Postgame: Well, One Team Showed Up

and one team didn’t.  Riding a four game win streak and still needing points, the Calgary Flames were uninspired and sloppy, and they weren’t good enough to win – so they didn’t.  The New York Islanders rolled into the Saddledome on Monday night and walked away with a 5-2 win; a win that was far too easy against a supposedly desperate team.

WHAT HAPPENED

The first period for Calgary was one of their worst all season, as they had nothing from start to finish, and they found themselves down 3-1 because of it.  John Tavares opened the scoring early on  thanks to a Tim Jackman goalie interference penalty; a nice individual effort saw him roof the puck on Henrik Karlsson at 3:37 to open things up. 

His line with P.A. Parenteau and Matt Moulson went to work again at 8:29 with Moulson finishing off a nice even strength passing play to make it 2-0.  Calgary’s fourth line seemed to wake the team up momentarily, with David Moss breaking in and sliding the puck under Rick DiPietro at 11:37, but it was cancelled out rather quickly.  On their second powerplay of the night, the Isles would strike again thanks to Tavares again, this time ripping a shot top corner from the left circle. 

Calgary was worked while shorthanded and was outplayed even strength, and 100% deserved to be down after 20 minutes.

The second period started much the same, and the Islanders added another even strength goal with Moulson tipping in his second of the night at 3:06.  And then the game changed, plain and simple, because the Islanders knew they had a game in hand, and they went into protect mode. 

For me, anything that happened after the fourth Islanders goal means very little, because it was a Flames team chasing in too little, too late mode.  They’d score at 13:22 of the period with Moss getting his second of the night, going hard to the night after a nice play by Jackman.  The Flames were down by two after two, and trailed after 40 for the 19th time this season.

Not a whole lot to see in the third period.  Calgary generated a ton of chances, granted…in fact Kent had Calgary with 24 scoring chances in the final two periods.  However, Calgary wouldn’t score…Michael Grabner would ice it at 18:54 into an empty net. 

Nathan Lawson came into play in the second period thanks to a DiPietro injury, and he made some stops, and Calgary did generate shots and chances – but they were chasing, the Isles were in a total shell, and there weren’t a ton of ten bell chances.

ONE GOOD REASON

…why the Flames lost?  Well, because they were awful for the first 24 minutes of this game, and that’s all that needed to happen.  The Isles scored four goals and completely shut down their offensive game from then on out, and it worked.  It didn’t work a few nights ago against Detroit, and they coughed up a lead before winning in overtime. 

The Flames don’t have the team assembled to win a lot of games when trailing for the majority of the hockey game, and especially when trailing after 40.  Plain and simple.

RED WARRIOR

We’ll give it to the line tonight, because they were the only three forwards worth a damn.  Tim Jackman, David Moss and Tom Kostopoulos were the best players for the Flames, and the only ones doing anything in the offensive end.  Look at Kent’s scoring chances, and that tells the story. 

Moss came away with two goals while Jackman continued his strong play – how nice would it be if they were rolling and the guys ahead of them were too?

SUM IT UP

The Flames weren’t good enough tonight…and it snaps a four game win streak.  But, for whatever reason, I think they bounce back and put in a good 60 against the Canucks on Wednesday.  Now, with how Vancouver is playing, it may not be good enough, but I’m willing to chalk this one up to "bad game".  However, that means they have to go play well in Vancouver, and they also really can’t afford "bad game" at this stage of the game.