Game Takes: Oilers 7 Flames 5

December 2nd, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

When the Flames laid an egg against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night head coach Glen Gulutzan suggested his team had a mental issue with big games, maybe too jittery, too jacked, almost distracted from their own intensity?

If that’s the case they’d better figure it out soon, as they had their second lemon of the week on a Saturday night Battle of Alberta clash with the Oilers; a 7-5 loss.

And don’t let the score fool you, a late game push made the game incredibly interesting late, but their fate was sealed through two periods when they were out played, out shot, out chanced and out scored to the tune of 5-1.


Last Change

Was good to see Glen Gulutzan do his best to get the 3M line out against Connor McDavid. There’s a line though, as excessive line matching can be equally destructive to your own side as it is the opposition.

Think about it, Connor McDavid plays up to 25 minutes a night, pretty much unheard of by a forward, do you really want Mikael Backlund playing 25 minutes while the Monahan line gets only 16 or so with special teams mixed in?

So they tried to have Backlund when they could, but if McLellan pulled McDavid off, the 3M line continued their shift, leaving some exposure for when #97 came over the boards shortly thereafter.

Too disruptive to your own lineup to go with just one shut down line.

Powerplay Impact

Did the Flames lose the game when they didn’t score on the four minute first period powerplay? If that’s the case they’re a pretty mentally fragile group.

Sure you want the powerplay to add some energy to your group at worst, should they not score with an extended advantage, but as professionals you can’t just lay down your swords when it doesn’t.

The Flames just went away, which isn’t good enough. A flat start after a road trip is somewhat expected, but a meek start against a provincial rival with a chance to drive a stake in them is embarrassing.

Glen Gultuzan

A coach plays a part in the way his team prepares itself, and in how ready they are at puck drop. He gets a share of that.

So too does the leadership of the team, and then in equal parts every single player in the lineup for not being ready when the big lights come on and it’s time to go.

Utlization has always been my beef with Gulutzan as I think he plays his bottom pairing and fourth line too often overall, and much too often together. Tonight he started the fourth line which I thought was almost comedic and clearly unexpected.

I think he plays a part in the team seeming fragile at times.

I will however give him some credit for how he managed the third period tonight. Nobody expects a comeback, but I like the fact that he mixed up the lines to create a new tone and handed down some punishment by stapling Dougie Hamilton and TJ Brodie to the bench, and it looked like Micheal Ferland to the fourth line.

If guys mail it in, they need to hear it.


One was a beauty, one was all terrible goaltending, but the bottom line is two goals, and four points in two games this week for the maligned Sam Bennett.

The run now gives him nine points in his last 11 games, and a huge turn around from his no points in 15 games start.  The kid was on the odd side of shooting percentage through the season, so he was due to score an ugly one. Hopefully he can use it going forward. Would be great to see him end the season close to 40 points and shake off the shackles.


If you want a sliver lining in this debacle it’s the third period comeback and the shade it cast on the Oilers and what looked like a cruising gotcha moment in Calgary.

Like the big win over the Knights earlier this season you could see the “here we go!” headlines from tonight’s game with a 6-1 lead in the third, so it’s somewhat fun to picture the likes of Terry Jones and Mark Spector having to hammer the backspace button a few times in the third period as things became tight.

Bottom line, that’s not a goaltender, and they don’t have an answer for the next two weeks.

Fancy Stats

Very odd night when it comes to statistics as shot attempts really doesn’t paint an accurate picture. The Flames were thoroughly outplayed through 40 minutes yet the shot attempts in all situations were relatively close. Of course the Flames big push in the third period caught them up considerably, with the final tally 53% Flames in all situations and 49% Flames five on five.

The difference however was the scoring chances, as the Oilers had a lead of 8-3 through 40 minutes five on five and ended up with a 10-8 edge through three periods. In all situations it was 14-11 Edmonton.

Individually it was a rough night for many a Flames player. I’m going to change it up and ignore shot attempts in a nutbar game like this and instead look at scoring chances and the split by player.

Mark Giordano led the way with a 71% positive split on the night.  The 3M line were all 67% along with Michael Stone who had a solid game. The rest of the team gave up more than they generated and were under water. Travis Hamonic was 0-5 on the night.

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