POST GAME: Serious JuJu



So here we go again.

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Tonight the Flames were facing a team playing in their third game in four nights, and their back-up in net. Granted the Chicago Blackhawks are a far superior opponent than the Avalanche were, afterall, they are still one of the few to lose in regulation. However, they were coming off back to back shoot-out losses and the goal for Calgary was still the same; dominate a weary opponent, bide your time and capitalize on mistakes without giving up any.

Easy right?

The Rundown

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Normally, after what happened in the Flames last outing, it would be a no-brainer to say the team needed to come out with some jump and take it to Hawks early. Not so in this case because there was a high probability that they would get burned by a team like Chicago.

Add to the fact that despite this only being Ray Emery’s second start of the year, the Flames have historically had problems getting pucks past the tender, and you have the makings for a cautious, fairly low-event first period.

And that’s exactly what we got. No scoring in the first, a powerplay for each team, and a pretty good tilt between Jackman and Bollig. Calgary out-shot Chicago 10-6 but the Hawks took the slight edge in scoring chances 4-3.

In the second period, the tempo started to pick up. The Hawks came out swinging first, dominating the Flames for the first five minutes or so by out-chancing Calgary 3-0. But the Flames weathered the early storm and the game stayed tied. For the rest of the period you could see Calgary start to put the game plan in motion. Moving their feet and subsequently moving the play down the ice, they started to generate some quality chances of their own. In fact, despite the score remaining in a scoreless tie at the end of forty, Calgary out-chanced the Hawks 6-5 while out-shooting them again 10-6.

At some point during the second intermission, someone mocked the hockey Gods so badly, that this game was only going to result in one way. Whether Joel Quenville had a voodoo doll stashed somewhere, Emery sacrificed a live chicken beneath the depths of the Saddledome, or if Patrick Kane beat someone up because they tried to offer their two cents… I don’t know.

But the only way to describe what happened next was Bad JuJu!!

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The third period began with a big push by the Flames, in fact, the first quarter of the period was all Calgary. Despite that it would be the Hawks to get on the board first, when Patrick "Mr. Cab Driver" Kane" would bat a bouncing puck at Kipper. Miikka got a piece of it with his pad as he came sliding across, but not enough as the puck would trickle into the net as Kipper hugged Shaw’s stick.

To the Flames credit, they did not let the goal get them down, nor did it stem their play; if anything it amplified it.

After the goal by Kane, the Flames threw wave after wave after wave at the Hawks. They were relentless in their assaults and had Chicago reeling by the midpoint of the period. Only no one told Emery. With every wave and every assault, Emery seemed to make more and more unlikely saves. Even the announcers said, "Glencross is going to need therapy after this game!" And it was true. Curtis alone was stopped on several chances that were almost certain goals, but with Quenville’s voodoo doll and the bad juju and all… Chicago kept their lead.

FINALLY!!! At 13:23 of the third, Dennis Wideman… with the patience of Job, the nerves of a sniper, and the forethought that they just couldn’t put the puck past Emery…. Waited, waited and then put the puck in off Brent Seabrook’s skate. Whatever, we’ll take it! 1-1. It was a power play goal against a team that was 23 for 23 on the road with their PK, and it circumvented the voodoo sh…tuff, so it was all good.

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Then the improbable and unimaginable happened. The high flying, goal scoring, Jay Bouwmeester joined the rush late and snapped a beauty past Emery with only 35 seconds left in regulation. Like money in the bank, 2 points were coming the Flames way; no way this one could go south right?

Yeah, well Quenville bent over and picked up his doll that he had tossed down the hall after Wideman cheated fate, and gave the little guy a jab. Bang, Marian Hossa ties the game with 2.8 seconds left on the ticker, and all Flames fans thought their tickers had just stopped.

The Flames did everything right in the third. They out-shot Chicago 24-6, 20… yes TWENTY of those shots were scoring chances (so were all 6 of the Hawks shots). They went 1 for 2 on the PP, yet were still tied and the teams were going to overtime.

