March 23 2011 11:24PM
Overall, the season for the Calgary Flames isn't over. They still have six games remaining with a mathematical shot at the NHL postseason, but no one is going to deny what a massive blow Wednesday's 6-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks. In a game that wasn't close at any point, the Flames lost for the sixth time in seven games and saw the worst possible scenario happen on the out of town scoreboard.
An absolute whoopin started right from the get-go, and the Sharks had a 1-0 lead at the three minute mark, with Joe Thornton's cross corner dump being recovered nicely by San Jose, and after a quick cycle, former Flame Jamal Mayers would feed Torrey Mitchell in front for his eighth of the season. But, on their only powerplay of the night, Calgary would draw even at 7:13, as an Olil Jokinen pass deflected off a San Jose stick and right to Jarome Iginla at the side of the net. The captain would chip it up and over Antti Niemi for his 34th and a tie game. The Sharks would strike back just over two minutes later with an NHL first; on a fast break, Andrew Desjardins would rip home his first career goal for another one goal lead. And then another tie game, with a bad Sharks give away ending up on the stick of Cory Sarich at 13:59 and him rifling his fourth of the season past Niemi from the point, and somehow, Calgary was even in this game at two. But just one minute later, San Jose would gear up and take a lead they'd never relinquish again. Patrick Marleau would break in untouched from the blueline in, put a nice move on Miikka Kiprusoff for a 3-2 bulge. The Sharks would go up 4-2 on the powerplay, with Marleau getting it done again on a scramble in front at 17:33. Calgary was within two after one period of play, but probably shouldn't have been, as they were absolutely worked in the opening 20 minutse, with scoring chances going San Jose's way by a 12-3 count. Yikes.
Things settled down in the second period, but it was again all San Jose. The Sharks started toying with the Flames a little, still earning nine scoring chances, and still getting the majority of the puck possession. And yet, thanks to some blind luck, Calgary was back within one at 13:20, as somehow Rene Bourque was able to slip the puck through on a wrap-around. But once again, shortly thereafter, it was a two goal lead with Torrey Mitchell getting his second of the night on another goal mouth scramble, and after 40 the score flattered the Flames and they trailed 5-3.
The Sharks shut things down in the final frame, as you knew they would, and put the proverbial nail in the coffin at 11:55. On a two-on-one, Logan Couture would elect to hold on and shoot, and he'd beat Miikka Kiprusoff for his 28th of the season and a 6-3 lead. The final half of the period was just playing out the string, and the Sharks would roll to a 6-3 win, delivering a massively crushing blow to the Flames.
One Good Reason...
...why the Flames lost? Inspiration for the clip comes from Kent Wilson, but this was a straight paddlin. It was 60 minutes of the Sharks skating circles around the Flames, and even with some verrrrrrrry fortunate bounces giving Calgary life, they were never really in this game. Look at those scoring chances. Honestly. Calgary was absolutely throttled by a better team.
I don't even know. Many were dreadful, some were merely okay, and I guess I'll just go with Cory Sarich. He scored, got in a fight, was very physical, and yeah. There's your Red Warrior.
Sum It Up
As I've said, no one game is going to be THE game that ends Calgary's season. But this one hurts. What hurts even more is the final scores that flashed across the board prior to this one ending. A Chicago regulation win coupled with Anaheim beating Dallas in overtime give us this picture...
Elimination Number: 5
Yep, that's a reallllly low number. Calgary's next game is against Edmonton, and while Oilers fans are chalmping at the bit, they aren't going to lose that game using conventional wisdom. That wisdom doesn't always hold true, and maybe this game is viewed by the team as the death blow too...Calgary has a favorable schedule remaining, but even running the table at a perfect 6-0 might not be good enough folks.