Postgame: A Hard Earned One Point

Well, I’ll leave the Miikka Kiprusoff stuff for later on, because that will most likely dominate the comments section tonight, but the Calgary Flames really did play a strong hockey game but ended up falling 5-4 in a shootout to the Detroit Red Wings.  It’s another heartbreaker to the Wings, and a tough loss to take, but it also yielded some positives; specifically Calgary’s play at 5-on-5.

What Happened

After a quick start for the Red Wings with a couple quality chances, the Flames really did start to tilt the ice, something they’d do for a lot of the remaining portion of the game.  Calgary opened the scoring at 8:43 thanks to Curtis Glencross, who started off a superb night with his eighth of the season at 8:43.  It was the first goal since late November for Glencross, but it was covered off at 15:58 thanks to Darren Helm.  Helm’s fourth wasn’t a pretty one though.  It came from nearly the side of the net and was the first of a few, um, bothersome goals allowed by the goaltender.  But the Flames picked their goalie up late in the frame, as Jarome Iginla scored a weak one of his own with ten second remaining.  Iginla stuffed the puck home on a wrap around for his 17th, and the Flames took a 2-1 lead into the middle frame.  Calgary had the edge on scoring chances in a big way, another trend that would continue…Kent had them counted at 7-3.

The second period saw the Wings tie it early, on another goal that can’t go in.  Brian Rafalski’s shot from just inside the blueline 41 seconds in tied the game up; it was certainly re-directed in front, but from that far out, needed to be stopped regardless.  But once again the Flames picked their goalie up, thanks to Glencross again.  His ninth, and second of the game, came on a weird scramble which saw Wings goalie Jimmy Howard down and out…Curtis ripped it shelf from the low left circle to restore Calgary’s one goal lead.  That lead would bulge to two on the powerplay at 11:33 on Anton Babchuk’s monster shot from the point.  It was a no-doubter and the Flames really were full marks for their 4-2 lead.  And then some penalty trouble late in the period had the lead down to one; Jiri Hudler fired a cross seam pass to Patrick Eaves with 18 seconds remaining and Eaves made no mistake; a powerplay goal had the Wings within one heading into the final frame.

Calgary’s start was pretty good protecting a one goal lead and then the tying goal game; and it was solely on Miikka Kiprusoff once again, as he’d allow another softy from Rafalski to tie this game at four.  Detroit would have a few other chances in the third period, and some pretty good powerplay time, but they were unable to find the winning goal.  Calgary buzzed in the final minute or so, almost getting the winner themselves but this was off to overtime.

The Flames had the puck for almost all of the extra frame, firing six shots on net, four of them for scoring chances, but Howard really came to play.  He was calm, composed, and made a huge stop robbing Jarome Iginla on a powerplay one-timer.  So, 65 minutes wasn’t enough (although it should have been), and off to a shootout we went.  Detroit’s Todd Bertuzzi scored the only goal while Alex Tanguay, Niklas Hagman and Rene Bourque were all stopped.  A game Calgary really was better in yielded them just one point, as the Flames fell 5-4.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames lost?  Four words: Bad goaltending; skills competition.  Seriously, it’s that simple.  Calgary held the Red Wings to six even strength scoring chances, generating 18 of their own, and really did work the Wings for long stretches of the hockey game.  But, three (THREE) bad goals from Kiprusoff let the Wings hang around in this game, and they won in a coin flip shootout.  It’s a real shame results wise, but in the end, the way the Flames played at even strength really was positive.  They were straight ahead and strong on the forecheck, and helped to make Detroit a complete rodeo in their own end.  They converted on scoring chances, they were pretty good on the kill, and they scored on the powerplay.  Not much more the Flames could have done on this night; they simply were unfortunate to lose while the Wings were fortunate to win.

Red Warrior

No question, Curtis Glencross.  Just an absolute whale of a game for the guy, who had just one point in his previous 17 games prior to his three tonight.  Glencross was all over the ice, played strong on the PK and even strength, and was a factor seemingly every time he was on the ice.  Does this mean Curtis Glencross is back?  Um, no, not prepared to say that…but it sure was an indicator of what the guy can do when he’s motivated.

Sum It Up

Unlucky.  Unfortunate.  Too bad.  Take your pick, the Flames were the better team on Friday night against Detroit.  This was not the same effort from Wednesday night in Vancouver.  This was a Flames team skating and pushing the play for 60 minutes, and they put four goals up…it should have been enough for the win.  It wasn’t.  Jarome Iginla said afterwards they had to make sure they carried over their strong 5-on-5 play into their upcoming trip; I know a whole lot of people would love to see that.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Good summary Pat.

    The two most consistent Flames all year have been Kipper and Giordano so as much as I hate to hang this one on Kipper, there’s really not much else you can say. Unfortunate timing for him to have a stinker.

    It’s kind of the way things have gone this season though. The Flames are well past being able to use the “played better but lost” excuse.

    I think it’s time for one of your great bloggers to give us a run down of the upcoming draft…hopefully Feaster can find a way to start the rebuild there.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Yeah, Kipper doesn’t respond well to sharp criticism from the coach. That’s why he sucked under Keenan.

