Game Takes: Bruins 5 Flames 2

February 13th, 2018 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Two very undeniable facts.

The Boston Bruins are very very good.

The Calgary Flames played a very brain dead hockey game.

The result a very obvious and almost foreshadowed come from behind Bruins win as they turn back the Flames 5-2 in a game that was never as close as the score would have you believe.

The Flames had a brutal first minute, 14 very good minutes and then 45 minutes hanging on for their very life as they were thoroughly outclassed by what has become the best team in the National Hockey League since Christmas.

The loss moves the Flames road trip to 3-2-0 with one game left in Nashville. Points against the Predators make it a good trip, no points make it a passable trip.

They’ll have to be smarter.

Chronicles of Rittich

You can’t blame David Rittich for this loss as he stood on his head in the second period, doing everything he could to keep a 2-1 lead into the third period.

Soft penalties kept putting the Bruins on the man advantage, and a deep team with skill and structure slowly took them apart.

Heck he even drew a penalty!

Powerplay Progress

Another game with a special team loss.

They just can’t keep doing that and expect to hang in the Western Conference playoff race. Tonight the group went 0 for 5 with chances to double the lead and then later tie the game but whiffed with every chance.

How’s this for a miserable stat; the Flames were out-chanced 2-1 with the man advantage tonight, meaning the Flames had only one scoring chance in almost ten minutes with the man advantage and the Bruins short handed had two.

That’s pathetic.

Sadly Dougie Hamilton didn’t help things much tonight, shooting at inopportune times, and shooting the puck in on entries without bodies moving. They simply have to swap Mark Giordano and Hamilton to their off sides to improve their shooting lanes.

I’m honestly flummoxed that it hasn’t been tried.

Bennett Streak!

Silver lining has to be the third line and specifically Sam Bennett, who was noticeable all night physically, scoring a goal and extending a brief point streak to two games.

In the second he set up Mark Jankowski late for what could have been a lead restoring marker late in the second.

For the last 24 months I’ve pointed to Sam Bennett as the single most important variable to the Flames fortunes, and the wait has been antagonizing. You know what you’re going to get from Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk, but Bennett jumping into the 40+ point club is huge for this team going forward.

May not happen this year.

Playing the Body

The Flames haven’t been known as a big or physical team this season, but for the third time on this road trip the game plan was clearly to play the body hard, and often.

Garnet Hathaway ended up with nine hits, and Micheal Ferland with six as the Flames out hit the Bruins by a 37-29 margin, a differential that closed considerably in the third period as the Flames were up almost 20 through forty minutes.

It’s a good wrinkle, it creates opportunities off turnovers.

The argument against hitting however in today’s NHL is this; teams with high hit counts generally don’t have the puck (hello Oilers!) and that was certainly the case for Calgary in Boston tonight.

Best Line vs 2nd Best Line

All season we’ve seen the 3M line and Bergeron line on almost all the possession metrics as far as dominance for driving play and doing the little things right.

Tonight wasn’t one of those nights.

The Bruins top line was in the 30s in terms of shot attempts though Patrice Bergeron’s two goal effort would make it difficult to suggest they had an off night.

The Flames group was under water but also victimized as Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik were both -3 and Matthew Tkachuk was -2.

Not a great night for 3M.

Brain Fart Shift

The Flames were lucky to be tied after two but the first shift in the third period was epic in terms of lost grey matter.

First the Flames with the powerplay win the faceoff, but Dougie Hamilton is on his heels letting Marchand break through and take the puck. The Flames win the puck battle back but Hamilton screws up again by coming around to his side when Giordano had the puck in Hamilton’s usual position. Giordano compounds it by throwing the puck to where he should be without looking, gifting Marchand a tight chance short handed.

Seconds later Michael Frolik takes his second penalty of the night behind the Bruin’s net leading to a powerplay that takes just seconds because Giordano loses Bergeron behind him killing a penalty.

Head shaking.

Monahan Rough Night

To continue my rant … what the hell was that from Sean Monahan tonight?

Twenty of the most listless ineffective minutes I’ve seen from the player in a few weeks. A terrible penalty, one shot, 39% possession and weak on every single board battle on the night.


11 20 Goal Scorers

The Bruins had a big celebration tonight reflecting on the 77-78 season and the fact that they had eleven 20 goal scorers.

Wonder on the Flames record?

It’s nine set in the 1989-90 season a list that included; Nieuwendyk, Roberts, Mullen, Fleury, MacInnis, Ranheim, Makarov, Gilmour and current Cap’s GM Brian MacLellan

The Flames had eight 20 goals scorers on five other occasions including 88-89, 87-88, 84-85, 81-82 and in Atlanta in 78-79.

Standings Look

The Flames loss is a missed opportunity as the Kings and Ducks both lost to teams they likely feel they should have beaten. So the Flames keep their playoff spot moving into game six of their six game road trip. Ordinarily that would be good news coming home, but with the way they’ve played on Saddledome ice that just doesn’t feel the case.

At press time the Coyotes are doing Calgary a favour as well, leading the Sharks 2-1 through two periods.

The Kings will be interesting the rest of the way with former Flame draft pick Dion Phaneuf now patrolling their blueline as the Kings and Senators swapped ugly salaries in Marian Gaborik and Phaneuf.

Fancy Stats

The Bruins had 58 / 76 and 46% of the shot attempts five on five on the night for a share of 59% on the night, as the Flames got schooled. In all situations the share was 56%.

Scoring chances were relatively close five on five at 9-7 Boston, but 13-8 Bruins when you look at all situations.

Individually, only five Flames players were at or over the break even point on the night, a list that included; Sam Bennett 57%, Curtis Lazar 54%, Matt Stajan, Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic.

When you have your third and fourth lines lead the way you know what went down in Boston.

At the bottom of the pile were seven players under the 40% mark led by Ryan Lomberg at 22% and joined by Kulak, Stone, Frolik, Hathaway, Jankowski and Monahan.


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