March 26 2013 10:33PM
Believe it or not, your Calgary Flames had already played this game before it started. Facing a team the night after they experienced a disappointing loss, and looking to make a statement.
Unlike when they faced the Dallas Stars in a similar situation, the Flames needed to have a game plan ready to go instead of just winging; that just never works out well for anyone on the team.
Nothng like playing with fire right off the hop when you're facing the best team in the league, as a few early mistakes put the Flames immediately on their heels and forcing Kipper to bail them out again.
Five minutes into the game and the Hawks had already enjoyed a power-play and three shots; Calgary meanwhile were still looking for their first shot on Emery despite having two potential two-on-ones. Not the same game they played earlier this year against the Hawks, but would it produce a different outcome.
By the time Calgary got their first shot on net, Chicago would respond with their first goal of the game at 7:09, as Nick Leddy would squeak the wrist shot through the pads of Miikka Kiprusoff. Not a good start for the goalie, reflected by a poor start from the team in front of him.
In the last five minutes of the period, Calgary managed to keep the Hawks pinned deep in their own zone for over a full minute, their best and only chance coming off of a Cammalleri shot off the side of the net with Emery down and out. Then as per Murphy's Law, the Hawks would finally clear the puck and race back the other way; forcing Kiprusoff to make his biggest save of the period.
Despite going 0 for 2, Chicago powered eleven shots at Kipprusoff compared to Calgary's six, and dominated the scoring chances 8-3. But hey, they are the best team in the league for a reason, and well we're... not.
The second period started a little more even keel, but the Flames were still skating up hill. Two quick rushes and three more shots had Kipper performing circus tricks once again in the blue paint.
For the next 5-7 minutes the Flames would spend most of the time searching for their rosaries while Kiprusoff continued to make save after save, fending off wave after wave of Chicago shooters.
With three minute to go in the period the Hawks pushed Calgary back, and then put the peddle down. When Cammalleri broke his stick, the boys seemed to look in trouble. Then he decided to make a dash to the bench to get a new stick. Brent Seabrook would get the puck to the left of Kipper, a slight tip off Iginla's stick, and the shot would flutter over his shoulder to put the Hawks up by two.
Kiprusoff was not happy as he felt he was interfered with, but his protest to the ref was drowned out by the Chelsea Dagger blaring over the loud speakers.
No other way to put this other than it was a terrible period for your Calgary Flames folks. Out-shot 16-3 and out-chanced 10-3, this game was a complete reversal of the last time these two teams met. Hanging on for dear life, still remotely in the game, only because of Miikka Kiprusoff.
With a two goal lead, the Hawks came out in the third and took the machine down a gear; focusing more on keeping the Flames at bay than continuing the blitzkrieg on Kiprusoff. That's not to say, they didn't still press but at least they weren't maintaing the 4:1 shooting ratio.
In the end, even once they pulled Kiprusoff for the extra attacker, the Flames ran out of real estate and ran out of time. A late PP did nothing more than hurt their percentage numbers.
Why the Flames Lost...
Where do I begin???
The obvious answer is because the Hawks are the best team in the league, and for good reason. They have balanced scoring and all their lines serve a purpose rather than providing a rest for the guys that can play.
But if I had to be more specific to the what happened in this game, then it's going to be a stretch.
First of all, you aren't showing much signs of desperation when you get out-shot 35-16, even if you are playing the best team in the league. You have to find ways to get as many pucks on net as possible against a guy like Emery. He isn't 11-0-0 for no reason and when you basically give him the night off, you need to re-evaluate your game plan.
The shots that the Flames did get on net, were largely from the perimeter with very little traffic in front of the net. Again, if you aren't going to give Emery quantity, then you need more quality chances.
Speaking of chances, when you are out-chanced as badly as the Flames were tonight, how do you have any reasonable expectation of success?
The Twitterverse put it best I think with this...
There is no doubt that tonight the Warrior was Miikka Kiprusoff.
The first goal he let in was a softy, but it didn't even factor as to why the Flames lost this game tonight. There was just no jump and no push from the Flames tonight and without Miikka, this game very well could have been remenicient of the beatdown they took in Beantown last year.
Hell... It may have been the Flames version of the Oilers Goal-A night.
Sum It Up
The Flames continue the Jekyll and Hyde play where they can play a half decent game at home, but once they hit the road, it's a completely different story.
I have no explanation as to why this happens, but the only thing that really matters is that they have now lost ten straight away from the comforts of the Saddledome. Who knows, maybe the team is agoraphobic.
While there are those that refuse to root for losses, because it doen't make you a "true fan", the team is making it more easy for people to change their minds.
Personally, I don't see it this way. I don't doubt their passion or their desire. What I do doubt is their talent. They just aren't a very good team; home or away. I know people were pretty choked at Kipper for what was revealed today in regards to him not reporting if traded, but he sure didn't show it in tonight's game. If anything he showed that he does in fact want to stay here.
I'm not sure what is left for fans to think about. There are A LOT of you out there that are passed the point of no return and believe you are there because the Flames have passed the point of no return. Given their record on the road and the fact the majority of their remaining games are on the road, they just may be.
So what's left to cheer for, or worry about?? How about this?
The Flames return home to face the only team lower than them in the Western Conference. Those two factors should guarantee the win right? RIGHT?? Game time is 8:00 pm on TSN and the Fan 960.