March 11 2013 11:53PM
Okay, stop me if you've heard this one before...
Tonight your Calgary Flames looked to reach the .500 mark. It's the eighth time they've attempted the feat, succeeding once. In fact they were above the mark for a short period until this road trip
After having their dignity, not to mention their you-know-what's handed to them from their former coach, GM, and his merry band of brothers, Calgary would try once again to beat the Kings.
Not sure how the boys started out on Saturday as I was fortunate enough to miss the first two periods. But in the first five minutes tonight, they came out with something to prove. Out-hitting, shooting and dominating the face-off circle.
Then at 5:09, Mark Giordano took a penalty for hooking. With LA's PP not being enough of a threat, Calgary found it to be unnecessary to cover Dustin Brown as he hung out chatting with Joey MacDonald, telling him how he was about to make it 1-0 for the Kings. At 5:39, he did just that and it was. Five minutes later, Jarrett Stoll would make it 2-0 when he too was left open in the high slot.
Calgary managed to find a tourniquet for the rest of the period. In fact, on paper they were the better team. They led in shots (8-7), hits (16-10) and even in the face-off circle (10-5). They out-chanced the Kings 5-3 in the first, but LA got two of those three passed MacDonald and that's why they ended the frame up by a deuce.
Don't worry "Joey, we're not angry anymore..."
Calgary came out in the second hitting some more. The Kings were getting away with some liberties. When the Flames finally got another PP 5 mins in, more fortunate bounces and the Flames inability to penetrate the PK, left Calgary 0 for 2.
After the successful kill, the Kings went for the kill. For about two mins straight the Flames staved off deepening the hole they were in, largely in part to some big saves from MacDonald.
That set the stage for the rest of the period as the Kings ran rough-shot over the Flames for the remainder of the second.
"This period is all Kings. Chances are 6-1. Flames are lucky to still be in it at this point."
The Kings would add one more chance to that total, and as Kent said... Calgary was lucky to still be in this game; figuratively speaking.
The Flames would start the third with a glorious opportunity to get back in the game. Penalties to Mike Richards and Drew Doughty would give Calgary a 27 second 5 on 3. However, their best chance would come off a Matt Stajan post with only seconds remaining in Doughty's penalty.
Through the first half of the third, the Kings didn't have a single scoring chance, while the Flames had five and still couldn't buy a goal to get back in this thing. It was obvious the Kings were content to just run this one out.
With five left in the game, it would be Mikael Backlund to get the Flames on the board. First dishing a nifty backhand pass to Alex Tanguay, he would circle around and take the pass back, just over the blueline. Backlund would then dangle his way around Alec Martinez and snap the puck low passed the far side of Quick. If nothing, it was good to see Backs picking up where he left off before getting injured.
The boost wouldn't be enough though as Dustin Brown would ice it for the Kings in the empty net. The Flames put the needed effort in for the third period, out-shooting (9-7) and out-chancing (6-0) LA, but it still wasn't good enough as the Kings slowly choked them out.
Why the Flames Lost...
Because despite dominating LA in almost every category, they missed on the scoreboard; and that's ultimately where it matters most.
They came out and tried to beat the Kings at their own game. Unfortunately they just didn't seem to be able to finish on their chances, while the Kings were able to capitalize on two of their first three.
The Flames were out-scored 12-3 on this California roadtrip, so I'm not sure anyone is really igniting anything on this team right now.
That being said, there were two guys that gave it a good shot, and surprise, surprise, the effort came from the young guys on the squad.
TJ Brodie played 22:47 while on the top pairing with Jay Bouwmeester. And he didn't look a bit out of place. He even set up Matt Stajan with a gorgeous pass while the Flames were on the PP early in the third. Stajan's shot would have gotten Calgary back into the game, but like I said, it wasn't the night for Flames bounces and Matty hit the post.
Mikael Backlund did get on the board. Scoring his fourth goal (first since coming back from injury), Mikis was all over the ice, picking up right where he left off prior to getting hurt.
He logged 17:29 of ice-time and was 70% in the face-off circle
A solid effort by the two young guns! (*just for BoL)
Sum it up
Tonight was a much better effort from your Flames against the defending Stanley Cup Champs. They still fell short, but at least they weren't dummied all over the place, and they can leave the ice with their heads held somewhat high.
As for the vets on the team, the concensus in the thread is that it was a pretty uninspired effort from the core. For the most part I would have to agree, though I felt that Tanguay had a solid third period.
Undoubtedly this is going to be seen as the nail in the Flames season. It's going to enrage the fanbase and add even more fuel to the Iggy trade talks. Is it warranted? Does one have anything to do with the other, at this point?
Well the answer to all of it is a resounding yes. It is all connected and you can't discuss one area without all the other factors coming into the conversation.
Iginla's agent, Don Meehan, has said there has been no discussion between Iggy and the Flames about an extension. Does that mean it's only a matter of time before the inevitable happens?
At the game tonight, there were scouts from the Canucks, Rangers, Blues, Ducks, Sabres, Preds, Av's, Pens, Lightning and two from the Bruins. How many were there trying to find out something on Jarome?
The Flames are now going to have to win 17 of their last 24 games to reach that projected 55 pt total if they have any hope of making the post season.
How confident are you?
One Final Thought...
Remember when Lee Stempniak played for the Flames? What ever happened to that guy?