March 30th, 2014 | Posted in Game Takes
By: D'Arcy McGrath
It was the game of the improbable.
Not one but both Flames returning to Ottawa manage to find the back of the net. The Flames put up 21 shots in the second period but still find a way to lose, and the team had a final score that differed by more than one, a true rarity this season as the Flames give up the game’s last four goals and drop a 6-3 decision in Ottawa.
Another great game for Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie … great transition, great puck movement, lots of chances and dominant in all three zones.
The Flame’s veteran line were difference makers in the wrong way in this one. Matt Stajan scored in the first on a nice feed from Hudler, but the trio were on for three huge Ottawa goals against including the game tying goal in the second on a Stajan turn over, and the back breaking fifth goal in the third that put things away. They have to bear down.
With Agostino scratched the Flames moved Lance Bouma up the roster to play on the third/second line with Colborne and Monahan. Clearly Colborne and Monahan don’t need added size on their line, but Bouma would be a great addition to the smaller lines if he shows he can ride shot gun with scoring lines. He has good speed and decent hands, but lacks the finish for the most part. Made a nice power move out of the corner in the second.
Shame they can’t send Agostino to the farm. The only gave of his four that he’s looked comfortable was against Edmonton, which is pretty much like playing Oklahoma with the way the Oilers were going that night. He just doesn’t look ready.
So nice to see Monahan score his 20th. Just don’t get why 6’5″ goaltenders drop to their knees and give up the short side high. Silly. Props to the Flame rookie for being able to pick that spot though. He had a solid game, looked good down low on the powerplay and made a great hands play on a two on one.
How many times does Joe Colborne lose a board battle these days? His work shorthanded in the first was classic with two Senators draped on him he wins the puck back, lugs it away and feeds Brodie stepping into a slapper from the point. Great project for the Flames.
Thought Wotherspoon and Billins looked pretty good for an all rookie third pairing. They were -2 but couldn’t be faulted for the first goal (Stajan turnover). Billins is smart, keeps his game simple and it was obvious the duo have played together in the AHL.
Draft Implications / Scoreboard
Unless you’re holding out hope that the Oilers can put some wins together and catch Calgary, there isn’t another game that matters in the draft position of the Flames. The Predators play, but surely their six point lead over Calgary is safe with under ten games to play.
The loss keeps the Flames in 5th spot and have burned their game in hand on the Islanders who are just a point back. Looks like its those two teams for 4th and 5th overall leading into the draft lottery.
In the early to mid 1980s the Flames used the connections and familiarity of coach Bob Johnson to be one of the first NHL teams to raid the college ranks, a move that played a huge role in their success and the eventual Stanley Cup victory. Some of the names signed in that era included Joel Otto, Colin Patterson, Jamie Macoun, but also additional signings that were used in trades like Neal Sheehy and Eddie Beers. Additionally the Flames scouted and drafted players like Perry Berezan and Gary Suter. Lets hope this latest move towards the college ranks; Hanowski, Agostino, Van Bran Brabant, as well as Mark Jankowski, Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold are equally as successful. … Had a nice happy landing theory I was working where Cammalleri signs with the Flames on a one year deal to help them get to the cap, and give him a chance for an offensive season that sets up a longer term deal elsewhere after a deadline deal. I think that way less likely now that Cammalleri filled the net after the trade deadline. … Great to see Paul Byron and Sean Monahan both scoring in the second period in their returns to Ottawa. Byron, a great story with a long road and a small body and Monahan a junior star in the OHL with Ottawa. Will be interesting to see if Monahan gets that monkey off his back and finishes with 22 or 23. On Byron, that Sabres trade still stinks, but with Regehr in LA, and the Flames having both Byron and Butler on the roster it’s closer than its been. … Can someone please call that lottery company and say “Uncle”? The dead horse is beaten, let the lottery winner hall of fame micro commercials go … Great second period for the Flames, likely deserved better than going to the third tied up. … With the Wings winning today, and the Caps playing tonight the Flames may have a great chance to put a spike in the brain of the Leafs on Tuesday (watching too much Walking Dead, my apologies) … Flames prospects John Gaudreau and Bill Arnold came from behind to win their division today, meaning they’ll play in the frozen four in two weeks and only be available for the Flames last game of the season should they sign.
The Flames moved Agostino out and brought TJ Galiardi back into the lineup. With the upper body injury to Lady Smid the Flames recalled Chad Billins to take his spot, and he played with Wotherspoon in the third pairing.
Where Do They Go From Here?
Five game trip continues with a stop in Toronto on Tuesday night. The Leafs have lost 8 in a row and are in some serious serious trouble. Will be interesting to see if the Flames can add to their hurt.