Sometimes almost everything can go right and you still come out with a loss. Last night was a bit of a tough one to swallow. It seemed that Calgary dictated flow and pace for much of the game, but simply failed to capitalize on numerous chances and lost to, admittedly, one of the hottest teams in the NHL. It sucks, but it happens.
I’m trying to be realistic about this.
The odds are, you don’t hold the team with two of the three best players in the world to less than zero goals. I believe it’s mathematically impossible, in fact. When you score none, even one goal is a death sentence. But that was the Flames’ fate last night as they ran into a white-hot team that got phenomenal goaltending.
It wasn’t as though the Flames had no finish (they got robbed more than a few times by Marc-Andre Fleury), and the team defense was, I thought, very strong. The two goals against came on a power play and a gorgeous transition play that was set up by a strong poke in the Pens’ defensive zone. What’re ya gonna do?
Frankly, everything about this game was encouraging except the final result. Strong offensive night, very good defense, continued discipline and a good night outta Miikka Kipusoff. Would’ve been nice to even get a point out of it. But them’s the breaks.
David Moss — Best Flame on the ice for sure. Hit a post, had another grade-A chance get improbably stopped, and set up Curtis Glencross (who also had a very good game) for the best Calgary chance of the night, only to be ROBBBBBBBBBED by Marc-Andre Fleury with a stop that would be save of the night in any rink anywhere in the world.
Team defense — Those boys blocked a LOT of shots on the way to Kipper. In fact, the number was 18. Which is pretty good considering the quality of shots the Pens can get.
Miikka Kiprusoff — Very strong at the back. Made a few difficult saves. He finished the night with 26 stops and really, if your save percentage is up around .930 like that, your team should win the game for you.
The attack — Despite getting drastically outwilled and outhit (more on that in a second), the Flames made Fleury work for his shutout. Putting up 31 shots is always a good thing.
(Many of these are just going to be about how good the Penguins were)
They ran into Brooks Orpik — Wow was he a monster. Finished the night with 10 hits and seven blocked shots. TEN HITS!
The Penguins’ physicality — I think the Flames had a hard time dealing the fact that they got hit 44 times (even if that number probably is a bit inflated by the Pens’ home stat guys). That’s a ridiculous amount regardless.
Just one of those nights — It happens. You probably don’t want it to happen this late in the season, but such is life.
Faceoffs — The Flames only won 42 percent of them. That kinda thing catches up to you.
Guess who — You each get one guess as to which Flame was on the ice for both Pittsburgh goals. Hint: he also had nine hits, several of which took him out of position.
The power play — Hmm, 0-fer on five chances, including a double minor, huh? That’s interesting. And only six shots on five power plays, you say? That seems bad. Pretty pretty pretty pretty bad.