January 17 2012 11:30PM
Continuing a really tough stretch, the Calgary Flames did most of what they could for success against a pretty good opponent, but in the end, the Flames kicked off a three game road trip falling 2-1 in a shootout at the hands of the San Jose Sharks. Miikka Kiprusoff was outstanding along the way, as Calgary wasn't able to hold a one goal lead heading into the final frame.
The opening 40 minutes didn't see much offensively at all from the Flames, and the first period started that trend. Calgary managed six shots on Antti Niemi, but nothing overly dangerous; they also played with a little fire, as San Jose hit a pair of posts in the first period, which ended scoreless.
The second was much the same, with the Sharks meeting the iron again on another quality scoring opportunity and allowing the Flames very little offensively. But credit Calgary, as they opened the scoring with an opportunistic shot from Chris Butler, scoring his second from the left point at 12:07. It was an odd bounce that helped the Flames, as Jarome Iginls'a initial pass was intended for Mike Cammalleri but instead came to Butler. Down in the scoring chance count, the Flames had the lead after two periods.
Ironically, the third period for the Flames was actually their best, but it also saw them allow their only regulation goal. Torrey Mitchell's fifth came off a scramble in the slot at 10:44, sending this game to overtime, with a couple outstanding stops from Kiprusoff along the way.
Overtime saw the Sharks win it...oh wait. Justin Braun's overtime winner was waved off as it was deemed Tommy Wingels interfered with Kiprusoff in front, so it was off to a shootout. Both Jarome Iginla and Mike Cammalleri were unsuccessful in their attemps while Michal Handzus and Brent Burns were good on their tries, handing Calgary their second consecutive loss.
One Good Reason...
...why the Flames lost? Regardless of how the first 40 mintues went, the reason they lost this game was a coin flip shootout. Calgary had a lead after two periods, even if they were maybe a little fortunate to be there thanks to three posts and some solid Kipper stops. An overtime winner didn't count either, so it was off to a 50/50 situation in the shootout, with San Jose coming away with the win.
As fun as Iginla was to watch in the thrid period, I've gotta give it to Kiprusoff. He kept Calgary in this one through the first two periods, as the Sharks had a 13-4 edge in scoring chances after two periods. It was one of his better games of the season, and he's very deserving of the nod tonight.
Sum It Up
Hey, Calgary was outdone for the most part through the first two periods but was able to come away with a lead. It would have been nice to see them get the full two, but knowing how slanted things were for much of the opening 40, seeing them come away with a point against a red hot Sharks team isn't the worst fate in the world. Their third period was pretty strong as was their overtime, so there are things to build on positively heading into LA on Thursday night.