POST GAME: Buried Alive

 

 

So where do we begin with this tonight?

Justin mentioned at the top of the FGD, that the Flames 1-2-1 didn’t look too fancy. Well then what does a 1-3-1 record look like?

"Tonight, Calgary will welcome the Colorado Avalanche to the ‘Dome. The Avs are on the second game of a back-to-back (losing 3-0 last night to Vancouver in the rainy city), and are currently sporting a depleted roster – meaning that tonight is a great opportunity for the Flames to pick up two points."

Did we mention that the Av’s were going to go this one without Ryan O’Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog, Steve Downie, and… uhh.. Oh yeah! Their backup in net!

The Rundown

The first period started as we had all hoped and predicted. Calgary came out skating, looking to take advantage of an Avalanche team that was playing its third game in four nights; while the Flames spent the last four days resting and practicing. (We talkin’ about practice? Already)

Keeping the game at a high tempo in order to allow your opponent to run out of gas early is a pretty good game plan as long as you don’t commit any bonehead plays and cough up a bad goal. Well that’s just what Calgary did, control the play and bide their time while J.S. Giguere made some timely saves to keep his team in it.

As it turned out, at 7:23, Colorado would be the first team to blink when Matt Hunwick had his pass picked off by Jiri Hudler. The new Flame would deliver a nifty pass over to Matt Stajan for the one-timer. However as we all know, Matty Franchise doesn’t scor that often, but he did get the shot off fast enough that Giguere had to kick out the rebound back to Hudler, who would then put the sharp angled shot in the back of the net.

Tim Jackman had the chance to double the lead with a little over three minutes left with a fantastic tip off of a Chris Butler shot. The deflection cleanly beat Giguere, but not the post behind him. The missed opportuity would prove costly as the Av’s would tie it up at the 19:13 mark after Chris Butler would throw a blind pass right on the stick of John Mitchell; who would beat Kipper with a snap shot on the far side. One both Kipper an Butler would like to have back.

Not dwelling on a late tying goal, the Flames quickly re-established the lead at 1:49 of the second period. Brodie would start the play behind his own net with a quick dish to Stajan. Matty would then hit Hudler with the stretch pass. Then in one of the nicest tic-tac-toe plays we’ve seen in the Dome, the puck would go from Hudler to Cervenka, back to a trailing Stajan and finally finished off by Hudler. Flames fans were feeling pretty good at that point.

Unfortunately the Av’s would answer back 1:41 later, when P.A. Parenteau would lob a backhand towards Kipper that somehow found its way through his pads. A broken play behind the Flames net at 16:58, with Stajan dancing a do-se-do around Cody McLeod results in the puck finding its way to a wide open Mitchell, and then quickly behind Kipper. 3-2 for the refugees.

This time it was the Flames turn to score a late one to tie up the game. Alex Tanguay, still needing just one assist to reach 500, would instead register his 3rd goal of the season. Again, the series was set up by some nice passing, and again it was Hudler making it count when he touched the puck. So at the end of two, we were right back where we started, all tied up. The Flames had the only PP of the period, and it was the first of the game as well. It wasn’t overly productive for the team with the 4th best in the league, so we’ll just move on.

The third period was the one where the Flames should have really put this one to bed. The Av’s should have been gassed and with the four days rest, Calgary should have had a lot left in the tank. Alas, would’ve, could’ve, should have… didn’t.

It’s not like they didn’t try, but somebody forgot to tell Giggy that jig was up and it was time to end this thing. Shots from the point weren’t finding their way, and Giguere turned away Mikael Backlund when he and the Flames would bring the play in tight as well. In the end, it was the Flames caught off guard when the Avalanche occured with less than three minutes left in the game.

At 17:20, Paul Stastny would score on the power play before Giordano even had the chance to sit down after tripping Matt Duchene. Stealing the puck behind Kipper, he would turn and wrap it around, sliding the puck under Miikka’s left pad. Then, at 18:49, Stastny would score again as picks up the puck off a Wideman blocked shot, and fire it past an out of position Kiprusoff. Not Kipper’s fault, but it didn’t provide an excuse for his performance tonight either. The icing on the cake came at 19:12, with P.A. Parenteau potting his second of the night into the empty net. We won’t fault Kipper on that one either.

Why the Flames Lost…

There are a number of reasons why Calgary lost this one. They didn’t capitalize on a lot of the chances they got. Yes they scored two incredibly nice highlight reel goals, but that’s not what wins hockey games.

An unlucky bounce for Jackman (Sound familiar?) and some missed chances by Backlund. If those go the other way, the Av’s cave and are licking their wounds exhausted right now. But, the Flames also took Colorado for granted and the fact that they were facing a struggling team and their back up.

Perhaps the four days off after the win over the Oilers was too long and the team lost that excitement. Maybe it was another game where they did great with the secondary scoring while the top line was no where to be found. Honestly tonight, it was hard to tell who the #1 line was. Another game with no goals from Iginla or Cammalleri. Tanguay got on the board, but it was while on the ice with Hudler.

