The Flyers scored 4 unanswered goals and the Flames could not effectively answer, as they fell to the Flyers 5-3.
Kris Versteeg was back in the line up after missing the last game with a rib injury after that heavy collision with Troy Brouwer against Columbus. Chad Johnson was in net once again. On the other side, the Flames were facing Flyers’ goaltender Anthony Stolarz, who was making his first ever NHL start.
The Flyers had more jump in the early going. Matt Read hammered a shot off the post a few minutes in, but then Michael Frolik took a penalty to get Calgary’s offense going. While shorthanded, Mikael Backlund worked his usual magic, rushing up the ice and was joined on a 2-on-1 by the ridiculously fast T.J. Brodie. Backlund got the puck over to Brodie, who shovelled a backhand shot past Stolarz to get the Flames on the board 1-0. It was the Flames’ NHL leading 4th shorthanded goal of the season, so at least that is a good thing that can be said about their penalty-killing this year.
The Flames had been getting badly outshot to start the period, but after the Brodie goal they started to generate offense more regularly. Unfortunately, the Flyers tied it up with a couple minutes left in the period after a Jakub Voracek wrap-around pass found Michael Raffl, who was left unattended by Dennis Wideman, and Raffl put the puck past Chad Johnson. 1-1 after one, shots 15-7 for the Flyers.
A late phantom holding call on Matthew Tkachuk carried over to the second period, where the Flyers got on the board right away. A pass by Voracek deflected off Giordano’s stick past Chad Johnson who had no chance on the play. 2-1 Flyers. This was the start to a terrible period of hockey for the Flames. So many turnovers. After Chad Johnson turned the puck over to the Flyers, Chris VandeVelde put the Flyers up 3-1. With things already looking unfortunate, just 24 seconds later Wayne Simmonds got a breakaway off of a blocked Brett Kulak blocked shot, and it was 4-1 Flyers. Rough stuff, reminiscent of that meltdown against the Sabres a few days ago.
There was not much redeeming about this period if you liked the Flames. Shots were 14-12 in the period for the Flyers, with most of the shots by the Flames coming after being down 4-1.
The Flames powerplay clicked again! A nice hold by Giordano led to him setting up Dougie Hamilton, who put a puck on net that Matthew Tkachuk tipped past Stolarz for his 6th of the season. Tkachuk is tied with Frolik for the team lead in goals with 6, not bad for an 18-year-old.
There would be no comeback though. Roman Lyubmiov would restore the Flyers 3 goal lead. Alex Chiasson and Dougie Hamilton would combine late for another shorthanded goal, but it was too little, too late. The only other real thing of note in the third period was Matthew Tkachuk making enemies and getting sent to the room early, but that was about it on a very rough game for the Flames. Flyers win 5-3, outshooting the Flames 43-32.
Flames 3 Stars
- Matthew Tkachuk: Scored a goal, tried to inject life throughout the game into a pretty flat performance by his team. Tied for the team lead in CF% at 68.18% alongside his linemates Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik (hockeystats.ca).
- T.J. Brodie: Had his first goal of the season due to some excellent skating and was the only defenseman to break even in shot-attempts (50% CF).
- Mikael Backlund: Great shorthanded effort to set up that first goal, was one of the few effective skaters for the Flames in this game
Honourable Mention: Chad Johnson, who was completely hung out to dry by his team. The third goal was his fault, but other than that he made many great saves and the game could have been much uglier if he did not play so well.
- The Flames lost because they had way too many turnovers, less jump than the Flyers and they did not make it hard enough on a goalie playing his first NHL game.
- I’m going to keep saying it until it does not need to be said, but what is going on Sean? Team worst 26.92% CF at even-strength. Absolutely brutal. He needs a healthy scratch, that is really the only thing left for Glen Gulutzan to try with him.
- Troy Brouwer boasted a 29.63% CF himself. He has been pretty awful this year and I am quite concerned that the Flames have him while he ages over the next 4 years, at $4.5 million dollars a season. He has been brutal lately. He had an unsustainable shooting percentage to start the year, but that well has dried up and it has not looked pretty at all. The 2 highest paid forwards in the line up have arguably been the 2 worst forwards in the line up over the last few games.
- On a more positive note, it does not matter how the rest of the team is doing, the Tkachuk-Backlund-Frolik line carries play and produces offense. They are a godsend.
- Also, Alex Chiasson has shown some life of late. Goals in consecutive games, but also just generally being involved offensively and having chances. That helps, depth-wise.
- With how brutal this game was, expect to see Brian Elliott back in tomorrow night, as Chad Johnson deserves a night off.
- Furthermore, with this result, I would be pretty surprised if Mark Jankowski was not in the line up tomorrow. They called him up, it is time to play him. I am excited at that possibility.
The Flames are now 3-2 on their road trip, heading to Brooklyn tomorrow to face the Islanders. We shall see if they can end the trip on a positive note.