A listless start and an uninspired finish bookended a 4-1 Calgary loss on Monday night, as the Flames fell in their first meeting this season with the NHL worst Columbus Blue Jackets. Calgary allowed the Jackets to get off to a quick start but aside from a decent push in the middle stages of the game, they weren’t able to mount much of a comeback, especially in the third period. It’s an unfortunate way for Calgary to open an important four game road trip.
It took just 3:01 for Columbus to open the scoring, as Jeff Carter ripped a shot from the high left wing through the legs of Chris Butler for his second of the season. It beat starting goaltender Henrik Karlsson up high, and while it is one you don’t necessarily want to see go in, it was also a heck of a shot from the Jackets sniper. A few minutes later, a strong shift by the Columbus forward line finished with a goal, as Antoine Vermette showed some nice skill at the side of the net to put the puck between his legs on a scramble and find a way to slip it past Karlsson at 6:45. A strong start for the Jackets was reeled in by the Flames as the period came to an end, as scoring chances finished 4-4 after one.
The second period saw Calgary get into some penalty trouble early on, with T.J. Brodie and Alex Tanguay taking minors 51 seconds apart. On the 5-on-3 advantage, Carter was finally able to roof the puck after Karlsson had made a number of saves; his third gave Columbus a 3-0 lead at 5:28 of the second period. A Marc Methot holding penalty at 7:58 gave Calgary their first powerplay of the night, and they’d make good use of it. As the advantage entered it’s second minute, Mark Giordano was given a wide open look on the right point and was able to walk in and rifle it past Curtis Sanford for his third of the season. The Flames put a decent push in the final ten minutes of the middle frame, but trailed by two after 40 minutes.
Then came the disappointing finish to the night, with Calgary unable to do much of anything in the third period. Give the Blue Jackets credit, as they really made life difficult on the visitors, but this needed to be an urgent 20 minutes from the Flames, and it wasn’t. Apart from a few odd shifts, Columbus spent far too much time in the offensive zone and far too much time with the puck; Rick Nash scored his fifth of the season into an empty net at 18:28 to get us to our final score.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames lost? Well, it’s two rolled into an ugly little ball: bad start, bad finish. Calgary’s filling in the Oreo was just fine, but instead of delicious chocolate wafers they were replaced by gross dollar coins that had lingered in someone’s pocket for too long. The book ends on this Calgary effort leave a sour, tinny taste in your mouth and are the only things you’ll remember about this game tonight. The Flames weren’t ready to go and lost the first ten minutes of this one, allowing two goals in the process. Needing a push in the third, the Flames didn’t do enough and ended up falling for the tenth time this season.
I’ll go T.J. Brodie. He saw a lot of ice time, finishing with 18:23 overall and was really the only guy involved in any chances of note in the third period. He was confident in his own end, but for the first time this season, we really saw him involved in the attack offensively. Brodie was active in joining the rush and did a good job of generating scoring opportunities when the team was trailing.
Sum It Up
Overall, a poor effort for the team. We were hoping to see a strong start to the road trip, but on this night, they didn’t seem prepared to play and it ended up hurting them in the end. Calgary is a better team than Columbus, so there really isn’t any excuse for this one. Once again, the Flames are two games below .500, a mark they’ve yet to be above this season as they continue their trip Wednesday in Detroit.