A battle between two teams not playing very well went the wrong way for the Calgary Flames, as the Columbus Blue Jackets rode a first period goal to a 3-1 win on Tuesday night. It drops Calgary to a new season low, four games below .500 with a Thursday game against the Dallas Stars to finish off a three game road trip.
It didn’t start well for the Flames, as Jakub Voracek opened things up with a nice individual effort at 5:14. Grabbing the puck in the right corner, Voracek went on a little bit of a walk and found some open ice in the high slot area, where he wired a shot past Calgary goalie Henrik Karlsson. It was Voracek’s sixth of the season and the Jackets would carry their one goal lead into the second period.
After a fairly even start to the middle frame, the Jackets would score at even strength once again, this time on a goal mouth scramble. After Tom Sestito put the puck on net from close range, Boll would follow up by pushing the puck past from the crease area, and the Jackets would take a 2-0 lead at 11:18 of the second.
Karlsson would make some big stops in the second period, including a real nice glove save to thwart a golden Columbus chance, and the Flames would finally got on the board late in the period. On the powerplay, Jarome Iginla showed some nice patience on the left half boards before firing a nice cross ice pass to Olli Jokinen; he’d make no mistake from the right circle to get Calgary within one, and after 40 the Flames were down 2-1.
It was the 18th time this season the Flames would find themselves down after two periods of play, and they’d get some push at times in the final frame. Calgary generated a few opportunities, and caught a break late in the third thanks to a bench minor on Columbus for too many men.
They would be unable to tie the game up though, unsuccessful on a key powerplay and didn’t do much once they pulled their goalie for an extra man. After a few times being unsuccessful gaining the zone, Jackets defenceman Rostislav Klesla banked the puck off the glass and the puck found it’s way into the empty Calgary net to seal the game, and seal Calgary’s third straight loss.
ONE GOOD REASON
…why the Flames lost? Because they just didn’t have enough. I’m sure the fatigue of back-to-back games played it’s part, but all teams play games on consecutive nights, so it’s not a viable excuse. They just looked flat for too much of this hockey game, and didn’t generate enough at even strength.
Not taking credit away from the Jackets, because they played their game well, but this is a team Calgary should be able to generate on…yet it was the Columbus fourth line generating at even strenght and not enough of Calgary’s offensive players. The likes of Rene Bourque, Curtis Glencross and Brendan Morrison were no good and well under water in the scoring chance count, and 11 chances at even strength isn’t going to get it done.
I don’t know, why not – Olli Jokinen. I’m thinking of just disolving this particular part of the postgame. He scored a goal, because he shot the puck…and yeah, he made you drop a few four letter words tonight, as he usually does, but at least he scored. No one else did.
SUM IT UP
The team is four games below .500 for the first time this season, and they have one more game before the Christmas break. The Head Coach continues to say "stay the course" and that’s all he can really say…but the fact of the matter is, they just aren’t playing well enough on a game in, game out basis. Stay what course?