Game Takes: Ducks 4 Flames 0

March 21st, 2018 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

We’ve seen this script often lately.


The San Jose game, the Vegas game, the Arizona game, and now the Ducks game.


Calgary throws lots of pucks on net, has a slight edge in scoring chances but can’t score and sees their goaltending lit up on pretty much every chance they surrender.

It’s not the play of champions, and this year it’s certainly not the play of a playoff team, its hard work and not much else these days.

Tonight the Flames essentially sealed their own fate, dropping a 3-0 game to the Ducks on Saddledome ice, with seven games left to go and a seven game win streak only resulting in 94 points I think that’s all she wrote.

The Wounded

Some good, some expected and some odds news on the injury front.

First no TJ Brodie at the skate today so he’s not ready to come back meaning Rasmus Andersson will take his turn on the third pairing; his third NHL game this season.

The good news was the information that Matthew Tkachuk is skating, a very good sign given the ugliness of his head injury last week. The Flames are done so there’s no need to rush, but the fact that he’s taking some strides is a very good sign.

The odd was in the form of Sean Monahan who continues to play games but hasn’t been skating between in some time, and Kris Versteeg who played two after missing 49 with a hip injury and now won’t play his 2nd straight and didn’t skate today.

May as well win

I can’t see this ending well, none of us can.

But take it from a guy that has to write seven more game stories, I’d like to see them win.

Maybe with the battle looking futile they’ll relax a little bit and get back to playing the way they can. Can only hope.

Three more weeks of slugging away on egg shells certainly isn’t the way to finish a season.

And they can’t hurt their draft position!

Smith is Elliott?

What to make of the Mike Smith collapse this season?

He got hurt. There’s little blame in that. But his body of work before the injury wasn’t all that stellar either as the tender has rolled out a sub .900 second half of work when healthy.

It’s not the collapse of Brian Elliott in the playoffs last year, but it’s no less concerning.

The big difference however is the fact that Smith has a year left on his contract meaning the Flames don’t need to make any rash decisions in the summer. Ideally one of David Rittich or Jon Gillies will step up and slowly take away the work load in the second half of the season.

Matt Stajan Night

The game didn’t go all that well, so clearly Matt Stajan will have mixed feelings about his 1000th game in the National Hockey League.

But what I like is the way he played.

Through the first two periods the fourth line, his line, was the best line as they drove the play, created chances and were a difference maker on almost all of their shifts.

With some better finish (talking to you Curtis Lazar!) the Matt Stajan story could have added another pretty cool chapter tonight.

Offence Will Solve Defence

I know there isn’t a Flame fan in the mood to here uplifting stories, and I get that.

But the more I think of it, the more I’m convinced this team is a winger away from getting unhitched from most of their problems.

Another finisher that would balance out the top two lines and create a trickle down that would boost the third line would do wonders for a club that seems to panic when they get down a goal or two in a hockey game.

They can’t score.

They know it.

So when things go south they start over extending themselves to the point where they leave themselves wide open to counter attack and break downs.

This may not be an easy fix, but it isn’t a complicated one either.

Rasmus Andersson, Night Four

I really thought a lot of the negative shifts for Rasmus Andersson in Monday’s game were caused by the foibles of his teammates.

He could have been in a more defensive posture when Micheal Ferland turned the puck over in his own zone setting up the game tying goal by the Coyotes. There wasn’t much he could do in the second when his partner Brett Kulak fell behind the Calgary net setting up a shift from hell.

Tonight he had better bounces and with that a better night as he was well up the totem poll in possession stats, and looked very comfortable making big league plays in his own zone, or playing catch on the opposition blueline.

Standings Impact

Doesn’t matter. Move along.

Fancy Stats

So much of this game worked out, honestly, you just wouldn’t know it. The 2nd line and the top pairing was matched up against Getzlaf and owned them to the tune of 75+%, with Michael Frolik leading the way with 84%, followed by 78% by Mikael Backlund and 77% for Troy Brouwer who filled in admirably. Matt Stajan was near the top with a pretty heady 70% number in game number 1000. Only four player were under water, the third line (Jankowski, Ferland, Hathaway), and Michael Stone.

As a team the Flames had 63% of the five on five shot attempts and 53% of the scoring chances, but only 50% of the high danger chances which was telling. Telling in that the game like games in Arizona and Vegas were shot volume but not necessarily dominant efforts by the Flames. At the end of the day though, opposition goaltending is getting it done on similar chances that have the Flame’s stopper leaking goals.

In all situations the Flames had 62% of the shot attempts, 64% of the scoring chances, and 47% of the high danger marks.


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