Always look on the bright side of life

Ryan Lambert
March 11 2009 11:59AM

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Only two more games in this road trip!

I'm disappointed, obviously, in how things have gone in the last five or six days. But I'm past the point of being furious over losses like this. I need to temper my disappointment. The Flames did lose to New Jersey after all, and not a team on par with the Thrashers.

But my problem arises with the WAY they lost. They didn't play badly. At least I didn't think so. They were just outclassed by a better team and, perhaps more importantly, a better goaltender. It seems like the games in which Calgary gets its best players all playing their best at the same time are rare. And on the road, it's probably only happened three or four times this season.

The Flames put 37 shots on Martin Brodeur last night (14 of which came on seven power plays), and while they allowed 31, they weren't 31 high-quality shots. Probably not even half that number was from a good area. But Miikka Kiprusoff was outdueled by Marty Brodeur, who's the best goalie ever. So maybe there's not much shame in that.

Of course, the special teams net remains a disaster and that needs to be addressed, but if you're going to lose, lose to the team that's playing better than anyone in the NHL right now, I guess.

Christ.

The Good

Olli Jokinen — Another goal and another very convincing game. Sure the Flames are 1-3-0 with him on the team, but he's hardly the problem.

Mike Cammalleri — Two more points tonight for Cammy, who it really must be said has been the Flames' saving grace this year. I've resigned myself to accepting there's almost no chance he re-signs in Calgary given the cap situation and how much this kind of season will allow him to command (prove me wrong!) but god damn has he been good this year.

Dion Phaneuf — Back to being not-terrible. He wasn't great or anything and yes, he was on the ice for Jamie Langenbrunner's shortie, but it wasn't his fault. Kiprusoff should've had that the whole way.

Team offense — Any time you put up 37 shots on a strong defensive club like New Jersey, you've done something right. The loss isn't on the offense tonight.

The Bad

Losing, again — Those footsteps you hear are the red-hot Canucks sitting just eight points back of the division lead, which I'm starting to think isn't especially safe given that eight of the Flames' last 15 games are on the road and, even worse, four are on the second leg of road back-to-backs.

Detroit — Oh I don't relish having to sit through that one tomorrow night.

The Ugly

Miikka Kiprusoff — He didn't make it easy on himself, that's for sure. Sure, he might have a right to bitch about the amount of time he had to lay in the crease waiting for Zach Parise's game-winner, but the first two goals were not pretty at all. Hopefully getting sat wakes him up, because he has slept through three straight starts.

Adrian Aucoin — He was just brutal.

Special teams net — Yup, that was particularly bad as well. The Flames went 4 for 11 with a shorthanded goal against in special teams situations (1 for 7 PP and 3 for 4 PK). That will win you almost none of your games.

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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 Anonymous
March 11 2009, 04:08PM
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I actually thought Cammalleri didn't have that strong a game. Every time I watched the top line (when they were together), Jokinen and Iginla controlled the play fairly effectively and then when the puck touched #13's stick, it was out of the zone a few seconds later.

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#2 Anonymous
March 11 2009, 04:09PM
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Oh and I agree that Aucoin was absolutely terrible last night, yet again.

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