Tonight’s Flames game against Minnesota was simply a continuation of the type of play that led to Sunday’s overtime win in Chicago – for the first, oh, 47.5 minutes.
Things came off the rails after that, though, and the end result was an ugly 5-1 loss to a very good Minnesota team.
Like all of the games against the Triumvirate of Bore™, this one was slow to start. Two scoring chances were all that were managed before Jiri Hudler continued his sublime season, scoring off a nice pass from Lance “Top-6” Bouma. The Wild would answer back quickly, as Mikko Koivu scored less than 4 minutes later with a nice display of hand-eye co-ordination. Koivu’s second chance of the period resulted in a particularly nice stop from Reto Berra, as the goalie had to come all the way across the net to make the save on the streaking centre. Shots were 8-7 Calgary, all at EV. Chances were 4-4, all at EV.
The second period was somehow even lower event than the first. A couple of penalties were called in the period, but there wasn’t much action aside from that and a PP goal from Zach Parise to put the Wild up 2-1. Brodie allowed Parise to sneak in behind him while working the box, and Parise caught a great pass from Ryan Suter. Berra almost had it – he made the first stop on Parise – but the second whack sent the puck behind the net. The rest of the period was sleep-inducing. Shots were 9-8 Calgary, 7-4 Calgary at EV. Chances were 3-2 Minnesota, 4-1 Minnesota at EV.
The third actually started off with a huge block by Chris Butler on a 5-on-2 early on after a horrific change by Jiri Hudler and Sean Monahan. Perhaps that was a sign of the apocalypse to come, as the Wild scored three goals off of the sticks of Justin Fontaine, Zach Parise (again, ugh) and Zenon Konopka (yeah, I know!) in quick succession. Redonk play from Koivu on the second Parise goal, drawing Wideman away from his man. It’s hard to see what Wideman was doing on the play, as Koivu was clearly Backlund’s man. The Flames didn’t really manage anything offensively in the 2nd half of the period. Shots were 9-8 for Minnesota, 8-7 Minnesota at EV. Chances were 5-2 Wild, all at EV.
Why The Flames Lost
A pisspoor second half of the third period. Despite being marginally outplayed and down a goal, the Flames were in it until the Wild decided to play like the team they are with about 10 minutes left. The Flames had no counter.
Wild in Red, Flames in Blue
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
I’m going to go with Jiri Hudler, who is driving the offensive bus for the Flames in pretty much every way right now. It would be great if this could hold up till the trade deadline.
Sum It Up
The Flames really did play okay for the majority of the game. Minnesota is a really good team and they ran into the buzzsaw that is Josh Harding: .969 EVSV% in 12 games, which is essentially impossible. (No, seriously, it is. Only 6 goals on 186 shots? Holy hell.) They just couldn’t hold onto the rope. In a vaccum? Poor game, with only 7 EV scoring chances generated. However, they only gave up 12 against a much superiour team, so…
A rather ugly loss will have to be flushed from memory (not really, they should probably study it) as it doesn’t get any easier for the Flames as they travel to St. Louis for their next game. Puck drop is at 6 on Thursday.