim: It’s tough to complain a whole lot when you sit at the top of the Pacific Division and ninth in the League. The Flames played a great offensive game last night, getting goals from key contributors like Gaudreau, Hamilton, and Giordano. Mike Smith, who made a surprise start, clearly wanted to redeem himself for a terrible showing the night before, bounced back in a big way earning the win. An area of concern that still has not been corrected is the Flames’ discipline. It is so difficult to win in this league if you don’t perform at 5on5. The Flames are the second most penalized team in the NHL, a trend that simply cannot continue if they expect to keep winning. Fortunately though, they have scored 11 of their 17 goals at even strength this year so if they clean up their act, they should fair well going forward. Jagr scoring his first point as a Flame made me sob with happiness, that man is such a beauty. I cannot wait to see how he does as the games go by; even now he’s looking better and more comfortable each game. Stajan being a healthy scratch is something that is likely to happen many more times this year due to the newfound NHL forward depth and I don’t hate the decision to make him a healthy scratch. Though it would have been nice for his spot to have been filled with, oh I don’t know, Jankowski? Hopefully the team can spend their four day break working on discipline. If they do that, they’ll be just fine. Personally, I’m not sure what I’m going to do over the next four days without Flames hockey, but if you’re in the same boat, hit us up on Twitter and we can suffer together.
Thursday: Carolina Hurricanes @ CGY