A disastrous stretch during the second period sunk the Flames tonight as they failed to finish the first major road trip of the season on a positive note. The 5-1 score wasn’t necessarily indicative of the game as a whole, as for the first 30 and last 10 or so minutes they kept up with the Stars. However, the result is the result and Calgary falls to .500 for the first time this season.
The period started off with a big chance from Jamie Benn right off the hop but a bunch of back and forth play resulted in a pretty tepid few minutes until Kris Russell completely abandoned his position to chase Cody Eakin (super underrated, by the way) and as a result allowed a wide-open Alex Chiasson to pot his 4th of the year past Karri Rämö. Really nice play from Eakin to draw Russell away but that’s still not a move a supposed top-4 NHL defenseman should be making. I thought TJ Galliardi had a really nice period – he had two of the Flames’ three chances in the period and drew a penalty on Kevin Connatton. Shots were 10-8 for the Flames (9-8 at EV) and chances were 3-3, all at even strength.
The second period picked up a considerable amount, though, as the Stars would put the pressure on around the 15 minute mark forcing Rämö to make a nice pad stop before the play turned the other way and a good rush from Lee Stempniak resulted in his 4th of the season. Legit snipe, too – it was a nicely placed shot just over the right shoulder of Lehtonen. From there, though, the wheels kinda fell off. In just over a minute, Rämö allowed 3 goals of varying quality. The goal that made it 2-1 came off of Alex Chiasson’s stick as a result of a garbage giveaway from Chris Breen. The goal that made it 3-1 was a pretty well-placed shot from Jamie Benn but the Stars’ fourth goal was pretty weak – Brendan Dillon scored his third of the year with a floater from the point immediately after a faceoff. The Flames reigned it in a little towards the end of the period but the damage was done. Chances were 9-4 for Dallas, all at even strength. Shots were 15-9 for Dallas, all at evens.
One more goal by Jamie Benn on a wraparound was basically the nail in the coffin about three and a half minutes into the period. Another situation where Kris Russell completely lost his man and as a result the puck ended up in the back of the net. A couple of good 5-on-3 kills were basically the sole positive from the period. Chances were 7-2 for the Stars in the frame, 4-1 at even strength. Shots were 11-10 for the Stars in the third, but 8-6 at even strength for the Flames.
Why The Flames Lost
Simply, they had a few breakdowns in the 2nd period and paid dearly for it. There were systematic breakdowns at every position on every goal. They didn’t possess the puck enough and looked pretty listless overall.
No one really stood out tonight, but Lee Stempniak scored his 4th of the season, so let’s give it to him. He’s had a pretty good season so far and might actually fetch the Flames a first rounder in March – so that’s nice.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Sum It Up
Sven Baertschi obviously wouldn’t have turned the tide of this game by himself, but it’s even more disappointing to have him sit in the press box having to watch that.
The numbers are a little skewed due to the 3 or so minutes of 5-on-3 at the end of the third but it’s not like this was a game the Flames deserved to win.
In terms of the goalies, Rämö is still by far the superiour goaltender (.915 EVSV to MacDonald’s .899) even though Rämö allowed 5 goals at even strength tonight. He did, however, have a very nice sequence at the end of the 3rd while killing off a couple 5-on-3s.
I don’t think I’ve ever watched a game between the Flames and Stars (or Blue Jackets or Coyotes) and been entertained. Anyway, the Flames play next on Saturday when Washington comes to the ‘Dome to play on HNIC.