Carolina Hurricanes storm through Alberta, defeat Calgary Flames 2-1

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 19: Dougie Hamilton
CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 19: Dougie Hamilton /

When you are killing penalties for roughly 12 of the 60 minutes, like the Calgary Flames, it’s hard to win hockey games. Simple as that.

Scott Darling and his defensive group were outstanding for the Carolina Hurricanes. They shut down the Calgary Flames offensive firepower, with Darling being their ultimate last line of defense. But, the Flames did not play well in this game. Energy was nonexistent until Sean Monahan scored in the third period. Overall, Carolina shut down the Flames defensively. They clogged up shooting lanes, passing lanes and slowed the puck movement from the home team tonight as well. While the Flames did not generate enough offense to come out with a win today, their parade to the penalty box was the dagger. Again.

There are three key points I want to touch on from tonights game. First, the penalty parade continues. Next, Mike Smith is looking like the goalie the Flames have needed. Finally, Jaromir Jagr looks better and better each game.

The Penalties Need To Stop…SERIOUSLY!

When you are killing six penalties on any given evening, it is difficult to win hockey games. The Flames killed off five of these penalties, though. While killing 83% of these penalties on the given evening is not bad, the fact that the Flames are in that position is appalling. It isn’t the penalty to save a goal that the team is taking, no. It is the stupid penalties at inopportune times that are detrimental to a teams success. For example, Matthew Tkachuk takes a ridiculous roughing penalty at the end of the second period. Is it really necessary to take a shot at a player who is softer than a Tempur-Pedic mattress? No. It is not.

More from Flame for Thought

Justin Williams would go on to score the game-winning goal on that power play, thanks to Tkachuk’s infraction. The opportunity for Williams to score was given by this dumb penalty and it ended up costing the Flames. See, Vancouver‘s power play couldn’t generate anything and therefore the penalty kill was a success. The Flames gave up the same amount of opportunities to the Canucks in terms of penalties. An underrated team like Carolina will eventually make you pay when the opportunity is there. The Hurricanes are much more talented than the Canucks, and therefore you cannot be making these timely and costly errors.

I did not forget about you Sam Bennett, you’re next. You have dressed for seven games this season. Six of these games, you have taken a penalty. Currently, you have 12 penalty minutes. The fact that you are taking silly, dumb and lazy penalties is even more alarming. We are waiting as a fan base for Sam Bennett’s breakout season. It might be early on in the season, but Sam Bennett needs to cut out this silly trend of making his Holiday Parade to the sin bin.

Steady As She Goes

Mike Smith, you were once again outstanding in net for the Calgary Flames. Turning away 31 of the 33 shots faced, Smith has brought his save percentage back up to a swift .930. If it wasn’t for the consistent play of Mike Smith right now, the Calgary Flames would be looking like the Edmonton Oilers right now. Seeing shots through traffic, keeping his composure and quality puck handling skills are the areas that Smith is excelling in right now. He has certainly helped his defense group out mightily in this regard. Now it is time for the defense group to help out Smith by cutting down some of the shot attempts per game.

CALGARY, AB – OCTOBER 19: Mike Smith
CALGARY, AB – OCTOBER 19: Mike Smith /

Jagr Can Do The Hustle…for a 45 Year Old

What was impressive and scary about tonight’s game is that Jaromir Jagr was the Calgary Flames best offensive threat. This is scary because a 45 year old, free agent signing should not be your best forward on the ice. But, tonight Jagr was, which was what is impressive. Despite not registering a goal, Jagr managed to extend his point streak to a mere two games tonight with an assist. The veteran was skating faster and harder than he has in any of the previous games. His puck possession and creativity was again, as good as advertised. Buzzing around the net all night, Jagr provided great opportunities to try and get that first goal as a member of the Flames. Jaromir Jagr continues to impress with his progress he has made over the course of these few games, and tonight he was the Flames best forward.

Where To From Here?

Calgary will host the Minnesota Wild this Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada. The game starts at 8PM MT, 10PM ET. Minnesota comes into the game 1-1-2 with 4 points while the Flames’ record is 4-3-0 for 8 points. There is a chance that we might see Eddie Lack for the first time this season, as the Flames have an upcoming back-to-back next week. Saturday seems like the perfect time to throw the taco loving Swede in for his Flames debut.

Next: Monday Roundtable: Week One

Hopefully this parade to the penalty box ends on Saturday because killing penalties all evening is not a recipe for success long term. It is especially nothing to look forward to if you are a team aspiring to win a Stanley Cup like the Flames.