Patrick Eaves

Flames’ Elliott ‘still can’t explain’ soft opening goal in Game 4 loss

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Brian Elliott‘s night didn’t last long. The same is true for the Flames’ foray into the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Needing a win Wednesday to stave off elimination and a first-round sweep against the Anaheim Ducks, Elliott got the start but was pulled less than six minutes in after allowing a bad goal from Patrick Eaves, giving the visitors an early lead.

Speaking to reporters after the game, a 3-1 Flames loss, ending their season, Calgary’s coach Glen Gulutzan admitted he didn’t like the goal Elliott gave up and that he felt his team at that time “needed a spark.”

Gulutzan certainly didn’t waste any time making his decision to pull Elliott.

Chad Johnson entered the game and was promptly scored on. The Flames, meanwhile, were only able to get one by Ducks goalie John Gibson, who redeemed himself after a shaky outing in Game 3.

“As a goalie you take pride in giving yourself and your team a chance to win every night and that, off the bat, I still can’t explain how it goes under my pad there,” said Elliott, per the Calgary Herald.

“I feel bad. I didn’t give our guys a chance right off the bat. It was definitely a short leash – I’m not saying I deserve a longer one after that. It’s tough when you can’t go out and redeem yourself, but the guys went out and did a great job trying to come back. They put it all out there, I’m definitely proud of them.”

That same column also strongly suggested — or stated outright — that the 32-year-old Elliott’s time with the Flames is done after one season.

Acquired last summer from St. Louis, Elliott is a pending unrestricted free agent, per CapFriendly, at the end of a three-year, $7.5 million contract he signed while with the Blues.

He was streaky at times during the season, but ultimately struggled in the latter half of this series, particularly in a Game 3 Flames collapse, before getting the hook after just three shots faced Wednesday.

Ducks sweep the Flames, advance to second round

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The Anaheim Ducks are off to the second round. The Calgary Flames now head into the off-season.

The Ducks completed a first-round sweep of the Flames thanks to a 3-1 victory in Game 4 on Wednesday.

In Game 3, the Flames had a three-goal lead and coughed that up in an overtime loss. In the end, that proved devastating. In the deciding game, the Flames couldn’t complete a comeback of their own after the worst start imaginable.

Brian Elliott let in a soft opening goal to Patrick Eaves and was pulled less than six minutes into the game. Nate Thompson and the Ducks capitalized again, just 1:08 later, this time beating Chad Johnson.

That put Calgary behind right away and despite a second-period power play goal from Sean Monahan — his fourth of the post-season — the Flames never fully recovered.

A big reason for that was the play of Ducks goalie John Gibson. He was pulled in Game 3, then watched as back-up Jonathan Bernier stopped every shot he faced in Anaheim’s comeback win.

But Gibson regrouped nicely in Game 4, making 36 saves, a number of which were of the difficult variety. Going back to Gibson was apparently an easy decision for coach Randy Carlyle, and the Ducks were ultimately rewarded with a stellar effort from their netminder.

The Ducks should now get a substantial rest heading into the second round. The Edmonton-San Jose series is guaranteed to go at least six games. A few days in between games could certainly be beneficial for Anaheim, particularly when it comes to injured defensemen Cam Fowler and Sami Vatanen.

Vatanen wasn’t available for Game 4, while Fowler has resumed skating since his April 4 knee injury.

 

That didn’t take long: Flames goalie Elliott given the hook early in first period

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It appears Brian Elliott was on a short leash. A very short leash.

The Flames goalie was given the hook just 5:38 into the first period of Game 4 after allowing a (very) soft opening goal to Patrick Eaves of the Anaheim Ducks. Chad Johnson entered the game to replace Elliott.

The Flames need a win to stave off elimination and a first-round sweep to the Ducks.

After blowing a three-goal lead that resulted in a devastating overtime loss in Game 3, the Flames had a horrible start in Game 4.

With Johnson into the game, Ducks’ forward Nate Thompson increased Anaheim’s lead just 1:08 later, silencing the home crowd in Calgary.

Ducks cement Pacific lead as Getzlaf continues his mammoth March

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By the end of Sunday night, the Anaheim Ducks removed all doubt: they’re on top of the Pacific Division.

Now, it’s not the sort of substantial lead that the sliding San Jose Sharks squandered; Anaheim merely leads the Sharks and Edmonton Oilers by two standings points after beating the New York Rangers 6-3.

With everyone at 75 games played, it’s kind of nice to enjoy the clarity that comes with a clear lead (though the Sharks and Oilers will disagree):

Pacific top four (all teams with 75 games played)

1. Ducks – 93 points (38 ROW, 41 W)
2. Sharks – 91 poitns (40 ROW, 42 W)
3. Oilers – 91 points (37 ROW, 41 W)

Flames – 88 points (38 ROW, 42 W)

The Ducks are now on a four-game winning streak and managed an 8-1-1 mark in their last 10 contests.

