Game Takes: Coyotes 4 Flames 1

April 3rd, 2018 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Just another one of those nights in a long long Calgary Flames season.

The Coyotes score four goals, two off of Flame players, one of a tip from a bouncing puck from the point and another on a screen shot to turn back the Flames 4-1 in a game where they were out shot 43-21 despite having a powerplay edge of 4-1.


Don’t worry Flames’ fans only two more dates on the calendar until your attention can turn to next year and your playoff hockey pool.

The Sam Bennett Issue

A lot of talk on the site these days from disgruntled fans, and understandably pretty much every topic is ticking them off.

One constant subject of debate is Sam Bennett, what he is, what he will be.

To me a guy with 25-35 points and some jam making only 1.9M is a quality third line player nothing more, nothing less. So yes that’s a disapointment, but no the player isn’t a bust by any means. Honestly when you think of the Flames top forwards both this season and next I think the list would go something like;

  1. Johnny Gaudreau
  2. Sean Monahan
  3. Matthew Tkachuk
  4. Mikael Backlund

And then who? Sam Bennett is the Flame’s 5th best forward going into next season with a surge from either Michael Frolik or Micheal Ferland potentially bumping him down a spot.

Is he a 5/6 on every NHL team? Of course not, but probably on the average NHL team, and he is on his current NHL team which is the key.

Still an important piece in the mix.

Tonight Bennett Played Center

No points, two shots, 61% in the face off dot and a pretty good ride of chemistry with linemates Spencer Foo and Johnny Gaudreau. Not a bad night overall.

Sam Bennett has improved enough on his face off prowess and defensive coverage to play the position, but you have to wonder if there’s any future in this with Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund on the roster not to mention Mark Jankowski and Nick Shore.

Bottom line he continues to show he can play with skilled players and should be fed a more consistent diet of such.

Another Gillies Start

Have to feel for the guy. He gives up four goals on 21 shots for a .810 save percentage night despite not really having a chance on any of the four goals.

Bouncer from point tipped on a hop.
Screened shot he never saw.
Makes the save but Rasmus Andersson boots it in.
Has Michael Frolik tip it home with his left skate.

Buck up young’un better times ahead.

Channelling Lanny

I’ve at least 98% of Flames games since the team moved here from Atlanta, but Rasmus Andersson is the first player to use one hand on the stick since Mr. Moustache did in the 80s.

The two are right handed shots, but use the tactic very differently with a right wing and a right defenseman toiling in different way. Lanny was “King” (Ha!) at using the one handed stick in his right hand for a wrap around on the far post going right to left. Rasmus Andersson uses it to go wide on defenders or keep the puck away from the forecheck when he turns to head up the ice.

Interesting through 37 years of hockey that there’s only been two.

Fricken Foo

Have to admit I’ve seriously ratcheted up my view on the impact that Spencer Foo could have with the Flames organization.

When signed you liked the upside, you liked he was a Hobey  Baker nominee, and lets face it we loved seeing Oilers media having to stomach the native son choosing Calgary over Edmonton.

Fast forward a few months and the kid is up playing with the Flames and he isn’t just filler in a late season lineup, he’a making an impact. Still pointless, but the puck follows the kid around. He had a few chances to score, set up teammates, won some puck battles, showed some speed, and used his body to knock Jacob Chychrun off his skates twice.

Next October is a long ways away but I’m starting to assume we may see the guy in the lineup on the right side on the second or third line next year.

Or … is he the guy to play on the top line with Gaudreau and Monahan? He’s showed some chemistry with Gaudreau, he’s tough to play against, he has the wheels to play with the big boys and cover up defensively.

Big decision as the off season shopping list changes drastically depending on where you see this player.

PK Stick

Just love the modern play of going to the bench to get a stick when killing a penalty; at least in the first and third periods.

Tonight Mark Giordano broke his stick, then got a new one from Troy Brouwer who zipped to the bench to get a new one while his teammates held the Coyote powerplay in check.

Far too often in the past we’ve seen a four man unit playing as a three man group with one guy flailing away for 30 or more seconds without a stick essentially useless.

I’d even argue the exodus is smart in the second period with the longer skate.

Anyone Else Worried About Goaltending Next Year?

From the all star game forward the Flames have had a black hole between the pipes.

Mike Smith wasn’t nearly his first half self before and after his injury. When Smith went down David Rittich faltered considerably, and we certainly haven’t seen top shelf goaltending from Jon Gillies in either of his spells in Calgary.

So what to make of next season?

Tyler Parsons had a terrible year, both Gillies and Rittich failed to seize the day when Smith was down and Smith will be another older.

Do the Flames make a pitch for Antii Raanta as a tandem goaltender for Smith next year? Or is a half year of Raanta work too little of a sample size to spend the cash and term needed to get that done?

Roll Over

If you want a silver lining in a lost season it’s in the promotion of Stockton players into prominent roles through the year, and especially late.

Tonight there were basically six Stockton players in the lineup including goaltender Jon Gillies, defensemen Brett Kulak and Rasmus Andersson, along with forwards Foo, Mark Jankowski and Garnet Hathaway.

The pipeline has certainly been alive.

Roll some of those players into the holes made by UFAs and maybe just maybe you get an in-house upgrade to the bottom six for next season.

Fancy Stats

The Flames had a 64% edge in five on five shot attempts with splits of 64 / 62 and 67% as the Flames pretty much ran the table all night when it came to corsi stats. Shots were 33-18 for the Flames five on five, scoring chances 27-22 and high danger chances much tighter at 6-5 Calgary.

Individually, the Flames were led by their fourth line with Garnet Hathaway at 82%, Mark Jankowski at 80% and Tanner Glass at 79%. The top line was hot on their heels with Gaudreau, Foo and Bennett at 70%, 69% and 68% respectively. Only Troy Brouwer was under water at 48%.



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