The extra frame didn’t help Chicago at all, but Emery did. The Flames dominated, and I mean Dominated the Hawks in OT, out-shooting them 3-1 and out-chancing them 6-0. Emery stopped all three and on 26 different occassions, the Hawks players blocked shots from Calgary. Despite a power play for the Flames, they were going to a shoot-out. It was a travesty, it was robbery, it was unfair. Whatever you wanna call it, that’s what it was. Even CBC’s Elliotte Friedman commented on twitter… 

The shoot-out was less exciting and quite frankly predictable. Even though it was nice to see Hudler and Cervenka join Tanguay as the trio, all three were unsuccessful, while ol’ "Mr. Cab Driver" was able to tuck the puck between Kipper’s pads for the win. Game over.

Why the Flames Lost…

Been over this… Picture says a thousand words!

Red Warrior

I’m going to go with a couple of guys tonight. Sharing the honour will be Mikael Backlund and Curtis Glencross.

In the first period, Calgary’s top 2 lines had zero shots; Backs had three on his own. Once again he was flying tonight and making things happen, creating chances in the offensive zone.

His line continued to dominate in the second as Stempniak taking the lead in shots taken by Flames players.

In the third, it was the Curtis Glencross show, unfortunately minus an appearence from Scoreface. In the waves of assaults thrown at Emery, it was Glencross that should have benefitted the most. He hit the crossbar, tipped two more directly at the net and could have two more from each side of the net. All denied by Emery and the iron.

Sum it up

This is going to be a tough one for the boys to take. It’s not going to be enough to say at least they took a point away from the Chicago Blackhawks.

They dominated, they deserved the win and they were denied. But hey, it is what it is and they have to move on from this.

I’m not going to take any pot-shots tonight or assign any blame. Kipper looked miles ahead of how he played two nights ago and the defense was pretty solid holding the Hawks to 6 shots each period and then shutting them down in OT.

Despite the loss, it was clearly the best game the Flames have played this season. Many fans commenting on just how entertaining the team looks. That’s a plus isn’t it?

And DID YOU SEE THAT CRAZY PASS CERVENKA MADE FROM BETWEEN HIS LEGS??? This guy has some sick skills with the puck.

They have two days to be pissed and then get over this one. Leave it in Calgary as they now embark on a three game road trip… they don’t need the extra bagage.

Things get under way in Detroit on Tuesday. Game time is 5:30 on SNET-W

  • beloch

    While this game is the most egregious case, the Flames entire season to date, 1/8 of the full season, has been one long sequence of bad puck luck. They have consistently outplayed their opposition and only once have they been rewarded with 2 points. Over a long enough season this kind of luck should even out, but 1/8th of the season is gone and they’re dead-last in the West. That’s going to be very hard to recover from.

    I thought it was frustrating to watch the uninspired performances of a mediocre Flames team last year, but this is even worse. This iteration of the Flames has played their hearts out and the end results are *worse*. No justice indeed!

    • seve927

      I think a lot of people have a misconception about this short season. A bad start may not be desirable, but it is not a killer. If what now looks like a much worse Flames team last year could go on a hot streak like they did, what was it 10-3-4, while not playing particularly well, I just don’t see why so many people think they can’t climb out of a 1-3-2 hole.

      Really, isn’t is just reasonable to believe that playing like this will result in a lot of wins? Of course, they may just be playing over their heads right now, but if you just base your opinion on what we’ve seen so far a run of 7-1-2 or something seems not only plausible, but likely. Would we be out of it at 8-4-4? We’re only 6 games in. It’s still a miniscule sample.

