pic via Simonpix
Hopefully by now everyone has shaken off the effects of their festivities last night and awoke this morning ready to face 2014 with all the grit, pugnacity, and of course truculence, that one would expect of a Flames fan.
If you didn’t watch the game or drank yourself into a state of forgetting, the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Flames 4-1 last night on the strength of three points from Brayden Schenn and a solid goaltending performance from Ray Emery. Also, I think that we can now definitively say that these third jerseys are cursed. Like, saying Macbeth while using a black cat to smash a mirror under a ladder cursed. So let’s never use them again and pull the satanic horsehead ones out of storage.
The Flames had been insanely good in New Year’s Eve games coming into last night, having won six straight times on NYE. However, the magic wore off and the Flames offensive woes were painfully evident once again.
The Flames debuted their newest acquisition last night, noted goal-scorer/deterrence creator/code enforcer/right kind of game player Kevin Westgarth. As was mentioned on twitter when Westgarth was acquired, he had only played more than 10 minutes in a game three times in his entire 133 game NHL career. Well, he played 10:42 in last night’s game so I suppose that means he is stepping into a larger role here with the Flames. That is mildly nauseating.
The Flames got off to a slow start and were behind the eight ball from the opening minutes of the game. Mark Streit scored three minutes into the game on a wrister from the point forcing the home side to play catch up right off the bat. Reto Berra was making his third straight start since the Christmas break and really didn’t have much of a chance on the first goal as there was chaos in front of him.
The first ended 1-0 with the Flyers out shooting the Flames 10-7 in the first and carrying the majority of the play including Streit hitting a post not long after he had scored and Brayden Schenn having a goal waved off for goaltender interference.
Calgary was able to push back slightly in the second, but were unable to convert on a power play seven minutes into the period. It took a neutral zone turnover and a slick pass from the most loveable Flame at the moment, Paul Byron, to spring Sean Monahan down the left wing and snap a wrister past Emery to end the Flames home scoring drought 25 seconds short of 160 minutes. Let’s not do that again this season okay Flames?
Despite the momentum generated by Monahan’s goal the Flames weren’t able to get to the room tied. Brayden Schenn spun and slide one past Berra at 18:31 of the second, a goal that despite miserable defensive coverage in front of the net by Butler, Berra would have like to have back I am sure. The Flyers went into the room up 2-1 despite being outshot in the period 11-7.
The third saw the Flames chasing the Flyers who looked quite comfortable defending the lead. The Flames seemed ham-fisted and frustrated in the Flyers end, forcing pucks and squeezing their sticks. This team just does not have a shred of confidence in the offensive zone right now and scoring only once during a three game home-stand makes this exceptionally clear.
The Flyers iced the game at 10:14 of the third with a Scott Hartnell tip off a Luke Schenn shot that ended with Berra familiarly sliding out of position. This loss was not on Berra though, this team needs to find a way to score more goals, even though they are seriously lacking in firepower up front.
THE RED WARRIOR
Though Paul Byron had another good game and scored yet another point (don’t we just expect it at this point though? clearly he is the best and we all love him), I think that Monahan deserves this one. To be blunt, Monahan has absolutely stunk since returning from a hairline fracture in his foot. He has seen his ice time fall off the table and was even relegated to goon patrol over the past couple games.
The most obvious difference in his game post-injury has been his foot-speed, or lack thereof. The game was looking like it was eating him alive at times and it looked as though it was only a matter of time before he watched a game from the press-box.
While this game wasn’t a reversal of those criticisms, the goal he scored was a nice one and he looked to be making decisions a bit faster. Monahan finished with 15:46, of ice time which is up nearly five minutes from the Vancouver game and, to use everybody’s favourite stat, was even in a 4-1 loss (which is good right?). His underlying numbers were good last night as well which is a welcome change from the first few games since his return where he was getting massacred. Hopefully he can continue to regain the mental and physical quickness that surprised so many during the opening weeks of the season.
SUM IT UP
The Flames can’t score right now and their goaltender didn’t steal them a game. When a team is scoring 0.33 goals a game over a three game stretch, it is super hard to win. Especially with this roster.
The Flames don’t play again until Friday at 7p.m. when they faceoff against the team that robbed…you know what, it’s still too soon. The Flames will play the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are a surprising 23-12-4 and sit second in the Atlantic division. I hope Gelinas suits up and exacts some sort of revenge.