February 06 2009 08:35AM
The bad news: The Flames went 0-3-1 against the Blackhawks with 19 goals against in those four games. The good news: They don't gotta play the Blackhawks no more.
It was a real test last night to struggle through that entire game. Whatever problems had been following Calgary on the road have seemingly followed it home to continue the torment. This is the reason Mike Keenan breaks sticks in practice and Darryl Sutter yells swear words in closed-door meetings.
The team, for the third game in a row, was flat and seemingly disinterested in doing anything that it takes to, y'know, win at hockey. Lazy breakouts, carelessness with the puck and shiftless defensive zone coverage led to last night's five-goal assault that left Miikka Kiprusoff dead to rights, the Flames on the business end of another sound beating, and a bad taste in fans' mouths.
And certainly most impressive was the way the Blackhawks handled the Flames in all four games this season. There was rarely a point in any of them when you felt like Calgary had a legitimate chance of slinking away with a win. So now the Flames have given up three, four and five goals in the last three games. A date with free-falling Anaheim on Saturday afternoon might not be the worst thing in the world, but the Ducks are also capable of putting up big numbers if they feel like it.
Christ. Worrying about the Ducks. It's really come to this.
- The Blackhawks went 0 for 5 on the power play, including not scoring on a four-minute roughing double minor handed to Andre Roy (who else?). That's rather encouraging given the recent state of the Flames' penalty kill (only 3 for 4 against Colorado, 3 for 5 against Dallas) and the Blackhawks' top-10 power play percentage.
- Todd Bertuzzi was, for once, not completely part of the problem. He still took a cementhead penalty in the first, but he scored soon after that and he, along with Adam Pardy, were the only Flames to finish the game a plus-1.
- The fact that I was able to come up with two things for this section. (maybe this one should go under "The Astonishing")
- Calgary is done with Chicago. I shouldn't have to keep writing things of this nature.
- Pretty much everything.
- Calgary is now 0-3-0 in February with an average of 2.0 goals for and 4.0 against. Great way to start a month. In January they went 8-3-0 and were averaging 3.5 for and 2.8 against. That's a big swing of -2.7 goals/game right there.
- The Flames might have to play the Blackhawks in the postseason. Agh!
- "Who left his leadership in the closet? JAROOOOOOME!" Jarome Iginla may have picked up an assist on Bertuzzi's early goal, but he was also on the ice every single time the Blackhawks scored. He finished the game minus-4. Mike Cammalleri? Minus-3. It's good when your best players, including your captain, show up to play in the first home game after a bad stretch on the road. Not that the Flames would know anything about that. Iginla has been painfully ineffectual for the last couple weeks. If you can name the last time he took a game by the scruff of the neck and led the Flames to a victory they didn't deserve, I will honestly be astounded.
- Calgary is now just 1 for 9 on the power play in the last three games. That's an appreciable drop in production for a man advantage that was hovering just under 20 at the end of January. They haven't even looked all that menacing in not scoring, either.
- Calgary's average margin of defeat against the Blackhawks this year? Three (4.75/g-1.75/g). That's with an overtime win which, by law, has to be just one goal.
- Just one point of a possible eight from Chicago, now one of the top three teams in the West. Yeah, that's how good teams do against other good teams. Calgary is goin' nowhere fast come playoff time if this crap keeps up.