Surely we aren’t about to recap a game that had similar issues as in the past right? The Calgary Flames were back in action on home ice after another lengthy break between games, playing host to the Montreal Canadiens.
Having fell to them earlier in the season, the Flames were looking to even the season series with the Habs while they still had a chance.In a controversial move, Bill Peters opted to start Mike Smith in net over David Rittich. Rittich, who has still yet to appear in a game after blanking the Kings, was the obvious choice. More on this decision later.
The Flames got off to another slow start, allowing the first goal off a soft shot from Tomas Tatar. Playing from behind has become too often a trend for the Flames this season, but alas that continued last night. Luckily, the Flames had Matthew Tkachuk in the lineup. Tkachuk would net the next two goals himself. One coming on a powerplay slapshot from the point, the other coming from a beautiful play crafted by T.J. Brodie. The Flames would enter the final stanza leading 2-1.
Now surely the Flames (the best third period team in the league) would be able to handle the Habs (the second worst third period team) in the final 20 minutes, no? Well karma would extract its sweet revenge on the Flames, as halfway through the period Jonathan Drouin would net the tying marker. Just under four minutes later, and absolute muffin from Artturi Lehkonen would find it’s way past Smith.
The Habs were able to weather the Flames’ onslaught from there, and hold on to the 3-2 victory. Calgary is back in action on Saturday for the first Battle of Alberta of the season.
|All Situations||5v5||SVA 5v5|
5v5 Player Stats
- Derek Ryan and Michael Frolik led the team in CF% at 5v5 with 75.0% apiece.
- Only three Flames players posted CF%’s below 50%: The entire third line of James Neal, Mark Jankowski, and Austin Czarnik.
- Sean Monahan accounted for four iHDCF .
- TJ Brodie and Mark Giordano were on the ice for five HDCA as a pairing.
- The Habs only had three players with CF%’s over 50%: Lehkonen, Kenny Agostino, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
- Charles Hudon posted a game worst 21.1% CF% at 5v5.
- Jeff Petry was hammered with HDCA, as he was on the ice for eight last night.
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Bennett
Czarnik – Jankowski – Neal
Hathaway – Ryan – Frolik
Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Valimaki – Andersson
Tatar – Danault – Gallagher
Drouin – Domi – Shaw
Agostino – Kotkaniemi – Lehkonen
Deslauriers – Peca – Hudon
Benn – Petry
Schlemko – Juulsen
Ouellet – Mete
Stats courtesy: DailyFaceoff
Thoughts on the Game
That is it. It’s over. Mike Smith cannot, and should not, start again for the Flames.
Yes he 100% had a strong game against the Sharks, but he eventually lost. If Rittich ends up starting on Saturday against the Oilers, it will be a fully week since he posted his first career shutout. Imagine being a young goaltender, posting your first career shutout, and then being told that he would sit in favor of a bag of styrofoam peanuts. It is frankly unacceptable that Smith is continuing to start for a team that could easily contend for the Pacific Division.
The goals scored against Smith were all bad in their own right. Regardless of how they were scored, they all presented terrible timing. The Flames simply deserved to win this game, as they hammered the Habs with scoring chances. Of course Carey Price was outstanding, but Smith caused this team to lose.
It can’t go on any longer.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Ugly
Gaud: Tkachuk continues his case for the teams’ best player. His two goals not only puts him in a tie for the team lead in goals, but he now leads in terms of points as well. Tkachuk has become a model of consistency on both ends of the ice.
Opponent: Edmonton Oilers
Standings: 4th in Pacific
Season Series: 0-0-0