Game Takes: Sharks 5 Flames 1

March 24th, 2018 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Well at least the games don’t matter anymore.

The Flames don’t have the urgency or need for the two points, nor do they have three of their better players out with injury, but one thing of late hasn’t changed; the Flames continue to put everything on the net, out shoot their opponents, but give up too many grade A chances in getting blown out by three or more goals.

This time an afternoon game in San Jose where they give up two quick goals, get back in it, but then two more in the third in dropping a 5-1 decision to the Sharks pushing their losing streak to five games.

Changes Changes Changes

The ugly math staring them in the face made it easy to do the right thing when it came to long term injuries that required said players to be shut down.

When Kris Versteeg came out for Chris Stewart a lot of fans were furious, to me it suggested a set back. Glen Gulutzan denied it, but here we are a few days later and Versteeg is gone for the season.

Sean Monahan wasn’t right. Sure the player has had stretches in his young career where he looked a little disinterested, but his overall effectiveness was sliding, and with the injury news it certainly makes sense.

So a big opportunity down the stretch for Sam Bennett, Curtis Lazar and to a lesser degree Nick Shore as their ice time and roles will see an increase. Plus more of an audition for Rasmus Andersson as TJ Brodie continues to nurse a back injury.

The best news is the status of Matthew Tkachuk who is skating, a very good sign for a player recovering from a head injury.

Andersson on the Left Side

Very interesting to see the swap of defenders on the blueline today as Michael Stone went back to his natural right side on the third pairing with Brett Kulak moving up to play with Travis Hamonic.

This is interesting as it shows a possible configuration to replace TJ Brodie next season if Brodie is the defenseman moved for forward help.

Can Brett Kulak step up and play 2nd pairing minutes? That might be a stretch.

Rasmus Andersson however looked very good playing on his off side on the third pairing with Stone. He was active up in the play, was able to help on the transition finding forwards on the fly through the neutral zone, and sound prepositionally when the Sharks were on the attack.

Could alleviate the need to move a righty if Andersson can slide over next season.

Gaudreau On the Defensive

A blown pass, not his fault.

But there is no way four Sharks should have been Johnny Gaudreau up the ice on the home club’s first goal. Hate to pick on Gaudreau in a nothing game, but it is an example of what needs to tighten up for the team next season to avoid high end scoring chances.

The three players back were all doing their thing, it was the fourth Shark into the play that scored the goal and it didn’t have to happen.

In the second period on the powerplay he’s actually back on a Shark rush up the ice but fails to cover the puck carrier or the guy alone in the slot flying by and leaving Kane an easy one shorthanded, a mistake that cost him powerplay time later in the period.

Elite offensive players don’t have to become elite defensive players, but they need to learn and do enough to play a role. A team needs its best players to be on top of the game in all 200 feet of the surface.

Play like that needs to stop.

Rittich Back In

The other interesting player to keep an eye on in this game was David Rittich, who had been put in dry dock with the return of Smith, but was coming off of two great starts on the team’s last road trip.

With Smith floundering some what the team had to be hoping the stretch drive would show them they had a stopper in Rittich that was ready to take more of the load next season.

In this one he was great often, turning aside many a 10 bell chance but in the end having a line that featured five goals on 33 shots for an .848 save percentage.

Not good enough.

The Return of Jokipakka

Anyone remember that last play by Jyrki Jokipakka in a Calgary uniform?

Against Edmonton last season after Christmas the Oilers chug out on a harmless two on two where Jokipakka inexplicably leaves the left side to provide support for his defence partner leaving an Oiler to take a pass and walk in all alone.

Sadly the same thought process was followed by Brett Kulak on the Shark’s fourth goal, the strike that basically ended things on a Braun goal early in the third.

Would love to know what he was thinking.

Fancy Stats

As I said in the opening the Flames have really turned into the shot attempt churning team, but of late very little of this has turned into high end scoring chances in their last half dozen games. Tonight they out shoot the Sharks by a 38-33 margin, and have the edge in all situation shot attempts at 55%, scoring chances at 51%, but high danger chances were 17-11 for the Sharks.

Individually, Calgary’s big man third line led the way with 62-64% on the night. Other guys with big nights included Gaudreau, Kulak, Travis Hamonic, Sam Bennett and Rasmus Andersson. On the negative side Tanner Glass was under 40%, while Hathaway, Brouwer, Backlund and Shore were all sub 50%.



All content is property of and cannot be used without expressed, written consent from this site.