March 29 2013 11:23PM
Your Calgary Flames began a new chapter in this fabled franchise, but the theme remained constant. Having to compensate for a horrific road record, the Flames have been able to provide a counter balance with eight straight wins at home. It's the same story we here at Flames Nation have been telling for awhile now... The Jeckyll and Hyde team that is polar opposites depending which jersy they pull over their heads that night.
Tonight they would face a team again within reach in the standings with a realistic chance at victory. There's no place like home, but home is where the heart is, and after the team's biggest trade in almost two decades, there is a vast uncertainty as to if there is any heart left in Cowtown.
Tonight's line-up would also carry the Jeckyll and Hyde metaphor, as there was a complete and utter disconnect between the forwards, D-men and the keeper.
As you can probably guess by now... we can stop the counter on consecutive home wins. Here's how it went down...
It was a pretty slow start to this game tonight, which didn't exactly inspire a dejected fanbase to get into it tonight. Most references that I heard from the Dome were that of a funeral home.
It appeared that even with Iginla no longe on the roster that your Calgary Flames would look to him for help. During the second television time-out, Iggy would once again grace the jumbotron in a tribute put together by the organization for the benefit of the fans. It would bring the fans to their feet as they rared in ovation. It would also bring the players to their feet tapping, there sticks as the Saddledome lit up with the words "Thank you Jarome". A classy gesture from the organization, even if it came two games too late.
There was only one goal scored in the period and it came from Columbus. Mark Letestu would notch his 8th of the year, shorthanded, as he would receive a gift turnover from TJ Brodie and deposit the backhand passed Miikka Kiprusoff. Even though Brodie has played quite admirably in his new role this year, even when on th top pairing with Bouwmeester, he has also shown signs that there is a lot of room to grow as well.
Columbus would out-shoot Calgary 12-11, but the Flames had the slight 5-4 edge in scoring chances. Columbus had the only 10-Bell chance on the period as it came shorthanded, and that's why they took the 1-0 lead into the intermission.
The second period would be a different story... from the first period anyways. Unfortunately for Flames fans, the period was an all too familiar story.
Things started out okay as Brian McGratten would draw the Flames equal with a little help from Tim Erixon (*snicker). What might even be sweeter for the fans would be that Erixon would also be knocked out of the game with an upper body injury.
Passed that though, it was not a favourable twenty minute for the home team.
Calgary would score three goals in the period, which by normal standard, would be a pretty good thing. The only problem was that Columbus would add four to the scoreboard.
To their credit, after the Flames fell behind by two, they didn't fold the tent. In fact after that they would come back with a quick goal of their own. They always say that the most important shifts are those after a goal was scored. The Flames ability to answer right back was encouraging, unless oyu take into account that they kept letting Columbus score.
As a result they weren't able to make up any ground and the Jackets were able to take their two goal lead into the second intermission. The Flames out-shot Columbus 11-8 and drew evens on scoring chances (9-9). However when you let in four goals on eight shots, you know your tender isn't having the greatest of evenings.
Miikka Kiprusoff was not having one of those nights where he looked to steal two points to keep Flames fans happy safely within the confines of the Saddledome walls.
To no surprise Joey MacDonald would come out in the third to man the crease for the Flames, and he was busy early. He would keep the Jackets idle on the scoreboard and even made an incredible save; stopping Prospal on a breakaway after Brodie would again cough the puck up at his own blueline.
The Flames would survive the first half of the period, largely on the back of #MacBackup, and slowly they would turn the tide in play and start to tilt the ice in their favour. However, as always, time was becoming a factor and it wasn't on Calgary's side.
With six and a half left in the final frame Blake Comeau (Yes THAT Blake Comeau) would have a glorious chance as he recieved the centering pass while wide open in front of Steve Mason. Unfortunately he is that Blake Comeau and the Flames still trailed by two.
When the odds have been against Calgary, the guy have they have hostorically looked towards.... wasn't there tonight, but Curtis Glencross was happy to assume that role interim. He would succeed where Comeau could not and get the Flames with one. Taking the puck at his own blueline, fighting off two opponents and then carrying the puck all the way into the Jackets zone, he would then fire his patented wristshot to the far side and over Mason's glove hand.