    Regardless, it’s time to flip him. He will be 35 next season, and his contract eats up 5.8 mill per. Let’s get some good assets for him now, free up some cap space, and move on. The naysayers may say Kipper, as an elite goalie, gives you a chance. Oh yeah? A chance to do what? Finish last in the conference? We will not be a contender the next few years, so there’s no need to keep him around. Get some young, offensive help by trading him and go with Karllson for the rest of the year. Yeah, he ain’t ready for full-time duty, but he will get good experience, and the fact that we will lose more games this season will ensure a very high first rounder.

    I call that killing two birds with one stone.

    • What type of good assets are you going to get for Kipper? His contract is high, it carries over and he’s nowhere near as good now as he was last year.

      PLUS the market for goalies is very thin. Couple that with teams not wanting to invest a lot of money in their tender, and you’ve got a very down market if you’re trying to trade 34.

      • thymebalm

        Absolutely right Pat. If you want to simply things there are two types of teams in the NHL… teams that cheap-out on the goalie and put their money elsewhere (Detroit, SJ for Example) and teams that pay premium for their ‘tender (CGY, Van). The teams that cheap out don’t have the money to take on a contract of kipper’s size (and also likely don’t agree with the Calgary valuation of his worth) and the Teams that do spend on tenders aren’t going to want two of them. The best you could do is swap goalies with someone who thinks that Kipper is better then their similarly well-paid guy and a futures to cover the difference… which won’t be that all that much at all.

        Moving Parts Needed to Deal Kipper –
        1: A Team that is willing to pay big $ for their tender
        2: Above team must consider Kipper an upgrade
        3: Above team must be a buyer (Playoff likely team)
        4: Kipper must be willing to waive his NMC to go to above team
        5: Above team must be able to offer suitable compensation

        Kipper’s is the most complicated contract on the team to move… in my opinion it’s unlikely to be done.

      • the-wolf

        Pat, I take your point on the goalie market, but when taking into account Kipper’s contract, it is important to remember that it is one of those downward sloping deals to lower his cap hit. Over the next three seasons his actual paid salary is $6, $5 and $1.5 million for an average actual salary paid of $4.17 million with a $5.8 million cap hit. While this won’t help selling him to teams at the cap, for the other teams in the league that might be looking for a goalie to push them over the top, his cap hit might not be relevant and they will only be looking at the actual salary paid.

        If Rolie the Goalie doesn’t work out in Tampa Bay this year, I could see them maybe taking a flyer on Kipper next year or something.

        That is not to say I advocate trading Kipper, but if someone is looking into, I wouldn’t overlook this angle.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Kipper responded to brent’s public critism by laying an egg,Kipper has won a ton more than lost. Perhaps it should have been handled behind closed doors.Time for Rene to sit, lazy icing on the first shift and it carried throughout the game.

  • I hope we are seeing the beginning of the end of over-priced contracts. I realize that there will always be poor contracts but seeing so many teams hamstrung, unable to do anything to improve themselves has to frustrating for them. It’s certainly boring.

    I can see us being stuck with most to all of our veterans due to cap constraints of us, trading partner or both. Look at trading activity thus far. Next to nothing and the ones that are taking place, teams are seeing very little return for assets. There will be more trades before the deadline obviously but looks to be a boring one this year. Hope I’m wrong.

  • otto

    Just a thought,What would the Flyers give up for Kipper?What would the Caps give to keep him out of Philly?What would Tampa give to keep him out of Washington?Kipper has plenty of value if we play it right.Secondly I see the Pens are looking for a winger for Crosby,what about Bourque or Hagman?

  • Gange

    There’s two things about this game.

    It shows how maddening this team is because it was a great effort. However it also shows that the core of this team is not truly flawed and a blow up is not required. A major facelift is required though.

    Secondly Kipper had a bad night. Everyone does. The problem with trading Kiprusoff is that you need someone to come in and give you a chance to win almost every night. Who exactly would that be? Karlsson? LOL, The kid has only had a couple starts, no one can say if he could or couldn’t. Trading Kipper would be folly right now because he honestly gives this team a chance to win on most nights. Regardless if he has been a top 5 goaltender or not.

    I can assure you I’d take him over Niemi, Turco, Mason, Leclaire, Dipietro, Roloson, Khabibulin…the list goes on.

  • the-wolf

    @Steinberg – There are still teams that could improve their performances dramatically with better goal tending.

    And everyone can calm down about Kipper, he was, IMO, the second best goalie in the league last year behind Miller. He hasn’t suddenly “lost it.”

    I think the uncertainty over the team is affecting a lot of the players right now and I think certain individuals are trying to play their way out.

    If Kipper were to go to somewhere I have no doubt his play would improve immensely. But the strain of having to win it every night gets to a person.

    That said, he did play like crap last night.

    Also, they do need to secure someone else capable between the pipes before moving him.

  • Any word on potential suspension for Kostopolous for his hit to Brad Stuart?

    Babcock seemed pretty irate about it, swearing, and calling it about as dirty as a hit can be…

    Go figure, Kronwall can leave his feet, knock Havlat into the boards from behind with a hit to the head, and concuss him, and Babcock defends him. Blood and a broken jaw, and he is all up in arms.