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Stars vs Flames - Star struck as Flames fall 2-1

It can't get any worse, right? RIGHT!? No one give up yet, we still have like 50 more games.

Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

After being blown out frankly by the New York Rangers, the Flames had a few days off and took on the Dallas Stars at home tonight. Hungry to end a 6 game losing streak, we were expecting a Calgary team to come out forceful, aggressive on the play, and heading to the net. Unfortunately at times, this didn't happen.

Oh boy...

First period -

Markus Granlund would win the opening draw of the night, relegated to the fourth line along with Brandon Bollig and Lance Bouma. The Flames would find themselves trapped in their own zone due to the aggressive forecheck and persistent play of the Stars' top line. Calgary would get out of their own zone but only by one of the many icing calls in this period. Deryk Engelland of all people would get the first shot on net which scared us. We're not really sure what to think about that.

The newly formed second line of Sean Monahan flanked by David Jones and Mason Raymond proved early on to be a better option than seeing Glencross on the LW. The trio combined for some great chances early on proving that Raymond's speed is necessary for the success of the line. The newly designed third line comprising of centre winger centre winger centre Joe Colborne with Glencross and Paul Byron got a little flustered in their own end. A giveaway lead to some more sustained pressure from Dallas.

That said, Colborne and Byron would come together on a decent chance in close which then followed with an icing call moments later. The utilization and deployment of the Stars' top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and some other dude (it was Cody Eakin) seemed to cause a little disruption in the positioning of the Flames. They looked out of position for much of a shift trying to adjust and find a way to stop the passing plays behind the net.

Colborne and Gaudreau would team up for a great chance in close on Kari Lehtonen as later into the first period. They would continue the pressure with Kris Russell getting a decent chance as well. The same pattern of getting behind the net and working on a passing play would continue moments later for the Stars. The only way to remedy this seemed to be icing the puck -- which makes sense I guess? Towards the end of the period, Johnny Hockey would show up and dance into the offensive zone feeding a perfect pass to Josh Jooris (who was doing his best Steven Stamkos impression) as he blasted the puck towards Lehtonen. David Jones would try feeding Granlund in front but miss, while Seguin would respond with a great chance on Jonas Hiller.

Shots: 9-6 Calgary

Second Period -

After the Flames kept Benn and Seguin to 1 shot combined, the second period was underway. Former Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff would be a turd and trip up Lance Bouma (no call). The Starts would continue doing what they were doing so well in the first, generating chances in the zone and creating some frustration. The panicked play of Wideman and Russell seemed to reoccur more and more in the last few games and again it appeared causing the Flames to ice the puck AGAIN.

Immediately after the draw, a Cody Eakin shot was mishandled by Hiller allowing Benn to get the garbage and put it in the net giving the Stars a 1-0 lead. Not exactly what you want to see for the first goal of the game. Lance Bouma would miss a hit on Jyrki Jokipakka and go into the bench. After reappearing, unfazed he would take a dumb interference call against Trevor Daley.

The Flames would get a shot on the PK and fortunately the Stars' PP wouldn't equate to much as the Flames killed it off easily. Johnny Hockey would once again break into the offensive zone and drop pass to his father Hudler who unfortunately missed the net. Former Oilers' forward Ales Hemsky (also known as Robyn Regehr's victim) would take a hooking call sending the Flames to the man-advantage. After a few great chances and no real success, the Stars would bounce back with a strong zone entry. Jamie Benn would feed Trevor Daley a beautiful pass which he put past Hiller to extend the lead and make it a 2-0 game.

The Flames looked visibly sluggish by this point and needed some resurgence. Jooris would block a shot and appear visibly hurt; fortunately he would return. Granlund and the Dallas Stars' "Johnny Hockey" known as John Klingberg would box have off-setting penalties leading to some 4 on 4 play. With under 3 minutes left in the second, the Flames were finally leading in shots 15-14. Moments later, after the puck was played back to the point our fearless captain Mark Giordano fired home a deflected shot past Lehtonen to make it 2-1.

The Flames would end the period with decent pressure in the offensive zone, attempting to generate something more.

