January 24 2012 10:06PM
When you're generating as little offensively as the Calgary Flames have of late, there are going to be nights where allowing even one goal is going to be too much. Such was the case Tuesday night, as the Flames fell to the San Jose Sharks 1-0 in their final game prior to the All Star break. While they continue to do a good job limiting the opposition, they're just not generating enough to put up wins at a sustainable pace.
I liked Calgary's start to this one, racking up a 6-1 edge in scoring chances before the Sharks decided to start skating again. Lee Stempniak likely had the best chance for Calgary in the first, on a wrap-around opportunity from Lee Stempniak while a Sharks flurry in front late in the frame had the puck glance off the post.
The second period was far less even, with the Pacific Division leaders taking things over withan 11-3 shot edge, four of those counting as chanecs. The ice was severely tilted in San Jose's favor, with the Flames having a difficult time generating much of anything. A couple of Miikka Kiprusoff stops kept things scoreless though heading to the third.
After a couple of good chances to start the final frame, the game remained scoreless and settled into a groove once again. The deadlock was finally broken at 11:35, with Benn Ferriero putting home a puck that was stopped nicely on two occasiosn prior by Kiprusoff. Logan Couture did a nice job pushing the puck to a spot where Ferriero could finish the play off. From there, the Flames racked up a couple of quality chances in chase mode, but Antti Niemi did his job shutting the door en route to a 25 save shutout.
One Good Reason...
...why the Flames lost? They didn't generate enough offensively. As Kent said in the scoring chances thread, it can become a dangerous game when trying to limit things at one end and not doing much at the other. Good teams like the Sharks have the ability to battle through that, and despite a pair of posts prior, they were finally able to break through. Calgary has picked up some points while playing similar hockey as of late, so they were bound to come up empty at some point.
No one on the top two lines, that's for sure. I'll go with Blair Jones, as I thought he centered Calgary's most effective line at even strength with Alex Tanguay and Tom Kostopoulos on his flank. The top six forwards really struggled tonight, generating just three shots between them, and getting a ton put up on them at the other side. When playing forwards like Couture, Thornton, Pavelski, and Marleau on the other side, games like that are going to have negative dividends.
Sum It Up
The team wasn't overly thrilled with their effort overall, point specifically at the second period. The thing is, even though the middle frame wasn't great, they were still scoreless heading to the final 20, so I don't see that being a huge thing. However, wanting to head into the All Star break on a high, the team certainly wanted to push a little harder than they did here. Now a week between games, as the Flames get set for the Red Wings next Tuesday night.