The Calgary Flames had some decent chances on Tuesday night at home to the Ottawa Senators, but alas, were unable to cash in while running into their old nemesis Craig Anderson in the process. In the end, the Flames fell 3-1 at the hands of the Sens and fell back to two games below .500 in the process. There were some strong elements on the night, but that likely doesn’t up the spirits of Flames fans right now when mistakes hurt the team the way they did.
A fairly free flowing first period didn’t result in any scoring, but resulted in some scoring chances both ways 5-on-5. Craig Anderson was very strong, starting a trend that would continue throughout the night while Miikka Kiprusoff made some strong stops at the same time. The other trend that started surrounded Ottawa’s ability to limit the damage created on Calgaryscoring chances, which the Flames would generate nine of to their opponent’s six.
The second period was very much the same, except the Flames started to take things over a little bit at even strength. Calgary also racked up their opportunities on the powerplay where they had more than a full minute of 5-on-3 time but once again were unable to make good. Late in the period, it was Ottawa opening the scoring on a Flames neutral zone turnover. A Nick Foligno pass would eventually find it’s way to Daniel Alfredsson who went snipe show on Kiprusoff for his fifth of the season at 18:44. Just 62 seconds later, Calgary evened the affair on a Sens giveaway thanks to their goaltender; as Anderson tried to play the puck, he gave it right to Matt Stajan making it easy for the centre to find Tom Kostopoulos in front of the net for his second of the season making sure we had a tie game after 40.
The third period was fairly controlled on both sides with neither allowing a ton of scoring opportunities thanks to the nature of the game. Calgary had more unsuccessful powerplay time and yielded the winning goal midway through the frame. On a great individiual effort, Bobby Butler took a Sergei Gonchar pass off the boards at centre ice; after beating Jay Bouwmeester there, he’d beat Mark Giordano inside the blueline before beating Kiprusoff on the shot for his first of the season. Butler’s second of the season came off another Calgary turnover, this time at the offensive blueline leading to a 3-on-2 rush. Instead of passing, Butler took a shot from the right side and at 16:12 the Sens sealed their 3-1 win.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames lost? On this night, it was mistakes plain and simple. They generated a good deal more when it came to scoring chances, but sometimes that happens. The fact is, the game was tied at one after two periods and Calgary still had an opportunity to win this game. In a tightly contested final frame, Calgary made two crucial mistakes which resulted in pucks in the back of their net.
Gotta give it to Mr. Popular. Rene Bourque was on the ice for seven even strength scoring chances and played one of his best games this season. While I thought Olli Jokinen was the best player on the ice, knowing the past few days surrounding Bourque and his rather uninspired play for much of this season, it was good to see #17 have an impact on a hockey game in a positive way.
Sum It Up
Overall it wasn’t a terrible outing for the home side. The problem is, decent outings that result in losses thanks to mistakes just aren’t going to cut it. I know frustration is setting in, and it would for any human in a similar situation, but the third period mistakes really hurt the Flames on a night where they were a tad unlucky around the net. With two days off prior to Friday’s game against Chicago, it may be an interesting next 48 hours.