Game Takes: Flames 7 Blues 4

November 13th, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Secondary scoring.

It was a like a dull drum beat from the jungle game in and game out over the team’s first 15 games of the season. The process, a very Brad Treliving word, was coming together; chances were had, the play was tipping towards the suggestion of a goal or two, but in the end nothing was happening.

Then the offence crashed through like a cheap umbrella giving out in torrential down pour with the Flames filling the net to the tune of 20 goals in their last 5 home hockey games, and third and fourth line scoring accounting for four of the seven goals in a 7-4 win over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.

Two from Mark Jankowski (actually with his stick this time), and the first of the season from Sam Bennett was joined by the Kris Versteeg fourth line game winner in the third period to put an exclamation mark on the bottom half of the forward group making a big impact on the team’s fifth win on this all important seven game homestand.

The Flow

The period started very slowly, with pucks being shot out of play, off sides, icings, and routine saves resulting in stoppages, as both teams seemed content to feel each other out. The game gets going when Upshall pushes Travis Hamonic into Mike Smith drawing a penalty. The Flames give away the powerplay by retaliating so the teams play four aside. First the Blues find the net when a wicked wrister by Tarasenko beats Smith high blocker side through a screen. The Flames get that one back though when Matthew Tkachuk muscles the puck to the middle of the ice when Mark Jankowski comes off the bench and wires the rolling puck past Jake Allen. The Flames go up 2-1 when the third line gets to work again, Sam Bennett chipping the puck to Jaromir Jagr who finds Jankowski in the slot, the big rookie using his reach to bend the puck past Allen. The Blues tie the game up though when TJ Brodie takes a penalty and a broken stick accidental pass results in a Jaden Schwartz goal, 2-2 through twenty.

The second period starts with a bit of a jolt as Eddie Lack assumes the cage behind the Flames instead of Mike Smith. Smith wasn’t on the bench and was no where to be seen suggesting an injury, something the Flames certainly don’t need as they head out on a six game road trip. The Flames seem to be well aware that Lack hasn’t seen a lot of action and is starting the game cold as they roll out a pretty tight second period where they dominate the shot attempts and scoring chances but either shoot wide on opportunities or get stoned by Jake Allen; game stays tied at two apiece through 40 minutes of play.

The first period featured four goals, the second none, and the third? Seven! Calgary continued to go ahead and the Blues continued to tie things up. First Sam Bennett nets his first of the season on a backhand rebound off of Mark Jankowski; the Blues tie it on a Thomas Steen goal. The Flames score a powerplay goal, Micheal Ferland with the honours; the Blues tie it 12 seconds later on a Vladdy Tarasenko one timer. But then the Flames pull away when Kris Versteeg one times a Troy Brouwer pass to make it 5-4. Brayden Schenn turns the puck over to Johnny Gaudreau creating a two on one that results in a Gaudreau goal and it’s 6-4. Finally the second line gets into the act when Michael Frolik bats home the empty netter to make it a 7-4 final. Flames win.

Possession Stats

1st Period – The first period slanted towards the Flames largely on the strength of their second half of the period as Calgary had a 20-16 edge in five on five shot attempts. The Blues had the edge in scoring chances however; 6-4.
2nd Period – With Eddie Lack in net the Flames battened down the hatches and ran the Blues off the ice in the second with a 19-9 edge in shot attempts, chances 3-1 Flames.
3rd Period – The Blues took over the third period though to the tune of 21-11 in shot attempts, scoring chances were 5-2 Calgary however. Game totals come in at 52% Flames in shot attempts and 9-9 in scoring chances, quite low given the 11 goal result.

Players – A lot of praise for the third line tonight, but in terms of possession they got owned. Jankowski was the boat anchor at 35%, followed by Hamonic at 38% and Bennett at 39%. Other Flames with a tough night were alos in the bottom six as Brouwer, Lazar, Versteeg and Jagr were all under 50%. Sean Monahan crushed it at 73%, joined by linemates Gaudreau 71% and Ferland 59%, as well as the 3M line and the top pairing. Michael Stone did quite well with elevated minutes as well.

