There was plenty to like about Calgary’s game on Saturday night in San Jose, but it goes down as another loss, this time 4-3 at the hands of the Sharks. Lots of good things happened…Jarome Iginla scored a timely goal and Jay Bouwmeester showed some offensive flair…but in the end, Joe Pavelski’s line was the difference, and they drop the Flames two games below. 500.
This game had the look of an ugly one for the visitors, as they found themselves shorthanded just 58 seconds into the game…and just 66 seconds in, they found themselves down 1-0, as Joe Thornton snapped his sixth of the season past Miikka Kiprusoff. The Sharks would stake themselves to a 2-0 lead at 10:24 when Pavelski threaded a gorgeous pass to Ryane Clowe who zipped it through, and it was 2-0 after one. San Jose severely outchanced Calgary in that first period, 15-4 in fact, and Kiprusoff needed to come up with some large, timely saves to keep this game within striking distance.
And Calgary was able to close the gap early in the second period, thanks to a 5-on-3 powerplay, as Mark Giordano snapped his second of the season just 51 seconds in, but the Sharks would answer right back thanks to the Pavelski line again…Joe potted his fourth at 16:22 to stake San Jose to a 3-1 lead after 40. Give the Flames credit, they generated some chances in the middle frame, thanks to some powerplay time, but it gave them some optimism heading into the third.
Once again, Calgary reeled the Sharks back in, this time at 9:14 of the final frame…a real good shift lead by Jarome Iginla yielded a great cycle, and Jay Bouwmeester popped into the play at the right time to pot his second. But once again, Calgary couldn’t keep the Sharks from coming back…a bad step up from Brendan Mikkelson set up an odd man rush the other way, and this time Logan Couture made the Flames pay, with his sixth at 14:10. And yet, Calgary battled back once more, and it was the captain who got them back within one…Jarome Iginla fired his third of the season at 19:23 from the left circle off a nice feed from Alex Tanguay, and it set things up for a frantic finish. Calgary got their offensive zone faceoff, but in the end, once again…it was too little, too late, and Calgary drops to 6-8 on the season.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames lost? It came down to two things ultimately for me, but more than anything, they could not contain Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Ryane Clowe, who were absolutely dominant on this night. They were matched up primarily against Curtis Glencross, Olli Jokinen and Rene Bourque and outplayed them fairly consistently…both Glencross and Bourque were outchanced 9-0 at ES, while Jokinen was behind 8-1.
Calgary’s powerplay also let them down, going 1/7 with some opportunities to tie the game. I know they scored on the 5-on-3, but when you’re in a game like this, it’s gotta be a little more timely.
I’ll go with the captain…Jarome Iginla responded on this night for the Flames. He had the late goal, played 20:33, and his strong shift lead to Bouwmeester’s goal in the third period. I liked a lot of what we saw from him, and it came against pretty strong opposition, playing against San Jose’s top line for good chunks of this game. Lets hope it’s the start of a trend for him.
Sum It Up
Once again, it was a better effort for the Flames, but I know a lot of people are getting tired of hearing "good things, but not good enough." I for one don’t buy the argument that they’re not good enough to win games…I certainly don’t think they’re a top team, but I also think they’re better than 6-8. However, eventually you have to start winning games when you play fairly well in them, and if the hole ends up being too deep, at some point it’s going to be too hard to dig yourself out. The Flames take on Phoenix on Wednesday.