Postgame: Very Blue

For a second straight game, the Calgary Flames opened nicely but were unable to put together anything of note in the middle stages of the hockey game.  On Monday afternoon in St. Louis, the Flames opened the score before being done in by four goals against in the final 40 minutes, falling 5-2 to the Blues.  Calgary is not 0-2 on the season, starting off a three game road trip in an unimpressive fashion.

What Happened

Once again, I really liked Calgary’s start, as they were very effective on the forecheck and had the Blues running around and coughing up pucks.  At the other end, the Flames did a strong job keeping their opponent to the outside and not allowing them to turn possession into scoring chances, so I liked their start.  Calgary also opened the scoring, and for a second straight contest, it was Curtis Glencross doing the job, firing his second past Jaroslav Halak at 8:03 of the opening frame.  The goal came on a nice rush up the ice, and while it wasn’t the strongest goal against for Halak, it was the right decision for Glencross.  However, a nice rush the other way evened things late in the frame, with Alex Steen pouncing on a rebound in the blue paint for his first of the season and a 1-1 tie after 20.

The second period saw the Blues run things, and they took the lead for good early on, with Kevin Shattenkirk sniping one from inside the blueline at 3:39.  The St. Louis defenceman was all alone with far too much clean ice in front of him, as it looked like Glencross had skirted his man, allowing the Blues to take a one goal lead.  At 15:30, Alex Pietrangelo would tally his first, taking advantage of another uncovered point and a Chris Stewart screen in front for a 3-1 St. Louis lead.  On the powerplay, it was Calgary getting back within one, as a Mark Giordano point shot was stopped initially leading to a chance for Jarome Iginla; he’s snap home his first, with the Flames trailing 3-2 after two frames.

The third period was very troubling, with Calgary trailing but delivering no punch whatsoever.  Unlike Saturday’s opener, the Flames generated next to nothing of note in the third period, with just one scoring chance overall while allowing five the other way.  After a David Moss penalty negated a Flames powerplay, Niklas Hagman would chip too early allowing Stewart to break down the left wing; his backhand saucer shot would elude Calgary starting goalie Henrik Karlsson at 3:44 before Jason Arnott would seal the game at 14:22.  After Scott Hannan was stripped of the puck by Andy McDonald, there was no one covering Arnott and his uncontested shot from the high slot took us to our 5-2 final score.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames lost?  Because they were listless and ineffective in all areas at even strength.  Calgary generated next to nothing 5-on-5, never with more than two ES scoring chances in a period.  That’s just not going to get it done.  When you couple some iffy, iffy stretches from their own blueline in and some suspect neutral zone gaps with nothing offensively you get a loss much more often than not.

Red Warrior

Big sigh.  This is a tough one.  I can’t go Mark Giordano cause I did that last game, so I’ll point to Alex Tanguay, who I didn’t mind on the top line.  While that trio didn’t do much of anything, I still felt Tanguay was dangerous offensively, and helped trigger Calgary’s powerplay goal.  I thought Tanguay was the best member on his line for a second straight game.

Sum It Up

Not good enough.  20 minutes of decent hockey and 40 minutes of poor hockey is not a good equation, and it was exactly what we saw on Thanksgiving Monday.  This road trip continues with some a beat up Montreal team on Thursday and an improved Toronto team on Saturday, so inconsistent efforts like this will spell more losses for them, so the challenge is clear.  The Flames have a six game homestand starting next week, so don’t put yourself too behind the eight ball heading into it.

  • jeremywilhelm

    The only problem that I have with Sutter playing Karlsson is, he is a terrible goalie. He was mediocre in Sweden and will show to be less than mediocre in the NHL.

  • RexLibris

    I remember after last year’s opener against the Oilers there were a lot of Flames fans saying their team was too old and slow to compete anymore. Then there was talk about embracing a rebuild around December. By March all the talk was about how awesome the team was playing and that they were a good playoff team that could threaten to go deep. All those same sentiments seemed to cycle through all over again during the off-season.

    Now I’m reading again that the team is too old and slow to compete. I’ll hold my opinions about the roster and the likely outcomes for another time, but pushing the panic button and piling on these guys after two games seems a little reactionary.

    Yeah, it sounds like they haven’t exactly put in a good effort in either of those games (although what I saw of the Pittsburgh game seemed like they were pushing the pace or at least keeping up) but give them some time.

    My guess is that this team is going to be a little more streaky this year and it might take a little getting used to. I wouldn’t be putting that much stock in Regehr’s loss being the difference.

    From where I sit, you got outscored by one of the top teams in the league (Pit) and outplayed by a team that is fully 2 years younger on average and has been predicted for three years now to have a breakout season. Most predictions have your team between 8th and 12th in the West and you lost to teams that are ranked well above that, who knows, you may make them up somewhere else down the line.

    Wait and see how you play against Tor and Mtl, if the Flames go 0-5 to start then you can panic a little.

    Or hire Wally Buono.

  • Graham

    Certainly not time to panic, but once again I have to question this teams ‘compete’ level. We have basically the same team that finished last season, less two of guys that really did compete day in and day out (Langkow and Regehr).
    Another shaky start for a team that really needed to come out of the gates strong.