A lesson learned

Ryan Lambert
April 19 2009 10:06AM

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It turns out that 20 minutes' worth of effort doesn't cut it in the playoffs. Who knew?

The most telling stat of the night, I thought, was that the Flames had 21 hits in the first period after having just 24 in all of Game 1. It showed that the Flames brought a fire to the game and simply wanted to own the period and silence the crowd. Problem is this: While 21 hits in the first period is an unbelievable total, the mere 16 they had for the remainder of the night is what put them in a two-game hole headed back to Calgary.

There was a noticable difference in the Flames' approach for the first 20 minutes and the final 40, and it's no surprise that in the former period of time, they outscored Chicago 2-0 and were outscored 3-0 in the latter.

It would be one thing if I thought the Flames' level of intensity was unsustainable (and it might have been to a certain extent) but when that level goes from the heights it reached in the first to the depths to which it sank in the second and third, you're asking for trouble.

The Good

The power play — Oh my god. It scored. It actually scored. The stat on TSN last night (and I don't remember the exact number now, of course) was that the Flames played over 85 minutes of man-up hockey between power play goals, which is so hilariously impotent that I don't even know how to react to it.

First-period Jarome Iginla — There was the spark the team needed. He was everywhere, laying good hits on people, getting the puck to the net and, obviously, scoring the first Flames goal. Where he had just three shots in Game 1, he had four in the opening 20 last night and really set the tone.

Olli Jokinen — Putting him on the third line did wonders for his mental preparation, I think. He came out guns blazing and, unlike The Captain, didn't seem to slow down very much as the game progressed.

Dion Phaneuf — Seemed to me like he had a very strong game. He was on the ice for only one goal against, and that was Jon Toews' gorgeous power play goal right at the start of the second period. Not much anyone could do on that.

Rene Bourque — He may not be getting on the scoresheet, but I guarantee every Blackhawk, especially Patrick Kane, knows exactly who he is.

The Bad

Post-first-period Jarome Iginla — Two shots. That's it. He was spent. Which is, of course, unacceptable. And as Iginla goes, so go the Flames.

The Ugly

Jordan Leopold — If he never sees the ice for the remainder of this series, he will have been on it far too much. He keeps taking bonehead, unnecessary penalties and doesn't do enough in his own end to make up for the occasional successful stretch pass that he seems to love attempting.

Faceoffs — After winning just 40 percent of the draws on Thursday, the Flames improved. By two percent. That's not helpful.

Mike Keenan — If he can't get these guys to play at a steady level for a full 60, and he has yet to do it in this postseason, then this team is doomed and he should be fired. The disparity in quality of play is totally unconscionable.

A 2-0 hole — Not where any of us wanted to be.

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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 Angela
April 19 2009, 11:25AM
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Solid recap of the game.

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#2 Chris
April 19 2009, 11:54AM
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Time for the Flamers to rebuild from scratch, get rid of the old crusty have-been Alberta farm boys and get some real skill. Lets sweep this series away and get on with it.

Get on with the rebuild. I know its humbling for the Flamers to realize that after 5 years of being self proclaimed "cup contenders" their mediocrity gets them a handful of extra games over the teams that miss the playoffs every single year (ie Leafs).

Max'd up to the cap, zero prospects... What are they going to do in a few years - if they don't adjust really soon this team is gonna be the Ottawa Senators of the West.

Fire Keenan, and Sutter.

c

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#3 The Menace
April 19 2009, 12:37PM
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I think Edmonton might have lucked out with the terrible season they had; at least the Oilers will get better draft picks, and they will have a much different looking squad next year. Will the 2010 Flames look (or perform) that much different than these 2009 Flames?

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