On this week’s episode we celebrate the Flames excellent 4-3 road trip.  We look at the Josh Jooris callup and Johnny Gaudreau’s first goal of the year.  Plus, we break down how the Flames have improved their faceoffs.  We have a report on the farm team and our thoughts on the new TJ Brodie contract – and more.

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The Flames will look to rebound tonight against the struggling Carolina Hurricanes, after losing their previous game against the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime. Each of these teams was expected by most pundits to be in competition with one another in the Connor McDavid sweepstakes. The Hurricanes have had a leg up in that regard to start the season losing their three top players to injury. All of Jeff Skinner, Jordan and Eric Staal are expected to be out of the lineup this evening, with only Eric Staal expected to return anytime soon. This has weakened an already thin lineup up front, which now sports Chris Terry, Riley Nash, and Jiri Tlusty as their leading point scorers. The Hurricanes have lost all of their games thus far, only registering points in overtime twice, against the Sabres and Rangers. Calgary has been on the opposite path thus far, winning games against superior opponents and playing stellar defence. The Flames are on pace for slightly over 90 points this season if they are able to keep it up.

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The first two periods of the Flames Lightning game were two of the most boring periods of hockey I have ever watched. Neither team generated any real scoring chances in either period. Each team was hesitant to take any risks, which led to a mostly neutral zone type of game. At times, Tampa and Calgary controlled the play in the offensive zone but neither team could generate much outside of weak shots from the point and perimeter. The only player that looked good out there in the first two periods was Johnny Gaudreau. Mark Giordano fought JT Brown at the end of the first after delivering a hit.

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I am sure that all of the players and staff are happy to be home at last after enduring the second longest road trip of this season. The Flames are coming in blazing back to the dome hot off a very successful 4-2 trip. With the goalie rotation still in place, it likely means Karri Ramo will be facing his former club, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts are playing their second game in two nights, which means veteran backup goalie Evgeni Nabokov will likely be at the other end. The Lightning have split their western Canadian road trip thus far, collecting a win against Vancouver on Saturday while dropping one in regulation to the Oilers last night. The Flames are looking to have more consistent 60 minute efforts now that they have returned home. The opposition in every game on the trip controlled the play for significant portions of each game. Despite that, the Flames were able to collect four wins on the trip. It is unlikely that those kind of results will continue with any regularity if they cannot control the play more consistently themselves.

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A big step has been taken by the Flames organization to move forward in the rebuilding process, and that was to lock up one of the top young defensemen in the NHL for a long time. He will be here till the 2020-2021 season now under this contract. Signing the current point leader among defensemen in the NHL is always a good thing, and to get him locked up for such a reasonable amount is a win for both him and the Flames.

The first year of his new contract will see him make 3.9 million, 0.1 less than Giordano. The rest of the years will be the same amount dollar wise at 4.8375. The deal includes a limited no trade clause, which won’t kick in till he’s in his first UFA year. That’s two years from now, and it isn’t possible for a player to receive a NTC for years where he’s an RFA. That’s how Carter was able to be dealt from Philly even though he had just signed a long term contract with a NTC.

 

This week in Adirondack started in much the same way as last week. Rockford was all over the Addy Flames, and Thessien surrendered a few goals that he would’ve liked to have back. He’s a bit of a bizarre goalie as he made some real good saves on difficult shots in tight, and yet allowed three goals from the point  without much if any screens on the shots. The Flames had a difficult time with puck possession in each of the first three games of the season. They played a back to back with the former Adirondack team, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Each of the games was a penalty filled physical affair. Sena Acolatse scored on a point shot on the PP in the first game, with David Wolf adding his first goal in his first North American game. They dropped the first game in overtime, but it should not have even made OT as Stevenson’s tying goal for Adirondack went through the side of the net, and some how they upheld it on review. In the second game, Ferland scored the opening goal on a good hustle play to get the puck off the goalie and score on him before he could get back in position fully. Granlund added a pair and the Flames won their first game of the year. Joni Ortio bounced back in his 4th game and looked more like the goalie we saw last year. He needs to continue to get better though if he wants to push for a job next year in Calgary. Also, Scott Laughton is a good player for the Flyers. He scored a pair in each game for the Phantoms. The Flames are 1-4 to star the year.

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First Period

The Jets started the game with a massive amount of pressure in the Flames end, nearly connecting a couple of times for a goal but they were unable to do so. Things settled down a bit after the initial flurry of chances, but the Flames took a hooking penalty courtesy of Joe Colborne. That penalty kill became the Lance Bouma show as he blocked several shots and effectively killed the penalty himself. Once the penalty ended, Colborne was sprung for a breakaway that Pavelec was able to stop with ease. Off an offensive zone face-off, Peluso was able to take a one timer that was initially called a goal on the ice, however it hit the crossbar and the post before going out, no goal. It wasn’t long after that that the Jets were able to solve Hiller, with Blake Wheeler making a nice cross crease pass to Mark Scheifele for the tap in. The Jets controlled the remainder of the period, with the Flames unable to get any control in the offensive zone with their only decent scoring chance being the Colborne breakaway.

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Finally, the last game of the road trip has arrived. After going 3-2-0 in their first five games on the road, the Calgary Flames will look to cap off a winning record on this trip with their first visit to Winnipeg of this season. Both of these teams have encountered difficulties scoring, with the Flames averaging 2.5 goals per game and the Jets only managing 1.75. The Jets have also been shut out twice in their four games played and tallied only a single goal against the Kings. The Flames are playing their fourth game in six days, while the Jets have only played once this past week. With the Flames playing so often recently, the injuries have begun to pile up. With both Deryk Engelland and David Jones already on the shelf, the last thing the Flames needed was another injury. Unfortunately, recent call up Josh Jooris suffered an upper body injury and he is doubtful for the game tonight. Lance Bouma was able to play against Columbus with a full face shield and he should be able to go again against the Jets. Johnny Gaudreau was a healthy scratch last game and I would expect him to draw back in in Jooris’ spot.

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Typically there isn’t a huge amount of Flames news on an off day, but today there are two noteworthy topics. After scoring his first NHL goal in his first game, Josh Jooris is now sidelined for a bit with an “Upper Body Injury”. That must be frustrating for Jooris, who was stellar in his debut to now be out for a period of time.

Elliott Friedman also said that the Flames and TJ Brodie are sitting down to discussion a possible extension. This is very important for the Flames to take the next step in the rebuild. Hopefully the two sides can come together on a long term contract much like Minnesota has with Jonas Brodin. Having both Giordano and Brodie locked up for the long term will help to take pressure off the search for quality second and third pairing defenders for a while.

First Period

Each team started the game with some time in each other’s end. However, Columbus was able to strike early on a rare positioning mistake by TJ Brodie that created a two on one down low, and Mark Giordano was unable to intercept the pass across allowing Jack Skille to fire it into the open cage. Shortly after, it was Mark Giordano’s turn to make an error as he fired the puck into the netting in his own zone. On the ensuing power play, the Jackets cycle the puck effectively creating enough space for Ryan Johansen to get open in front of the net for a one timer and he was not denied. The Jackets continued to press until Skille was called for boarding just after the 10 minute mark. The Flames had several chances during their power play, but were unable to solve Bobrovsky. Following the power play, the Flames continued to press for the remainder of the period, but were unable to score. The Flames were not able to get their first shot until about 10 minute mark, which is the main reason the Jackets out shoot the Flames 8-6.

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