Postgame: Leads

Holding 3-0 and 4-3 leads in another hugely important game should usually translate to two points.  It did translate to a single point on Saturday night, but the story will likely be another coughed up advantage for the Calgary Flames, leading to a 5-4 shootout loss at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers.  Thanks to the out of town scoreboard, the Flames lost ground on most of their Western Conference playoff foes.

What Happened

Ilya Ilya Ilya! Oi oi oi!  That was the story of the first period, as some loose Flyers defense and some looser Flyers goaltending had the Flames up 2-0 early on.  It started on a Calgary powerplay with Mark Giordano doing a nice job of jumping to keep a puck in at the blueline before setting himself and wiring a knuckleball high on Ilya Bryzgalov, giving Calgary a 1-0 lead at the 3:45 mark.  The Flyers goalie might be allowed the benefit of the doubt, but at 5:17, maybe not.  While the Philly D wasn’t great either in allowing Matt Stajan to walk into the slot, he still got away a muffin of a shot slipping by Bryzgalov for Stajan’s second in as many games.  Calgary wasn’t bad in the first, but the opening frame started the familiar theme of being outshot and outchanced; scoring chances were 8-6 in favor of the visitors.

The second period saw a season first for the Flames as they were killing another penalty; Alex Tanguay did a nice job of stripping an opponent of the puck and eventually feeding Tom Kostopoulos.  His fourth of the season was also good for Calgary’s first shorthanded goal of the season and a 3-0 lead at the 12:55 mark.  And then the onslaught.  Just under three minutes later, Jakub Voracek took advantage of a soft Derek Smith play at the defensive blueline and beat Miikka Kiprusoff for his 11th on the year.  Then with 34 seconds remaining in the middle frame, Braydon Coburn’s shot would deflect off Scott Hannan in front, and after 40 the Flyers were within one.

Philadelphia would tie the game at 7:35 thanks to a 5-on-3 man advantage (questionable at that), and it was Scott Hartnell planting his behind squarely in front of Kiprusoff.  Kimmo Timonen’s point shot would deflect off Hartnell for his 29th on the year and just like that, we’ve got a 3-3 game.  But don’t fear, Alex Tanguay is here!  With a breakaway opportunity, he’d be slashed (lightly) by Pavel Kubina at 10:49 and for the second time in two weeks, we got to see a home penalty shot for the Flames.  Tanguay would make it look easy and his ninth had Calgary up by a goal once again.  But less than two minutes later, it was Hartnell again with an in-front deflection, this time tipping home a Nicklas Grossman shot and htis game would finish 4-4 in regulation.

The Flyers had a glorious chance to win the game in overtime, as Andrej Meszaros put a puck wide on a gorgeous feed from Claude Giroux with less than a second to go, so off to a shootout we’d go for a second consecutive night.  Mike Cammalleri would score following unsuccessful tries from Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay, putting the pressure on Giroux.  Philly’s leading scorer made it look easy to extend the shootout, and after Jarome Iginla and Wayne Simmonds would fail to score, Bryzgalov got a tad lucky on Curtis Glencross’s try, as the Calgary shooter would ring it off the crossbar.  Matt Read would win it on Philly’s fifth shot, giving the visitors a 5-4 win.

One Good Reason…

…the Flames lost?  Well, on this night, they were lucky to get to a shootout, and that was thanks to a severe lack of time in the offensive zone.  Calgary was outchanced 25-14, including 17-11 at even strength, and the top line was absolutely hammered once again.  The trio of Iginla, Jokinen, and Glencross were soundly beaten by the Giroux line all night long, including getting outshot 18-7 in their matchup.  With a team lacking depth, that’s going to do you in most nights.

Red Warrior

Bouma and Kostopoulos could be good choices, but I’m going to lean to Matt Stajan, just because it’s probably my only chance this year to give him the nod.  He has goals in consecutive games (!!) and has been an effective cog on a pretty effective trio the last few games.  He was 62% in the faceoff circle and ended up playing over 13 minutes on the night.

Sum It Up

The Flames are 5-1-5 in the month of February, which ain’t too shabby when you look at the results themselves.  But this string of finding ways to get points will end eventually if Calgary doesn’t start to find more time in the offensive zone.  I just don’t know how realistic a wish that really is.  They’ve got the trade deadline on Monday and there’s a lot of talk it might be busy one for this team; they’ve got the Blues on Monday night.

