November 24 2010 08:55PM
That was as uneventful a hockey game as we've seen involving the Flames this season, and that includes a 3-0 loss to Florida early on in the season. Calgary's 2-1 shootout loss to the Devils on Wednesday night was difficult to watch, and the end result was either positive or negative...the negative, a third straight loss for the Flames. The positive...they earned a point.
Not much. Seriously. New Jersey had the only goal in the first period thanks to David Clarkson, who had his ankle his in the right spot on Mattias Tedenby's shot; it came on the tail end of a New Jersey powerplay at 13:06. Shots finished 7-6 in the first period in favor of Calgary.
The second period was probably Calgary's best, as they managed to fire 11 shots on Johan Hedberg in the Devils net, but were unable to come away with anything, still trailing by a goal heading into the final frame. Kent had scoring chances 7-3 in favor of the Flames in the middle frame, but for the most part it was another lackluster twenty minutes for both sides.
The Flames managed to even the score 78 seconds into the third period, as Rene Bourque did a nice job to tip Mark Giordano's point shot, again on the tail end of the powerplay. Shots would finish 5-3 in the final frame with chances counting 6-0 in Calgary's favor, but it was mostly two teams playing not to lose. Most everything was focused on protecting the tie and taking things to extra time, which is exactly where this thing went.
Overtime was controlled by New Jersey, generating a few chances, and Flames backup goalie Henrik Karlsson made a few big saves, one in particular on Patrik Elias. So, on to a shootout we went, as Calgary was unable to score on their three shots...Niklas Hagman, Alex Tanguay and Brendan Morrison were all foiled. Ilya Kovalchuk scored the only Devils shootout goal, and that got us to the final score...New Jersey wins 2-1.
One Good Reason...
...why the Flames lost? Um...because they didn't win the shootout. Honestly, this game wasn't really controlled by either team, and it's not like any one factor played into a win or loss. It was fairly vanilla on both sides for 60 minutes and it went to extra time because it was two average teams playing tight hockey. The Devils won in extra time, and handed Calgary their loss.
I thought defenceman Mark Giordano was really good in this game, as he was one of the best examples of how Calgary protected their backup goaltender. For as much as this game was fairly meh, Calgary did do a nice job of playing a good defensive game in front of Karlsson. Giordano blocked a pair of shots and did a nice job positionally...plus he started things off on Calgary's third period goal.
Sum It Up
It wasn't a great hockey game, but you can squint and see some positives for Calgary. A good second period, a good job defensively, and a pretty good performance from Henrik Karlsson in net. The final point is important to touch on, as I feel Karlsson has at the very least earned himself another shot. By that, I think he's earned the opportunity to get back into the lineup the next time the coaching staff feels Miikka Kiprusoff needs a break.
Calgary did enough to win this game, even if they didn't do much...they were playing a bad, bad Devils team, but they didn't put it away when the opportunity was there. I think there was a little of the "playing to your opponent" in this one, and I think the "playing tight" factor also played its part. Two good teams loom next...Philly on Friday and Pittsburgh on Saturday.