Game Takes: Canucks 5 Flames 3

November 7th, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

The Flames are exactly who they are; a team just above .500. Good enough to be in the mix, but yet to put it all together to be a dominant team.

Early in the season it was Mike Smith carrying the mail as the Flames were routinely out played before finally getting a perch but putting up abysmal shooting percentage numbers.

As recent as Sunday the tide turned with the Flames starting to score in a game where Mike Smith had a tough night. Tonight Smith had a tough night again and the Flames shooters were unable to overcome the deficit despite outplaying the Canucks for most of the night going down 5-3 to Vancouver on Tuesday night.

It’s a Treliving team so it’s process, and tonight was a good process night, but the loss is a loss.

The Flow

I like the Flames early, they jumped out on the Canucks with the Jankowski line with Jaromir Jagr enjoying some prolonged pressure and a good scoring chance by Jankowski. The Flames appear to have opened the scoring when Sean Monahan netted a Micheal Ferland rebound but the goal was called off with Ferland off side. The Canucks are given back to back powerplays and with just seconds left on the second chance Sam Gagner recovers a blocked shot and beats Smith to make it 1-0 Vancouver. The Flames put out a rag tag line of non penalty killers that tire the Canucks out but they fail to find the net behind Markstrom. Later in the period the Flames get a powwerplay chance with Backlund finding Hamilton sneaking in from the point and the score is tied at 1-1 after one.

A slow star to the period slowly starts to build with the Flames getting blue chip chance after blue chip chance, but Markstrom is equal to the task. First Frolik keeps a puck in setting up a Johnny Gaudreau chance but Markstrom gets a glove on it. Then Monahan is set up on a three on one but once again Markstrom with the glove. Finally Michael Stone is setup up Kris Versteeg but is foiled despite staring at an empty net and the game remains tied at one. The Flames just keep gaining more and more momentum though, the go ahead goal seemed inevitable. And so it was, with Johnny Gaudreau going far side on a powerplay to make it 2-1 Flames. Sadly despite the domination the lead didn’t last long as Vanek snipes one blocker side on Smith to tie it up shortly after. The Flames continue to pour it on and get another, Micheal Ferland doing all the work to do a backhanded stuff and rebound to make it 3-2 Flames. But the Canucks score a fluke shorthanded goal late to tie it up at three. Calgary used the rest of that powerplay with full puck control but couldn’t find that high danger chance to go back out front. Game tied at three through two.

The third period didn’t roll out like the second. A tentative start for the Flames slides off the rails when Michael Stone takes an iffy penalty on Vanek setting up the Canuck go ahead goal when Bo Horvat finds a loose puck on a broken play. The Canucks double their lead seconds later when Matt Bartkowski gets caught between jumping up and stopping the play or dropping back to play a two on one and gets out raced to the net by the Sedins to pretty much put the game away.

Possession Stats

1st Period – The Flames carry a 14-9 edge in shot attempts in the first period but tie the game late with a powerplay goal. Scoring chances were tied at three apeice.
2nd Period – Calgary was all over Vancouver in the second period but completely stoned by Jacob Markstrom. Shot attempts were 24-12 and scoring chances were 8-3 for the Flames.
3rd Period – A good start from Vancouver in the third, but the Flames, down, pushed the play hard to finish. Shot attempts finished at 13-10 Calgary, scoring chances 4-2 Flames and 15-8 overall despite losing the game 5-3.

Players – Only three Calgary players under water; Sam Bennett, Troy Brouwer and Curtis Lazar though all three played decent games in my opinion. At the top of the heap were the top pairing at 75%, the 3M line as well as Jagr and Jankowski.

Three Stars
1. Jacob Markstrom Not often do you pick a goaltender with three goals against and a .906 save percentage as first star, but the quality of saves tell the tale; the guy was a difference maker.
2. Thomas Vanek : Old due still has some moves and certainly has a cannon of a shot in scoring once and adding an assist.
3. Johnny Gaudreau: Just flying this season. Scores a goal, has an assist on a disallowed goal, hits a Canuck defenseman in the head with a sure goal baseball style and has 4 other shots on goal.

Big Save

Jacob Markstrom had a run of great saves in the second period including glove saves on both Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, but his best was a pad save on Michael Stone on a great set up by Kris Versteeg. Versteeg put it to the right side of the cage where Stone was seeing nothing but net; great save.

The Heel

Has to be Mike Smith doesn’t it? The guy has been so clutch but that’s back to back games where he’s slipped. No goaltender rolls out Vezina results on a nightly basis, and the team owes this guy a few but tonight he stopped 16 pucks on 21 shots for a sub .800 save percentage.

Mr. Clutch

Thought Micheal Ferland was key again tonight. Scored a goal on a great individual play and was moving his feet, taking the body, and handling the puck very well down low. Seems to be a top six player again. Hope he keeps it up.

Odds and Ends

The Flames have been blessed with tired teams and backup goaltenders on this homestand, and tonight is likely the biggest opportunity as the Canucks played last night in Vancouver, meaning the time change adds another hour of tiredness to the teams travelling in from Edmonton in the past 8 days. The Flames didn’t have a back up goaltender as Jacob Markstrom started for the Canucks, though his hold on the starter role seems a little undecided.

The Flames finally welcomed Jaromir Jagr back tonight after missing six games with a groin injury. As expected he was inserted on a pretty intriguing third line with Sam Bennett and Mark Jankowski. To make room Curtis Lazar wasn’t removed from the lineup though, he was tumbled down to the fourth line with Matt Stajan taking the night off; a tremendous opportunity for Lazar. Tanner Glass was sent to the AHL Stockton Heat to make room for Jagr on the roster, leaving Freddie Hamilton in the NHL for now.

The irony to see the solid board work of Sam Bennett on that late 1st period powerplay goal by Hamilton didn’t make the scoresheet. Bennett gets control, settles it down, chips it in to Tkachuk to Backlund and then to Hamilton … third assist. I won’t give up on the kid, he has too much talent, but he has to get out of his own head. He seems to be getting out played by his older young linemate Mark Jankowski in recent games.

You want some pluses tonight? The Flames top nine ice tonight was the best looking roster I think we’ve seen since the early 90s and they performed as expected in rolling scoring chances. The powerplay also looked quite effective though I still think they have Gaudreau on the wrong side. And territorially they were all over the Canucks, that game shouldn’t have been close.

Jagr … what can you say about the guy? He moves slow, but his stick is so active and his brain so damn cerebral. Every night he finishes in the black when it comes to shot attempts and that isn’t a fluke. He makes players better. Leave this third line alone and they are dangerous in December.

Next Up

Time flies when you’re hosting home games, as the Flames play game 6 of their 7 game homestand on Tuesday night when the suddenly hot Detroit Red Wings come to town, game time 7pm on Sportsnet.


Gaudreau – Monahan – Ferland
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Jagr
Versteeg – Lazar – Brouwer

Giordano – Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Kulak – Bartkowski


All content is property of and cannot be used without expressed, written consent from this site.