Game Takes: Penguins 4 Flames 3 (OT)

March 5th, 2018 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

When you’re out of a playoff spot and running out of time moral victories are a little late.

Yes the Flames came back and found a point after being scored on twice in the first three minutes against the Stanley Cup Champions, but if this team has any designs on a playoff spot they’ll need to find points in pretty much every game down the stretch, and can’t afford to not get two when they were very much there for the taking.

Tonight with the game in overtime the Flames had a two on zero breakaway with Johnny Gaudreau leading the way and Sean Monahan trailing. The result? A Gaudreau shot wide and a very bad call by the Flames best player in a 4-3 overtime loss in Pittsburgh.

The upside is the point, with two straight games against non playoff teams to conclude the three game road trip. Wins in both of those games and they have five points in three games and a solid road trip. Playoff saving? Not yet. Building block? Sure.

Bounce Back

This game could have gone horribly given the awful start. The Flames had a double deflection go past Gillies just two and a half minutes in, and then a gaff by Gillies behind the net resulting in a second goal just 55 seconds later.

That could have been it.

I’ll be honest I was assuming it was it.

But no … the Flames push back with two of their own on a Mark Giordano snipe from the side boards beating Tristan Jarry short side (still think the puck went off of Curtis Lazar), followed by a great individual play by Mikael Backlund to beat Kris Letang and then Jarry to tie it up.

The second had Pittsburgh go ahead again and Calgary tie it again.

If this game didn’t follow up a rough stretch I’d call it prove positive the Flames were ready for the playoffs. Sadly that may not matter.

Backlund Post Contract

Sure good to see Backlund feeling it again. Makes sense that he played the first half or so of the season tight given his contract situation, but since the ink has dried he seems to be back to his old self, and with that his line taking steps back towards being impact.

All season the 3M line has been good at driving play but terrible and finding the net, one of the biggest factors in the Flames inability to take a step forward (along with no bottom half of the forward group and a stank powerplay).

Lately with Tkachuk taking a step on the powerplay and Backlund shedding his negotiation jitters the Flames seem to have that support again.

Big Brodie Night

TJ Brodie has had a rough go this season, but tonight hearkened back to the Brodie of old as he was dominant at both ends of the ice and a game changer pretty much every time he stepped on the ice.

Whether it was a backcheck dislodging the puck from an advancing forward, or skating the puck out of danger, or breaking up a pass, or setting up Troy Brouwer’s tying goal he was noticeable all over the ice.


Didn’t Mind Brouwer Either

How’s this for a night for the embattled winger?

Scores the tying goal, plays a lead role in a very successful penalty killing night, and leads the team in possession stats with a 70% on the night.

Maybe he should keep the cage on?

Ever since he donned the Calgary Minor Hockey look he’s been a more likeable player; he should consider it!

Ferland Flyer

Rough return for Micheal Ferland.

He started the game with his old linemates on the top line, but drifted to the fourth line and ended the night as the team’s worst player in terms of five on five shot attempts.

He got filled in.

He was listing before he came out of the line up and he’s listing in coming back.

The Flames need him.

Gillies the Project

The good: Jon Gillies was only beaten once in a traditional goalie stares down a shooter and comes up with a save sense.

The bad: Jon Gillies gives away the puck behind the net to cough up a goal (truth be known it was a pretty sick knock down by Geno Malkin), and then almost gives up the game on a clearing attempt from 185 feet.


Through the call up we’ve seen a pattern where the young goaltender struggles mightily in the early stages but then settles down to deliver what resembles big league goaltending. Tonight was no different save for the long bomb heart attack in the third period.

I think when he settles in there’s a NHL goaltender there, I’m actually more sure of that then ever. Shame we have to stomach the ride of a non playoff team in trouble to get there.

Special Teams

Another night of good and well … bad.

The Flames penalty kill is perfect in killing both Penguin opportunities, led largely by Troy Brouwer, Mark Giordano and Michael Stone. Mission accomplished.

The powerplay however was a mess.

Pucks around the dasher, retrieved, bobbled, fired around the dasher again, retrieved, bobbled, rinse and repeat. It’s not the way you want to spend your time with the man advantage.

Their zone entries are tight, but they just can’t seem to get setup and create.

Lady Luck

You have to have a bounce once and a while, the Flames aren’t getting many lately.

Cruise into Pittsburgh to take on the two time cup champs and get not one but two very fortunate goals against, but just can’t find that bounce for to even things out.

The Flames scored three hard working good goals. The Pens two including the overtime goal. Rough night.

Standings Impact

Not a huge night on the out of town scoreboard, as only the Dallas Stars were on top and they matched the Flames with an overtime loss at the hands of the Ottawa Senators.

As a result the Flames moved to within three points of the final wild card spot held by the L.A. Kings, though the Kings have a game in hand. They are four points out of third spot in the Pacific.

Fancy Stats

The Flames played well, and the underlying stats support it. They had 58% of the shot attempts five on five, and 61% of the five on five scoring chances. When looking at all situations (both teams had two powerplays) the Flames had 56% and 57% respectively.

Individually, Brouwer led the way with 70%, followed by Matt Stajan and Mark Giordano at 69% and Curtis Lazar (who was noticeable) at 67%. Other players in the 60s included Dougie Hamilton, Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik. The guy that had the worst night was Micheal Ferland who posted 37% pretty much on an island as the next closest player was Brett Kulak at 44%.

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