The Calgary Flames gave up three separate leads in their bout against the Dallas Stars. One day removed from American Thanksgiving, the Stars were probably adding the Flames’ defensemen onto their list of things they’re thankful for. On multiple occasions, the Flames were unable to clear the puck from their zone and instead gifted the Stars with a handful of turnovers that did not go wasted. If not for a few costly mistakes, the Flames likely would have walked away victorious with one of their better showings at 5v5 as well as on the penalty kill. Mike Smith stopped 35 of the 40 shots he faced, while Tyler Seguin netted a hat-trick for the hometown team. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan were brilliant yet again, with three points each in the game.
|All Situations||5v5||SVA 5v5|
5v5 Player Stats
- Micheal Ferland was a threat on the ice and led the way for the Flames with 71.4% CF.
- Jaromir Jagr should have made the scoresheet, he posted a 87.5% HDCF. The third line took full advantage of their 100% OZS.
- The 3M line had one of their worst possession games, all posting under 50% CF at 5v5.
- Dallas only had four players above a 50% CF at 5v5, with the possession game highly favouring the Flames
- Brett Ritchie posted the highest CF% for the Stars with 71.4%, while only having a 36.4% OZS.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Player of the Game
Gaudreau once again makes his case as to why he should be involved in early-season Hart trophy discussions. He racked up a goal and two assists to move into a tie with Nikita Kucherov for second in the league in scoring. He’s yet to be held scoreless for more than a game at a time, and is currently putting up 1.55 points/game. In scoring his goal, Gaudreau put thoughts about retiring into Dan Hamhuis‘ mind after he stripped Hamhuis of the puck and made quick work one-on-one against Ben Bishop. Those types of plays decidedly show just how good Gaudreau has been for the Flames so far.
Thoughts on the Game
Bill: One of the most exciting aspect of sports is when one player stands out as the difference maker every time they make an appearance. In baseball, there was Justin Turner‘s surreal playoff performance. In football (CFL, of course), Roy Finch made punt returns seem like well choreographed routines. Right now, the Flames have that X-Factor in Gaudreau. Every time he has the puck, scoring seems to follow suit. Along with Monahan and Ferland, the first line has a combined shooting percentage of 18.7%. Regression will probably kick in, but it doesn’t take away from how lethal Gaudreau has been lately. Last night was no exception.
The third line was buzzing yesterday too. Despite not being able to score, Jagr, Sam Bennett, and Mark Jankowski put on a great show. They were energetic and came close to scoring several times. On a night where the 3M line played less than stellar hockey, it was great to see the third line step up and keep the Stars on their toes.
Unfortunately, the good was coupled with the bad, as the defense were egregious in their decision making. Failed clearing attempts are one thing, but having multiple instances end up directly in the hands of an opposing player poised to shoot is simply unacceptable. The defensive gaffes were not pretty to watch.
That being said, the Flames are playing good hockey and continue to show improvement. The Stars were not the better team last night, but they seized every opportunity they had to make the Flames pay for their mistakes. However, the one thing that the Flames seemed to have under control—much to the relief of everyone—was their penalty kill. The two consecutive penalties by TJ Brodie and Travis Hamonic put the Flames down two penalty killing defensemen, yet they escaped against the league’s fifth-most potent powerplay without surrendering a goal.
All in all, the Flames let a win slip away. One would hope that relinquishing all of those leads would be a good learning moment for the team, though the season is no longer young enough to be as forgiving as it once was.
John: I present to you a visual analysis of the Flames’ turnovers last evening, going from Goal #1 to Goal #5. Each photo will show the moment in time in which the Flames player who had possession of the puck, could have prevented the goal.
Goal #1 – Brodie takes control of the puck in the corner, before quickly losing possession. Tyler Pitlick is able to steal the puck and center it for Antoine Roussel, who nets the opening tally. Dougie Hamilton‘s stick even deflects the shot in front before going over Mike Smith, doing more harm than good. Brodie was being pressured by two players, but this is still a very preventable blunder on his part.
Goal #2 – Three Flames are within close distance of the puck, before it magically found its way to Mattias Janmark in the corner. His shot takes a funny bounce, and Seguin uses his lacrosse skills to finish it off. This one may be the most forgivable, as no Flames player had a clear handle on the puck, but still no one picked up Seguin in front of the net.
Goal #3 – While Mark Giordano is off throwing the biggest hit of the night on John Klingberg, Hamilton has control and many options (like passing to the wide-open Jankowski in the right of the photo). Instead he decides to clear it directly into the hands of Devin Shore, who’s SOG allows Alexander Radulov to clean up their third goal of the night. This was the most infuriating turnovers as the Flames had scored almost a minute before to regain the lead.
Goal #4 is the Daily Double for last night’s contest. The photo above looks like a normal breakout by the Flames defense, Brett Kulak has complete control with Mikael Backlund moving up ice. Lets skip to 10 seconds later.
Hamilton now has control of the puck in the corner, with two Stars closing in. He then immediately loses control of the puck, and a Stars centering pass leads to another tying goal. The transition in this goal was unacceptable. Kulak was standing still with full control and 20 seconds later the puck is in the net.
Goal #5 – Last, but not least, the game winning goal. While Jagr is slowly making a change and Kris Versteeg is turned around waiting to break out, Micheal Stone throws the puck off the boards to a streaking Seguin. I can’t see he exact angle of what Stone would have viewed, but Seguin already was entering the zone at a high speed. This makes his decision even more questionable as there had to have been red flags all over that passing lane. This was the final nail in the coffin, as the Flames sloppy play cost them all evening. While they may have deserved a better fate, each photo shows that the Flames at one point in time easily could have prevented each goal. They continue to shoot themselves in the foot, even after strong play, and it’s costing them more and more.
What needs to be fixed? No. More. Turnovers.
See John’s explanation for more detail. The Flames committed far too many turnovers, that more often than not found their way into the back of their own net. Smith continues to provide Vezina quality goaltending, but he can’t continue to bail out his players night in and night out. This has been a constant issue for this group over the last year, and has allowed games to slip right through their fingers.
What needs to continue? Even Strength Play.
The Flames penalty kill looked better last night, but is still statistically one of the worst in the league. The power play has been on a tear recently, thanks in part to Gaudreau and Monahan’s outstanding play. What was impressive from last night’s contest was the Flames play at 5v5. Their CF, SCF, and HCDF were all statistically better at ES than they were in all situations. While they did score a power play goal, and killed off all penalties, the Flames are dictating the play at 5v5 more often than not. While the majority of points have come on the man advantage, more recently the Flames have looked better than their opponents at even strength. Continuing to control that portion of play will lead to better results in the future.
The Flames travel north to face the Colorado Avalanche for the last game of their 6-game road trip. They have picked up 5 out of a possible 10 points so far; it isn’t far-fetched to hope that they can muster up a win and return to Calgary with a winning record. If the Flames stay out of penalty trouble, they’ll have a clear possession advantage over the Avalanche, which may bode well for a team still trying to boost their shooting percentage.
Both teams are playing the second game of their back-to-back set tonight, and both teams had significant travel between games. The hockey might come a bit sloppy in front of the smaller Pepsi Center crowd, so tune into the game with lowered expectations for everybody except for Gaudreau.