Back to basics

Ryan Lambert
February 12 2009 10:05AM

hockey_drills_scoring

That's a tough one to swallow.

After the way Calgary pummelled Montreal the other night, you had to figure the team had turned some sort of corner. That maybe, even if it was a home game the Flames had won, the high-octane offense might continue, or the heads-up defense.

No such luck. The Flames' offense was poor once again last night (only 23 shots) and pretty much everything else was unimpressive. How does a team as good (on paper) as Calgary get outshot by Anaheim 30-16 at even strength? And the best part is, there's another game tonight.

Oh the dread we now feel going into any road back-to-backer. There's no way they win tonight, right? I mean, it seems literally impossible. And the Kings aren't playing badly any more either. So that's just great.

The Good

  • Dion Phaneuf-Mark Giordano pairing finally had a good night collectively. Phaneuf was active, getting his stick in passing lanes, and creating turnovers that the Flames took up the ice. Giordano was doing much of the same. It was rather refreshing to see.
  • Miikka Kiprusoff was the best player on the ice. Despite getting peppered with 40 shots, he made 37 saves, and quite a few of them were difficult. Even the game-winning goal got tipped by a defenseman (Phaneuf, funnily) so he can hardly be faulted for the OT loss.
  • Speaking of which, getting *a* point on the road is better than getting no points on the road.
  • The Lombardi line was very good once again.

The Bad

  • Apart from his goal, Todd Bertuzzi was his normal subpar self. This might be the first 20-goal, 30-assist guy that has ever cost less than $2 million and still had a disappointing season.
  • Calgary may have created scoring chances by getting traffic to the front of the net early in the game, but it seemed to completely abandon the strategy once Bertuzzi's goal, the direct result of Iginla getting his ass in JS Giguere's face, went in. "Up 1-0," they said. "That's good enough for us.
  • At some point the Flames need to realize that you don't win hockey games with just two goals.

The Ugly

  • *This spot reserved for every one of Jarome Iginla's last five games*
  • More road losses to playoff teams. Hooray.
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Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
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#1 Kent
February 12 2009, 10:19AM
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You pretty much nailed it.

I railed against Jarome's sub-par season even when the Flames were winning and this is why - having your $7M, #1 forward perform below expectations is never a good thing, especially in the long term. Iginla got 25 minutes of ice last night, and aside from the diving play he made to poke the puck off of Nieds stick during that break-away, almost every single one of them was in vain.

It's one thing if David Moss or Dustin Boyd slump: then they jut suck for 10 minutes or so every night. But the Flames need Iginla to out-play tough competition for nearly half of every game. When he doesn't do that, the burden on every one else gets much bigger.

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#2 cambosmash
February 12 2009, 10:46AM
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Dion Phaneuf has cemented himself with Bertuzzi in the bottom 50 IN THE LEAGUE in +/-. On a plus team no less. How does a "Norris Candidate" do that? By being full of himself. That's how. The only other players in the league entrenched in mediocrity on a decent team are the Ducks 4th liners.

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#3 merzer131
February 12 2009, 04:35PM
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I can't figure out for the life of me why Iggy is playing so badly. It's strange.

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