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.
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.
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.