  • Franko J

    @ michael

    The Oilers and Flames have two separate philosophies from ownership.
    The good thing with the Oilers and Katz was a few years back they decided a rebuild was necessary and much needed. Katz didn’t look at the all mighty $$$ and worried about profitabilty like Flames ownership. He believe if the fans were all that true to the team they will attend games and support the team through the tough times. Yes the Oilers have missed the playoffs for the past five years (I think six counting this season), but at least there is hope and excitement on the horizon.

    The Flames in the same span have made the playoffs and have missed the playoffs, but in reality are they any further ahead than the Oilers over the past six seasons?

    In defense of Nashville, they have a strong core of fans, but no corporate support. From day one Nashville because of a very good GM and outstanding coaching they don’t rebuild – – they just reload with the players they have a consistently show up to play hockey games.

    As for Columbus that would take a week of blogging to explain their mess.

    • wattree

      Only a week of blogging to explain the mess in Columbus? I think I would book 2 minimum.

      Is profitability such a big issue with the Flames? Would not the fan base be supportive if they went in the same direction as the Oilers have taken? I question the fan base if they would not. Edmonton has sold out 269 straight. Where is it written in Calgary that you have to be mediocre year after year . Who in Calgary’s fan base has said If you do an Edmonton rebuild we won’t buy tickets anymore?
      I tell you from an Edmonton perspective it has been more enjoyable watching Hall Eberle and Gagner along with RNH and MP develop and learn than have had to watch some hapless Oiler squad try to reach for the 8th place year after year.

      Try it you might like it. What happens when Kipper is done?

    • wattree

      I’m sorry but I have to call you on Katz. He didn’t make the call to rebuild, Lowe build the worst team in hockey by accident. And if Katz was not worried about $$$ why would he hold the city hostage and threaten to move the team if they didn’t build him a new arena.

      Don’t get me wrong, Calgary is quite likely in a world of heart, but don’t pretend that where Edmonton is right now was the result of some brilliant scheme and incredible sacrifice on the part of their owner.

  • amaninvan

    Regarding the line combinations: I wonder why Glencross was inserted onto the top line, having to play top minutes after being out for so long. Especially when the line of Tangs-Joker-Iggy was tearing it up. That line was carrying us, so why mess with the only chemistry the team had? I suppose the thought was to try and balance the top two lines out, but trying Cammy and GlenX together cant hurt. The problem may be that when they look over on the wing they see Comeau. I like his defensive work, but the guy is definately a 3rd line player, at best. We really need another top 6 forward to balance things out. Lets hope Moss can step in and contribute, because I get the impression Feaster will not be making any impact moves by tomorrow.

  • RKD

    Either the players have tuned out Brent Sutter or they can’t play his system

    How do you blow a 3-0 lead, regardless of the opponent you have to keep your foot on the gas pedal. It’s still hard for this team to play a full sixty minutes. The poor play in the second periods are killing us and giving all the momentum to the other teams who carry it with them in the third.

    As for Jarome, I admit he hasn’t been good as of late but you know if there’s one person to turn this team around it’s Iggy. He usually will breakout with a strong performance, hopefully against the Blues on Monday. However, there’s too many lulls with this team.

    It shouldn’t take the GM to go on TV and threaten to move players to motivate the team.

  • Turrble. Just turrble.

    I’d like to reiterate my original point from the offseason – the Hannan signing was AWFUL. Yeah, he’s sort of tough, yeah he sort of makes smart decisions. But how many games in a row now has he done something stupid that cost us a goal? Standing in the net and deflecting the puck in, tripping over his own feet TWICE and letting opposing players score (I think they only scored once on his two trips) – Hannan is slow, has poor positioning, takes bad penalties, and is just generally not that good of a player.

    There is a reason Washington didn’t resign him. He cost them at least one playoff game, possibly more.

    Besides him, everyone has been terrible. Iginla needs to pull his head out of his ass.