With all due respect to Patrick Eaves‘ two goals, it’s Ryan Getzlaf who’s really playing outstanding hockey. He generated four assists in this one, giving him eight helpers in his past four games. He now has a whopping 20 points in March.

Winners and losers of 2017 NHL trade deadline

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Ah, the trade deadline. A day where people make jokes about the lack of things happening while pundits get caught on camera with food on their faces. It is a glorious time of year for message boards but not so much for anyone taking the day off for the (in)action.

It should go without saying, but assessing the trade deadline so soon after it expires is about as calming as defusing a bomb.

Let’s get rolling with subjective opinions that will inevitably make people angry …

(For the full list of trades, click here.)

Winners

Capitals

The team on top of the NHL’s standings nabbed the top target of the trade deadline in Kevin Shattenkirk. Oh yeah, they did so without giving up an arm and a leg. You won’t find a richer example of the rich getting richer during this deadline.

Canucks

*cough*

*takes a breath, rubs eyes in bewilderment*

Prolific punching bag Jim Benning flips the script by getting great returns for Jannik Hansen and Alex Burrows. It would have been even better if he did more, but moving Ryan Miller and similar dented cans is easier said than done.

Lightning

The Ben Bishop return was … not good. The wizard known as GM Steve Yzerman worked some magic overall, however, flipping Mark Streit to get rid of the last year of Valtteri Filppula‘s contract while amassing a war chest of mid-round draft picks.

Penguins

Look, the Capitals were bigger winners. People may only remember that considering Pittsburgh’s smaller victories, but the Penguins added potentially crucial defensive depth in Mark Streit, Ron Hainsey and Frank Carrado.

Also … your mileage may vary on this, but keeping Marc-Andre Fleury might be for the best. After all, what if Matt Murray gets hurt?

Struggling prospects like Frank Corrado and Curtis Lazar (and their former teams)

Uncomfortable situations turn into refreshing changes of venue. Meanwhile, the Leafs and Senators get some decent assets to part ways with struggling prospects. Everyone wins?

Coyotes

It’s a letdown not to move Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan, but goodness, that Martin Hanzal trade was deft. After surveying the assets moving during the deadline, the Michael Stone swap looks pretty nice, too.

Red Wings

Benning and Ken Holland are finally seeing the light about rebuilding. Detroit still has a ton of work to do, but this is a promising start.

Avalanche

They got something for Jarome Iginla and didn’t panic-move Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog. Sometimes the best move is standing pat.

Blackhawks

A lot of these winners are sort of like a struggling math student getting a sympathy pass from a teacher to graduate from high school. Chicago is a good example … they did OK, but Johnny Oduya‘s banged up and past his prime, so they didn’t exactly set the world on fire.

Losers

Deadline day

In other words, another year where you made a mistake if you took the day off just for the deadline. Honestly, at this point you don’t deserve much sympathy.

Sabres

Buffalo has been killing it at selling, but this year they couldn’t get anything for Dmitri Kulikov or Cody Franson. Before you post an angry comment, note that even Tim Murray seemed disappointed.

Kings

The good news is that Ben Bishop came cheaply. Still, Jarome Iginla has lost about a thousand steps (as painful as that is to admit), to the point where you wonder if he’s even an upgrade over Dwight King. Missing the playoffs would really hurt a team with an aging core … did they really improve their odds?

Blues

Then again, the team they’re chasing is in a dour state of mind. That Shattenkirk trade flat-out stings, and they did very little other than re-signing Patrik Berglund, so fans don’t even enjoy valuable distractions.

Ducks

Anaheim didn’t clear up its questions on defense and overpaid for Patrick Eaves. In an unusually wide-open West, the Ducks barely even waddled forward.

Rangers

Consider them “winners” if you’re sold on Brendan Smith. Otherwise, they lag behind other contenders.

Senators

Time will tell about Lazar, but the Burrows trade and immediate extension is a real head-scratcher.

Simplicity

Holy smokes, the conditional picks and salary retention details made certain trades tough to follow.

Some highlights:

(click the above tweet for deep confusion.)

/brain explodes

Teams dealing with the Canadiens

Montreal might not be clearly improved after the deadline, but few teams are going to be as annoying as this group. Steve Ott and Dwight Kings make an already cantankerous group borderline nuclear.

This post, in June

Looking back over the years, deadline day analysis almost always looks dumb in retrospect. Maybe this will reverse-jinx it?

(Oh no, this post was just reverse-reverse-jinxed, wasn’t it?)