Game Takes: Blues 5 Flames 3

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

Not often do you walk away from a 5-1 second intermission deficit with a good taste in your mouth, but the Flames poured it on in the third period, making it a 5-3 final and putting some doubts in the St. Louis bench until the final horn.

Does it make up for a rough start? Absolutely not, but maybe it points to better times ahead when the smooth out their game and get off to better starts.

At very least it was proof positive that they seem to have the depth and scoring ability to make things interesting when they’re down.

The Role of a Fighter

Anthony Peluso is suiting up for his second straight NHL game tonight leaving Garnet Hathaway and more specifically Mark Jankowski in the press box, and a few young players like Andrew Mangiapane or Spencer Foo in California.

In his first game he acquitted himself well in that he nor his line imploded, but only skated for five minutes and had little do with the game. Tonight, just under five minutes with roughly the same result; nothing.

His presence started a very long and somewhat tedious debate about the need for a deterrent in the lineup and what it means to a hockey team.

Personally, I think time has passed for this role and it just doesn’t have the same impact that it did even five years ago, but that’s only one vote.

The thing I can’t get out of my head though is Treliving’s favourite word, “process”. Treliving is a thinker, he doesn’t just put pieces together out of whim or fancy. For Peluso and similar players to be on the roster like Tanner Glass, or Deryk Engelland, suggests to me that Treliving has talked to either all or key players and they’ve either agreed or perhaps even requested said player on the roster.

If that’s the case it makes me wonder; is it simply an equation like Jankowski > Peluso? Or is it more complicated like Jankowski – Peluso < (Gaudreau + deterrent) – (Gaudreau).

Smith Starts Again

Also two sides to the argument of who the starter should have been tonight.

I like the idea of a goalie feeling it to keep the net, there’s no point in losing mojo, lord knows it’s hard enough to find in the first place. However they have to get Smith more rest this year and you don’t want weeks in the season going by without David Rittich starts or once again it can get away from them.

With the Flames not answering the bell early, Smith was forced to make far too many stops off the hop, a loss of momentum that they never really got back.

Good move bringing out Rittich for the third period, may as well shake some rust off him and get him ready for his first start, likely Saturday night. The fact that he was solid can only bolster the club’s confidence in their goaltender for that start.

Tkachuk Back Pass

When they drafted Matthew Tkachuk I honestly saw him as  a shooter and crease crasher more than a playmaker, but here he is; likely the Flame’s second best passer behind Johnny Gaudreau.

With that said, he has to pick his spots better when it comes to the twirling, or through the legs, or back passes blind. In the first period the Flames had something going on the powerplay but twice he coughed the puck up by trying to be too fancy.

On top of that I’d like to see him shoot the puck more, but realize these are suggested tweaks to a player that’s just getting better and better and better.

Rasmus Blunder & Peters Reaction

Once again I have to hand it to Bill Peters in his reaction to rookie mistakes.

In the first Rasmus Andersson got out-muscled down the wall, turning the puck over and leading to the second St. Louis goal. But the young defenseman never missed a shift, and was back out with pairing mate Jusso Valimaki just over a minute later.

That will pay off down the road as young players establish themselves in the first half of the season.


Anyone else surprised to see Patrick Maroon wearing Keith Tkachuk’s number 7?

Even if the number hasn’t been retired as of yet, you’d think it would be on a list of numbers they don’t give out. Notice you don’t see a #12, nor #34 or #14 in Calgary … and you won’t.

Line Blender

With the Flames clearly heading for doom, Peters shook up all four lines midway through the second period, resulting in some interesting combinations.

Two new combinations found the net in the third period suggesting at least options going forward. First the Derek Ryan / Matthew Tkachuk / Austin Czarnik combo hit the twine with all three players combining on the sheet  with Derek Ryan scoring his first as a Flame. Then Mikael Backlund got a fortunate one when his centering pass hit a Blue’s skate resulting his first of the season. The Backlund line was now flanked with Sam Bennett and Elias Lindholm, probably the best of the Calgary new lines after things settled in.

The other two combinations had Neal up with Monahan and Gaudreau, and Dillon Dube dropping back to play with Peluso and Michael Frolik.

Bennett Not Hurting Himself Again

For the second straight game Sam Bennett escaped the fourth line to play a third line role with James Neal and Dillon Dube; at least to start.

When the dust settled he had an assist on a great pass to Neal; Neal’s first in a Calgary uniform. But he was also robbed on a point blank chance in the second by Allen, and then almost scored in the third on a wraparound.

Add that to Dube’s move to the fourth line in the third, and you have to wonder if Bennett is starting to carve out a role.

He led the Flames tonight with seven high danger scoring chances when he was on the ice (edging out Noah Hanifin).

Power Fizzle

The powerplay was money in each of the last two wins, but tonight it let them down both in overall results and timing.

With the game 3-1 in the first, the Blues were called for a penalty shot and a minor on the same play, sending Sean Monahan in with the freebie. He hit the post. The subsequent powerplay also came up empty. What a chance to turn the game around.

In the end the Flames were 0/4 with the man advantage (0/5 if you include the penalty shot), while the Blues were 2/6 with the extra man.

Fancy Stats

Score effects beware as the Flames came from behind in the possession stats with a pressure filled third period to take all three categories. Shot attempts five on five were 42-35 Calgary (55%) with period splits of 45% / 48% and 66%. Scoring chances were 24-22 Calgary five on five, and high danger chances were tied at 11.

In all situations the Flames had a 54% edge in shot attempts, 55% in scoring chances and 55% in high danger chances.

Individually the Flames were led by Mark Giordano at 76%, trailed by his partner TJ Brodie at 71%, Lindholm at 68% and Bennett at 67%. Only seven players were under water Gaudreau and Monahan at the bottom of the pile at 41% and joined by the 2nd and 3rd defense pairings in the mid 40s.

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