Post-Game: Duck Sauced

The Calgary Flames remain winless after a sometimes-ugly, sometimes-exciting 5-4 home loss against the Anaheim Ducks (of Anaheim).

The contest was a microcosm of the entire season to date – both games of it. Jarome Iginla? One point (an assist), but largely invisible. The third line of Lee Stempniak, Matt Stajan and Roman Horak? Full of pep. The Flames? Tremendously inconsistent and unable to finish most of their chances.


The game started off the way Sunday’s ended – with the Flames giving up a goal, just 1:06 in. Then Calgary attempted to take over and actually exerted some strong pressure, particularly from the Stempniak line.

Then five minutes after their first goal against, the Flames allowed another goal – created by a Daniel Winnick rushing in between Mark Giordano and Jay Bouwmeester – and just the second goal on five shots. The third line created more pressure and chances, but once again, five minutes after the Ducks went up 2-0, they went up 3-0.

On the sixth shot of the game, half-way through the period.

Once again Daniel Winnick victimized the Flames, albeit with a butt-ugly goal that glanced off a defender, took another weird bounce and went past Miikka Kiprusoff.

But despite having a great opportunity to pack it in, the Flames fought back. The Ducks took a penalty and Curtis Glencross tipped a Dennis Wideman shot past Jonas Hiller to cut the deficit to 3-1. A few minutes later, Alex Tanguay scored on a broken play from the slot, bringing the Flames to 3-2. A dumb interference penalty to Bryan Allen gave Calgary a power-play to open the second period, allowing Glencross to tip his second power-play marker of the game/year past Hiller to tie the game.

From there, the Flames absolutely dominated the second period. They out-shot the Ducks 14-3 on the whole and controlled the pace of play. But despite a series of strong chances (a couple by Sven Baertschi and the rest primarily from the Stempniak/Stajan/Horak line), the Flames could not take the lead.

And that inability to finish those chances came back to bite them, as some sustained pressure by the top line led to a giveaway in the offensive one – Tanguay passed it into the Anaheim slot, where Andrew Cogliano intercepted it – and Daniel Winnick scored his second to put the Ducks on top for good. The Ducks went up 5-3 later on via a Saku Koivu goal and while the Flames got back within one after a gorgeous breakaway goal from Lee Stempnak (via a T.J. Brodie pass), that was as close as they could get.


Well, they scored four times. That should be enough goal support to win. One of the goals Kiprusoff let in was a bit of a softie, but he can hardly be blamed on the other four. The Flames defense wasn’t nearly as good as it should’ve been. The six blueliners each had a giveaway and the team had a dozen overall. That’s way too many. And let’s not forget that awful first period.

To be perfectly honest, three out of team’s four lines drove the play fairly well, despite not really winning a heck of a lot of face-offs. In fact, there was one sequence where the Baertschi, Backlund and Cammalleri line had possession so sewn up in the offensive zone that both defensemen were able to go for a line change (at the same time). At another sequence, Stajan lost a face-off in the offensive zone but his line hustled enough in the offensive zone to actually steal back the puck and pin the defense in their own zone.

But could they finish the chances that those opportunities created?


In an 82-game season, the hockey gods tend to even things out. Nobody’s sure how much that will come to bear in a 48-game season, though, and that’s a factor that may come back to haunt the Flames when it’s all said and done. 

  • jeremywilhelm

    I disagree on Kipper, he was awful tonight. Him along with the top d-pair of J-Bo and Gio cost the team the win. 3 of the 5 goals were softies (1,4,5) and the 3rd, albeit deflected, wasn’t much better. As I said in the game-day thread, I would not be opposed to Irving starting Wednesday, especially with Kipper’s horrible play combined with his usual struggles vs Vancouver (remember, Irving won in Vancouver last year). All I know is I find it hard to believe Irving could be worse than Kipper tonight.

    Also- Iggy had assist on second goal tonight, so he got 1 point.

  • jeremywilhelm

    I would blame Kipper on more than one goal Ryan. He was often out of position and his rebound control was terrible. He over slid way out of position on two goals. He looked like a drunk beer league goalie.

    • loudogYYC

      The fifth goal was so weak on so many levels. Kipper pushing away the puck like some girl pushing away something gross, and good ol’ Comeau enjoying the action from his perch in the slot letting Getzlaf by effortlessly.

      Funny you use the word microcosm, Pike. I thought this game perfectly embodied the story of the Calgary Flames 2008-Present. Always digging themselves into holes that they seem to climb out of when no one thinks they will, relaxing at the “top” and enjoying their crappy accomplishment, and then pooping the bed again at the wrong time and reacting too late. All for a poor result that could/should have been different had they kept their heads out of their arses.

  • Another game closer to 30th. We lost 2 home games including one to a team picked to finish well down the standings. There is no denying how bad this team is. Please make the trades needed to make us worse now but give us hope for the future.

  • Truculence

    So does this mean that the next two games against the Canucks and Oilers are must win games already? I mean, will the Flames be able to make the playoffs despite a 0-4 start in such a short season, considering they aren`t an elite team to begin with?

    Nah, it`s too early….right?

  • the forgotten man

    Kipper’s shot totals in the offseason:

    Rocky Mountain Bear F$&k
    Irish Car Bomb
    Broken Down Golf Cart
    The Gladiator
    Dirty Mother

    Rinse and repeat.

  • loudogYYC

    I wouldn’t solely put the blame on Kipper tonight…

    Sure made a couple of bad plays, but Calgary’s defense was just brutal! Too many give aways and traffic in front of the net.

