When you’re two points out of a playoff spot and you are playing a team in your own barn that you are trying to catch in the standings, it’s probably a good idea to come out with a lot of energy and throw everything including the kitchen sink at your opponent. Instead the Flames came out and basically threw the baby out with the bath water and with it, any chance of getting into the playoffs.
Unfortunately the first period foreshadowed what was to end up being the result of this game. The Kings showed up ready to take care of business while the Flames were spent the night on a leisurely skate, out of sync, and just out-classed.
It didn’t happen in the first minute of the game this time, but once again the Flames gave up the first goal. At the 5:30 mark, Willie Mitchell got the puck on the left point, he would let a slap shot go that was originally thought to be tipped past Kiprusoff by Justin Williams as he spun away from Chris Butler. The goal was credited to Williams but soon changed to Mitchell. The fact that it wasn’t a tipped shot put the onus right on Kipper, as he lets in yet another soft goal to put his team behind the 8-ball. The Kings out-shot Calgary 14-9 and out-chanced the Flames 10-7. Calgary went 0 for 2 on the power-play, but that shouldn’t come as any surprise as the Kings dominated the play.
The second period was much of the same as the Kings continued to out-shoot Calgary. At 7-6, it wasn’t much of a differential but where the big difference came was in chances. LA widened the spread, out-chancing Calgary 7-2 and at the 4:22 mark, they cashed in one of them. Dustin Brown carries the puck over the blue-line on the right hand side; he drops the puck to Kopitar and immediately cuts to the center of the ice. Kopitar would feed the wide open Brown the puck back with a well served pass and that would be all he needed, as he buries the shot over Kiprusoff’s left shoulder. Once again the Flames would go 0 for 2 on the PP and the second ends, 2-0 Kings.
The Flames record when trailing after two periods has them winning only four times out of the forty games they have found themselves in such a deficit, so there wasn’t a lot to be optimistic about going into the third. Couple that with the fact that the Kings are second in the league in goals allowed and you can see where this is going!
The Flames would out-chance LA 3-2 in the final frame, yet get out-shot 9-4. It’s no surprise Calgary led in scoring chances as the chasing team normally does while the opposition does their best to protect their lead. Luckily the Flames didn’t have a power-play in the third to completely ruin, so they end up 0 for 4 on the night, the only bright spot on the special teams is that they were a perfect 4 for 4 on the PK; yet again, the Kings didn’t need them. At 18:51 of the third, Justin Williams would get the empty-netter, putting an end to the game and most likely the Flames season.
1. Jonathan Quick
2. Anze Kopitar
3. Jay Bouwmeester
While the Flames are still mathematically alive, their elimination number falls to 3 with a mere 4.7% chance at the playoffs. The attitude of the team showed that no matter what they say about possibility and the belief they seem to think they have at still having a chance, you could see it on the face of Iginla, their CAPTAIN, in his post-game interview, that they are done.
Bottom line… the end result reflected the effort of the home team tonight. But for all the optimists that are looking for that last thread to hold on to. The Flames are 7-3-2 this year against Vancouver, Colorado and Anaheim.
Go get em boys! Next game is Friday at 7:00 against the… hey Colorado Avalanche. Fortune favours the bold, not sure which team it applies to but catch the game on Sportsnet West or the Fan 960 and find out.