Only the most hardcore optimists can see the Flames making the playoffs now, as they drop a 4-1 decision to Dallas this afternoon. A game mostly controlled by the Flames, they weren’t able to get the luck they have depended on for the majority of the season today.
The game got off to a rough start as Jamie Benn buried his 23rd of the season less then two minutes into the game. The highly annoying Adam Burish facilitated the goal with a pretty nice pass from behind the net. Dallas would strike again at 12:43 with Michael Ryder continuing his excellent season; getting his 33rd of the year. Calgary would pull within one when Anton Babchuk somehow threaded the needle directly to Mike Cammalleri, who then proceeded to go all retro Squid and put the one-knee one-timer right into the back of the net. Shots in the period were 7-8 for Dallas. Chances were similarly spaced out, with the Stars winning the battle 5-6.
A nice save by Miikka Kiprusoff around 9:30 capped off a rather uneventful first half of the middle frame. The second half wasn’t any different, but a little excitement was caused by perimeter shots turning into scrambles in front of each net. There was a bit of violence at the end of the period, originating after a bit of Olli Jokinen-Sheldon Souray jostling. Shots in the period were dominated by the Flames, coming up 14-6 while chances were 4-3 in favour of the good guys.
The Flames started the third on a power play, but weren’t able to convert it into anything tangible. Give credit to the Flames, though, as around the 15 minute mark they really started to push the issue-a couple of great flurries in the next 3 minutes produced many “oohs” and “ahhs” at Shanks South, but resulted in nothing scoreboard-wise. Of course, even though the Flames were the ones driving play the entire third period, they were victimized for two goals in the final five minutes to basically eliminate them from playoff contention for the third year in a row.
I just don’t see any realistic way that the Flames can make the playoffs based on both their schedule and their play of late. It’s seriously done.
I know Scott Hannan will get a lot of crap for the third goal, but the way I saw it on the big screen was a little different then the public perception-Hannan was going behind the net to cut off a reverse to the other side. As Benn was streaking in, the centerman should have realized what Hannan was doing and covered Benn. Of course, all of this could have been prevented with a proper change.
But yeah, that noise you hear in the distance is the Fat Lady’s train rolling into town. The Flames play next on Monday, when Dallas follows them back home. Gametime is 7 PM Mountain on Sportsnet and ye olde radio.