I’m not even quite sure what to write tonight…I’ve seen this movie before, but just like Remember the Titans when you continually scream at Gary not to get in that car, you know it’s going to happen, and you know disaster is going to ensue. That’s exactly what happened on Monday in night in Minnesota when the Flames were unable to complete a strong 40 minutes of hockey, and they would end up falling 4-1 to their division rivals.
The Flames came out exactly the way they needed to in this game, following a listless showing two nights before at home to the Wild. Calgary was skating, hard on the puck, and forced a soft Wild team into numerous turnovers. They were converting possession into scoring opportunities, and Calgary had legit control for the entire first half of the period…and then a goal. Except it wasn’t a Flames goal. Kyle Brodziak would finish off a nice passing play off the rush, where Martin Havlat would drop a pass to Marco Scandella who would put a puck on net before Brodziak would shovel in the rebound. Minnesota would carry a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Give Calgary credit…there was no let up in the second period, in fact, the first ten minutes or so, they were probably better. And they scored. Olli Jokinen would convert a pass from the right circle for his sixth of the season just 3:23 in. It was an important Calgary goal, and they’d play some good hockey for the remaining portion of the middle frame. They’d continue to generate chances, and they’d be stoned a couple times by Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom…after 40, Calgary was in a good position to finish strong in the third. Calgary outshot Minnesota 13-3 and also had the edge in scoring chances at 9-2 in the second period.
And then the third…Brendan Morrison would take an interference call at 5:37 to put the Wild on their second powerplay, and they’d cash in. Martin Havlat made a nice move to the front of the net and beat Mikka Kiprusoff to put the Wild up 2-1, another powerplay goal against on the Flames. Then at 9:59, on another powerplay, the Wild would go up by two…this time, on a baaaaad goal from Miikka Kiprusoff. John Madden would bank one off of Kipper from the right corner to effectively end this hockey game…to make matter worse, the Flames made sure this game was over, as they quit and had next to nothing for the remaining ten minutes. At 19:14, Cal Clutterbuck would score his ninth into an empty net to bring us to our final score.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames lost? They were let down by their special teams. No goals on four powerplay opportunities, including a big one early on in the third period, is going to come back and bite you on some nights. Combine that with two powerplay goals against, and that’s going to come back to bite you 99% of the time. Sure, the third goal is square on Kiprusoff, but he’s a penalty killer too…but even without it, they allowed one before that on Havlat. In Calgary’s last four games, they’ve allowed four goals on the man advantage on seven opportunities. Special teams wasn’t the only reason Calgary lost, but it was a big one.
Curtis Glencross. I liked how he played after sitting out for two games, and this is how he needs to play on a regular basis. The Flames outchanced the Wild 3-1 at even strength when he was on the ice, and he was strong in his PK role.
Sum It Up
I don’t even know what to say. If you saw this game, it does all the speaking for you. They were dominant for 40 minutes, but couldn’t finish, and they didn’t dial in the way they needed in the third period. I’d like to say I’m surprised…but I’m not. We’ve seen this happen far too many times.