Postgame: Crosby 3 Calgary 1

Pittsburgh Penguins Evgeni Malkin (71), Alex Goligoski (C) and Kris Letang (58) congratulate teammate Sidney Crosby (87) on his goal against the Calgary Flames in the second period of their NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, November 27, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Cohn (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

Our Kent Wilson commented on today’s FGD by saying the Penguins have "limited depth up front, but Crosby is so good it almost doesn’t matter."  How prophetic are those words?  The Calgary Flames finished a five game road trip with a 4-1 loss in Pittsburgh, but it wasn’t JUST Crosby on Saturday.  The Penguins were the better team start to finish and once again, a late Calgary push wouldn’t be enough against a red hot opponent.

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What Happened

Absolute Pittsburgh domination in the first period, as Kent had scoring chances 12-4 in the opening 20 minutes in favor of the Pens…Miikka Kiprusoff was out of his mind, stopping a Sidney Crosby penalty shot and making two or three other very impressive saves to go along with the rest of the stops he was supposed to make.  Shots finished 24-6 on the Pittsburgh side, and they could have had more counted chances had shots not gone wide.  But…it was scoreless after twenty.

The second period saw the Flames come out with a much better effort, and they were able to start generating a little offence of their own.  Jarome Iginla had a great chance for Calgary, but Brent Johnson in the Penguins net came up with a strong save.  Pittsburgh would score the first goal of the contest on their 27th shot…Arron Asham potted his third at 6:26 as the fourth line did a real nice job working in the offensive end.  The Sidney Crosby show would start at 12:20 of the middle frame, scoring his 16th at the side of the net following a strong shift.  Overall, not a terrible period for Calgary, as they were only out chanced 9-8…but Pittsburgh took a 2-0 lead into the final 20.

The Penguins would put things away thanks to a Crosby powerplay goal at 9:12 of the third period…he tipped a Paul Martin shot past Kiprusoff and put the Penguins up 3-0.  It would put the Flames into chase mode, and they would be rewarded for a little of that chasing…Rene Bourque was left all alone down low after a Penguins giveaway; Alex Tanguay found him and Bourque cashed in his 11th of the season.  It would give the Flames life, understandably, but Pittsburgh’s goalie would answer the bell when tested…Calgary generated a few chances, but Crosby would ice it at 19:23 shorthanded into an empty net.

One Good Reason…

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…why the Flames lost?  There were too many passengers.  I know this was a tired team, any team would be…five games in seven nights will take a physical toll on any team.  But, Pittsburgh played yesterday as well, and they were sharp and on their game on the second of a back-to-back.  Players like Rene Bourque, David Moss, Alex Tanguay and Curtis Glencross were nowhere near as good as they needed to be.  Even with a monstrous performance from their goaltender, Calgary couldn’t find a way to match Pittsburgh.  Granted, that’s not easy to do…this is an extremely good Penguins team playing their best hockey of the season.

Red Warrior

PITTSBURGH - NOVEMBER 27: Miikka Kiprusoff  of the Calgary Flames makes a glove save on Sidney Crosby  of the Pittsburgh Penguins on a penalty shot at Consol Energy Center on November 27, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Well, this one was easy.  39 saves in net for Miikka Kiprusoff…he was the best Flames player on the ice, and his effort kept things scoreless in the first period when it could have been well out of reach for the visitors.

Sum It Up

Well, a five game road trip finishes with a regulation loss…granted, just the second regulation loss on the trip.  Overall, the Flames went 1-2-2 on the trip, earning four of a possible ten points.  It depends how you want to look at the finish of this trip…a tired team finishing off a road trip where they showed some consistency in their game; or an unsuccessful road trip where the team couldn’t find a way to win important hockey games.  The schedule doesn’t let up at all, that’s for sure…because they’re right back at it Monday at home to Minnesota.

  • Hahaha, Calgary is destined for 9th place in the west, but atleast we can laugh at Edmonton being dead last,,,,,,,, oh right they are the youngest team in the league with a future. Is it time to swim yet or do we keep bailing?

  • What i’m affraid of, is it’s the same old, same old. The opposition scores 2 or 3 goals and the Flames cant score that. Sure there’s been a few where they’ve put up a few but on the average the team can’t run with the big guns. Sutters need to realize this. Unfortunately, they find nothing wrong with 2-1 games even if they loose, so long as they “try hard”. Maybe they should be teachers. In our school system no one fails so long as they “try hard”. Unfortunately in the real world “trying hard” won’t win cups by itself.

