Well we’ve heard this before. The top players on the Calgary Flames are not buying into what needs to be done, and it was the main thing harped on by Head Coach Brent Sutter following a 6-5 home loss at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche. It was a game where Calgary held three leads, including a 4-3 cushion heading into the third period.
A lot of scoring, that’s what. First period? Niklas Hagman scores his fourth of the season on the powerplay at 6:45 and it’s 1-0. But 62 seconds later, this thing was tied thanks to a Paul Stastny pass to Chris Stewart who would score the first of three goals on the night, also on the powerplay. At 13:41, it was Tim Jackman scoring his first of the season on a nice slap pass from Cory Sarich, and thanks to an Avalanche giveaway, the Flames carried a 2-1 lead into the second period.
Matt Stajan would give Calgary their biggest lead of the game, ripping his first of the season under the trapper of Peter Budaj at 11:43 of the second period. But two Stewart goals in the span of 29 seconds late in the frame had this game all square at three. The first came at the tail end of a Flames powerplay, and the second was an absolute rip of a slapshot beating Henrik Karlsson in net. Olli Jokinen got his first of the season with 91 seconds to go in the middle frame to give Calgary their lead back, as he jammed the puck through with Budaj not covering his post properly.
The third period…yikes for Calgary. They were absolutely thrashed in the shot column, and more importantly in scoring chances, as the Avs outshout the Flames 15-3 and outchanced them 11-3. Colorado started their three goal final frame outburst thanks to a Brandon Yip marker at 1:55 before T.J. Galiardi would take a gorgeous pass from Paul Stastny to stake Colorado to their first lead at 5-4. Off a bad Avalanche giveaway, Stajan found Alex Tanguay and he made a great move on Budaj to get this back square. But with just 2:20 remaining, Daniel Winnik got one past Karlsson to lead us to our final score, thanks to an absolute collapse from the home team.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames lost? Because, for the second straight night, they carried a lead into the third period and couldn’t lock it down. This one was even more troubling, because they held three seperate leads and couldn’t keep the Avs from pushing back. Even worse, they got a gift to tie this game at five and they STILL weren’t able to lock things down to earn a single point. The top line was no good, the second line was mediocre, and the top blueliners made far too many mistakes. Six goals against at home isn’t going to cut it, and performances like that while holding the lead are going to drive your coach nuts every single time.
Tim Jackman. Give the guy credit, he scores his first goal of the season, he fights, and he plays some hard hockey. On a night when the team needed an unwaivering guy, he was one of them, and probably the best. You’re not going to win games when your bottom three forwards are some of the better ones, but I thought Jackman was at least fun to watch and he is still doing a nice enough job driving the play.
Sum It Up
Just not a good night overall for the Flames. Brent Sutter said it was about 36 minutes of okay hockey where the team was sticking to the plan. However, the third period especially was no good at all, and you can’t hang this one solely on a shoddy performance from the backup goaltender. Neither goalie was good, but Colorado caught on and started funneling everything to the net (including two posts in the third). Calgary? They managed three shots on goal in the third period. Washington’s in next…they’ll thrash you if you let them.