Calgary’s 2-1 shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night saw the Flames play a pretty mediocre game and still come away with two points. Calgary decided to play with fire for a second straight game, letting an inferior opponent control the hockey game for far too long, and this time it cost them. The Flames had their four game win streak snapped Thursday thanks to a 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders.
With an opportunity to win a fifth straight game, Calgary got off to a really nice start, scoring just 71 seconds in. Tim Jackman would be good for his first of the season on an odd one that somehow found it’s way past Evgeni Nabokov giving the Flames an early lead. However, it seemed like a one goal lead prompted Calgary to hit the sack, as they sleepwalked through the rest of the period and losing the scoring chance battle 6-2. Even still, the visitors carried a one goal lead to the intermission.
Just over three minutes into the second period, the Islanders drew even on a nice P.A. Parenteau pass allowing Andrew MacDonald to rifle home his third of the season. It was actually a better period for the Flames, at least for the first ten minutes or so, but once again any advantage they had evaporated and the Islanders controlled things till the end of the second.
#91 on the home side really took over in the third period, and John Tavares was able to give New York their first lead 3:20 into the final frame. Tavares broke down the right side and blew by Chris Butler making a nice move on Miikka Kiprusoff along the way, finishing his 12th of the season, but just his fourth in 24 games. The Isles did a fairly nice job of defending their one goal lead with Nabokov making a few stops along the way. Brian Rolston sealed things into an empty net at 19:17, snapping a New York three game losing skid in the process.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames lost? Because for far too long, they were the second best team on the ice. Even though New York didn’t generate a ton of opportunities, they were the team who controlled the balance of this hockey game. The Islanders are better than a 15th place team, in my opinion, but they’re still a team the Flames should control and they didn’t come anything close to it tonight, thanks to a very, very flat performance.
I gotta give it to Tim Jackman, as he scored his first goal in over 60 games and helped along Calgary’s most effective line. He was the only player to finish well in the plus for scoring chances at even strength, and he was helped along by decent nights from Tom Kostopoulos and Brendan Morrison. Nice night for Morrison as well, as his assist on Jackman’s marker was good for his 600th career point.
Sum It Up
As Kent stated in the post below, Calgary’s poor play at even strength caught up with them tonight. It didn’t bite them against the Blue Jackets, but that’s two consecutive games the team hasn’t brought it or anywhere close to it. They were unable to score on their two powerplay opportunities, and even with a fairly solid night from Miikka Kiprusoff, the Flames lost to the 15th placed team in the East. Off to Ottawa on Friday night.