Once again the Flames find themselves on the short end of the stick, and with eight games left, there isn’t much of a stick left to grasp to. Going into this game, it was viewed that Calgary was going to need to go 6-2-1 to make the playoffs; well if it’s true, they burned the one and only extra time loss they have been afforded. It was a pretty tight game for the most part, but when you’re playing a team you’re trying to catch, you have to find a way to get the two points. Colorado did, Calgary did not.
The first period started exactly how the Flames needed it to start with Matty "Franchise" scoring just 1:47 into the game. Stajan has been on fire lately and he especially showed his renewed confidence on this goal. When the shot came in from the point from Babchuk, Stajan took the puck and started the cycle. A quick tip from Tanguay back to the stick of Stajan and Matt did the rest. Taking the puck to the front of the net,he didn’t just get one shot, but regained the puck and snapped it past Varlamov. It was a great show of determination and concentration from the Center to get his 8th if the season.
At 9:05, Paul Stastny would score his 19th of the season. The Av’s had Calgary running around in their own zone. When Jones rang the puck around to the left point, the quick shot from O’Brien was tipped in front of Kiprusoff by Stastny. game tied 1-1. The even score was fairly indicative of the period’s even play, given that Colorado had a slight 12-10 edge in shots, but scoring chances were tied 6-6.
There would be no scoring by either club for the duration of regulation time. Shots were tied 10-10 and scoring chances also tied 4-4 in the 2nd. In the 3rd, Calgary held a slight edge in shots at 12-7, and had one more chance than the Av’s; but the game remained knotted at one. What was the difference then in this game? Simply put, the Flames power play was lethargic and out-right terrible tonight. They failed on their one attempt in the 2nd period, and failed on two more attempts in the 3rd. They didn’t even come close to applying enough pressure on the Av’s penalty kill units, and in fact gave up some chances to Colorado that looked more impressive.
The nail in the coffin tonight was going to overtime, where the Flames didn’t generate a single shot on Varlamov, while the Av’s had four; and it was the fourth one that ended the circus show. With 1:09 left in OT, David Jones scored on a ridiculous backhand from behind the net,that banked in off Kiprusoff’s skate and into the net. How was Jones able to score a backhand from behind the net? Well the D-man that was covering Jones was Babchuk and once again he was caught standing still while Jones kept his feet moving. Any Pee-Wee coach will ask you, "What the hell did you expect to happen?"
1st. Semyon Varlamov
2nd. David Jones
3rd. Miikka Kiprusoff
The team is not done by any means, but you really have to start wondering if there is any point in trying to figure out what the best case scenario is to get into the playoffs. They basically have to go 6-2-0 now in their remaining games, who can they lose to, who do they have to beat? Safe to say the one remaining against the Av’s is now an absolute must win. What is more disheartening is that, really they are all must wins and with two games still to go against Vancouver, there is just no margin for error. For a team that is marred by errors, the outlook doesn’t appear very optimistic.
Don’t ask me for any examples, but I’m sure stranger things have happened… somewhere. We’ll see if it starts on Thursday, where the Flames meet the Minnesota Wild; yet another team that Calgary should beat! Will they? Game time is 6:00 MT (Sportsnet & Fan 960)