It’s not over yet! The Calgary Flames played host to the surging Arizona Coyotes last night, and it went exactly how you would think it would. The Flames would drop this contest 4-1 on home ice in front of a depleted Saddledome crowd.
Arizona has been outstanding in the latter part of the season, with an 11-6-1 record since March 1st. Led by Vezina quality goaltending from a healthy Antti Raanta, the Coyotes have made some serious strides towards relevancy. Losing to the Coyotes just a few games ago, Calgary was playing for redemption and pride; which they were not able to achieve.
The same story repeated itself last night, with the Flames outplaying the Coyotes the entire evening. Calgary was unable to get saves when they needed from Jon Gillies and were unable to capitalize on the majority of their scoring chances.
Nick Shore was able to net his first goal as a Calgary Flame, in what was a very impressive outing from the young centreman. Rasmus Andersson also was able to net his first NHL goal, of course it was on his own team so it didn’t elicit the reaction he necessarily would have expected. Playing in his 2nd NHL game, Spencer Foo dazzled fans, teammates, and coaches with easily the best performance of the evening.
All in all, it was just more of the same from the 2017/18 Calgary Flames. Only two more games to deal with now.
Player of the Game: Spencer Foo
|All Situations||5v5||SVA 5v5|
5v5 Player Stats
- The third (or fourth) line of Garnet Hathaway, Mark Jankowski, and Tanner Glass led the team in CF% at 5v5 with dominant 81.8%, 80.0%, and 79.0% respectively.
- In addition to the line above, Brett Kulak and Johnny Gaudreau also posted CF%’s above 70.0%
- Every Flames skater posted a +50% CF% at 5v5, except for Troy Brouwer who had a CF% of 48.0%
- Only three Coyotes had a positive possession rating, while the rest were below par.
- Brendan Perlini had a game low 18.5% CF% at 5v5.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Thoughts on the Game
I was fortunate enough (or unfortunate) to score some last minute cheap tickets to last night’s contest. Some may view this as a poor investment, but nothing beats being at the Saddledome. Especially when you pay a slight fraction of the price it normally costs.
The game itself wasn’t necessarily worth the price of admission, I will admit, but frankly there were a few positives to take out of last night’s game moving forward. Starting with Foo, who was absolutely robbed of getting his first career NHL points last night. He was able to fire seven shots on goal, register three hits and one takeaway. Foo was easily the best looking Flame on the ice. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him get a long hard look in training camp next season, but also take it with a grain of salt. These types of games can be difficult to gauge for a young player. No stakes, no pressure, and given ample of opportunity to prove themselves. I’m not discounting Foo’s performance, but simply looking at it through a cautiously optimistic viewpoint.
Shore was able to score his first as a Flame last night, and showed some excellent chemistry with linemates Micheal Ferland and Curtis Lazar. It made me wonder if that could be the Flames fourth line next season. It is tough to predict next year’s lineup at this point in the season, especially with a plethora of changes coming in the off-season. I liked what I saw from that line so I will tentatively guess what next year could look like:
13 – 23 – 16
19 – 11 – 67
93 – 77 – 88
20 – 25 – 79
Yes this of course means that the Flames ship out a large portion of the current roster, and doesn’t account for any new faces being acquired, but it could be interesting. The only change I would say is that perhaps a package of Sam Bennett and TJ Brodie could bring back a top RW. With the salary cap increasing, the Flames would be able to bring in a sizeable contract. Or they could just move Dougie Hamilton to the wing! Of course knowing my prediction skills, none of this will come to pass.
On a final note, Raanta is such an interesting case for the Coyotes and Flames. Calgary had been linked to him in the offseason, but the Flames opted for Mike Smith instead. Raanta was written off early in the season, but unrightfully so as he was never fully healthy. Playing quality #1 minutes now shows that Raanta is a difference maker for the Coyotes, and I am sure Arizona management would like to get him resigned ASAP. I wonder if Flames management has a sour taste watching him steal two games from their team. I am sure the Flames could have acquired him in a similar deal, but tough to tell based on the inclusion of Derek Stepan. Flames management seems to only deal with “sure things” in terms of some of their moves these past few seasons, rather than going for the risk or unproven player. Only time will tell if that was the smarter move, but I would think that the Flames would love to have what Raanta is giving Arizona right now.
What needs to be fixed? You Name It.
PP, bottom six, bottom pairing, goaltending, finishing chances, strategy. I could go on, but you get the picture. It ain’t pretty.
What needs to continue? A Fans Streak.
At the game last night, a season ticket holder was honored for attending her 1000th consecutive Flames game at the Saddledome. First of all, I am in absolute shock that this was something the Flames were tracking. Secondly, please hand her the Hart Trophy at the end of the season. With 41 home games per season that is going back 24-25 years almost, not including the lockout seasons. Cheers to that fan for giving me a new life goal to accomplish.
The Flames play their final road game of the season Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets.