Postgame: That One Stings

Pat Steinberg
March 20 2011 09:54PM

The Calgary Flames did so much positive Sunday night in Anaheim, erasing a three goal deficit and being in a position to come away with a massive regulation win.  Instead, a late powerplay goal from Teemu Selanne sent this game to overtime before the Ducks were able to use a Toni Lydman winner for another crucial victory.  It's a disappointing 5-4 loss for Calgary, and it makes tomorrow's game in Los Angeles even more important.

What Happened

This one got off the rails in a really quick way, with the Ducks scoring just 78 seconds into the first period thanks to their captain.  Ryan Getzlaf took a perfect pass from Corey Perry at 1:18 which was good for Getlzaf's 18th of the season which lead quickly to an  Anaheim powerplay.  This time it was Perry on the doorstep at 3:36, banging home his 38th on the year for a quick 2-0 lead, which swelled to 3-0 at 5:49.  With a delayed penalty coming to Calgary, Francois Beauchemin just put the puck on net from the point and it eluded Miikka Kiprusoff, and this game looked to be getting out of hand.  Head Coach Brent Sutter essentially would call a timeout following the third goal, making a goaltending switch and sending Henrik Karlsson off the bench, and you wondered if maybe it would spark the Flames like it has before.  Well, it did, and against a team that allows a lot of shots and a lot of zone time, Calgary would start to chip away, first at 18:52 of the first period with Tom Kostopoulos finishing a great shift with a slap shot goal beating Dan Ellis.  Matt Stajan made the pass, and he, Jackman and Kostopoulos really seemed to spark the team with that goal, as  the Flames were down 3-1 after 20.

Calgary really started to tilt things in the second period, and they'd end up on the plus side of the scoring chance count overall, and with a couple of rewards on those scoring chances.  At 8:04, the Flames were able to take advantage of a poor defensive play from Beauchemin, which allowed Curtis Glencross to take the puck down low and fire a pass from the corner to the front of the net; a charging Rene Bourque would convert his 25th on the season to make this a one goal game.  At 16:44, this game was tied, after Kostopoulos would tip home a Steve Staios shot from the point, and after a span of some really good hockey, Calgary was rewarded with a tie game heading to the third period.

The final frame saw the Flames take their first lead on the powerplay, on a very patient play from Jarome Iginla, ripping a shot home from the left circle and putting the visitors ahead by a goal, and playing very well in the process.  Calgary had been the better team at even strength for much of this game, and it had given them a deserved lead.  And then some penalty trouble.  Matt Stajan would take a hooking call at 12:12, but the Flames would kill off the Anaheim powerplay, but you almost knew Rene Bourque's interference call at 16:58 was going to come back and bite them.  And it did.  Teemu Selanne would tip home a Getzlaf shot, and a second powerplay goal for the Ducks had this game off to overtime.

Calgary had a glorious chance to put the game away when Iginla was sprung on a breakaway, but he wasn't able to fully corral the bouncing puck and was thwarted by Ellis.  Karlsson got in on the thrwarting act, as Steve Staios would haul down Bobby Ryan on a breakaway, earning a penalty shot; a penalty shot that Hank would stop rather easily.  And then four seconds later, Lydman ended the game with his fourth, dealing the Flames a pretty crushing loss.

One Good Reason...

...why the Flames lost?  Their start.  Plain and simple, after the midway mark of the first period (when it was already 3-0 Ducks), Calgary started to take this game over 5-on-5.  They came all the way back and had themselves a lead, but this would have been a rather easy win for the Flames had they not been complete garbage to open things up.  In the end, their start killed them.

Red Warrior

He goes Nonstopoulos everybody...Tom Kostopoulos made it a career night, with two goals and an assist, and really doing a nice job to help spark the Calgary comeback.  I've said it a few times, eating crow along the way, but the move that brought TK and Anton Babchuk in from Carolina has turned out to be a resounding success, regardless if Babchuk is back next season.

Sum It Up

It's a pretty big loss, as we update the elimination number for the Flames...

Elimination Number: 7.5

Right now, that E number factors in both the Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks.  Overall, there were a lot of positive things for the Flames on this night, but a poor start and a late penalty denied them an opportunity to come away with a crucial regulation win.  The Kings aren't going to be easy tomorrow, as they've been playing some darn good hockey as of late.

Note: Curtis Glencross also set a career high on this night, with two points pushing him to 41 on the season.

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Pat Steinberg can be heard daily on the Fan960 in Calgary at can be read at the FAN 960. Born and raised in Calgary, Steinberg considers himself a huge fan of all sports including the CFL, MMA and 13 round bare knuckle boxing matches. Follow Steinberg on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Fan960Steinberg.
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#1 Palt
March 20 2011, 10:07PM
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The officiating tonight was terrible. Absoleutley terrible, especially in the third. I know the refs dont wanna have powerplays decide the game, but they cant just make crap calls late in the game. I understand the Bourque call, buy... him and Brandon Mcmillian were battling in front of the net, and Mcmillian\s cross checking him. Bourque pushes back, and suddenly Mcmillian turns into an 8 year old girl. Anaheim had no business being in this game, the Flames deserved two points, and the refs screwed them over.

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#2 SmellOfVictory
March 20 2011, 10:27PM
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Missed the game. Looking at TOI, is it safe to assume that Tangs and Iggy ended up playing together again? Who centered them, and how far down the ladder was Backlund knocked down during EV?

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#3 Robert Cleave
March 20 2011, 10:39PM
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@SmellOfVictory

Joker ended up in the middle, and Backlund got to have a nice seat.

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#5 CitizenFlame
March 21 2011, 12:20AM
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Say what you want about the poor start (there is no way the Flames should give up that start to a team who played to OT the night before), but they overcame that only to be jobbed by the refs at the end of the game. Stajan's "hooking" call was crap and Bourque's "elbowing" penalty would actually require an elbow be thrown, no?

As if it isn't an uphill battle already without getting screwed over by the league. It may be irrationale but games like this always make me feel like the league has it out against the Flames. Felt that way since '04.

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#6 CitizenFlame
March 21 2011, 12:24AM
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Flames are still only out by a point but it sure feels like this is the first nail in the coffin. Without breaking down all the numbers the Flames probably have to run the table from here. If Pat's elimination number is 7.5 I guess that's what the Flames need to do with 8 remaining. All those games in hand really coming back to bite'em now. From here forward, just win.

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#7 Vintage Flame
March 21 2011, 12:31AM
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I asked Pat an interesting question or scenario on overtime tonight, and I was quite interested in his response.

He had said that he thinks the Flames need 6 wins to get into the playoffs, so I asked..

Edmonton - 2 games [4 pts] Colorado - 1 game [2 pts] St. Louis - 1 game [2 pts]

These 4 games would give us 8 pts, and still requiring 2 more wins. Now I suggested that 1 of those wins was going to have to come from the game against Anaheim, obviously it being a regulation time win too. So where would the other win come from. My premise was that if the Flames beat LA tomorrow.. er, tonight, that would the Flames not be back on pace to make the post season.

Now obviously there are some serious caveats to this scenario. Most notably, we HAVE to win those "guaranteed games".

Pat suggests that St. Lou is no longer a guaranteed win, having cited how they embarrassed LA the other night, and how they won't soon forget the B2B shutouts at the hands of the Flames. I would hope it's the opposite, and that the Flames are not the ones that forget how they were able to shut them out B2B.

The Flames have to keep in mind that they are the better team and show that on the ice. they can't afford to play down to the level of the opposition, like they are prone to doing. the foot has to be on the jugular right from the start. I think this the mindset, and probably the only mindset that will get them into the post-season.

The same goes for the final bout with the Ducks. We have them in our barn, and who cares what the record was in Anaheim, it has no bearing in the Dome.

Which leaves us the SJ and Van games. can we beat these guys too? Sure, why not? especially since Van is in cruise control now after clinching and most likely will not play a lot of their starters as to avoid risking post season injuries to a team in desperation mode and nothing to lose.

I know the math works against us right now, but I'm choosing the heart side of the formula. If they want this bad enough, it is theirs for the taking. I might be blinded by fandom, but these guys haven't quit all year, so I'm not going to quit on them until it's done.

.... just my rant for the night.. see ya tomorrow.. er.. tonight. Peace!

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#8 CitizenFlame
March 21 2011, 12:43AM
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@Vintage Flame

I agree with everything you say here except for the Vancouver part. I think that they dress their regulars and going into the final game of the season, if that game means something then they will try to eliminate Calgary. We would do it to them. Calgary has not been able to rely on any outside help for quite some time, so I wouldn't go into the final game of the season expecting any from the Canucks.

Calgary is capable of making it, but they need to show up, because they can't keep erasing 3-0 leads. It is hard to predict but the Flames probably need better than 96 pts to make the playoffs. They need to be close to perfect, especially if they don't want to play Vancouver with their playoff lives hanging in the balance.

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#9 Greg
March 21 2011, 12:57AM
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I thought the Flames were done after today, but according to sportsclubstats.com, a 6-2 record still gives them a 75% chance. Given they've got the easiest schedule from here out, it's still in the realm of possibility. That said, they clearly aren't playing .750 hockey anymore and have only 1 win in their last 5 games. Fingers crossed...

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#11 FireOnIce
March 21 2011, 04:17AM
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Once again the Flames bunged it up in the final 2 minutes of the game. Stay out of the damn box in the last 2 minutes, and when the Ducks go on the PP, knock Selanne to the ground if you have to.

The first two Regehr penalties were crap too in my opinion. Definitely, the first hooking on Parros was BS. As well, we got called for high sticking, but then Jokinen took one to the face - no call. Giordano gets split open - no call.

Was Bettman in the stands?

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#12 StatsGuru
March 21 2011, 05:39AM
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@Vintage Flame

Put the math at 97 points to get in. In addition to 6-1-1 being nearly impossible, they need someone to lose a ton of games.

Realistically, Dallas AND Anaheim can't be any better than 5-4-1 over their next ten games.

Additionally, one of Chicago, LA or Nashville can't be any better than 5-5.

If the Flames are going to catch anyone, it looks like it will have to be the Stars as their next six are brutal - including five on the road

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#13 StatsGuru
March 21 2011, 05:41AM
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@Vintage Flame

Put the math at 97 points to get in. In addition to 6-1-1 being nearly impossible, they need someone to lose a ton of games.

Realistically, Dallas AND Anaheim can't be any better than 5-4-1 over their next ten games.

OR

One of Chicago, LA or Nashville can't be any better than 5-5.

If the Flames are going to catch anyone, it looks like it will have to be the Stars as their next six are brutal - including five on the road.

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#14 StatsGuru
March 21 2011, 05:42AM
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Sorry about doubling up there! Though a page back might erase my typo :~(

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#15 StatsGuru
March 21 2011, 06:03AM
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Hooking twice and Interference are "lazy" penalties. The officials missed calls on both sides of the pond. They always do, they are human afterall.

The "trip" in OT looked like it should have been a penalty, rather than a penalty shot, so the refs actually gave the Flames a break there.

In the end, the Flames got the extra power play opportunity.

Flames - TOT (PN-PIM) 3-6 Power Plays (Goals-Opp./PPTime) 1-4/07:25 Ducks - TOT (PN-PIM) 4-8 Power Plays (Goals-Opp./PPTime) 2-3/03:53

When teams take lazy penalties, they usually lose. It stems from a "lazy" coaching staff. Brent Sutter should start making relaxation CD's because I nod off every time he opens his mouth.

Please stop blaming the officials for the Flames fate.

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#16 CitizenFlame
March 21 2011, 06:34AM
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Pat Steinberg wrote:

Stajan's "hooking" call was crap and Bourque's "elbowing" penalty would actually require an elbow be thrown, no?

