So our good friend Mr. Pike wrote this, but the high pressure demands of the dreaded day job (personally, as a blogger, I’ve never had a job in my entire life) have put him in a position where he’s unable to post it. I don’t get it either because he was able to send me his words, so I don’t know, but I digress. Without further adieu, here’s Ryan’s take on how the Flames have now lost 5 goddamn games in a row. -Floob
Despite a pretty solid road effort against a strong team, the Calgary Flames’ losing streak hit five games after a 2-1 loss at the United Center at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Flames’ record is now 17-13-2 and they have lost every single game of their four-game road trip (as well as their final home game before that trip). This is a departure from their prior record, which involved going the first third of the regular season without losing back-to-back games in regulation.
This game was basically a carbon copy of the game these two teams played in Calgary a month or so back. Basically, the teams went toe-to-toe for the first 40 minutes. In the third, with the game tied, Chicago went into lockdown/playoff mode, keeping the Flames to the outside and really limiting their access to the middle of the ice. They scored a timely goal late and then kept the Flames from gaining enough ice or momentum to get the equalizer.
Nobody scored in the first as each team engaged in a feeling-out process. Calgary out-shot Chicago by a slight 9-7 margin. The Flames had a power-play opportunity but didn’t do anything with it.
The middle frame saw goals, two of them to be precise. Johnny Gaudreau found Jiri Hudler with a gorgeous pass out-front for Hudler’s 12th of the season to give Calgary an early lead. That didn’t last, though, as Dennis Wideman took a hooking call and NINE SECONDS LATER, Chicago had tied it up via a power-play goal by Patrick Sharp. Note to self: Do not take penalties against Chicago. The Blackhawks out-shot the Flames by a slight 11-10 edge, with each team enjoying a powerplay.
The Blackhawks went into playoff mode in the third – playing what friend of the site Pat Steinberg referred to on Twitter as “big boy hockey.” They allowed just five shots (and out-shot Calgary 10-5 overall). Brandon Saad scored half-way through the period to put the home team up, and Chicago never looked back.
I mean, it’s disappointing that the Flames won, but on many levels you’ve just gotta be impressed with how good a team Chicago is on a constant basis.
WHY THE FLAMES LOST
A few reasons:
Chicago got better as the game went on, signified by their ever-increasing shots margin. They had the ability to shut down the Flames in the third so, despite Calgary’s best start of the trip in terms of not being awful in the first 20 minutes and getting into a hole, the Blackhawks managed to get the two points with a strong 60 minute effort.
Oh, and Chicago won 61 percent of the game’s face-offs. When your two most frequent face-off men are Sean Monahan (45%) and Josh Jooris (36%), things are going to be tough.
Oh, and the Flames were 0-for-3 on the power-play. Against one of the better even-strength teams in the league, you need to take advantage of your chances. Chicago took advantage of their power-play time, and it made all the difference in the world for them.
Let’s go with Jonas Hiller. He didn’t face 50 shots at the United Center again like last time, but he was sharp, kept the Flames in the game, and gave up just one even-strength goal. When your team only gives up two goals overall (and less than that at even-strength), your goaltender has given you a chance to get two points.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
SUM IT UP
The losing streak is now at five games – big, but not nearly yet at Oilers standards for futility. The Flames return home tonight and practice tomorrow as they prepare for their next attempt to turn it all around on Tuesday night, when the New York Rangers visit for the only time this season.