Postgame: Take the Point

Continuing a really tough stretch, the Calgary Flames did most of what they could for success against a pretty good opponent, but in the end, the Flames kicked off a three game road trip falling 2-1 in a shootout at the hands of the San Jose Sharks.  Miikka Kiprusoff was outstanding along the way, as Calgary wasn’t able to hold a one goal lead heading into the final frame.

What Happened

The opening 40 minutes didn’t see much offensively at all from the Flames, and the first period started that trend.  Calgary managed six shots on Antti Niemi, but nothing overly dangerous; they also played with a little fire, as San Jose hit a pair of posts in the first period, which ended scoreless.

The second was much the same, with the Sharks meeting the iron again on another quality scoring opportunity and allowing the Flames very little offensively.  But credit Calgary, as they opened the scoring with an opportunistic shot from Chris Butler, scoring his second from the left point at 12:07.  It was an odd bounce that helped the Flames, as Jarome Iginls’a initial pass was intended for Mike Cammalleri but instead came to Butler.  Down in the scoring chance count, the Flames had the lead after two periods.

Ironically, the third period for the Flames was actually their best, but it also saw them allow their only regulation goal.  Torrey Mitchell’s fifth came off a scramble in the slot at 10:44, sending this game to overtime, with a couple outstanding stops from Kiprusoff along the way.

Overtime saw the Sharks win it…oh wait.  Justin Braun’s overtime winner was waved off as it was deemed Tommy Wingels interfered with Kiprusoff in front, so it was off to a shootout.  Both Jarome Iginla and Mike Cammalleri were unsuccessful in their attemps while Michal Handzus and Brent Burns were good on their tries, handing Calgary their second consecutive loss.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames lost?  Regardless of how the first 40 mintues went, the reason they lost this game was a coin flip shootout.  Calgary had a lead after two periods, even if they were maybe a little fortunate to be there thanks to three posts and some solid Kipper stops.  An overtime winner didn’t count either, so it was off to a 50/50 situation in the shootout, with San Jose coming away with the win.

Red Warrior

As fun as Iginla was to watch in the thrid period, I’ve gotta give it to Kiprusoff.  He kept Calgary in this one through the first two periods, as the Sharks had a 13-4 edge in scoring chances after two periods.  It was one of his better games of the season, and he’s very deserving of the nod tonight.

Sum It Up

Hey, Calgary was outdone for the most part through the first two periods but was able to come away with a lead.  It would have been nice to see them get the full two, but knowing how slanted things were for much of the opening 40, seeing them come away with a point against a red hot Sharks team isn’t the worst fate in the world.  Their third period was pretty strong as was their overtime, so there are things to build on positively heading into LA on Thursday night.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Wow, i was surprised. I kept getting kicked by my wife as i was surprised how the Flames played, well. The 1st period Sharks dominated but the Flames appeared to control most of the rest of the game, good on ’em. Main reason they won? Luck, Luck and Luck. If it wasnt for Kippers outstanding saves and the fact the goal isnt 1″ bigger, this would have been a blow out. They got lucky again when it was found that Jokinen was the one who pushed Kipper during the OT goal. Again, sometimes breaks go your way sometimes not. Let’s hope that they dont turn this to a down point.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Glad you mentioned Iggy, looked like he ready for a snooze during the first forty. But more snoozy than usual than BAM! Kipper was the reason the flames had a sniff at this one

  • Truculence

    Man, I thought the Flames played slightly better than the Sharks and had the scoring chances pretty much even.

    Iggy line was a beast out there.

    Entertaining game.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Maybe another evaluation on Kipper’s advanced stats needs to be done because it seems to me that he’s the main reason behind about half of Calgary’s points this season. They ever lose him and the plan to ‘win now’ will be more laughable than it currently is.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Mikael Backlund is a head scratcher. It’s hard to tell what kind of player he is.

    On one hand, he has the ability to possess and protect the puck. He makes some nifty, under duress, short passes. I like him because he’s young and he’s made it to the NHL (unlike some other first round picks).

    On the other hand, he’s not producing and he’s been given chances. He just doesn’t earn it. What I mean is he doesn’t show a killer instinct to finish plays, which would earn him PP chances.

    I think he’s not as confident in his shot so he rarely uses it and he’s missing the scorers poise (he rushes when he has time, he takes too long when he should move the puck quicker).

    He needs a fire lit under is ass, get involved in some scrums and play with an edge. But the same can be said for Comeau, Horak and Buoma. They work hard but nothing really happens when they’re out there. Go get it.

    I think that’s one of the reasons they got Cammy back. He gets his nose dirty (see that scrum with Vlasic. Cammy got his stick up and smashed that dude).

