Games Takes: Blues 4 Flames 3

October 13th, 2015 | Posted in Calgarypuck News | By: D'Arcy McGrath

The Blues handled the Flames fairly easily on three occasions last season. Very easily.

This year’s edition of both clubs have seen numerous changes, but the Flames saddled with new expectations were sure to use the Blues as a great acid test to help establish the new pecking order in the Western Conference.

Tonight, in bowing to the Blues by a flattering score of 4-3, the Flames proved they’re just not ready to be on of “those” teams in the West. Not yet, not quite, not ready.

A strong third period for the Flames may give some the impetus to point out that all is well in Calgary, but the Blues were in prevent mode and the Flames desperate to get back in it. The Flames have a long way to go if they want to compete 60 minutes with a club like that.

The Flow

The first period was all St. Louis save for four powerplays awarded to the Flames that interrupted the visitors mojo, and gave Hiller a time to collect himself. The Flames opened the scoring when a Sam Bennett break out pass sprung the second line, resulting in a Frolik to Wideman to Raymond highlight reel goal. The Blues tied the game up but the Flames went ahead again when Gaudreau deftly found Hudler cross crease on a powerplay to make it 2-1 Calgary. That was the final score of the first, but the true story was a 14-7 edge in shots for the Blues despite Calgary’s four powerplay chances. Not even close.

The second period was a good old fashion spanking by the wood shed for the Flame as the Blues scored three times to erase the Calgary lead and build a two goal margin of their own, all the while only surrendering 3 Calgary shots on goal. Hiller was busy, though only facing 9 shots, most of them of high quality. Gaudreau had a chance to tie things up when he took the puck in after a steal and almost beat Elliot short side high. Calgary heads to the room down 4-2, likely getting a stern word or two from their coach.

The third period was somewhat expected. The veteran Blues know how to lock down a road win, and the Flames, fancying themselves as the cardiac kids were poised to push hard and make a game of it. Frolik intercepts a Backes clearing pass and sets up David Jones in tight early and we have a one goal game and the making of a solid finish. From there the Flames had their chances, especially a Gaudreau corner walk out with 45 ticks on the clock, but couldn’t solve Elliot again and drop their second game of the season.

Three Stars

1.Colton Paryako: Young Blue scored two goals and was +2 for the visitors.
2.Troy Brouwer: Can’t hear this guys name without thinking of the dead kid in Stand By Me, but I digress, seems to fit the Blues to a “T”, scores a goal and adds an assist.
3. Michael Frolik : This guy has played immediate dividends for the Flames. Solid up and down the 200 foot sheet, chips in with two assists tonight. Mr. Consistency.

Big Save

The Flames had a free for all in the Calgary crease with the game tied 1-1 in the first period. Hiller stopped a few somewhat upright before extending his pad and keeping Dmitri Jaskin at bay.

The Goat

Tough game to call out a player. Hiller wasn’t great with 4 goals on 28 shots but it didn’t feel like a goaltending let you down kind of game. The Flames to a man didn’t show up with their work boots on, or if they did they didn’t work smart. No sustained pressure, no forecheck, no transition. No Flames hockey. Seems as though this team needs to forget about last year and quickly.

Mr. Clutch

Sam Bennett. Liked him in Vancouver, liked him even more tonight. He’s close, really, really close to breaking out. His play in the third when he popped a St. Louis player off the puck in the neutral zone near the benches then charged in and whistled the puck an inch above the far top corner really showed where this kid is going. Add in some solid play in the offensive zone churning through traffic and finding the open man and you can see what is about to emerge.

Odds and Ends

As much as I find the touchiness of the advanced stats crowd a little annoying in my day to day travels looking at hockey matters, I do love the advent of different ways to look at hockey games and teams. Earlier today on Twitter I saw Ryan Pike’s new piece that included a look at “hemming shifts” and the break down between the two teams on Saturday night. Early on in the season (coming into tonight) the Flames have averaged 52 CF% which is well up from last season, including a 57% number on Saturday. The Flames won a lot of games last year with under 50% CF stats, so that’s an interesting number to watch. The Flames PDO is way off to date this season as well, so it will be interesting to see if they are less lucky (PDO), but have more possession (CF%) if the saw off will leave them with similar points in the standings. … Hartley’s 100th win on Saturday puts him 44 back of Terry Crisp for 2nd overall in Flame’s history. If the Flames match last year’s win total of 45 he’ll end the season tied resulting in the “Bob chasing Bob” story for at least a full season. … The Flames top line did their thing again tonight, at least in terms of scoring chances and ooohs and awwws. Gaudreau was flying much of the night, as he and Hudler added to their point totals, and Monahan was the third assist on the Hudler goal. Nothing but good signs from this group. Was interesting again to see the added skill and speed from Monahan this season. He’s no longer the thinking conscious on that line, he stirs the pot almost as good as his wingers. … Was disappointed to see Monahan only 35% in the face off circle. The Blues are tough on draws, so it’s a test, but was looking forward to seeing Monahan’s advancement. … Lance Bouma looks to be out a while after a second period injury had him leave the game and not return. Looks longer term than short leading to Jooris re-entering the roster and a likely call up from Stockton. … Has anyone seen Mikael Backlund. Just 8+ minutes of ice time tonight and from what I saw he doesn’t have much of a case for more. On the post game show Martin Gelinas mentioned Backlund is struggling and that they will get Backs back. But where is he? Hurt? Struggling with a reduced roll? Just odd as the guy was pretty money when healthy.

Next Up

Another early season hiatus as the Flames don’t play again until Friday night in Winnipeg, game time 6pm Sportsnet.


Johnny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Jiri Hudler
Mason Raymond – Sam Bennett – Michael Frolik
Lance Bouma – Mikael Backlund – Brandon Bollig
Micheal Ferland – Matt Stajan – David Jones

Mark Giordano – Dougie Hamilton
Kris Russell – Dennis Wideman
Brett Kulak – Deryk Engellend

Jonas Hiller

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