It was an emotional night down there at the Scotiabank Saddledome, as Jarome Iginla made his first appearance in the building as a visitor following playing the better part of two decades as a Flame. Despite the distraction of Iginla’s return, the Flames played a strong and structured game and out-worked Boston.
Well, for 40 minutes, at least.
Following a ceremonial face-off for a charity and a tribute video for Jarome Iginla, the game began. The first period was low-event but got gradually more energetic, as both sides attempted to find their footings after watching all those ceremonies and tributes. The Bruins had a slight advantage in play for most of the first, but the tides turned a bit after a Matt Bartkowski penalty that gave the Flames their only power-play of the period. The PP was quite good, generating four shots on net, but being foiled by Tuukka Rask. The Flames continued to gain momentum as the period came to an end. Shots in the first were 11-5 Calgary, attempts were 15-15, and Boston had a 7-5 face-off advantage. Jarome Iginla played 6:57 in the first, with 2 shots and 1 missed shot.
The Flames continued their steady and structured play in the middle frame. They continued with their aggressive forecheck, forcing the Bruin to make quick (and sometimes bad) decisions with the puck. In one such instance, Mark Giordano striped a Bruin at the blueline, where a quick Sven Baertschi chip-pass sent Jiri Hudler in on a partial break against Tuukka Rask while being chased by Dennis Seidenberg. Hudler unleashed a knuckle-puck, which beat Rask and put the Flames up 1-0. Also of note, Flames face-puncher Brian McGrattan had perhaps his best shift as a Flame, throwing his body around and even going deep into the Bruins zone against three defenders and setting up a scoring chance. The Bruins seemed more and more tired late in the period, exemplified by an odd mental lapse late in the period that resulted in a too many men penalty. The Flames dominated in shots 11-4, had a slight edge in attempts 19-13, but were brutalized in the face-off dot by a 13-6 margin. Iginla played 5:30 in the second and had 1 hit and 1 takeaway.
The Bruins dominated the third. Whether that was because the Flames tired out from defending the Bs over 40 minutes, or the Bruins woke up, is up to your interpretation. But things just stopped working for Calgary. They were frequently hemmed in their own zone and unable to clear the puck; four failed clearing attempts on one shift resulted in a Shane O’Brien penalty. Later on, Joe Colborne cleared the puck over the glass (instead of “glass and out”), putting the Flames on the penalty kill. Unfortunately, Calgary’s kill ran out of gas and David Krejci tied the game at one apiece. A minute and a half later, with fans pondering overtime, Reilly Smith rushed up the right wing, beat T.J. Brodie with and chipped the puck over Reto Berra’s shoulder to give Boston the lead. The Flames pushed back late in the game, but just couldn’t tie it. On the other hand, they didn’t give up an empty-net goal, which is a kind of moral victory. But they don’t give out points for moral victories, and the Flames fell 2-1 despite playing 40 really strong minutes against Boston. The Bruins dominated most numbers in the third: shots (15-5), shot attempts (31-10), face-offs (11-4) and, of course, goals. Iginla played 9:09 in the third and had 2 shots, 1 blocked shot, 1 missed shot, a giveaway and a takeaway. He finished +6/-2 in EV scoring chances (and +9/-2 overall), and was also named third star of the night.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
WHY THE FLAMES LOST
The Flames played 40 strong minutes of simple, structured, workmanlike hockey. In the third period, they stopped moving their feet as much. And the Bruins began moving their feet a lot more than they did in the first two periods.
The Bruins also started hitting the net. Through 40, the Bruins just couldn’t hit the net and had 13 missed shots. In the third, when things started clicking for them, they only had 4 shots miss the net. The Flames also didn’t use the body nearly as much in the third as they did in the first two periods. Boston got time and space to work and, shocker, they turned out to be pretty successful when given that time and space.
Lee Stempniak had a pretty solid game on the top line. He led the Flames with 6 shots and played 20 minutes in virtually every situation.
Honourable mention to Brian McGrattan, who barely played in the third, but used his body to great effect in the first two periods. He had 6 hits to lead either team.
SUM IT UP
The Flames ran out of gas, but played a pretty decent game. Their record is now 11-15-4. They’re back in action on Thursday night when they host the Carolina Hurricanes.