    I remember watching a bit with Brian Burke discussin players for the US 2010 Olympic team. He wanted guys who played like pricks on the ice. Calgary needs that. I’d like them to get Adam Burish so he can wake these marshmellows up in the room, at practice. You know that dude who flicks other’s nuts and just riles everyone up. Calgary needs a nut flicker (again not Burrows as he does it for HIS pleasure). Dion had that effect.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      That’s what happens you get rushed to the NHL too early as a scorer and the team won’t live with your mistakes in the top 6. Backlund should’ve been on the farm last year, Horak this year. Flames won’t let guys develop in development leagues, but won’t give them the chance they need. Sure, Backlund is getting a chance this season, but he was a 3rd and 4th liner last year.

      Once the confidence is gone a guy has trouble scoring. Look at Lombardi, Boyd, etc. By the time they get their chance they’ve lost the confidence to score and it just snowballs. Horak could get top 6 minutes next year, it won’t help. You need to go from being a scorer to being a scorer.

      The right model was Brodie. As soon as he struggle she was sent back down and played another full season and a half. Had they kept him up he woul dnot be the player he is now.

      Detroit will start guys on the bottom lines, but the difference there is that the player has usually spent multiple seasons in the aHL and has developed and matured as a person and a player. The younger the player, the harder to get it back.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    Despite only getting the one goal, I can say that I found the game entertaining as it pertains from a Flames standpoint. We’ve had past games where we’ve snoozed from start to finish (Anaheim), but the Flames had some energy and it really showed in the 3rd. Iggy sure seemed fired up by then and had some good hits and I thought all the lines played failry well. As Pat said, you get to the shoot-out and it’s 50/50. Didn’t get the 2 points but there were some positives that you hope get carried over into L.A.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    Jarome was a beast in the 3rd. Instead of making me happy to see it, it makes me a little mad that he can’t or won’t play like that every period.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Got one point, Great team effort. Good road game. Played well just lost to a better team.

    The time for moral victories is over. This team needs 2 point games anyway possible. If Glencross is out for a long period, I really think that Flames management should try to get Alfredsson. Management believes that this team is a contender, so get rid of all picks and or prospects and go down swinging. Maybe see if Modano would come back on the cheap for the rest of the year.

    Or, splash a little cool water on their faces(management/ownership) and wake the hell up and realize that the way this team is assembled that they are not going to win anything. This collection of players hasn’t won anything. Ever. Maybe try and pick a different direction and mix-up the players a bit. I watched the game last night, the first two periods were brutal non-entertaining hockey. The third period had it’s moments for sure. But, the Flames cannot give any easy points away from now until the regular season is over.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I dont know, maybe I was watching a different game. I did miss the 1st period, we outshot them 6-4 so we couldnt have gotten Bruin slapped in that 1st. I thought they played pretty darn good in the 2nd/3rd & O/T. Especially when we cling to a lead they just quit skating & try to dump the puck out & let the other team pin the ears back & come at them. I didnt see that last night, they had a 1-0 lead & were going for more. I know it was a terrible call waiving the goal in O/T but you know, it was total BS that we got zero power plays & that slash/trip on Iggy behind the SJ net in the third just before the tying goal should have bloody well been called & maybe this sucker doesnt even go to O/T. I find that in this league when the games mean the most the officiating is as inconsistent as the Flames play in Oct/Nov.

    Good things I liked. Jones has the potential to really develop into a nice 2nd-3rd line forward if he keeps the skating & physical play. What a steal by Feaster.

    Cammi, I will take him over Bourque all day long. He really adds a different component to tha line with Iggy & I thought Backlund really stepped up his game despite what Wolf & few others had to say about him. I would take him over Parjarvi right now & to some extent over Gagner. Give the kid another season or two & like Wolf did say, live with his mistakes. Kesler needed a few years to develop to the elite forward he’s become. Brodie, makes mistakes but man, I like his game, he has top 4 dman written all over him. JBO played a good game as well & Iggy, finally played like an elite player especially in that 3rd. Wonder if Cammi is rubbing off on him in a good way. Joker showed some pretty good moves & I really liked his game, especially in the 2nd.

    If they played like this consistently from game 1, this team would easily be a 5th-6th seed right now & there wouldnt be a lot of chatter about blowing this sucker up. Right now, who knows what we’ll see in LA. God knows, but we need 2 points in these games. Too little too late? Looking that way.

    • Derzie

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big Backlund fan and I like how he plays. It’s the Flames development system I have issues with. Backlund may still make it. The point I was trying to make is that I don’t think he’s just been ‘unlucky.’ I think it’s a confidence things and I think that had he spent last year in the minors scoring against professionals he’d have more confidence in his goal scoring ability right now.

      Same with Horak. You could play him on the top line all of next season, but I think he’d struggle. Right now both those guys don’t believe they can score against the best.

