That one stings. Despite carrying a 3-1 lead heading into the third period, and holding a 4-2 lead into the final half of the third period, the Calgary Flames fell 5-4 to the Detroit Red Wings in overtime, starting off a five game road trip on a sour note. It was a game with plenty of Calgary positives, and one of their best periods in recent memory…yet the Flames have just one point to take from it.
Things started off with a Detroit goal, just 1:56 into the first period…Robyn Regehr was tagged for interference, which would start a theme on this night; Johan Franzen would cash in with his ninth to give the Wings their first and only lead of the night. But Calgary responded, and a really nice pass from Jarome Iginla found Niklas Hagman who made no mistake…Hagman scored his sixth to tie things at one. I felt Calgary really started to tilt things as that opening frame went on, and the even strength play was pretty strong for spans of that first. It would carry over into the second.
The middle frame was Calgary’s best of this game, and probably their best period all season. Just 54 seconds in, the Flames would take the lead thanks to…the captain! Iginla potted his seventh to put Calgary up by one, and he’d stake them to a two goal lead at 4:09 on the powerplay. Iginla hammered home a shot from the side of the net, and it’s fair to say he had an extremely strong second period. The Wings started to push near the end, but didn’t manage a ton of scoring chances, but it set up for a crazy finish.
Detroit would get back within a goal at 2:28 of the third period, thanks to (another) powerplay…Pavel Datsyuk potted his seventh of the season with Cory Sarich in the box for hooking, and it looked like the Wings were going to be right back in this thing. But Calgary would score a huge goal about five minutes later when Brian Rafalski would cough up the puck and Alex Tanguay would make him pay…Tanguay made a nice lateral move and undressed Wings goalie Jimmy Howard to put Calgary back up by two. At 11:04 of the third period, Henrik Zetterberg would get the Wings back within one, getting a backhand shot through Miikka Kiprusoff, and that would set up an unreal finish. Detroit REALLY started to push, and they drew a penalty on one of the more boneheaded plays in recent memory…when Matt Stajan hauled down Valtteri Filppula in the offensive zone. But, they killed it off. Then a weaker call on Jay Bouwmeester late, which the Red Wings would capitalize on, albeit late…with three seconds to go, Datsyuk and Zetterberg took advantage of 2-on-1 and a stickless Cory Sarich…and this game is headed to extra time tied 4-4.
Overtime was a formality really. Detroit outchanced Calgary 4-0 and Niklas Lidstrom scored the winner at 1:38. Detroit found a way to win this game, and it certainly stings if you’re a Flames fan. How it stings the actual team remains to be seen.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames lost? Well, it would be too easy to point to the powerplays, but I’ll go a little deeper…they just didn’t do enough to close an elite hockey team out. Tanguay scored to make it 4-2 at 7:14 of the third period…and Calgary didn’t get another shot the rest of the period. Is part of that because Detroit is that good? Yes. But Calgary also changed their game, and wasn’t able to do it effectively.
I won’t really address the powerplays, because I know it’ll get talked about below. It’s a shame Detroit scored three powerplay goals though, because there were some really good penalty killing performances from Calgary.
I know Jarome had three points, but I was very impressed by Mikael Backlund. Very impressed. Playing with Hagman and Bourque, Backlund finished with 14:49 of ice time and looks to be losing that passenger type hockey we’d seen from him previously. He’s no longer riding the coat tails of his linemates, at least not the last little while.
Sum It Up
This one stings, but you can look on the bright side. Against two of the last three Stanley Cup champs, Calgary was able to yield three of a possible four points. Now, that can turn into points in three straight games with a win over the Rangers on Monday night. Just don’t dwell on this one if you’re the Flames…you caught some bad breaks mixed with questionable officiating, but if they do things at ES like they did at times in this one, they’ll have some success at MSG.