The last time the Calgary Flames faced the Carolina Hurricanes, the Flames took advantage of a hurt eastern squad, pounding 'em 5-0. Well, another five goals were scored, but it wasn't quite the same story. Massive shoutout to Rob Lozon for the recap title.
Slow start. Slow start. Slooooowwwww staaaaarrrrtttt. For, well, everybody. Max Reinhart had some noticeable jump, but neither team could really get anything going until about 12 minutes into the period, when Alexander Semin sent TJ Brodie down to the ice. Brodie got up just fine, and the Flames were off to the game's first powerplay.
And who other than Brodie and defence partner Mark Giordano was going to get things started? With the Flames set in the zone, Brodie passed the puck up to Gio from the point. Gio touched it to Curtis Glencross, who sent it David Jones' way. Jones, set up forcefully right in front of the net, snapped it in for his second in as many games, putting the Flames up 1-0.
As the boring period was nearing its end, Zach Boychuk skated down the wing, loosely and weakly covered by Dennis Wideman. Boychuk didn't have anyone with him, so he just threw the puck on net. The puck bounced off Jonas Hiller's mask and in, tying the game at one.
And then we were released from what was not a great frame. The Flames outshot the Hurricanes 8-5, and out-corised 'em 14-13.
The Flames nearly took back the lead early on, with Cam Ward leaving a wide open net, but Jiri Hudler and friends were unable to capitalize on the warp around. Carolina then almost had the lead as the puck deflected to Nathan Gerbe, but Gerbe couldn't direct it into the open net.
Jeff Skinner stripped Devin Setoguchi of the puck, and as he was trying to keep both his balance and the puck, he grabbed Semin's stick and took a penalty for doing so. Right away - like, four seconds later - Riley Nash won the faceoff and sent the puck back to Justin Faulk, who shot it and scored. Just like that, it was 2-1 Hurricanes.
Markus Granlund, who lost the faceoff, followed it up by really crashing the Carolina net and fighting for a goal. The team controlled offensive zone pressure for quite a bit, but it was Carolina who would score next. Brandon Bollig fell over himself, giving the puck up to Semin. Semin dished it off to Skinner who, with an absolutely perfect shot and little to no coverage, sniped it to make it a 3-1 game.
Even with more guys like Jones and Paul Byron crashing the net, the Flames were held to just their one powerplay goal. The period closed out with a late Granlund holding the stick penalty, as the Hurricanes outshot them 19-18. Calgary, though, retained the corsi edge after two with a 43-42 count.
The Flames killed the remaining penalty time, and Byron sent the puck up to Glencross, who had a great redirect, but was met with an even better Ward save.
Already down by two, Hiller had to be sharp when Skinner came in with an excellent scoring chance, which was immediately followed up with a shot off the post. And it didn't get much better from there. Without many quality Flames chances, the Canes were able to control some time in the offensive zone, and it got them a goal, as these things tend to do. Even the best will occasionally make mistakes, and that's what happened here: a poor Giordano throw and Brodie unable to corral the puck somehow got Tim Gleason on the board, putting Carolina up 4-1.
And then it was almost - almost - 5-1. Semin rang the puck off the post, but Hiller got it just before it rebounded in. Kris Russell took a hooking penalty in the process, though, which wasn't exactly helping any theoretical attempt at a comeback effort with the game winding down.
The penalty was killed, but the Hurricanes just went right back to trying to extend their lead, including some nice moves by Chris Terry. The game finished off with the Hurricanes very firmly in control and the Flames without a hope. Score effects shmore shmeffects, as Calgary was done, outshot 31-23 and out-corised 65-55.
Flame of the game
This is a hard one because nobody really stood out. Ah geez. Well, when in doubt, go with the goal scorer: David Jones. Jones is outperforming expectations, and while expectations were never high to begin with, credit where credit is due. He's getting pucks in the net by virtue of being a big bodied presence up there, and starting to actually do something with it. He and Sean Monahan had the worst zone starts for the Flames at just 36%, but Jones managed to pull away with a 45% corsi, which definitely wasn't the worst on the team.
- Reinhart's return to the NHL saw him play less as the game went on, but he wasn't bad. He came out with some great jump, and finished the night with 10:52 in ice time (above just Bollig and Setoguchi), a shot, a blocked shot, and 43% corsi with 40% zone starts. We should get to see more of him going forward. He was honestly one of the better Flames on the night.
- Giordano extended his point streak, but couldn't tie Al MacInnis for five multipoint games in a row. Still, that's seven straight games with a point, and 19 points has him tied with Tyler Seguin and Phil Kessel for third overall in the NHL. Not bad for some undrafted guy.
- I should probably make one of those for Engelland, too. And maybe Smid. They're just... extremely... well, bad? And that's being nice about it? Watching them is painful. Do you really want to sacrifice watching quality hockey so some useless tough guys can "protect" players (a thing that does not actually happen)? They're. They're just. So. Bad.
- And the Flames didn't just sign Engelland to get over the cap floor, they signed him because they legitimately thought Engelland, a 32-year-old who had never exactly shown anything, had more to offer. How long do you think it takes them to realize they were horribly wrong? He's signed until he's 35. He's only going to get worse. And he's already really, really bad.
- Guys remember that time Olli Maatta was available for free and even though the Flames were horribly lacking in defence prospects they took Mark Jankowski because someone watched a high school game and now Calgary has all of one blueliner prospect who's ready for the NHL and they play absolute garbage on the bottom pairing?
- So, Gerbe is the shortest player in the league, at 5'5". Both he and Byron were little guys who came up through Buffalo's system and found homes in the NHL. Gerbe's at 178 lbs., though, 25 more than Byron, who's listed as two inches taller. And 28 more than Johnny Gaudreau, who is supposedly four inches taller. And all three are better than certain other names employed by certain teams that certainly were not discussed just up above.
- Okay, so, Sven Baertschi was held out of the lineup today due to the flu. He isn't the first player that's happened to, and he won't be the last. But because I'm apparently great at grumping about his usage, I'M GONNA KEEP DOING IT:
- Somebody please explain to me why Baertschi can get shots on net and generate scoring chances but get immediately benched, while Setoguchi does none of that and not only gets first unit powerplay time, but in this game in particular, come out beyond sluggish, take a bad penalty that immediately led to a goal, and then be sent right back out there. Or is Sven the only one who has to "earn it".
Next game wishes
Unrealistic: Does Rafa Diaz have to actually kill somebody to become a lineup regular? You know what I totally wouldn't hate? Brodie - Giordano / Wotherspoon - Russell / Diaz - Wideman. I would not totally hate that.
Realistic: Considering the performance of some of the veterans - Bollig, Setoguchi, and the ever-scratched Brian McGrattan (who is ever-scratched for a good reason) - there's absolutely no way at least one of them doesn't get sent down as Flames start coming off the injured reserve. Prospects are starting to earn their spots. Jooris has to be a lock at this point. Hopefully it'll keep up with the others.
Welp. That's it. The Flames leave this five-game eastern swing with a 3-2-0 record. They'll be back at the Saddledome Thursday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. MT to face the
Phoenix Arizona Coyotes. (Side note: my name is Ari. Do you have any idea how terrible it is for me that the Coyotes are now abbreviated "ARI"?) It'll be just the Flames' third contest against the Pacific Division. Go team.