Game Takes: Flames 3 Canes 2 (OT)

January 22nd, 2019 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Remember the St. Louis game before Christmas? Yikes

The better team may not have won that game, but the better team also barely showed up in a boring and listless affair that sent fans into the Christmas break with a terrible taste in their collective pallet.

Tonight was somewhat similar. Much like recent contests to Detroit and Buffalo at the Dome the Flames were somewhat unfocused and either highly skilled or very fortunate to stay in games until the right play or bounce went their way to either win the game or secure a point.

The Hurricanes were the better team for the first forty, the Flames much better in the third as the Canes tied the game and forced overtime before Mikael Backlund won it in overtime with a great individual play set up by an elusive puck rush by TJ Brodie.

Line Up Changes

With Juuso Valimaki back skating, but not playing tonight, the Flames are basically healthy for the first time since November.

With that Bill Peters is soon going to have his pick of lineup choices, barring any other injuries, fingers crossed of course. Tonight the same defense pairs, forward lines and goaltender as their victory in Edmonton on Saturday night.

A clear cut top line, a second line with Mikael Backlund centering James Neal and Michael Frolik, a new look third line with Mark Jankowski centering Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett, and the surging Derek Ryan between Andrew Mangiapane and Garnet Hathaway.

More on that middle six later.

The Trade to Date

Carolina Side: 41 points
Micheal Ferland 40 gp 13-12-25 55.3 CF%
Dougie Hamilton 48 gp 6-10-16 59.0 CF%

Calgary Side: 82 points
Elias Lindholm 50 gp 21-36-57 56.1 CF%
Noah Hanifin 50 gp 4-21-25 52.0 CF%

Adam Fox the balancer, and interesting one at that. With Fox shooting right the Flames had two more pairs of future coming up through the system with Fox and Rasmus Andersson on the right and Oliver Kylington and Juuso Valimaki on the left. As it stands, the trade would be easier to stomach from a buidling standpoint if he shot left given the road block of Mark Giordano and Noah Hanifin in the way up the left side. Losing one of TJ Brodie or Travis Hamonic could hurt without Fox as a replacement at the ready.

Was he ever going to sign in Calgary though?

Even if he pans this deal could be down to two long term signed assets in Calgary, and Hamilton and Fox in Carolina as soon as the trade deadline. There’s production, but this trade was won on asset management and selling high on assets.

Tonight though, a different story.

Dougie Hamilton had a goal, was +2 with four shots on goal. Ferland left early with no points three shots, and two hits.

Noah Hanifin was -1 with 1 shot on goal, Elias Lindholm had an assist but was -1 with a shot on goal.

Hamilton

Eric Francis will never be a Calgarypuck favourite for some of his takes over the years, so his going after Dougie Hamilton wouldn’t on it’s own be all that newsworthy.

But when you toss in Ryan Leslie and Rich Sutter on the panel all pretty much coming to a consensus that Hamilton’s dancing on questions about asking for a trade and skipping out on team meetings was pretty much proof positive that the big defender wanted out.

We may never know the entire story, but the domino’s seem to falling towards a trade request and Brad Treliving doing his best to make the best out of a potentially bad situation.

James Neal Again

You have to honestly feel for this guy.

Another pretty good game for the veteran sniper in a game where Calgary skill really didn’t have a lot going on. In the first he dangles his way through and almost beats Mrazik through the pads in the first period. In the second he gets set up by Mikael Backlund in the slot and hammers the puck only to have it turned aside by a steady goaltender.

The next one takes the cake though. Neal makes a good pass to Backlund, heads to the net, Backlund one ups him with an even better pass and suddenly Neal is staring down an empty net but the puck bounces over his stick not once but twice and he doesn’t get a shot off.

Third period and another above average chance, and another good Mrazek save.

A bounce or two and he has three tonight.

He doesn’t. He didn’t.

You’re Welcome

Couldn’t pass this up …

https://twitter.com/frank_seravalli/status/1087919476824252416

The Middle Six

For a guy that has blendered the lines all season you have to be somewhat surprised to see the man go with his lines tonight with the Flames getting worked top to bottom.

Hard to decide what to do with the middle six players on this squad because any up tick in one area seems to lay ruin to the rest.

A game against Carolina is never a good game to dig into Corsi stats as they tent to put more pucks on the net than anyone, but rarely bare the fruits for their efforts. But tonight all the middle six forwards got worked, something we’re not used to seeing in Calgary with the 3M line patrolling after the big line takes the ice.

On one hand you have James Neal having one of his best games of the season with Backlund. On the other hand you have Matthew Tkachuk buried on a line that couldn’t get out of their own end.

Tough call.

All Star Break

The Flames have 71 points at the all star break.

The 1997-98 Flames had 67 points all season. Twelve times since the Flames moved to Calgary the team has had point totals in the 70s at the end of the season to put things in perspective.

They are 20 games over .500 at the break.

20!

Standings Implications

The Sharks scored a goal with less than a second to play to tie the game in Washington and then won it overtime to keep pace with the Flames tonight.

The Flames are up six points on the Sharks for the conference, but the true target is Winnipeg who sit seven points back but have three games in hand. Win all three and they’re still not the conference leaders. Nashville is even in games but sit nine points back of the Flames.

In the division it’s six up on San Jose with a game in hand, and nine points up on the Knights with even games played; simply amazing really. Dumbfounded.

Counting StatsĀ 

Backlund leads the way with a goal and an assist, with TJ Brodie adding two assists as well. Rasmus Andersson had an assist and was +2 in a noticeable game.

Powerplay: Calgary 0/4 Carolina 0/2
Faceoffs: Calgary 60%

Mikael Backlund won 12 of 16 face offs on the night.

Fancy Stats

The Hurricanes carried the play for the first forty minutes and the five on five shot attempts certainly reflected that with Calgary getting only 35% with period splits of 26% / 26% andĀ  51%. Scoring chances were 67% Carolina and the high danger chances were 69% Carolina.

In all situations things were closer with Calgary securing 40% of the shot attempts, 41% of the scoring chances and most importantly 48% of the high danger chances (10-11).

Individually not a good night as you’d expect. The fourth line were all in the black with Garnet Hathaway leading the way at 65%, the rest of the team was well under water with game star Backlund the worst at 21%.



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