Another November night, another November loss. For the first time this season, the Flames have lost three straight games, dropping a 2-0 decision to St. Louis. Give the Blues all the credit they deserve, as they’re a very regimented squad getting goaltending from Brian Elliott, and they grinded out the victory. It was a decent outing for Calgary, but in the end, they were unable to cash on their chances and have fallen four games below the .500 mark.
It was a fairly low event first period, kicking off a fairly low event game. Neither team generated a whole lot, even with the Flames getting the benefit of two first period powerplays. In fact, the man advantage was Calgary’s downfall in a number of different ways on this night, as they would finish 0/4 and getting outscored in the process. With the Blues serving a too many men penalty, they’d open the scoring at 10:39 following a great opportunity for the Flames at the other end; in transition, David Backes would blow by T.J. Brodie and elude a chasing Olli Jokinen to fire home his eighth of the season for a 1-0 lead. Scoring chances finished even at four after one, with the Flames winning on the shot clock 9-5.
The second period was bordering on unwatchable, especially from a Calgary perspective. Outchanced 7-2 in the frame, the Flames were very fortunate to still be in this game, as Miikka Kiprusoff stopped all 13 St. Louis shots in the middle frame, giving the visitors an opportunity heading to the third.
With a push on in the third, Calgary was able to generate a few opportunities, including two breakaway chances, but were stopped by Elliott at every chance. To say the Blues goalie stole this one would be 100% wrong, as he did his job, helping a team protect a one goal lead, which would turn into a two goal bulge at 13:17. With Chris Butler chasing a puck in the left corner, he’d cough it up while absorbing a solid Backes jolt. That freed up Alex Steen to feed Alex Pietrangelo all alone in the slot and the young blueliner would make no mistake, finishing off his fourth of the season. The Flames did outchance the Blues 7-3 in the period, but more often than not, you don’t come back, especially against a Hitchcock coached squad.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames lost? Overall, just not enough was generated offensively on a fairly punchless night, especially through 40 minutes. Again, give credit to St. Louis, who clog things up very well in front of their goaltender and do a nice job of working the clock in the offensive zone. That said, Calgary struggled far too much getting the puck to the real scoring areas, and by the time they started playing the score effectively, it was too late.
There weren’t a lot of standout performances for the Flames on this night, but I’ll go Mark Giordano just because he went beast mode in continuing to play on a shift where he got kicked in the face. Yes, he got kicked in the face, by accident, in the second period. It was actually a scary moment, and it’s good to see he’ll be no worse for wear; on the ice, he was one of Calgary’s better defenders, and came away +4 in even strength scoring chances.
Sum It Up
After a 10-2-2 month of November in 2009, the last two penultimate months have been kryptonite for the Calgary Flames. Combining this eleventh month with that of 2010, Calgary is 8-15-2 overall. It’s no fun to be playing from behind the eight ball like that, it wasn’t last year, and it certainly won’t be this year. Now the Flames finish their road trip in Minnesota, hoping to salvage at least two points off of what has been a dismal jaunt.