Sportsnet fonted the Bourque penalty wrong...it was actually an interference call. I though it was borderline still, but there was interference on the play, and Bourque shouldn't have put himself in that situation.

Oh, I missed that. I was seeing red the second I saw "elbowing". I don't think I quit swearing until I woke up this morning. Otherwise, I agree with your take on the play. Borderline, but Bourque likes to put himself in those types of situations.

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#17 John Deere Green
March 21 2011, 08:09AM
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While I applaud everyone's objectivity and never lose faith attitude, I don't share your beliefs. The Flames have fallen back to the style of play that kept them out of the playoff picture for the first 40-50 games. It is so frustrating watching this team throw away unbelievable opportunities. They don't seem to care untill it's to late. Very frustrating from my point of view.

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#18 Kent Wilson
March 21 2011, 09:01AM
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I don't think the Flames are quite October bad right now, but there were bound to fall back down to earth a bit eventually which is what is happening. Injuries to Morrison and Moss aren't helping either.

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#19 Monaertchi Gaudnett
March 21 2011, 09:01AM
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Something weird happened last night. After the third ANA goal, I actually thought that the Flames could come back from that defecit. For the first time in about 156 games, I believed in this team. And I wasn't let down either. They did come back. Sure, they lost in the end, but they turned 3-0 after 5 minutes into a point in a very important game.

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#20 Brent G.
March 21 2011, 09:15AM
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Everyone can blame the officials for this loss but really why dont we take off the blinders and see this game for what it was.

Fact of the matter is Bourque put himself in a situation where he took a really really stupid penalty in the dying minutes of the game right after barely killing another penalty. WHEN we miss the playoffs by 1 point to Anaheim we can look back to that one play and really thank Bourque for his great "contribution."

Einstein once said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." Butter is insane by that definition because Bourque does this CONSTANTLY, yet is played in the final 5 minutes of a close game all of the time. You think he would learn, no?

Why dont we not act like Canuck's fans for a moment and accept they lost on their own merit? Even if Bourque was interfered with first he cross checked the guy right back. A team player takes the abuse instead of putting himself in a situation where he lets the emotion take control and leaves himself vulberable to the ref's. He has a bad attitude and isn't a team player. In fact, maybe if he didnt retaliate they could have drawn a penalty and all but guaranteed a win. Unwilling to pay the price...

As an aside, Statsguru is right. I dont get how everything thinks they control their fate when they control everything but at this point. They could run the table for the remaining 8 games (won't happen) and its irrelevant because the teams ahead of them are better and theres no way they will screw this up already holding a lead and having games in hand.

Thanks Bourque! (Kipper was sh*t tonight too...)

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#21 Tears of RED
March 21 2011, 09:24AM
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I thought the Flames were clear after killing off that bogus Stajan penalty, but when Dork took his penalty for being a bonehead, I knew we were playing with fire. Deja effing vu. At that point I wanted to break my TV, but I just sat and stewed.

4 on 4 in overtime and Flames couldn't make a freaking pass to each other with the exception of the Iggy breakaway. Deke Iggy Deke for crying effing loud. Especially when you haven't gotten full control of the puck!

Another note... I can't believe the amount of bad plays the combo of Jbo and Reggie have been guilty of the last few games. On the first goal, Perry just wait by the end board and got a perfect pass from Reggie.... out front to Getzlaf... boom... almost like that Stempniak goal against Phoenix. Slap the m-fer hard and see if he'll use his face to block the clearing attempt.

FKK!!! I'm just pissed.

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#22 Super_Gio
March 21 2011, 10:13AM
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JBO and Reg had another bad game...

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#23 Tach
March 21 2011, 10:20AM
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There is just so much of this season that echoes last season. Really, if you switched Nov-Dec 2009 for Jan-Feb 2011, the two seasons couldn't look more alike: Hot streak, Cold Streak, so-so down to the wire and a couple unfortunate injuries just to make sure (Langkow/last year, Moss/Morrison this year)

I have hope, but it is fading, fading...

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