The Calgary Flames lost tonight.
They out-played Colorado for two periods and couldn’t bury enough of their chances. It was their second game in as many nights, in as many different cities. They just couldn’t get “the next goal,” so they lost by a goal on the road. The Backlund/Bouma/Jones line played pretty well, though.
Losses happen. They still need 7 wins and/or 14 points to make the post-season, most likely.
Calgary played really well in the first and third periods. They skated well. They were physical. They generated chances. They didn’t score in the first, at all, in part because Semyon Varlamov was sharp and the Avalanche were good at keeping the front of the crease clear.
Colorado was both good and lucky in the second period. They got a questionable too-many-men call to break their way, giving them a power-play – the only one they’d get against Calgary all night. And on that power-play, Alex Tanguay banked a puck in off Karri Ramo’s leg from behind the red line. It was a low percentage chance and it went in. Ryan O’Reilly followed up shortly thereafter with a goal by driving to the net and chipping a puck past Ramo. That was the difference right there.
The Flames got within one when David Jones was sprung into the zone by a Mikael Backlund pass. He couldn’t get a shot away, but Backlund chipped the puck from the corner and it went in off Jones’ skate as he drove the net. The Avalanche scored immediately thereafter as John Mitchell undressed T.J. Brodie – yes, you’re reading that right – and sniped a shot past Ramo from the far side of the face-off circle. It was a good shot but Ramo probably wanted it back. Lance Bouma made it close again, absolutely sniping a shot past Varlamov to make it 3-2. But Calgary couldn’t capitalize on any of their subsequent chances, including a power-play late, and lost the game.
WHY THE FLAMES LOST
Well, Karri Ramo allowed two goals from outside the scoring chance area. That was big in a tight-checking game.
And the Flames just seemed a step off tonight – likely due to the back-to-back – and just couldn’t generate enough traffic in front of Varlamov or tips, so life wasn’t as difficult for him as it could have been.
And finally, Colorado didn’t allow Calgary’s best players to be difference-makers tonight. Patrick Roy’s club largely eliminated the long passes and cluttered up the blueline to frustrate clean carry-ins.
David Jones had a goal and an assist, and drew penalties that led to two of Calgary’s three power-plays. Jones did what he could to give Calgary a chance to win.
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SUM IT UP
The Flames lost 3-2 in a close one. They were probably to lose one sooner or later, and I was a bit surprised they beat Anaheim, to be honest. They drop to 38-26-5. They’re back in action at home on Tuesday when they face the St. Louis Blues.