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About Last Night #76: Sharks feast on whatever is left of the Flames

The Calgary Flames made a rare afternoon appearance in California to take on the streaking San Jose Sharks. Only eight days removed from their 7-4 thrashing, the Sharks had extended their win streak to six games. Looking for lucky number seven, they easily handled a depleted Calgary team, earning a 5-1 victory in a spirited affair.

The Flames were without a handful of regulars, as Sean Monahan and Kris Versteeg were shut down for the season, in addition to Matthew Tkachuk and TJ Brodie not making the trip south. With a hodgepodge lineup that could have been created via a Twitter poll, there wasn’t much hope for a team that had lost it’s previous four contests by wide margins.

David Rittich only stopped 20 of 24 shots he faced, but without a doubt deserved a better defensive effort from his teammates. Rittich made some outstanding saves, but was the one that suffered most from a handful of defensive breakdowns. Micheal Stone scored the lone goal for the Flames, and was also the sole defenseman to have a neutral +/- rating.

With seven games to go in the season, why change the narrative now? The Flames did out-shoot their opponents and led in terms of possession, but yet again lost the game. Calgary has simply not been opportunistic enough since the trade deadline, but frankly it doesn’t matter much now. With a loss on Monday, combined with an Anaheim win, the Flames will officially be eliminated from the Playoffs.

What a collapse.

Player of the Game: Michael Stone

Statistical Breakdown

Team Stats

All Situations 5v5 SVA 5v5
CF 54.5% 53.3% 50.1%
SCF 51.4% 49.1% 47.7%
HDCF 39.3% 36.8% 39.4%

5v5 Player Stats

  • The third line of Mark Jankowski, Micheal Ferland, and Chris Stewart led the team in CF% at 5v5 with 64.0%, 63.6%, and 62.1% respectively.
  • Five players posted a CF% below 50%, which included the entire fourth line.
  • Ironically, the Sharks only had five players who were above a 50% CF%, with Dylan DeMelo posting a game high 64.5%.
  • Justin Braun and Tanner Glass tied for the honor of worst CF% for the game at 38.5%, well done gentleman.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick

Thoughts on the Game

As a young child in the backseat during a road trip, I also proclaim “are we there yet?” towards the end of the 2017/18 Calgary Flames season.

I wouldn’t blame you if you forgot the Flames played yesterday, because it honestly seemed like they did as well. It may be fine to look at the number of shots they generated as a positive, but they were still out-chanced by the Sharks for the majority of the game. Unable to capitalize on the few opportunites they had, it was easy for Martin Jones to shut the door.

At this point in the season, while not yet mathematically eliminated, it is strange to still see some players in the lineup. Stockton is still in the hunt for a playoff spot, so taking talent from there would be counter productive. Playing Glass over Matt Stajan is one that just reeks of a poor decision. With Stajan’s future next season up in the air, it’s almost offensive to healthy scratch him. Yes he hit 1000 games, but for a team lacking in leadership it confusing to see one of their best leaders in the press box.

Full kudos to Travis Hamonic, who continues to earn points in my books. This guy is the epitome of a team player and would be in my lineup every day of the week if possible. It’s unfortunate that the teams’ success this season, or lack thereof, will overshadow and detract from Hamonic’s prowess. He is simply Dougie Hamilton 2.0. The scapegoat for a lost season, who will most likely become a fan favorite the season after.

I have seen some reaction on Twitter to Evander Kane‘s success in SJ and whether or not the Flames should have traded for him. Many factors can go into an individuals success on a team, but frankly the Flames made the right decision. He was immediately accepted on the Sharks and plays a huge role, I just never saw that same fit with the Flames. The assets the Sharks gave up also look great in retrospect, but what if the Flames had given up the same and then still fell into this position. Calgary was smart not to acquire him at the deadline, and frankly he can stay as far away from the Flames as possible. Don’t get fooled by the numbers.

It’s crazy to believe that this team, after the Edmonton shutout, was one contending for a playoff spot. Since then its been beyond tough to watch. Injuries played their part, poor coaching did as well, but the resolve of this team simply evaporated into thin air. It is unfortunately a waiting game now for the off season, which couldn’t come fast enough in my opinion. That being said, at no point would I refuse to watch the Flames. If you plan on attending a game to simply shower the team with your own frustration, just don’t. Ryan Pike presented a perfect idea, that I implore those with the opportunity to follow:

Moving Forward

What needs to be fixed? Everything.

This isn’t a cop out answer. Calgary needs a better PP, less SHG’s against, consistent goaltending, a more productive forward group, less hit posts, and frankly a serious roster tweaking. You simply can’t disagree with any of those points.

What needs to continue? Penalty Kill. 

If there is one thing that needs to be applauded during this putrid stretch, is that during the month of March the team leads the league in PK% with 95.7%. They have only allowed one PPG over that time. Simply phenomenal.

Next Game

The Flames continue their trip through California with a visit to see the Los Angeles Kings. As previously mentioned, the Flames can be mathematically eliminated on Monday night, if they play their cards right.

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