Three Stars
1. Mark Jankowski Had some rough shifts in his own zone, but is showing more and more poise with the puck and was dangerous all night picking up the first two goal game of his career. Shout out Jay Feaster!
2. Vladimir Tarasenko : Ovechkin like danger when this guy is on the ice, scores one on a snipe and another on a one timer.
3. Johnny Gaudreau: He and Sam Bennett both had a goal and an assist but I’ll give the edge to Gaudreau because of the roll he’s on. Dangerous on every shift, and at a completely different level this season.

Big Save

With the Flames up 5-4 in a see saw game, Eddie Lack extends his right pad to stone Dimitri Jaskin’s attempt to tie the score. Great to see the Flames backup record his first win of the season.

The Heel

The Flames win this one 7-4 so mistakes came out in the wash, but a Mike Smith save percentage of .778 and an Eddie Lack mark of .867 certainly point to the goaltending battle being a bit of an issue for the Flames tonight. A brutal turn over by Dougie Hamilton in the third almost coast the team as well, but neither issue resulted in a loss so we move on.

Mr. Clutch

I thought Mark Giordano was a horse tonight. Picked up an assist on the back breaking 6th Calgary goal, and was +2 on the night, but noticeable defensively as well in a great game by the captain.

Odds and Ends

A seven game home stand is too long. It’s long if it’s done in 14 days but its really tough if it rolls on through 17 days with too many multi day breaks. However, the schedule is the schedule, teams have to make do with what they’re given, so given the length of the stand it was imperative that the Flames didn’t have a face plant on this one given the percentage of their season it takes up and the number of road games that would certainly come after. But what is a good 7 game home stand? I had a look at the last 5 seasons, and teams that finished around 100 points (Flames target). They on average had a road record at five games over .500 meaning they picked up 46 points away from home and 54 on friendly ice. Those 54 points in 41 games represent a .658 win percentage and a .658 win percentage in seven games is good for 9.2 points. The Flames needed a point tonight to get nine, so picking up the two points tonight puts them ahead of the mark. Mission accomplished!

The Flames are completely healthy again. With Travis Hamonic returning to action and Rasmus Andersson returning to Stockton the team ice what I consider to be the best lineup they’ve dressed all season. Their bottom six is improved with the addition of Mark Jankowski and Curtis Lazar’s foot speed on the fourth line. Their bottom pairing is greatly improved with the play and dressing of Brett Kulak. Is this not the best lineup this team has dressed since the early 90’s?

Just kills me to hear Rick Ball and Kelly Hrudey work together on the TV broadcasts, they honestly act like high school buddies having a beer while watching hockey. The Rocky chasing a chicken bit tonight was a) a pretty good comparable by Ball for Edmunson trying to track Johnny Gaudreau but also b) pretty entertaining in that Hrudey had no idea what he was talking about.

The Flames have taken some rather huge steps in terms of figuring out this new face off protocol. The only Flame’s player I can remember getting tossed in the dot tonight was Sean Monahan in a third period powerplay face off, while several Blues were cast aside for moving their feet.

The Mike Smith issue is obviously concerning. He has cooled off somewhat in recent games on this homestand, but the due is still the team’s best player through 16 games this season. If he isn’t available for parts of the upcoming road trip it will be interesting to see who the Flames call up between Jon Gillies and David Rittich and how they are deployed. I can’t imagine Eddie Lack will get every start to the guy that gets called up will get some action.

Great example of managing depth in the National Hockey League with Gulutzan’s adjustment on the blueline tonight. Travis Hamonic coming off an injury against a pretty good team was fighting it in the first period so the coach moved Michael Stone up to play with TJ Brodie and Hamonic down to play with Brett Kulak. So nice to have options.

Next Up

With all these days between games you’d assume the road trip wouldn’t start right away, but that’s not the case. Tomorrow is a travel day and the team plays on Wednesday in Detroit, game time 5.30pm Calgary time, Sportsnet.


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

Giordano – Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Kulak – Stone


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