When you’re 0 for 11 on the road and the team you are playing against is going for their seventh straight wins, you don’t have a lot to be optimistic about. Especially when you look at your roster and as Kent noted, Cory Sarich is your third best defenseman. O.o
Nevertheless, Calgary still has to play the games and as Kent also alluded to, have their pride hanging in the balance; so it’s still seems there are some important games left to play.
The good news?… The Sharks have only lost one game at home in regulation time, so you know depending what side of the fence you are on for this game, there is always that. And, in the end, tonight would turn out to be a win/win sort of night for your Calgary Flames. Why? Let’s find out…
It sure didn’t look like we were in for anything different from the start of this game. The Sharks came out looking like they wanted that seventh win and they wanted to get it done early.
What they didn’t count on was Miikka Kiprusoff showing up and playing like he still had that chip on his shoulder for the Sharks letting him get away. As the shots came at the Flames net in abundance, Miikka, being his calm stoic self, made save after save. Like we have seen so many times over so many years, it seems that just about when you’re ready to count him out, Kipper pulls himself off the mat and gives a wink to the timer suggesting, "Don’t ring that bell just yet."
You may wanna sit down before I tell you this, if not… hey you were warned.
At 17:55 we got a glimpse into our near future as Mikael Backlund went to work. Winning a face-off, in the offensive zone, while he was actually playing on the pwer-play, Backs would get the quick return pass from Cammalleri and laser home the shot to give your Flames the lead… in a game… on the road?
I know! Really?
Much better start for your Flames in the second frame. They found a way to limit the shots from the Sharks and in turn generate some offense of their own.
Having success on their first PP of the game, Calgary would go back to work when the Sharks Matt Irwin would go to the box because, well his name is "Irwin". However, the only thing they were successful at this time was planting a Cammalleri shot in the back of Adan Burrish’s knee. They would have scored if Wingles went to the box instead.
No one scored in the second, so we’re gonna chalk that up to a win for your Calgary Flames. At this point most fans should have been changing over to the Hitmen game (a game they won 2-1 BTW), but yet Calgary managed to protect the one goal lead through 40 minutes. In fact they even managed to out-chance the Sharks.
Chances were 4-3 Flames in the second. Sharks should go to the room and feel deep shame.
— Kent Wilson (@Kent_Wilson) April 6, 2013
What fate awaited the boys in the third?
Well at 2:40, just after the Flames had killed a penalty to Alex Tanguay, Logan "Rat Face" Couture would center a pass to Dan Boyle. Danny boy, left all alone in the slot, had the time and put the shot passed Miikka Kiprusoff.
Where is your head at right now Flames Nation? Relief? Or.. "Here we go again"?
The goal really seemed to snap the Sharks back into reality as thy started to tilt the ice in their favour, a lot.
The Thornton line dominated every line that was sent out to face them and San Jose began to push Calgary back. Again forcing Kipper to stave off wave after wave of legit chances. Over the next 15 minutes the Sharks would out-shoot Calgary 10-2, ringing numerous shots off the post like they were ringing the dinner bell.
With two minutes left in the game "Lil Joe" Pavelski would answer that bell, taking the pass from Brent Burns and wiring it passed Kipper and putting the Sharks out in front 2-1.
Calgary would press back, almost tying the game up on a few 10 bell chances in the dying moments of the game, but would fall just short.
Why the Flames Lost…
If I could somehow embed a comment section here, I would.
Everyone is going to have their own ideas as to why the Flames lost tonight. Some will say this is what life is like without Iggy, JBo and Blake Comeau (Yes that Blake Comeau) in the lineup. Some would even say that Calgary would have lost even with those guys in tonight. In the end the choice is yours.
What I will say is that this is a team that is in a perpetual state of change, and most likely, confusion. San Jose is a team that is determined and playing some really good hockey right now, especially in their own barn.
So let’s go with this. The Flames lost tonight because they were supposed to and for 45 minutes, Kipper made them forget that with his play.
Red Warrior/Red Menace
I liked BoL’s idea after the game against the Oilers, so I’m keeping it for this game.
Tonight both honours go to Miikka Kiprusoff!
He gets the nod for Warrior for obvious reasons. The Flames were dominated in almost every facet of the game tonight, except the scoreboard; and that was only because of Kipper.
He stopped 39 of 41 shots and many of them were legit and dangerous scoring chances. The Flames were under water for most of the game, but when San Jose started to hold them down so they couldn’t catch their breath, Kipper was there to bail them out… again and again.
Honourable mention to Backlund tonight. He scored a beauty off a nice effort and was his usual self creating opportunity for his team when others were getting run over like road-kill.
Kipper also gets the nod for the "Menace" tonight because like I said in the rundown, he made this team forget for 45 minutes that were supposed to lose this game.
Many people are fully invested now in the fact that the lower the Flames finish in the standings, the more beneficial it is for them in the draft and the long run of this
rebuild re-tool restructure… whatever it is that the future holds for them. Kipper going all Miikka-like now isn’t going to help that cause, making him even more disliked by a fanbase eager to point fingers.
Sharks in Red – Flames in Blue
Tonight has to be seen as a win/win for the Flames; at least in my eyes it was.
I never like to see my team lose, I hate it in fact, but I have also come to terms with what the end game looks like for this season; and what the potential reward for all the pain is.
The loss tonight, coupled with the Avs getting the loser point in OT against the Wings, moves Calgary closer to that end prize and as twisted or as undesireable as that may seem, it’s ultimately a good thing now.
What I think is the bigger win tonight is that the team showed effort. They cared about playing the game, even if they knew what the outcome was probably going to be.
Their last game against the Oilers was nothing short of an embarrasment; for them, for management, ownership and for us as fans. Tonight was a different story. They still lost, but it was to a better team and they didn’t embarass themselves.
They may yet give us hope.
Next up is a date with the Vancouver Canucks tomorrow night in VanCity. It’s the late game on CBC (8:00 pm) or if you hate Jim Hughson’s voice as much as I do… tune into the Fan 960.
This is a big test for Calgary. It’s another game along the same lines as the Oilers game. Get blown out in this one by another despised rival and the fans are going to lose it. They may want to see more ticks in the loss column now, but by no means do any Flames fans wanna see their show get run by the Canucks.
See ya tomorrow night!