Calgary Flames takeaways from loss to Coyotes: Bye bye playoffs

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 19: Goalie Mike Smith
GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 19: Goalie Mike Smith /

In the loss to the Arizona Coyotes last night, the Calgary Flames can basically say goodbye to the playoffs. Let’s check out some takeaways from the game.

It was yet another disappointing game where the Calgary Flames, for the ninth straight game, outshot their opponent. It was their third straight loss and they’ve now lost four of their last five and eight of their last 11. Not exactly a team who’s fighting for a playoff spot right now.

While the Flames didn’t play badly last night against the Arizona Coyotes, Mike Smith again came up short. He let in a soft goal with about three minutes left of the game when the game was tied.

Let’s check out some takeaways from the loss.

Mike Smith continues to crumble

Calgary Flames
Calgary Flames /

Calgary Flames

The Mike Smith we’re seeing now is exactly the Mike Smith Calgary Flames fans were worried about when the Flames first acquired him in the off-season. Don’t get me wrong, he’s been incredible for most of the season and has stolen plenty of games for the Flames. But then he got injured at one of the worst times for this club and he hasn’t been the same since returning from injury.

In the five games he’s played in since his injury, he basically cost the Flames four of those games. He stole that fifth one though. What was somewhat surprising is the decision to put Smith in against Vegas and then the following night against his former team, the Coyotes. That’s fine if he wants to play against his former team, but let David Rittich start against Vegas.

Smith is crumbling at the worst time for the Flames and I hate to say it, but he may be the reason they miss the playoffs.

Coaching decisions

Like every other person on Twitter right now, I’m a little confused in some decisions by the coaching staff. Unlike a lot of people though, I wasn’t completely opposed to having Troy Brouwer on the second line. With the injury to Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Bennett was playing there the last couple of games. But they moved him up to the top line, moved Micheal Ferland down, and put Brouwer on that second line. To be fair, Brouwer has been playing much better as of late.

But one decision, like I mentioned earlier, was the decision to start Smith in both games. In my opinion, Rittich should have started in Vegas. When he had to relieve Smith in the game against the San Jose Sharks, he stopped all seven shots he faced. His game before that came in a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Before that was a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres where the Sabres spoiled his shutout with just 17 seconds left in the game.

Related Story: David Rittich deserves more than just back-to-back starts

He definitely deserves more starts and to be quite frank, Smith doesn’t right now.

Another confusing decision was putting Chris Stewart in the lineup. I’m still confused why they even picked him up off of waivers in the first place. But he got in the lineup, Kris Versteeg didn’t for some reason (it could be due to his injury if he tried rushing back). I’d much rather Nick Shore over Stewart. I actually don’t mine Shore, I think he’s a great fourth-liner. He doesn’t get a lot of points but he’s great in faceoffs, he’s good at winning puck battles, and he’s quite fast. Basically everything opposite than Stewart.

Related Story: Flames should have never picked up Chris Stewart

Micheal Ferland had an off game

Listen, I am the biggest Micheal Ferland supporter and I will defend him until my death bed. But he had a bad night. He had one terrible giveaway which led to a goal and he had other giveaways which thankfully didn’t result in more goals against.

He hasn’t been that great lately for the Calgary Flames and like I said, I’m a huge fan of his and I will defend him forever, but it’s clear that he’s an inconsistent player. He’ll have a hot streak where he’ll go a good month being one of the best forwards for the Flames. Then he’ll go on an extremely cold streak where he’s basically invisible. He’s in that cold stage right now.

Silver linings – Dougie Hamilton

If we’re trying to find some positives from the loss, it’s Dougie Hamilton. He got his 16th goal of the season last night which continues to be a career-high and he now leads all defencemen in goals. Nobody’s quite mentioning him though and he along with his partner Mark Giordano have great possession metrics. They both can recover from mistakes well and they’re a great first pairing.

I’m a little surprised nobody’s quite talking about Dougie though. Actually I take that back. I’m not that surprised.

Next: Fans still supportive

Well, I would say that maybe the Flames should just start tanking now (even though they basically have been), but seeing how they won’t have a draft pick for the first two rounds… yeah this season sucks.