Despite the Flames out shooting Columbus 11-5, all hopes of saving the home winning streak would come to an end as the Jackets would score the empty netter with 36 seconds left.
Calgary pressed in the final period. They out-chanced the Jackets 6-3 and 20-16 over the course of the game, but they left things to the last minute again (so to say) and couldn't dig themselves out of a hole they put themselves in.
Why the Flames Lost...
What ever the reason was behind their play tonight, they just weren't good enough. The forwards did their best to get the team back into this contest but it was too little too late.
Calgary has been notorious for taking one step forward and then two steps back. That's sort of how it went tonight for the team. Everytime the forwards would take them a step closer on the scoreboard, the defense and goaltending would each take a step back; stemming all momentum or chance of a comeback.
Because the goaltending failed them tonight. Miikka is capable of stealing points for this club, we've all seen it numerous times before, but tonight he cost them points.
The second period goals from Calvert and Prospal were terrible. He had the angle on both shooters and yet they were both still able to get the puck passed him.
Because the team's defense was indefensible tonight.
Wideman gave the Flames the edge on the power-play with the hard shot from the point, but the defense gave up the puck in the wrong place at the wrong time; and all their mistakes seem to end up in the back of the net.
TJ Brodie had a really rough night. He was responsible for turning over the puck that resulted in the short handed goal in the first, and he also turned the puck over again when the Flames were going for the equalizer; luckily for him, MacDonald bailed him out on the latter.
I'm going with Backlund tonight.
Backlund has had conversations with Hartley on an on-going basis since coming back from his injury.
Although he's not on the pace he was before the injury, he is still having an impact and creating offensive situations for the team on a night-by-night basis.
He scored a really nice goal tonight and he was close to breaking through on a few occassions both before his goal and after.
I was most impressed with his push tonight. He was taking chances and he wasn't sticking to the perimeter. On more than a few rushes, I could see him going up or through the middle with the puck. If he didn't have the puck, then he was taking defenders away or getting seperation to put himself in better position.
It was exactly that play that allowed him to score his goal in the second period that started the offensive ralley for the Calgary Flames. He was amongst the leaders for ice-time for forwards and managed to avoid being in the negative.
Blue Jackets Chances:
Sum it Up
Many are going to be of the opinion that for the rest of the season, this team is just going through the motions. With their leader gone and the heart torn out of their collective chests, it's really hard to guage where this team is at mentally.
There is little doubt that Iggy was just the beginning for change in this team. There is much abuzz about the futures of anyone, but in particular, Kipper and Bouwmeester.
Who knows what is going to happen with Kipper and his self-imposed NMC, Bouwmeester is obviously drawing interest and the Flames are undoubtedly already receiving bonafide offers, so one has to wonder just how much the boys are mentally participating in these games.
Calgary had an eight winnnig streak at home on the line and yes they did win the last one without Iggy, but let's be honest, it was over the only team below them in the Western Conference standings.
Like the team, there is probably a lot of speculation around the fans and their level of involvement or committment to this team for the rest of the season. As stated earlier, it was like a funeral home in the Dome until the Iggy tribute video. I have talked to various fans around town today and most of them are of the sentiment that they would rather see Penguin's games being broadcasted in Calgary, rather than having to watch how this season plays out for the Flames.
If that is indeed the case, then I would implore you as a fellow Flames fan, that you hold on for just a little longer. The Flames pack their bags for a brief trip 3 hours north to Shelbyville. If the season is lost, the next two games cannot be.
It's about pride and it's about not giving the Oilers fans satisfaction or bragging rights. We've all seen the comments, we've beaten back the trolls, but the best way to keep them silent is for the Flames to continue to do what they do best; beat the Oilers.
If nothing else... We get to write the Oilers Game Day Blog on Monday night! Game time is 7:30 pm and can be seen on SNT-W and heard on the Fan960.