  • when it comes down to it the flames just need to find a way to win. They don’t need to worry about who dominated most of the game. Good teams win even when they are losing all the battles. I look at the Detroit game for example. Calgary outplayed them however they found a way to win. As far as i’m concerned that has more to do with intangibles rather than skill and hard work. I do believe that those are important but they seem to be missing “winner” aspect of the team. Maybe it just comes down to believing that they are still in the game regardless of the score or the time left. … I don’t know what it is. All i know is that they are losing the games that they are being outplayed by the opposition AND they are losing the games that they outplay their opponent. \

    maybe we should just get Crosby on our team.. then we’d score some goals.

  • Look at Detroit… Calgary outplayed them however they found a way to win

    I don’t think “servicing the referees and bribing Colie between periods” counts as a legitimate way to win.

    Man, what’s with the whole “they just need to win”, anyway? It’s like some people are new to watching hockey and have never seen the ups and downs of a season, or teams win or lose when undeserving.

    It’s like nobody’s ever flipped a coin, or rolled a dice, or played a hand of poker.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Pretty easy loss to take, overall; you could see pretty clearly how exhausted the team was. Even a loser point would’ve been a bonus out of this game.

    That, and I always enjoy watching Crosby play.

  • dustin642

    Dave with some astute points. Not only do the Flames need to find a way to win but we also need Crosby. Bottom line? Bruins points out the onus is on Ownership.

  • SmellOfVictory

    the flames playoff hopes are all but finished and it isnt even december. the blame should be shoulder by ken king, and darryl sutter. these two have steered the organization in the wrong direction for too many years. woeful drafting has resulted in little or no true prospects. abysmal trade ie ollie/lombo.ridiculous free agent signing see ollie,tangs etc. terrible contract negotiations see nmc to sarich,ollie etc. as of today the flanes need to play better than 600 hockey to get a sniff at a playoff spot.the organization has gone public saying iggy aint go nowheres, so why not tap out and move kipper afterall he is a 34 year old goalie,raggear, and others while there is still interest from possible true contenders.

    • SmellOfVictory

      The Tanguay FA signing was one of Sutter’s better ones. His major mistakes were the initial Jokinen trade, the overpayment of JBo (debatable, but that’s what I think), and the revolving door of coaches. Seriously, what was so bad about Playfair?

      Drafting overall has been questionable at times, but lately it has been a lot better (Backlund and forward).

      All that said, I don’t like Sutter as a GM and I’m going to get all airy-fairy on everyone (Kent, R O, earmuffs) and say that I think he’s brought a bad atmosphere to the Flames organization. He’s still not a complete disaster, and he just happens to balance out all of his good moves (Bourque, Cammy, Kipper) with bad ones.

      • SmellOfVictory

        i agree, a bit much for jbo. tangs is a bit of a defensive liability. morrison is starting to slide.staios move was moronic. bourque was not in chicagos plan however does help the flames. dont agree with length of his contract. the hurricanes deal,dion. the bad outweigh the good. the good kipper and bourque. the bad is too long to mention. playfair was a fine fit with the players,but he wasnt family.

  • Wasn’t Playfair our powerplay coach before he got the Abbottsford position? As in, the season where Mike Keenan acknowledged our putrid powerplay percentage, yet did nothing in practice to work on it. Wouldn’t want him in charge again.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Tanguay is worth twice as much as he’s getting paid (or more? I’m not great at these things). His contract value is through the roof.

    FireOnIce: I don’t remember the exact sequence of events, but I thought it went like this: Sutter head coach/Playfair asst coach -> Sutter GM/Playfair head coach -> Keenan head coach/Playfair AHL coach.

  • I am so tired of the comments on luck. How many games do you need as a sample before you say that this team is what it is…an okay but not great one.
    And losers ALWAYS complain about the refs. Anyone who has played any level of sports knows that.

  • Michael

    Pivotal road trip and the Flames came up short… In terms of the playoff hunt, we are digging a hole that we likely can’t dig out off.

    I personally think the team is better than its record, but it is the on ice performaces that counts. Simply not good enough – this is a team that is at the salary cap (technically over if you add in the injured players) and we are battling Edmonton for last spot in the conference…

    I saw a post that basically read that this team needs to finish in the bottom five before anything will be done… sad, but probably true….

    At this point in the season, firing the GM and or the coach will not make a difference. This team has to few prospects, older and over priced vetearns and no cap room for anyone to retool this club on the fly. More importantly, the players have shown they don’t care who the coach is…

    It is going to take years to properly restructure the organization… and i don’t think the GM in waiting, Feaster is the right man for the job. Play out the remaining games … and start the restruturing at the end of the year. (and please, no more self reviews from the management)

  • Michael

    tanguay worth twice the money? come on. how many loses has tangs play contributed to. more than the wins. tight against the cap and you cant move 90 percent of the team. nmc have bit them in the butt. great gm work there. 1 million dollars could have gotten john madden, a proven winner,instead of connie and jackman. alot of cap space spent on third line forwards at best.this team is simply too old and slow.