The theme of Calgary’s 3-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild was their powerplay, or in this case, the lack thereof. With a full five minute major sprinkled in there, the Flames went a completey inneffective 0-7 on the man advantage while allowing their opponent to score one of their own. A dominating first period saw Calgary down a goal, and the final 40 minutes was not very impressive en route to their seventh loss of the season.
As previously mentioned, the Flames were extremely unlucky in the opening frame, winning the scoring chance battle by a 9-2 count and firing 15 shots on Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom. All nine of Calgary’s chances came 5-on-5 and they had the puck a vast majority of the time, but weren’t able to beat the Wild goalie, who made three or four ten bell saves on really good Flames chances. At 5:35, Minnesota scored a fortunate one, with Darroll Powe notching his first on one that seemed to redirect past Miikka Kiprusoff in an odd manner. That was the only goal of the period.
The second period was much less a strong effort from the home side, as the Wild really slowed things down and limited the Flames to virtually nothing at even strength. To be fair, there wasn’t a ton of 5-on-5 play, as Calgary benefitted from four powerplay opportunities, including a full five minute major thanks to a Nick Johnson head-butt during a fight with Jarome Iginla. I’ve seen the call and it’s tough to say whether they were intentional or not, but I can understand the call from the ref. It didn’t really matter, as the Flames didn’t do a whole lot with it; on 13 minutes of powerplay time, Calgary generated six scoring chances. Oh, and the second also saw the Wild score on a man advantage of their own; Dany Heatley was good for his fifth on a tic-tac-toe passing play that started with Marek Zidlicky and went through Mikko Koivu at 12:47.
Calgary saw two more powerplay opportunities in the third and were unable to score once again, and even in chase mode, Minnesota held the Flames to just four chances at even strength. At 19:22, Guillaume Latendresse scored into an empty net for his fourth to seal a typical Wild win.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames lost? If the prior four paragraphs didn’t spell it out, it was the seven failed powerplay opportunities that spelled the story of this one. They generated some chances, but not enough for 17 full minutes of time, and while they ran into a very good Minnesota goalie, Calgary should have scored on their man advantage opportunities. Even strength they were great for a period, but not great for the other two.
Jay Bouwmeester, hands down. As much as I like to bug one of my favorite 20 year olds in the Flames blogosphere about his love for JBo, this was a game where he showed exactly why people talk about him having "so much potential." He was on the ice for eight scoring chances (+7 in that regard), he fired five shots on ice, and was very strong defensively. When Jay plays like this, he’s really good.
Sum It Up
A frustrating game to watch if you were a paying customer or otherwise. Calgary had a great opening 20 minutes but was unable to do anything on it, and then fell off from there. Along the way, their powerplay was terrible and the boo birds rained down. Now back below .500 and a game against the Blackhawks on Friday night.