Game Takes: Dallas 5 Flames 4

August 13th, 2020 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Well that was interesting!

An absolutely terrible start … sure the Flames scored the game’s first goal, but from that point until the time out 7 minutes into the second period the Flames were completely owned by the Dallas Stars.

After the time out though the Flames were much better including a third period where they scored three goals, had two count and looked to have forced the game to overtime only to see a very very late goal by the Stars putting the game away.

What a roller coaster.

The Flames had rough nights again from a lot of key players, namely Johnny Gaudreau on his birthday, Sean Monahan and Mark Giordano, and what looks like a concussion to Matthew Tkachuk after he took a partial spear from Jamie Benn in the first period and just couldn’t get it done with the supporting cast.

Lineup Changes

None expected! A team that’s won three in a row would only make a change if injury dictated the necessity, thankfully that’s not the case for game two against Dallas.

Sean Monahan centers Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm on the first line, while Mikael Backlund holds down the fort on the second line with Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane. The third line features Sam Bennett between Milan Lucic and the suddenly well discussed homeless person Dillon Dube. Finally Derek Ryan centers the fourth line with converted center Mark Jankowski and Tobias Rieder.

On the blueline no change as well. Mark Giordano with TJ Brodie, Noah Hanifin with Ramus Andersson, and Erik Gustafsson with Derek Forbort.

In goal Cam Talbot of course!

Watching those Zone Starts

Trusting the top line to play defence or giving up on their chances of creating offence?

That’s a good extremes argument from those that see life glass half full or half empty, but an interesting thing to watch nonetheless.

Through five “playoff” games the Flames have not sheltered their top line. Someone on the site pointed out icing calls swaying the numbers somewhat, which was an astute grab, but it doesn’t change the overall.

Tonight though? Same thing! Sean Monanan has 35% of his draws in the offensive zone as the protection scheme for the first line is completely thrown out the window.

Interesting wrinkle to watch.

Sam Bennett Injury

Is Sam Bennett ailing?

Another night not taking faceoffs is interesting, despite the success of Milan Lucic filling in. Certainly the Lucic comment that Dillon Dube will be taking face offs too points to something being wrong with the current Calgary third line center.

He’s playing, so it’s a hand, finger or wrist issue that is good enough to handle and pass the puck, but too stressing for draws and perhaps shooting.

Shame with Bennett having an impact on things through the playoffs, but he hasn’t been taking draws since game three of the Jets series.

Switching It Up

Not sure I’m 100% on board with Geoff Ward’s line shake up in the second period of tonight’s game, but I’ll admit the guy has been a maestro up to this point in the playoffs.

Adding Sam Bennett to the top line makes sense if his existing line wasn’t getting much done; he adds jam, wins puck battles and could possibly ignite a top line that has completely gone to sleep.

But in this case you nuke the only line you truly have going on the night as we didn’t see a lot from Dillon Dube and Milan Lucic after the change.

You can’t break what’s working in order to fix something that’s not.

Change in Goal?

Calgary will have the weak link in goal in any matchup they have in these playoffs; all the teams with worse goaltending have already gone home.

Cam Talbot has been a good story, but tonight he let up two iffy goals after an iffy one in game one as well.

Is David Rittich better? I’m honestly not sure, but I do think David Rittich at his best is better than Cam Talbot at his best. The rub is the fact that Cam Talbot at his worst is better than David Rittich at his worst.

Rittich hasn’t had a playoff start in his career, I think it’s time to see if he can come in and write a story.

You can always come back to Talbot again.

Johnny Gaudreau Is Fighting It

None of the elements of Johnny Gaudreau’s game that we’ve seen through his time in Calgary is present since play has resumed, and certainly in this to this point. He’s just fighting it. It looks like his confidence is completely shot.

His linemates are pretty much invisible as well.

Elias Lindholm has been quiet, Sean Monahan more physical than we’re used to seeing, but still not effective five on five offensively.

But how do you fix this? If Matthew Tkachuk is hurt it allows you to blender the line, but if that’s not the case you can’t break up the second and third line to fix the first.

Tough call for Geoff Ward.

Counting Stats

Team Stats:
Shots – Flames 26 Stars 36
Face Offs – Flames 47%
Special Teams – Flames 1/4 Stars 1/4

Player Stats:

Points – Eight players with one point in the game including goal scorers Dillon Dube, Derek Forbort, Tobias Rieder and Sam Bennett.
Plus/Minus – Milan Lucic and Sam Bennett were the only plus players in the game for Calgary at +1.
Shots – Johnny Gaudreau led all shooters with four shots on goal for Calgary.

Fancy Stats

Dallas was the better team tonight and that could be seen in the possession stats as the Flames only had 46% of the five on five shot attempts with period splits of 41%/41% and 60%. In terms of high danger chances the game tally was low with Dallas enjoying a 6-4 edge five on five. The Stars had an xGF% of 54%.

In all situations the Flames had 47% of the shot attempts, 35% of the high danger chances and an xGF% of just 41%.

Individually a rough night as well as you’d expect. Only six players finished above the break even mark, led by Milan Lucic with 78%, followed by Dillon Dube with 65%, Tobias Rieder at 59%, Derek Ryan at 57% and Sam Bennett at 55%. At the bottom of the pile was Matthew Tkachuk with only 23%.

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