Then there was Kipper. Needless to say it was not his best effort out there. While I’m not going to blame him for the empty netter, of the other five, he was easily at fault for at least three of them. Kipper has looked shaky to start this season and many of us are getting less vocal about his ability to pull it together sooner rather than later.

Although the buck may stop with Kiprusoff, the blame doesn’t;  Chris Butler and Cory Sarich can stand right beside him. Hell, they might as well, cause they were doing a good job of standing around during the game. Honourable mention goes to Dennis Wideman too. While he was generating a lot of chances in the offensive zone, he also generated a few in his own.

Red Warrior

Not much of a stretch to realize that Jiri Hudler was the best on the ice tonight for the home team. He got the ball rolling and then got the team back in the game when they needed it. Jiri is showing a lot of leadership on this line, pulling it together and making it seem like the trio has been playing together for over 20 games, rather than 2. What makes it more impressive is that one guy is a guy who can’t speak english (although that’s not an issue for Jiri) and has never played in the NHL… and the other guy is Matt Stajan!

He might have this honour for awhile.

Sum It Up

Time is ticking on the Flames and the sand is going to start running quicker and quicker in the hour glass. This was supposed to be an easy two points, but then again nothing is ever easy for this team.

It doesn’t get any easier as the Flames get ready for a hellacious month of February, where they face the Canucks, Blues, Kings, Wings… the Stars twice and the Wild three times. Oh to kick it all off, they get the Blackhawks this Saturday.

Hope for the best people.. and maybe say a prayer or two. Unless your prayers include names like Jones or McKinnon, then you just shut up!

See ya Saturday, 8:00 p.m. MST on HNiC.

  • TheRealPoc

    Last year, the excuse was “he was in over his head, he needs softer minutes.” Getting bent by John Mitchell isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for that theory.

    I have a feeling the more games he plays, the quicker Chris Butler’s house of cards will fall down. He needs to ride the pine and Calgary needs to bring in an actual NHL defenceman to play on the bottom pairing.

  • RedMan

    what I liked:
    no more chipping it in at the red line, always tossing the puck away like it’s wrong to play hockey WITH the puck – the passing and tic-tc-toe looks so un-flames. We truly have some depth on offense that makes it hard for other teams to focus their best shut down efforts effectively.

    What I didn’t like:
    Yes Butler and Sarich were made to look like, hmmm what’s the word? BUT – go back and look at the replays and you see true flames hockey – i.e. forwards drifting around by the blue line (or worse, in some cases literally standing still watching) giving zero puck support, and/or not covering the open man standing alone 10 feet in front of Kipper. I Didn’t see who these drifty forwards were, but experience leads me to guess Iggy first.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    hey lets call up our young budding superstars, janko will make a huge difference. great point wolf the avs beat the flames without three young core guys. feaster needs a dose of intellectual honesty. jarome sundin and cammy should be shopped.

  • Vintage Flame

    i am trying to be an optimist, however being a realist is overwhelmingly easier. kipper is stinking out the joint, with not adequate backer. iggy and cammy are skating in quicksand, the defense after the big three is abyssmal.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    This game was a reflection of what I was worried about before the season started. The Flames core player looked to be past their prime, I’m afraid to look at Kipprusoff’s SV%, and Iginla looked ordinary. Sarich played the way Cory Sarich plays – slow, caught out of position, and ineffective. Cammilleri has been out of sync from game #1, and may benefit from riding the pine for a game or 2. Butler is not capable of playing with Sarich and this tandem was bad all night. Thanks for outing Wideman VF, he has been great offensively and periodically weak defensively all season, last night especially.

    On the bright side, the Flames can score! They seem to be able to push the game tempo up, and are genating more scoring chances and shots than they have since 2008/09. The team has added a lot more offensive creatively and firepower to the arsenal. Hudler is better than I thought and I’m impressed with Cervenka. Brodie continues to play with confidence and praise, and I believe Bouwmeester is being deployed properly and will continue being and offensive threat (maybe the critics will finally be silenced). The forgotten man continues to be Jones, I really like this player.

    The game was oddly frustrating and yet entertaining at the same time. If my dream comes true, the Flames will continue to improve offensively this year, while Kipprusoff struggles. This should then result in the team being in 25 – 30th overall by the trade deadline, and Feaster’s hand will finally be forced to sell off Iginla and start collecting draft picks.

    Lastly, if Cammilleri doesn’t improve it will be an easy decision for the team management to buy out his contract over the summer.

  • Vintage Flame

    :…Av’s were going to go this one without Ryan O’Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog, Steve Downie…”

    This summed it up for me.

    I knew we were in trouble when an Avs player was interviewed and said something like “this a must win, we’ve got to find a way to win this one somehow.”

    Seriously, missed chances happen every game from both sides. Kipper has been horrible, but still, the Avs are without their entire #1 line.

    For those that don’t want to blow up the whole things, would you be happy with a top 6 next year of Glencross, Hudler, Cervenka, Baertschi, Backlund and Tanguay? And whatever we get back for Cammi and Iginla?

    • T&A4Flames

      “For those that don’t want to blow up the whole things, would you be happy with a top 6 next year of Glencross, Hudler, Cervenka, Baertschi, Backlund and Tanguay? And whatever we get back for Cammi and Iginla?”

