**NOTE – No scoring chances tonight due to technical difficulties**
It was either a special teams display or a special teams nightmare, depending on how you decide to look at Sunday’s 4-2 Calgary Flames loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks scored four times on the man advantage while Calgary generated all of their offence the same way…in the end, the Flames would fail to put back to back wins together once again.
Well, at the very least, the Flames reeled things back in after a not-so-good start…they were down 2-0 midway through the opening frame on a pair of powerplay goals from Bryan Bickell and David Bolland. However, a parade to the box would put the Hawks down a few times, and the Flames would score a couple in short order themselves…Jarome Iginla had his 11th at 13:06 before Anton Babchuk scored his first as a Flame and fourth of the season at 16:28 and it’s a tie game. And then another first period Chicago powerplay…and another first period Chicago powerplay goal. At 17:33, Jonathan Toews would push home his 12th of the season, and the Hawks took a one goal lead into the middle frame. For the record, before Kent’s technical difficulties, he had chances 6-6.
Compared to the first period, the second period was fairly uneventful…no goals scored even with some opportunities (surprisingly) on the powerplay. Overall, I thought the Hawks had the edge in the second period, and Miikka Kiprusoff had to make some key saves to keep the Flames within one…overall, shots were 11-8 in favor of the Hawks, and for the 14th time this season, Calgary would enter the third period trailing in a hockey game.
The third period saw the Flames fail to do much in the opening ten minutes or so, but they went into chase mode and were very effective in the latter half of the frame. In fact, Calgary’s job moving the puck drew a number of penalties and gave them the opportunity to tie the game on the man advantage…but it’s not how many you score on the powerplay, it’s when you score them. Calgary went 0/4 in third period powerplay chances, and were unable to tie the game…Bolland would ice it into an empty net (of course on the powerplay) with 15 seconds remaining, and the Hawks take a 4-2 win.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames lost? It gets old and tired to say they trailed heading into a third period, becuase in reality, that’s why they didn’t win this hockey game. They deserved to be down a goal after 40 minutes, and couldn’t tie things up. However, their powerplay did let them down, and that’s what I’ll point to. They had an extremely difficult time entering the offensive zone and lost far too many battles along the boards, and after what looked like a dismal Chicago PK early on took things over and made sure Calgary didn’t burn them again.
Hey, why not…Anton Babchuk. He scored his first as a Flame and played his best game with the team this season. I thought he was much less of a liability in his own end and looked a whole lot more comfortable on this night overall. He finished with 17:59 of ice time…although, playing with Mark Giordano makes things a little easier for him.
Sum It Up
Back to three games below .500 for the Flames, and overall, they weren’t as good as the Blackhawks on this night. It was such an odd hockey game overall with all the powerplays, but for the most part, all the calls made were legit. Neither team got jobbed, that’s for sure. But when the Flames have the opportunity to tie things in the final frame with a good slab of powerplay time, they have to do it…they didn’t, and they lost.