    It seems like there still adjusting to the ‘up tempo’ system and making costly mistakes in there own end.

  • loudogYYC


    It looked like Kipper was out of position and trying to clear the puck out of the crease… something that the defenseman standing right there should have done, or at least buried it.. not just stand there like an idiot..
    Look at how Couture saved that goal the other night, Flames D were not only useless… but they were turning the puck over. Kipper can only do so much.

  • seve927

    Here’s the bottom of the NHL in GAA. I wouldn’t be too hard on Kipper yet.

    33 Miikka Kiprusoff CGY 4.54 .830
    34 Henrik Lundqvist NYR 4.77 .865
    35 Mike Smith PHX 5.04 .825
    36 Jonathan Quick LAK 5.08 .773
    37 Braden Holtby WSH 6.00 .824
    38 Cory Schneider VAN 11.11 .643
    39 Cam Ward CAR 12.00 .667

    Really I think this first week is pretty meaningless in terms of evaluating your team. Guys who have been playing are generally playing better than guys who haven’t. Especially when it comes to defense – which requires mental sharpness. More minutes for Brodie!

  • xis10ce

    I don’t expect a win every night, but would close to a 60min effort from most of the team really kill them? At this point I can’t wait of Hudler and Cervenka, I mean I don’t think they be saviors, but they can’t make the team any worse right?

  • jeremywilhelm

    It is very early, even in a shortned season but a few of observations.

    Flames have been lost the goaltending battle in both games thus far this season. It is far from the only reason they have lost, but its safe to say with better goaltending they win both those games (at the very least last nights). A lot of rebounds lying right in front that should not have been rebounds to begin with, slow movement getting across, and unable to react to pucks changing direction. Give Irving one of the next two.

    On another note, the Flames D looks dreadful. Brodie was far and away their best defender last night. The only one who could consistently advance the puck. Giordano is off to a scarily slow start. Bouwmeester is a rapidly depreciating asset. Talk all you want about his TOI, his quality of competition, iron man streak etc. The fact remains when he is playing against that quality competition, he generally is thoroughly dominated (see -3 last night). He is physically overmatched, generally looking like a young defenceman getting pushed around in front of the net or in the corners (and that is when he is willing to engage). He struggles to move the puck, and for all his skating prowess has one of the slower pivots to the outside of any Flames D man not wearing #6. Look at how Perry blew past him and basically shoved him aside on what turned out to be the game winner. Or the other instances he gets shoved around in front of the net.

    Wideman looks good on the powerplay but was fighting the puck quite a bit last night. They need a lot more out of their D core overall.

    I haven’t minded what they have shown up front. A bit more finish would be nice, but that should come in time. Backlund looks like a new player. And overall their bottom 9 have generated chances. Top line still trying to find its footing, though they did chip in with a goal (plus a couple PP markers).

    For all the doom and gloom of a lot of prognasticators they have shown some positive signs. Gio is going to be better, Butler has not been too bad, and Brodie looks strong on the blueline. It is still early, though I have to say my greatest concern after two games lies between the pipes. Thoughts?

  • Scary Gary

    We all knew for the flames to be successful Kipper’s going to have to out-play his opponent at the other end, so far Niemi and Hiller have been better. That’s not to say the D were helping him out all that much but still.

    Was it just me or was that Palmieri kid (#51) all over the ice, he looked hungry and dangerous.

    I am looking forward to Hudler and Cervenka playing, I think those two will create opportunities and bury a few more.

    How about Joel Otto in attendence, he’s a giant! I’m 6’3 190 and he made me feel like Cammalleri…

    • SmellOfVictory

      He was all over the ice, although he was playing with Getzlaf and Perry, which makes that fairly easy. Against that line, the rookie is going to be the last guy anyone is paying attention to, and Getz/Perry are both excellent space-creators to begin with.

    • -Kipper needed to mix in a save last night yes.

      -Adding Cervenka and Hudler to the lineup doesn’t help any if you play as bad as they did last night defensively. Flames scored 4 goals last night, I dont think we lost due to a lack of finish.

  • T&A4Flames

    I agree with most posts here. I really want to see Hudler and Cervenka but I’m worried that delays any cohesion that may happen. The 1st 2 games looked like pre-season and no one should be surprised. It will take some for all teams to gel, but unfortunately for the Flames, we can’t get by on simple talent until that happens.

    Kipper will round in to form as well but our D really needs to figure it out in my opinion. How many goals over these 2 games were scored by guys that were completely left alone? Kipper needs to control the rebounds better but guys like Marleau and Getzlaf shouldn’t be skating through the slot uninhibited.

    I still say Cammi is not fitting with the kids.

    I thought the Brodie/Wideman combo actually looked alright last night. I wouldn’t have expected that- all offence.

    Horak has been good as has Stempniak, Backlund & Baertschi.

    Overall, it’s still looking like a mess on the ice.

  • supra steve

    Now, I know there are other Flame fans out there who are not unhappy or surprised with this start. If you are calling for a re-build of sorts, this is a good start.

    There are good signs, like the play of Backlund and Stempniak (among others). Some expected results, like Iggy not starting in mid-season form and the apparent Jeckel/Hyde performance of this team from one period the next. Some troubling signs, like Kipper’s play thus far. But all-in-all, did we really expect any better?.

    What’s that phrase again? Not winnin’, for MacKinnon? 48 games of not winnin seems much less painful then 82 games.