      Yes, I would! Not to mention that with a little luck and savy deals, we could end up with an NHL ready draft pick helping out on the 3rd line.

      Seriously, free Iggy so that he can win a championship. Heck, Kipper as well.

      Trade those guys, perhaps we pick up salary dumps in the process that can form a hard minutes line. Then we can give the softies to those lines you suggest.

      • McRib

        Personally I think the reason Iggy has not inked an extension is he is waiting to see how things pan out in the first 10-20 games. If we are still in the basement he is gonzo. If the Flames were ever to completely tank a season no better year than one with a 48 game schedule.

        Kipper unfortunately is playing his way into staying with the Flames, if he doesn’t turn it around quickly that’s the season.

        Flames have Chicago up next…. Yikes 1-4-1 is rapidly approaching.

        • T&A4Flames

          “Personally I think the reason Iggy has not inked an extension is he is waiting to see how things pan out in the first 10-20 games. If we are still in the basement he is gonzo. If the Flames were ever to completely tank a season no better year than one with a 48 game schedule.”

          I completely agree. If he was 100% commited to the Flames reagrdless of the outcome of this season, he would have signed something by now.

        • T&A4Flames

          Hey, if Iggy wants to stay, I support that. He has earned the right to decide what he wants to do. However, maybe he needs to be shown the reality as he has likely been sold the kool-aid for so long ie. “we are going to make deals and be competitive.” Or my favorite, “I gaurantee we will make the playoffs!”- J Feaster.

          • Iggy should be able to look at this team and know he isnt winning a Stanley Cup. It doesn’t take a whole lot of brain power to realize we aren’t better then the Pens, Rangers, Bruins, Etc. of the world. He is staying because he doesn’t want to uproot his family. It’s a gamble, that obviously he isn’t willing to take.

  • Frank Miron

    Kipper is terrible this season and needs to leave his spot to Karri Ramo, the best goalie in the KHL…. what do they have to loose ? At this pace they will surely not make the payoffs anyway so trade Kipper for a good kid or a pick and give the chance to Ramo to show what he can do… At the very least they will draft Jones so tha’ts not so bad !!!

  • loudogYYC

    Oilers fan chirping about draft picks and management hey? You wait a few years and see how you feel about what your management did with your embarrassment of riches of draft picks. Good luck, honky. (I can say that, right?)

    I went to the game tonight, Hudler and Cervenka play a brand of hockey I’ve never seen from the home team in the years I’ve been going to the dome. It’s great, I love it, and it makes for an excellent compliment to the fast, tough brand of hockey it takes to win anything in this NHL.

    The first line is out of sorts, Glencross just doesn’t belong there and he should swap places with Cammalleri. Not that Cammalleri will solve that lines issues, but Glencross is better suited for that 2nd or 3rd line, whatever you wanna call it, with Backlund and Stempniak.

    Glad to see Hudler driving that line and nice to see him make Stajan look good. I didn’t think that was even possible.

    Also, Comeau should stay put in the press box and Sarich should be scratched. Butler didn’t look good but he needs some time.

  • aloudoun

    I dont know what happened on these days off but they forgot that periods 1 and 2 are 20 minutes, not 19, and the third period isnt 16 minutes long.
    Iginla did not pull his weight tonight and Kipper looked human. I’m not going to say (yet) that Kipper and Iggy need to be traded but if this trend continues 5-10 more games then that needs to be a BIG conversation.
    Having said all that Tanguay is having a great season so far and Cervenka, Stajan, Hudler line looked really good.

    • Vintage Flame

      I’m not going to say (yet) that Kipper and Iggy need to be traded but if this trend continues 5-10 more games then that needs to be a BIG conversation.

      Hmmm 5-10 more games? The past two seasons haven’t been enough, you need 10 more games?

      I’m not criticizing you but the Flames have to learn the Law of Diminishing Returns. We want to see them finish their careers here as fans, yet we all know that there needs to be dramatic changes with this core.

      What is the breaking point?

    • jeremywilhelm

      Hey Pal shows you have a lot going on in life if your hanging out on this site, the last four years for you guys have not been sweet , its every teams time for a rebuild at one time or another . keep up saying what make you feel cool pal. Maybe take a hint a piss off.

    • Has nothing to do with being “true”. What fan wants to watch their team tank for 5 years? And that doesn’t guarantee a Stanley Cup either. I’ve seen plenty of Oil fans complain over the years already about the team.

      When it comes to the Flames, they really dont shock me anymore.

      – Sarich and Butler were awful tonight.
      – Iginla was invisible again, while GlenX wasn’t due to his high level of suck. (drop passes)
      -Kipper needs to mix in a save. Should of had 3 of the 5 goals he allowed, and its been like that since game 1.

      Last but not least #OfferSheetOreilly

  • Oilertown

    You guys will finish 9 or 10 in west no chance of Either those players should still get a good player tho. Hopefully your guys “smart” Gm doesn’t pick a player that won’t be ready till 2020 if ever lolololol.