February 26 2013 09:55PM
Being that it was the third time your Calgary Flames have played these Minnesota Wild in the past sixteen days, you'd think there would be a solid game plan that would allow Calgary to get out of St. Paul with two points, a game above .500 and their third win in a row.
A win would have drawn the Flames to within one point of 8th in the West and finally gain some momentum with a tough stretch of games looming near. Too bad they couldn't pull it all together, because despite playing poorly once again in front of a goalie not named Kiprusoff, Joey MacDonald played pretty damn well; giving his team chance after chance to redeem their poor play with even a lucky bounce or a garbage goal.
There's only so many chances you get to stifle a guy like Zach Parise in one game; tonight the Flames pushed those odds one too many times.
The Flames TJ Brodie took the first penalty of the game, but Calgary played a textbook PK, keeping the Wild to the outside and limiting their chances. The game remained in a scoreless knot, which is something everyone has come to expect when these two teams get together.
Half way through the period, the Flames would get their first kick at the PP and it didn't take long to cash in. Jason Zucker would go to the box for slashing and just seven seconds later, Mike Cammalleri would take the shot from the circle and as the puck bounced up over Backstrom, Alex Tanguay would pick it out of mid-air and into the net.
At 13:22 of the period, the teams played a little 4 on 4. Minnesota controlled the play like they were on the PP. With the Wild buzzing around the net, it appeared that Zach Parise had tied the game as he muscled the puck around MacDonald. The play had to be reviewed and after the war room in Toronto took a look, it was determined that Giordano [that's Jordano now BTW] had reacted quickly enough that the puck never fully crossed the line. No goal, and the Flames maintained their one goal lead.
Calgary got another shot at the PP late in the 1st but wasn't that effective. Iggy actually got the best chance with only seconds left on the clock as he broke around Ryan Suter with a brief break in on Backstrom. He got the shot away but probably wished he took a bit more time as Backstrom made the save with relative ease. Calgary out-shot Minny 12-9, but were out-shot by the Wild 7-4.
The Flames only registered two hits in the period, oddly enough, both coming from Sven Baertschi!
As is the norm with these guys in the middle frame, not much of anything happened, on the scoreboard anyways. Calgary actually was very fortunate to keep their lead as the Wild started with an 11-0 run in scoring chances. Most of that was thanks to the Flames parade to the penalty box. Despite six of the Wild's chances coming on the PP, MacDonald held his ground to protect the lead.
With five left in the second, the Wild's Charlie Coyle took a 5 min major for a pretty dirty elbow to the face of Matt Stajan. The PP was a good chance to put some breathing room between them and Minny, unfortunately the boys couldn't get much of anything going, and the advantage came and went without reward, or a shot for that matter...
Our own Kent Wilson sums it up best...
Chances were 12-3 MIN. The Wild hit posts, shot pucks wide and hit MacD in the chest all period. I guess the hockey gods kinda owe one to the Flames. Too bad they have to use up good luck against a lousy team though.
The third started right where the second left off, with both teams trying to establish something, anything to give them an edge in this game. After killing off another early PP when Mike Rupp did his second swan dive of the game, the Flames started to push back themselves.
After wasting the 5 min PP, Calgary got another chance when Curtis Glencross was high-sticked, the leaking made it a 4 min advantage which the Flames... again did nothing with only managing one shot. For you at home keeping score, that's one shot over nine minutes with the man advantage.
When that happens, you don't need to be a fortune teller to know what happens next.
At 15:41, Jason Zucker would tie the game for the Wild. Then with 42 seconds left in the third, Giordano would lose his stick and in a scramble to clear the puck, would take that dumb new delay-of-game penalty.
The Flames would make it to OT, but not long passed it. Zach Parise would get the PP goal just 27 seconds in and that was all she wrote.
Why The Flames Lost ...
Because despite the Flames being able to stave off the Wild's power-play, they couldn't do anything to get their own going. Yes the Tanguay goal came with the man up, but after that, each power play looked worse than the previous one.
You just can't expect to win many games when you go one for seven on the PP, especially when two of them were a 5 min and 4 min advantage consecutively. What made matters worse is that Calgary couldn't score at even strength either to compensate for the lackluster special teams.
Because when you keep a team at 0 for 6 on their power-play, you just can't let them make that 1 for 7 when it hits OT. The Wild gave the puck away 10 times while only managing 2 takeaways, yet the Flames couldn't make them pay for mistakes.
I'm going to go with MacBackup tonight.
He played a solid game and truth be told, he was the only reason the Flames survived long enough to pick up at least one point in overtime.
MacDonald stopped 28 of 30 shots. Of those 30 shots, Kent counted 25 of them as scoring chances. The Flames only generated 13 themselves on 21 shots; and I don't know how many of those were "10 Bellers"??
The more MacDonald plays, the more comfortable he looks, and he is giving the team every reason to show confidence in playing in front of him. There is little doubt that the net is now his until Kipper returns.
Who knows, he may even hold onto it longer than that...
Sum it Up
This was one the Flames really wanted to get under their belt, and they should have. Unfortunately they just didn't get the job done.
They had a chance tonight because of the play of their goalie, he was poised to steal them one, like they have seen Kipper do on many occasions; Too bad they didn't remember how the pulled one out of a hat only, ohhhh two days ago.
The team now moves on to Colorado.. The Avs are another team that this team has to consider completely beatable, and a must-win. It won't be that easy though now that the Av's have
Gabriel Gabe Landeskog back in the line-up.
However, no matter who is in the line-up, two things are for certain. They won't have Ryan O'Reilly, and they are currently two point behind your Flames. Calgary needs to make sure the Av's stay below them, because after this it gets pretty tough and there won't be many gimmies.
Gametime is 7:00 PM on Thursday. Pick your poison... SNET-CGY or Peter Maher on Fan960.