Yech, just not a good night for the Calgary Flames on Thursday as they fell 3-0 at the hands of the Florida Panthers. It was a game that lacked excitement, entertainment, and most importantly from the Calgary perspective, it lacked compete level and enthusiasm. For the second time in three games, the Flames failed to score a goal.
The Flames got off to a good start, had some possession and yielded a couple chances, but it all unravelled after the first of two goals from Radek Dvorak at 4:20 of the first period. Dvorak scored a seeing eye goal just a few minutes later, beating Miikka Kiprusoff through about four players, three of them Flames. The first period ended 2-0 in favour of Florida, and the second period was about as listless as possible.
Calgary had two shots on net into the latter stages of the middle frame, and they only ended up with four overall before pumping 17 towards Tomas Vokoun in a deceiving third period. After Shawn Mathias scored at 9:57 of the final frame, the Panthers completely sat back and the Flames FINALLY decided to start pressing. After being outchanced in the first two periods, they finally started to generate opportunities, but unfortunately it was far too little too late.
ONE GOOD REASON
…why the Flames lost? Because, well, they just weren’t very good. It’s not like they were terrible, but pretty much top to bottom, the Flames just didn’t want to compete. They were constantly beat by Panthers players to pucks, constantly outworked along the boards, and constantly forced to turn over pucks inside their own blueline.
My worry heading into this game was why I was worried each and every time the Flames played the Colorado Avalanche last season. Sure, they won the final two games in that six game series, but it seems as if when Calgary goes up against a well coached team with a strong buy-in, they run into trouble. Florida didn’t stray from their gameplan, and they were able to ride a pretty strong, team performance to a shutout win.
I’ll go with…uh…jeez…not a good night once again. I liked Brett Sutter, and have for the most part all season. He’s not going to light you on fire with his offence, but he’s going to be consistent in his role. In a game lacking any compete or fire, Sutter provided a little.
SUM IT UP
The Flames just didn’t come to play. The Panthers outplayed, outworked, outskated and finally outscored the home team and walk away with their first win of the season. Offensively, Calgary was brutal…it was an absolute disaster every time they tried to gain the zone, whether it be even strength or on the powerplay.
Speaking of the man advantage…just no good. It finished 0-4, and wouldn’t have a goal through three games if it wasn’t for Niklas Hagman’s empty netter late in Sunday’s win over the Kings. Head Coach Brent Sutter split up lines in the second period, trying to provide a spark to his group, but it didn’t seem to work. Pretty much everything was shifted through this game, and for good reason. Most notably, Olli Jokinen was demoted in the middle frame and didn’t return to the top line.
It’s gotta be a whole lot better against the Oilers on Saturday. But you all know that.