January 16 2014 09:39PM
pic via Roncesvalles_MP
Well folks, here it is. The worst stretch of home losses in club history, seven in a row in regulation. During that stretch, the Flames have been out-scored 22-4 and been shut out four times. Yikes.
You'll be able to tell your kids about this bunch of games, presumably cautioning them to not take all of the Flames' recent consecutive Cup wins, and their stars like Connor McDavid, Sean Day, and Connor McDavid Jr. for granted ;)
The Flames lost 5-2 to the Winnipeg Jets tonight and basically looked ambivalent towards the game of hockey in general. They failed to generate scoring chances, convert on power plays, take advantage of shaky goaltending from Pavelec, get big (or even moderately big) saves from their goalie, and most pointedly, score when it mattered. Well, at least they weren't shut out.
pic via seabamirium
I know they are desperate to sell us things (Lord knows I buy it) and this year was a pretty good year for a new marketing technique but the Flames are living in denial by not burning these new sweaters and offering rewards for those who willingly surrender them as penance to hockey's fashion gods. I believe that there should be an African village somewhere that should receive an ample supply of game-worn Flames jerseys. Or perhaps they could be used as insulation for the new Saddledome. Either way, they are cursed and should be donated or burned. Or donated for burning, I don't care how it's done.
In the first period, the Flames were completely flat and it ended up costing them the game. There wasn't much going on for the first few minutes except for a fairly nondescript fight between Anthony Peluso and Brian McGrattan. Because fighting always works for every team, the Jets came back the other way and scored mere seconds after the fight. Frolik hurled a harmless backhand on Flames starter, Reto Berra, who coughed an inexcusable rebound right into the slot and on to the tape of Bryan Little who made it 1-0 Jets.
Then, three minutes and ten seconds later, the Flames got caught puck watching in their own zone and somehow missed the biggest player in the universe, the newly re-converted forward Dustin Byfuglien, who was left alone for a point-blank no-doubter to make it 2-0 Jets. That was basically the game, a mere nine minutes in. The Flames had a power play half-way through the first but predictably came away empty.
The Flames had no life in their legs and showed no push-back after the Jets scored their first goal and were forced into chase mode from the very start of the game. It's really tough to play from behind for a fully-healthy version of this Flames squad but without Glencross of Cammalleri, the Flames roster is a little scary. The first ended 2-0 for the Jets, with the Jets outshooting the Flames 10-8, though that number flattered the largely lethargic Flames.
In the first part of the second period, literally nothing important happened. It was quite painful to watch actually. Then, advanced stats darling Brian McGrattan drew a penalty and the Flames went to the power-play. Incidentally, the Flames power play sucks. The most eventful thing that happened was Dennis Wideman hitting Lee Stempniak with a slap-shot, again.
After the failed PP, thanks to some horrendous play in their own zone, Mark Scheifele was the recipient of a pass that left him with so much open net, he could have given an acceptance speech before scoring. Which he did. 3-0 Jets.
After the goal, McGrattan nullified the good that he did earlier by taking a roughing penalty which the Flames were able to kill off. After the successful kill, the Flames were unable to generate any momentum and ended up taking another penalty, this one by Lance Bouma for tripping. On this power play, Berra attempted to clear the defensive zone himself, but placed the puck on a silver platter for the Jets' Bryan Little, who fed Andrew Ladd, who went cross-creased to Big Mac Jokinen who had an empty net to make it 4-0. Oy vey. But, man, Jokinen's hair looks weird on him. The second ended with the Jets out-shooting the flames 6-3.
However, less than a minute into the third, Paul Byron, who rules, made a nice feed (though possibly accidental) to Mark Jyordano who waited and shelved one on Pavelec to make it 4-1. Hope! Then, Jokinen took a dumb penalty and Mikael Backlund was stopped point-blank early on in the PP. However, Dennis Wideman negated the powerplay and Jacob Trouba went five-hole on Berra to regain the five goal lead and make it 5-1 Winnipeg. Despair! Berra really did have a rough night.
Oh I forgot, Bob Hartley, that budding comedic genius, he put Kevin Westgarth on a line with Monahan and Hudler at times in this game. Surely this was an ironic critique of the state of the Flames lineup.
With seven minutes left in the third, Lance Bouma won a faceoff to Dennis Wideman who's shot was tipped by Bouma for his third goal of the season, making the score 5-2. However, the Flames were unable to get any closer to the Jets who won the game by the same 5-2 score.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Man it's been tough to pick this at times this year. Giordano had a nice goal, though it was way too late. I thought Butler was okay tonight. Or maybe he was just less horrible than fans have been accustomed to. Lance Bouma scored a goal for the first time in like six lunar cycles which is pretty cool. However, this guy gets the honour more for his play in the past month or so even though he was pretty good tonight as well.
pic via Teka England
It's Paul Byron. I have been a big fan of his since his transition to top-six minutes. He has been a bright spot in a Flames lineup rife with frustration and disappointment. Also, I approve of the #LordByron tag that has been assigned to him from the Flames twitter. He is certainly mad, bad, and dangerous to know.
SUM IT UP
Home losses in succession like this are exceptionally difficult to watch for all Flames fans I am sure. It is even more difficult to justify shelling out big money to watch these games play out. However, hopefully later in the season there might be some new faces around to give the locals some reason to keep showing up this season but right now it's pretty bleak. I am going to print off a copy of Kent's piece from this morning and carry it around with me as a safety blanket.
Shockingly, and increasingly problematically, the Flames remain second from the bottom in their division, sixth of seven in the Pacific, three points above the remarkably pathetic Oilers with two games at hand at 16-26-6. They are headed to Vancouver for a date with the Canucks who allowed three field goals to Anaheim on Wednesday night.
Burn the thirds.