      “It is always darkest just before the dawn”

    • ChinookArchYYC

      “I thought it was frustrating to watch the uninspired performances of a mediocre Flames team last year, but this is even worse. This iteration of the Flames has played their hearts out and the end results are *worse*. ”

      I don’t agree that it’s worse than last year. The last 3+ seasons of Flames hockey have been uninspirering, boring and frustrating. A team that was fostering a malaise among many of their own fans. Win or loose the 2013 Flames are a joy to watch, and from the ‘fanatical’ perspective are easier to gravitate toward. Everyone remembers the 2004 cup run, and may forget the .500 team that got them there, but that team was fun to watch. The 03/04 season was far more entertaining than the seasons between 1986 and 1990, even with all the winning. Maybe it’s true familiarity does breed contempt. Fans just expected to win every game back then. (And yes, I was there.)

      While no one likes to loose, fans love watching players pour their hearts out on the ice and earn their paychecks. The frustration this year comes from wishing their team were rewarded for their hard work.

      Sorry, I didn’t mean to rant.

  • CDB

    Warning, this is long. This team has some exceptionally poor luck. Over the course of a regular 82 game season, a stretch like this would be concerning but not uncommon. Unfortunately this is a 48 game season, and could prove fatal to playoff hopes. However, all is not lost.

    The flames are missing points from awful luck, as well as some exceptionally poor goaltending. The latter is more of an issue and will have worse consequences. Yes kipper was a lot better tonight (he provided NHL goaltending). Their awful luck has to rebound eventually. However points lost as a result of some terrible goaltending is less likely to correct itself

    Part of me will not be horrified if averages dont work out.This is a team that looks to be moving in the right direction, finally (and it didn’t take 3 first overall picks). For all the criticism, how do the hudler and cervenka signings look now? If the flames, which look considerably more formidable, and exciting, somehow continue to tank they are likely to receive a high pick in a strong draft class.

    With a team that cannot continue to fail to convert the abundance of chances they are creating, with an older Sven, plus another strong prospect (hopefully) and Johnny hockey coming eventually, this is a team that could turn a corner sooner rather than later.

    This corner could be turned even quicker with iggy and kipper trades (just saying). But regardless, while disheartened with the loss, i am more optimistic about the state of the current roster despite the result.

  • supra steve

    Great to see Kipper bounce back tonight because:

    A. He’s Kipper and we all love to see him stand on his head.

    B. He did it against a team whose current goaltending makes them a possible trade partner (at least in a lot of fans minds).

    • Willi P

      I thought Kipper played better last night but certainly no better than an average NHL tender. The Kipper from last year stops at least one of those two goals AND he still sucks in the shoot out.

  • seve927

    It has been good to see the team playing with heart but let’s be serious here. The Flames have played the majority of their games at home against opponents coming off back to back or 3 in 4 situations. The last 2 games have been against the other team’s back ups as well. As a result of this very favorable schedule the Flames sit in 30th. This is not a team that is going to bounce back. As the schedule starts to get tough, it will get worse. Moving Kipper and Iginla for a combination of good young players/prospects/high draft choices are the only option for a team trying to get better.

    • Willi P

      The Flames have outplayed their opponent in just about every game. At some point this Karma turns around and they win games they deserve to win and a few they don’t. I won’t write them off quite yet as I see more try/effort to win in this team than I have in many years.

  • supra steve

    yep, somebody pissed off the hockey gods. however, upon further reveiw, the hawks stars outperformed the flames stars. iggy and cammi were not elite, kippa was mortal. emery was outstanding , if iggy would have buried the breakaway chance the tide may have turned significantly. highly impressed with cheddar and huds, they have ragin stajan playing at an elevated level, leading to questions of butter’s ability to communicate effectively with pro level players. chances are the flames would have been bag skated after last nights outcome. anyhow its a much more exciting style of play this year, so maybe last night was a pergetory moment.

    • Willi P

      That’s the whole thing. Iggy is no longer elite yet we continue to build around him as well as give him elite minutes. Moving Kipper and Iggy for the future is what is needed but doesn’t seem to be on the agenda.