      • RKD

        I blame Iginla. Not only is he garbage down the stretch here, he’s got the whole organization and city fooled into thinking it’s his way or the highway. He’s ran the last 3 coaches out of town and the team has not gotten any further in the playoffs (in fact they have gone backwards since Keenan). The only thing consistent the last few years is Iginla’s attitude. I am done with him and hope the organization will soon be too!

  • wattree

    Honest question here- Why when a fan writes that he/she would like to see Iginla traded, do they have to explain that they love Iggy, would hate to see him play for another team, thinks he deserves better, ect. Do you think that Iginla feels bad collecting his cheque this month knowing the fans spent hard earned money watching him coast. I know I am a Iginla basher and some people hate me for it on this site. I honestly don’t mean any ill will towards him. I just want the organization to realize that Iginla may be a ticket to a new way of thinking if he’s traded. He possibly could bring back the next Iginla in a trade. Bashing over. Sorry for the rant. I’m just fed up with the Flames futility of the last few years. I just want to watch the Flames play some entertaining hockey.

    • T&A4Flames

      You couldn’t be more right. This is why I always call BS on his supposed leadership abilities. The man can score a lot of goals and give good interviews and frankly, that’s about it.

      If you look at comments from Darryl, Playfair, Skrudland, Regehr and others voer the years there’s more than enough to read between the lines that Iginla is not who most fans believe him to be.

      IMO the team would be better off without him. They’d play more consistently and with a better effort. Some of the best team hockey I’ve ever seen the Flames play over the last several years was the 12 games Iginla was out injured.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        These are some of the stupidest comments I’ve read. Just clueless.
        You guys make stuff up to believe some asinine point-That Iginla is not a great leader, he coasts.
        Nothing you write is based in any reality, just your own biased opinions. Read between the lines? You only see that if that’s what you want to see. Why wouldn’t anyone of them come out and just say they think Iginla stinks?
        What possibly would be stopping them?

        Why don’t you look at comments from guys like Yzerman, Shananhan, Gretzky over the years when they state he IS one of the best players/leaders.

        Recently Burish said something similar.

        Let me make this real clear: Your opinion of Iginla is flat wrong. You are idiots to continue to try to make your narrative somehow true.

        It’s not that I’m Iggy’s greatest fan, it’s that your opinions are so wrong and uninformed that such sloppiness and stupidity anger me.

        But, rant over. Good evening.

  • wattree

    michael wrote:

    “I tell you from an Edmonton perspective it has been more enjoyable watching Hall Eberle and Gagner along with RNH and MP develop and learn than have had to watch some hapless Oiler squad try to reach for the 8th place year after year.”


    But the Oil still have Horcoff, brought back Smyth, and extended Hemsky… so I think in a way the Flames have been going in the same direction as the Oil, but just pushing for the playoffs, instead of dead last.

    I would think the Calgary fan base would be sick of looking forward to the draft every year.. it is about the playoffs, even though the dog fight to get in sucks, when your in, thats what its all about.

  • wattree

    Everybody keeps claiming that the owners want them to push for the playoffs just to make a couple extra bucks. Is these not the same group that ate financial losses for most of the 90s? They are in this to win. The win now message may be the mantra they are giving until they can get out from under the rest of Dutter’s mistakes. How competitive can you be when Stajan sits in the top half of your salary list next to Sarich?

  • loudogYYC

    Question for Kent, Pat, VF and all FN members: who would the best/most affordable fit as a 2nd Dman next season?

    Right now it looks like this:

    Bouwmeester – ??????

    Giordano – Butler

    Brodie – Smith

    Babchuk – Carson

    I’m thinking ufa’s Brad Stuart and Johnny Oduya will get some attention, but I’d like to see Feaster go after Matt Carle or Grossman from Philly.

    • T&A4Flames

      Loudog, I dont think JBO is tradeable & Gio aint going anywhere. They are bonafide top 4 dmen in the league.

      Brodie & Butler are shoe ins & I truly think Smith is a 5-6 & ready to move up in a pinch.

      Feaster needs to find 2 3-4 dmen either trade or free agency. Grossman & Oduya would be OK depending the price. I’d pass on Brad Stuart & Carle would be good but too much $$$$

  • T&A4Flames

    Did anyone claim Clitsome from CLB? Is there some rule about waiver pick ups at this time of year? I think if CGY could pick him up that would be a great move.