The Flames rolled into St. Louis with what could charitably be called a sub-optimal line-up (due to a variety of reasons), which is why the game was never really in doubt, even though the score ended up close by the end of the night. St. Louis took a lead early in the contest and played a slow, choking, Hitchcockian style game for the rest of the night.
The first period was a complete washout for the Flames. The Blues leaned on them hard in all aspects and dominated both the chance count and the shot clock. It only took about four minutes for St. Louis to take a 1-0 lead on a Vladamir Tarasenko powerplay goal. They stretched the lead to two around the 10 minute mark after Max Lapierre deflected a shot over Reto Berra’s shoulder. Calgary generated next to nothing in terms of zone time or quality looks, garnering just one scoring chance and two shots on net. The chance count ended up 7-1 in favor of the Blues.
The second period was better from a Calgary perspective, in part because the Blues beat a steady path to the penalty box in the middle frame. Three of Calgary’s eight total chances on the night were generated on a sequence involving Colborne and Backlund during a Flames PP, but they couldn’t find the back of the net. Shortly after that, Alex Steen found himself alone in front of the Flames cage and deposited his NHL leading 14th goal to put the Blues up by three. TJ Galiardi made a few nice individual plays to create some noteworthy shots on net before the end of the frame, but it wasn’t enough to break the goose egg.
The Blues were satisfied with sitting in the neutral zone and clogging things up the rest of the way. The Flames only managed two more chances in the third – a Tim Jackman backhand from the slot and a Cammalleri rebound shot – and, ironically, both went in. Nevertheless, St. Louis hung on for the one goal win, even with a last minute penalty putting them on the PK. Alas, Calgary’s suddenly impotent PP couldn’t make a dent in the Blues defense.
Why the Flames Lost
Because they were grossly outmatched when the game was in doubt. The Blues are one of the better teams in the league and would be a stiff test even for a fully healthy Flames club, let alone one beset by significant injuries. Calgary created just five even strength scoring chances all night, which is usually a fairly middling for a single period.
He didn’t get a point, but let’s give it to TJ Galiardi, who was one of the few Flames who appeared frequently dangerous.
Flames in Blue, Blues in Red (reversed!)
|Home||1||16:59||Tarasenko goal PP||1||5||20||22||42||74||4||6||15||23||24||29||5v5|
|Away||2||7:53||Galiardi wrap around||1||19||20||25||27||42||8||29||39||44||55||59||5v5|
|Away||2||4:05||Galiardi in close||1||9||21||22||33||91||23||29||39||44||55||59||5v5|
|Away||3||5:11||Cammalleri rebound goal||1||5||9||21||22||91||4||6||15||23||29||59||5v5|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Sum it up
Calgary’s a mediocre team with lots of injuries running on empty on the road right now. The coach is also waging some sort of weird war of attrition against a couple of the club’s noteworthy young players, so guys like McGrattan and Jackman are playing even more than you would expect. The Flames have now lost six of their last eight games and are facing a difficult turn around to play in Colorado tomorrow night.