Postgame: Windy City Woes

The Calgary Flames will go another season without winning in Chicago, falling 6-4 at the hands of the Blackhawks on Wednesday night at the United Center.  A torrid third period comeback wasn’t enough for the visitors on this night, and yet I wonder how they use an impressive, albeit chasing, third period going forward.  Nonetheless, Calgary loses to a team that was better than them for most of the hockey game, and a team they’re fighting with in the Western Conference playoff race.

What Happened

This game had a real tight, "playoff type" atmosphere to it at the beginning, with a lot of physicality and a lot of tight checking action.  A gorgeous Chicago passing play would get the scoring going at 6:46 with the NHL’s hottest player finishing it off; Jonathan Toews would put home his 24th of the season to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.  However, a Calgary powerplay would draw the Flames even thanks to a strong move by Jarome Iginla at the offensive blueline.  He’d beat Duncan Keith wide and feed Alex Tanguay in the high slot who would rifle home his 18th of the year for another powerplay goal.  But a late mistake by Rene Bourque gave Chicago a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, as Rene Bourque would cough the puck up deep in his own end, leaving Jake Dowell all alone to feed a hard charging Michael Frolik.  His ninth of the season gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead after 20.

It was allllll Chicago in the second, with Brian Campbell scoring on the powerplay at 15:11, firing one home from the point to make it 3-1.  It was Toews once again putting the Hawks up by three, as 1:22 later, he’d break in and cut to the slot, firing his second of the night home.  After two periods, Chicago had what seemed to be an insurmountable lead of three goals, and they looked like they might want to add to it.

One thing was accurate in the third period…the flood gates opened.  But not in the blowout variety.  With Henrik Karlsson in net to start the third, you could tell the Flames were ready to throw all their guns into a third period chase, and just 84 seconds in, they’d get the early goal they needed.  On a goal mouth scramble in front, Rene Bourque would hammer home his 20th from the right side of the crease, and maybe, just maybe the Flames had some life.  But it seemed like the Hawks woke up from there, and decided to focus all their attention on a calm remainder of the game…until 8:44.  With Calgary in the offensive end, Tanguay would feed Iginla in the slot, and thanks to a vintage Iggy one-timer, the Flames were within one.  But it was just 2:05 later that an unfortunate play in the Flames end would result in a Chicago goal…Dave Bolland would score from the right circle to give the Hawks a little more breathing room.  Once again, it was the Flames getting right back in it, with Iginla feeding Rene Bourque at 16:04 to set up an interesting final push.  That push resulted in a few chances, but a Marian Hossa empty netter with 39 seconds to go was all she wrote in a 6-4 Chicago win.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames lost?  Very simple.  They weren’t good enough in the opening 40 minutes, playing far too soft at all ends of the ice, and far too loose in their own zone.  Calgary deserves a tip of the hat for their impressive third period push, but not much else, because before that they weren’t a great hockey team.  Calgary has put together some notable third period comebacks in recent memory, but it’s not always going to happen…on this night, it didn’t.

Red Warrior

Jarome Iginla drove the comeback on this night, and it was good to see the captain come to life.  I know he had three points against the Blues last night, but in reality, the top line wasn’t overly great in St. Louis.  Iginla looked strong and like an absolute handful as the third period progressed, and that’s what he still has the ability to do.

Sum It Up

Moral victories are nice, and Calgary’s third period could be considered as such.  But in reality, they lost a hockey game in regulation to a team that still has games in hand on them, and now leapfrogs them in the Western Conference standings.  Calgary hasn’t been overly great over the last five games, and yet they’ve still accrued results.  They’ve got a hard charging Blue Jackets team on tap Friday night.

  • Not too sorry I missed this one.

    Seems like the last couple games the Flames went back to what got them into trouble early in the season. They were always taking the 2nd period off. Hopefully the trend doesn’t last.

    • Vintage Flame

      I agree.. but then again you never know, maybe Campbell takes a look at it and makes a decision on his own.

      Like Pat said, the opening 40 was the tell tale of this game. They looked decent in the 1st but out of gas in the 2nd. The one bright spot was the emergence of their 2nd wind in the 3rd and the valiant comeback attempt.

      Let’s be honest, this was a “wish” game to most people. IF they could have pulled this one, everyone would be as Kent said earlier today, that we would be planning the parade route. theylost, an yeah it’s something we expected. Should we be disappointed? I don’t think so. we still have 5 games against the bottom 3 teams in the conference and if they can bounce back on Friday vs. the Jackets, then I’m sure everyone is going to feel a lot better.

