A heartbreaker for the Flames tonight, as they drop a 2-1 decision in a shootout to the Columbus Blue Jackets. If you didn’t think it was over on Friday, then you probably now realize the chances of going 6-2-1 are extremely slim.
The game saw its first real chance when Jay Bouwmeester came painfully close to scoring around 17:00, beating Curtis Sanford with the snap shot-but he couldn’t beat the crossbar. The period would stay scoreless until 6:57, when Nikita Nikitn flubbed his 5th of the year past Miikka Kiprusoff on a weak snap shot from the point. The Flames would start pushing from there, however, and in one of the high-event moments it appeared that Sanford tweaked either his groin or his knee. He would have to be helped off as Steve Mason came in in relief. The Flames would get a power play soon after, and from that point on they basically stayed in the Blue Jackets zone for the rest of the period. Shots were 7-5 for the Flames and chances were 5-4, also for the Flames.
Period deux started out the way the first one ended-with a lot of pressure from the Flames. One shift in particular around the 6 minute mark produced 3 scoring chances. Near the 8 minute mark of the period, it almost looked as if Steve Mason would be leaving the game as well-Colton Gillies gave Olli Jokinen a push from behind, and Jokinen’s knee made contact with the head of Mason-but Mason would tough it out and stay in the game. Alex Tanguay would as well, even though he was blatantly elbowed in the head by Jared Boll with about 10:00 left in the second. The Flames would continue the barrage, but would not capitalize before time expired. The Flames dominated the frame, outchancing the Jackets 9-1 and outshooting them 16-3.
The start of the third period was about as different as you could get from the second, however. Five minutes into the period, the Blue Jackets led the Flames in the chance count 1-5. Things would turn a little after that, until with 8:24 left in the period Matt Stajan snuck a puck through a hole the size of my palm, tying the game. The Flames would continue to press, but nothing would come of it in either the rest of the third or overtime. The Flames outchanced the Jackets in OT, 2-0 but lost the chance battle in the 3rd, 5-6.
The shootout…well, they lost it.
1. Steve Mason
2. Matt Stajan
3. Cam Atkinson
The Flames next game is Tuesday (7PM Mountain) in Colorado on the FAN960 and Sportsnet West. Hope is all that is left now.