      Bottom line: scorers need to build confidence in leagues they can score in right now, not by playing on the 3rd or 4th line in a league they’re not yet ready for.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Although the shootout is almost a coin flip on a given night, you put yourself at a disadvantage when you put out a pair of 25% shooters to start off your team versus a pair of 35-50% shooters. It’s not the end of the world (I know Iggy’s been working on shootout moves and Cammy’s fresh and new so why not), but still goes against your team’s chances. As with any other situation, I want to see Backlund in the shootout.

    • RexLibris

      Out of curiosity, who are the highest percentage shootout winners on the Flames?

      Usually it’s the puckhandlers who dominate in that area over the one-shot players.

        • RexLibris

          and @ SmellofVictory

          That would have been my guess. The playmakers always seem to have an advantage in the shootout, probably because it relies more on skill and a more subtle touch than power or quickness.

          I think Backlund is just going to take some more time. I thought the Flames were actually fairly patient with him in the AHL, but I wonder if perhaps he is struggling because his obvious skills have the coaching staff occasionally putting him into a line rotation ahead of his development. Were he on a team deeper at centre with playmakers he might be able to slowly grow into the role.

          Comparing Backlund and Gagner, while Gagner does have more points this is a result of having been “accelerated” into the NHL at 18. He ought to have gone back to junior, then spent at least a season in the AHL and still on an entry-level contract. However, both players have struggled to adapt to playing centre. Of the forward positions it is the most difficult to learn and at times can be a hybrid of forward and defense. Backlund’s ceiling may be a 2nd line centre at the height of his career, and his career-average may be as a 3rd line centre, but for the time-being it seems that with Jokinen excelling in his role as a depth/shutdown centre (Between 1st and 2nd line, correct me if I’m wrong please) Backlund has sometimes been defaulted to the complementary centre position.

          In an ideal world, perhaps Backlund would be playing 3rd line centre with scoring wingers who could finish what he started.

          Then again, I thought Setoguchi was playing for the Sharks last night, so what do I know. Which reminds me, how’s that Jim Peplinski kid coming along down there? Is he ready for the NHL yet?

      • Tanguay is #1 (injured, I know), Glencross (also injured, unfortunately) is high up there, and Jokinen would round out the top 3 of the known quantities, as far as I’m aware. Sutter doesn’t give a lot of guys a chance to shoot in the first 3 rounds outside of Iginla, and the occasional throw-in of a forward who played particularly well that game. Tangs and GlenX both tend to shoot rather than deke; they just have insanely good release when they go top shelf.

        I want to see what the young guys can do (primarily Backlund and Brodie), given some time and space.

  • Derzie

    Win or lose I enjoyed this game. The team played like a team with heart and hustle. Kipper was magnificent. Cammi showed signs that he is heads and tails above most players on the Flames as a playmaker. The youngins looked good for the most part as well. Could Jackman hustle any harder? No way. You can’t change the hand you’ve been dealt in the skill dept. but you sure can get max value through hard work. There are 2 things that need to change to make me happy: 1) Effort/Attitude, 2) Player skill level. I saw a big stride in 1 and with Cammi arriving we inched closer with #2. Right path.

    Also I agree with what wolf said about leaving guys on the farm until ready. Leland Irving and TJ Brodie are postive examples. Backlund is starting to be a negative example.

  • everton fc

    Perhaps Backlund is simply a third line centre who needs to be paired w/scoring wingers who could finish what he started?

    Perhaps we think Backlund is more than he really is?

    He’ll be lucky to crack 10 goals this year. Granted, he was hurt, got off to a late start… But he really doesn’t appear to have that killer instinct.

    As for Horak… he should be spending the rest of this season in Abby if he’s going to play 4th line minutes. Heck, put Bouma at the 4th line centre spot, or Byron, for that matter.

    Makes more sense to me…

    • RexLibris

      If Backlund is your third line centre, then take heart! Your third line centre is going to vastly outscore (3g) the Oilers third line centre (Belanger, 1g).

      If Backlund needs more killer instinct, get him to room with Jokinen on the road. Have Scoreface instill something in him.

  • amaninvan

    I thought this was a strong effort for our Dmen in handling the Sharks potent offensive attack… especially Gio and Butler. It has taken me a while to get over the Regehr trade, but Butler has shown he can play top minutes (25:43) and be productive.

    Just thought I would point this out:

    Butler: 47 games 2g 9a 11pts -3

    Regehr: 43 games 0g 2a 2pts -13 (club worst)

  • Captain Ron

    On Regehr, it makes one wonder if JBO wasn’t carrying him a bit. Not the other way around. Buffalo is struggling right now though and either Miller has been lousy or they are hanging him out to dry.