      What I find encouraging is that you can see something brewing in Iggy’s play over the past few games. and what makes it even better is that Tanguay seems more than willing to go along for the ride. Tangs is such a smart player with the puck, and Iggy is getting to that slot position without guys draped all over him.

    • I agree. On the bright side, the ref did admit he made a mistake in not making a call, which is good to hear. It’s a fast game and not every call can get made, no matter how flagrant.

      The fact there was an admission is good.

      • I didn’t hear about the ref admitting his miss. Sometimes that’s all I need to hear. There have been so many times when a ref misses a call and just brushes it off like he’s in the right. At least this one had that cajones to admit he was in the wrong. Doesn’t make the hit itself clean, but it at least makes me respect the ref.

  • Vintage Flame

    To me the hits on Hagman and Gio with no calls from the refs (yes, the hit on Hagman may not have been blindside, I didn’t see it that well honestly)were a turning point in the game. The Flames were pushing for a while and then those happened with no call and seemed to take away some steam from the flames engine. Had at least the Gio hit been called boarding as it should have the Flames would have got the PP and could have been up 2-1 or tied 2-2, can’t remember which, then it is a whole different game. But, we can’t change the past so I wish the boys luck vs the Jackets and hope no serious injuries happened last night. Was glad to see Gio back out there after that hit what a gutsy move, especially the fight. Gio was swinging for the fences in that fight, had all sorts of justified rage in him for that one. Loved it! Go Gio and Go Flames!

  • icedawg_42

    The hits on Hagman and Giordano should have had a bigger impact on the way Calgary played the game. Gio had to go back and answer the bell himself, im a little surprised at that – not saying someone should have jumped Seabrook, because I hate that everyone has to fight after a hit these days – but the Flames could have and should have upped the ante physically in that game. Too little too late sums it up – seen that a lot this season though, a weak start and strong push in the last 7 minutes or so – it seems to work for them more often than not, but I’d sure like to see a strong 60 instead of a strong 20.

  • Guys…

    The hit on Gio was dirty, plain and simple, no debate. Should have been called.

    The Hagman hit was a hockey hit. Nothing wrong with it at all. No target to the head, no intent, just a hockey collision with a player finishing a check. Clean in my eyes.

  • otto

    …the hit by Seabrook was 10x worse than the hit by Gilles on Clutterbuck. The Hit by Clutterbuck on the Islander that Gillies was responding to was 5 times worse than Gillies hit on Clutterbuck. The NHL is so PC and unprofessional it makes me sick.

    • Don’t agree with a word you said, but that’s fine. Gillies is a dirtbag with a reputation and he was playing in his first game back after a 9 game suspension for a similar dirtbag move.

      Seabrook’s hit was bad, and I hate seeing it, and should have been called. But there was no intent to injury. Gillies, there was.

      • SmellOfVictory

        …why are you letting his repuation or anything else cloud the situation? I’m simply analyzing Gillies hit on Clutterbuck. It was not nearly as bad as the two hits I mentioned (Seabrook on Gio and Clutterbuck on NYI ?).

        …those two hits aforementioned hits could PARALYZE someone or make someone a QUADRAPALEGIC. Gillies hit Clutterbuck and punched him in the face. BIG DIFFERENCE.

        …I’m not saying Gillies is a clean hockey player, a good hockey player, or my best friend. I’m simply saying there is a big difference. He is an easy target and it is embarrassing how some in the media are using that as an excuse to “make an example” of him because of this. PATHETIC. This is not much more than a witch hunt.

        • I don’t disagree that hits from behind are the scariest thing in hockey. But they are NOT intentional. Seabrook didn’t mean to hurt Giordano, it was stupid and in the heat of the moment and not safe…but not dirty and pre-meditated like what Gillies did.

          Gilles SHOULD be made an example of. He’s a dirtbag with a history of this.

          • …scariest play in hockey I agree. Shouldn’t the scariest play in hockey have the most severe punishment? It’s kind of a retorical question, but all common sense has been lost on this topic from what I’ve seen. What a joke.

  • Who cares about the Flamers they suck. Really Flames fan really? So you might make it only to get bounced in the first round? Brendan Morisson is your best player? BAHAHAHAHAH

    YOU GUYS ARE DONE! NO HOPE. HOPE as in Hall, Omark, Pajarrvi, and Eberle.

    GO OIL GO!

    OH BY THE WAY we are getting Adam Larsson too!