Shots: 8-8 in the period
Flames: 17-14 by end of period

Third Period -

The final period would be the similar and consistent game plan of the Stars. I love their down low game and their ability to get behind the net to set up. It didn't always end up as a goal or a perfect pass but it was irritating and it forced the Flames to finally play a little... grittier. YEAH! #GRITCHART! John Klingberg would accidentally get his elbow up on Bouma along the boards, deep in the Stars' zone. He would be given what seemed to be a reactionary penalty - I didn't really see anything wrong with it but oh well.

The Flames would only get a few decent chances including one from Gaudreau breaking in and allowing Colborne to try something. There wasn't much more than that though as the PP was atrocious. Then began several long intervals of being trapped in our own end for massive stretches of time -- so it seemed.

Going deep into the Stars' zone, David Jones awkwardly hit Alex Goligoski which left his face bloodied. He would leave and then return. I'm surprised there wasn't a call against Jones on it. The Stars would take another penalty, this one a delay of game. The Flames would get a handful of decent chances from Russell and Hudler. Still, it would result in nothing and still a 2-1 game.

Deryk Engelland would do something good for another game breaking up a play which astonished Ari and I on Twitter. Finally an aggressive forecheck happened and the Flames did their regular ol' third period comeback kid approach. Hartley would finally listen to Ari and put Hudler and Gaudreau with Monahan for a bit while Brodie would hit a post late in the period. They would pull Hiller and try to tie it up, unfortunately even with Seguin tripping up Granlund, and a 6 on 4; the Flames would fall 2-1.

7 straight games. 7. Straight. Games.

Shots: 7-5 in third for Dallas
Shots total: 22-21 for Calgary


Some thoughts:

  • PUT SEAN MONAHAN WITH JIRI HUDLER AND JOHNNY GAUDREAU!
  • SERIOUSLY.
  • What the hell was Brandon Bollig doing in this game that Matt Stajan couldn't do? If you expect Matt Stajan to do anything, maybe give him some ice time, Bob? This is the most frustrating aspect of Bob Hartley. It's a man who does stuff like this.
  • Remember last season when the misuse of Mikael Backlund had him on the fourth line? Then Hartley clued in that he could use Backlund as a top six centre? YEAH. What does Bollig offer? 8:54 TOI and no special teams. He doesn't do anything.
  • Deryk Engelland wasn't a trainwreck again tonight. I thank Raphael Diaz for settling down that pairing. It's funny how when Diaz plays consistently, the blueline is a bit more consistent.
  • Russell and Wideman maybe could benefit from being broken up for a game. Put Diaz up there with Wideman or move Wideman down to Engelland's pairing. They handle the puck like a live grenade in their own zone and it leads to issues. Their play leading to the icing leading to the Benn goal = barf
  • Joe Colborne was noticeable tonight. I liked his jump and I liked how he got physical, involved, and tried. That said he still over-thinks plays and makes dumb passes. Shoot more or drive to the net, bud. You're a big boy and if the staff want you to be David Backes-esque then act like him. Be the stray dog eating freak that David Backes is.
  • Mark Giordano, god love ya. He is doing everything he can to keep this team moving and trying to trend up. 23:39 TOI tonight with 3:29 on the PP and 1:36 on the PK. Combined with a goal tonight and 2 shots. We love you, Gio.
  • Markus Granlund on the fourth line? Poor boy. He drew 2 calls tonight, albeit the first was off-set. Move him to the wing if necessary or send him down and use Stajan in the line-up. Granlund deserves top six time to grow so give it to him in the AHL level or in the NHL.
  • Curtis Glencross go away forever. Quit the fancy stuff and do the basics; like skate or try. I cannot wait to see him gone. It feels like a wasted roster spot at this point.
  • Josh Jooris wasn't bad tonight. I'd love to see him up in the top six as much as possible but long term he may be on the third line with Byron. Which is fine, both of them are fearless wrecking balls. Speaking of Paul Byron, he had a turnover but recovered nicely. 14:42 TOI and 1:11 on the PK is a good sign of a great sign of a future fantastic third line guy for the team moving forward.
What if...

Only one final thought, do the following tomorrow night: Gaudreau - Monahan - Hudler. That's it. I have a feeling this could work if utilized properly. David Jones is a good compliment to Monahan but I'd prefer this. We need offence and we need it now. We're playing a Canucks team, capable, experienced, and hungry to end a losing streak too.

Just trust Ari and I, Bob Hartley. Just do it. We'll have our stats recap tomorrow morning along with our pre-game preview for the next game against Canucks.