Game Takes: Flames 3 Islanders 2

February 11th, 2018 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

When I was a little kid I thought the Islanders were cool. I was just getting my head around a team in Alberta (Oilers) when the Islanders made the deadline deal to get this Butch Goring guy with the oldest, silliest looking helmet, going on to win their first Stanley Cup.

My dad got us tickets to the Corral to see the Flames in their first ever appearance in Calgary, a 4-4 tie with the New York Islanders and I was gob smacked to see the Cup champs on ice. The first being an awe fest of the names from New York, the second getting used to the team in white, the third a Willi Plett led alteration in who I was cheering for.

The rest is history.

Tonight the Flames played the opposite script near Broadway, coming from behind to win a game in the third period after giving up the lead and losing in regulation in Manhattan two nights ago. The 3-2 win gives the Flames a 3-1 road trip through four games with two coming, guaranteeing them a .500 trip.

Discipline

The Flames have been taking a lot of penalties lately, perhaps in an attempt to improve their penalty killing and get it battle tested for the playoffs.

Tonight another five times short making it three straight games where they were short five times; that’s not a recipe for success though the Flames have managed two win two of three and could have easily swept the Empire region of the NHL.

They’d better clean up.

Gulutzan On the Third Line

Glen Gulutzan was pretty choked at his third line after the game against the Rangers, suggesting they were invisible on Broadway.

Tonight the trio responded, specifically on a second period powerplay when Sam Bennett set up Mark Jankowski for a powerplay goal to make the score 2-1 Islanders.

How did that duo do overall? Lets say challenge accepted. Jankowski is 86% in shot attempts five on five and Bennett 79% as they drove play all night. Good to see a good shiv being successful.

Hamonic Comes Home

Pretty special human being.

Fans can rag the guy based on value for a first and two seconds, but there is value in adding an amazing human to a dressing room. In his return to Long Island (Brooklyn) Gulutzan said he’s a loud voice in the dressing room, something this team needs as any leadership they have tends to be quiet.

Tonight he picked up an assist on the winning goal and was 58% in possession, a pretty solid night especially when you consider the Islanders first goal had nothing to do with him, and everything to do with TJ Brodie and Mike Smith.

Short Side Johnny

Don’t you all think it’s time Johnny Gaudreau gives up on that short side sneaker?

The league has the book on it, he’s a slippery player that is anything but predictable so why go back to the same tickle trunk over and over again. It’s a one in 500 play, while Gaudreau keeping the puck and going wide and behind the net is a scoring chance more often than not.

Keep it and create Johnny!

Tough Bounces For Smitty

Mike Smith would be happy with this win, well I guess he’s happy with all wins.

But his only goals against were both goals he’s like to have back as he was beaten on a silly pokecheck goal and a screened shot both through the wickets.

The way the Flames played tonight it should have a been a cruise to victory, but for two unfortunate bounces that made things interesting.

Lomberg Toughness

Have to admire his guts and toughness, have to question his brains!

Rookie Ryan Lomberg decided to step up and answer the bell for Garnet Hathaway who wasn’t all that intrested in fighting Islander monster Ross Johnston. Johnston is 6’5″ and Lomberg is 5’9″, those eight inches are pretty damn important in a hockey scrap on ice.

As you’d expect, Lomberg didn’t do all that well, taking a shot off the face and falling, leaving the game not to return. Hopefully the kid is all right.

As a result the Flames had to roll their other three left wingers; Gaudreau, Tkachuk and Bennett with more frequency seeing a lot of interesting looks and a lot of pressure.

Tkachuk Impact Player

This player is going to get a bigger contract than I imagined a few months ago.

He’s impact.

He’s impact in drawing penalties as we saw three times tonight. He’s impact in converting chances and making something of nothing as we saw on two broken plays that turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 road win tonight. Tkachuk now has 20 goals on the season with plenty of ticks left on the season. His two goals tonight give him 12 in the last 18 games suggesting 30 this year isn’t out of the question.

The dude is a warrior and perhaps the most important Calgary draft pick since Al MacInnis.

Playoff Implications

Damn three point games!

The Flames win … good. The Knights lose … good, but less important. The big out of the town story was the Ducks/Sharks game which of course goes to overtime with the Sharks winning.

The result is a Calgary playoff spot as the Kings lost last night and didn’t play tonight, Calgary moving a point ahead with an extra game played.

The Calgary vs. California update is …

Sharks 56/68
Flames 56/66
Kings 55/65
Ducks 57/65

It’s going to be fun!

Smith Injury

With a second to play Mike Smith made a routine move to the post to get a piece of an Islander shot that was going wide, made the play and then rolled over in agony leaving the game with help from two teammates.

It didn’t look good.

Word from the broadcast crew had him walking on his own after the game which is somewhat good news, but you’d have to think he’s gone for a week at least.

So get ready to see a David Rittich / Jon Gillies tandem as the Stockton Heat continue to invade Calgary in a very up and down season.

Rittich has proven his mettle, but he can’t play every game meaning Gillies will get an unexpected say in how things play out in Calgary next season.

It will be interesting.

Fancy Stats

The Flames pretty much controlled the whole hockey game save for eight minutes in the latter half of the first period. The five on five shot attempts split was 50% / 58% / 70% as they pretty much dominated the game from beginning to end. Scoring chances five on five were 18-7 Calgary (72%) in five on five play and 24-13 (65%) in all situations.

That’s a spanking.

Individually the team was led by the third line with Jankowski at 86% and Bennett at 79%. Dougie Hamilton was next up at 70%, Brett Kulak, Gaudreau, Hathaway, Mikael Backlund, Micheal FerlandĀ  and Mark Giordano were all in the 60s. The only player under the 50% mark was Matt Stajan at 45%.

On the Islander side Jordan Eberle got worked to the tune of 24%, while Andrew Ladd and Brock Nelson (I always hear the B-52s “Rock Lobster” when I hear his name) were at 26%. Only Jason Chimera and Ross Johnston were positive players.

 



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