November 03 2010 10:58PM
It may have been a one goal game, but the Detroit Red Wings had the puck so much on Wednesday night that it was going to be hard for anyone to beat them. When it all shook down, the Flames fell 2-1 and were unable to convert upon a late opportunity with a four minute powerplay handed to Detroit.
Once again, the Flames opened the scoring in a rather disjointed, but a rather even first period. Mark Giordano scored his first of the season at 15:58 of the opening frame, thanks to a 4-on-3 powerplay. Iginla and Tanguay drew assists as Calgary opened the scoring for the ninth time this season. It was a weird period, with a ton of penalties called on both teams, but shots finished 12-6 in favor of Detroit.
The second period belonged to the Wings, and they scored both their goals in that middle frame. 1:54 into the second, Mike Modano ripped one past Miikka Kiprusoff from Dan Cleary and Brad Stuart to tie things up, before Justin Abdelkader took advantage of a bad Calgary change to give Detroit the only lead they'd need at 12:05. The Wings dominated possession throughout the middle frame, yet in a statistical blip, they were outchanced 5-3 by the Flames. Kent made a good point in the game thread though, as the Wings had the best chance of the period, and sat back a little after they took their lead.
The third period, once again, belonged to Detroit, as they were stifling and very strong with the puck once again. Kiprusoff had to make a few key saves to keep this game within reach, as the Wings held the chance advantage at 7-5. However, even though Calgary was having difficult time getting the puck from the clutches of the visitors, they still were given a golden opportunity to tie things up. That chance came in the form of a Ruslan Salei double minor for high sticking at 12:55, and were unable to get anything from it. They had one good scoring chance early, and from there, it was very vanilla...the game ended 2-1 in favor of the Wings.
One Good Reason...
....why Calgary lost? Because they just didn't have the puck enough. The final 40 minutes of this hockey game were controlled by the Red Wings, who frustrated the Flames and played a very strong road game. It wasn't necessarily a bad game from the Flames, as they had spans where they looked all right, and were able to keep it within one once they fell down. But because Detroit was so strong in their possession game, it was going to be extremely difficult to claw back into the game. Add in a failed four minute powerplay late, and you're probably not going to win.
This one was tough, because everybody seemed to look similar out there, especially as the game played into Detroit's hands. But I'll go with Craig Conroy, who finished above water in ES chances, was clipping at 60% in the faceoff dot (9/15), and finished with 11:14 of ice time. His 9:03 at even strength? Just slightly lower than the 9:24 that Jarome Iginla played at even strength.
Sum It Up
It just wasn't as good an effort as you'd need to play a good Red Wings team, and a Detroit team that played a very strong road team. The matchups continued as they have for the last little while, with Olli Jokinen's unit playing against the top opposition line...in this case, the Datsyuk group. Overall it wasn't too bad for them, considering the opposition. But Head Coach Brent Sutter really tried to baby the matchups for the top offensive unit off the hop...with Jarome Iginla's line giving some pretty plum assignments, really, to no avail. Stajan wasn't great, Iginla took a bad penalty and wasn't effective, and Tanguay wasn't really on his game either. Stajan especially had a bad game, outchanced 6-1 in only 7:41 of even strength time. Minnesota is up next, on Friday night.