(Jerome Miron / USA Today Sports)
The Calgary Flames finished their road trip off with a whimper tonight, spending the majority of the first half of the game in their own end and generally looking like a team that was wondering when they could sleep in their own beds. Ultimately, they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Dallas Stars after spotting them a 2-0 lead, and closed out their five-game road trip with a woeful 1-3-1 record.
Here’s how it happened.
In the FGD this morning, I worried that the Flames would get lit up after their bad effort in Carolina. They started off this game rather poorly, getting out-shot 10-3 and out-attempted 29-7. That’s more or less representative of how much time they spent in their own zone. They were lucky that Dallas missed the net so much and that Karri Ramo was sharp.
The second period was basically two periods: the first half where the Stars scored twice, and the second where the Stars were just fine letting the Flames run around with the puck because they were up 2-0. The Stars opened the scoring off a pair of nice individual efforts by Valeri Nichushkin – literally all the Flames players ran around after him in the offensive zone – and Jamie Benn, who deked around everybody and beat Ramo after Nichushkin went into the zone. A minute and a half later, Jason Spezza beat Ramo with a nice wrister to double the lead. Shots were 13-11 for Dallas, while attempts were 26-25 for Calgary.
The Flames had some momentum in the early third, as Dallas seemed to have fallen into the score effects trap of having the game well-in-hand. The game got interesting, though, as Joe Colborne went to the net and bonked in a no-doubter pass from Jiri Hudler from behind the net to make it 2-1. The Flames pushed but Dallas defended fairly intelligently – and honestly, Dallas had more dangerous chances after it went to 2-1 – and time ran out on Calgary’s comeback attempt. Shots were 9-7 Calgary and attempts were 21-15 Calgary, but outside of the first part of the period the Stars didn’t seem overwhelmed.
Don’t give a home team a 2-0 lead, kids. It’s really hard to claw your way back.
WHY THE FLAMES LOST
Remember last night? When the Flames came out flat early and gave up a lead that they couldn’t bounce back from? Well, they did it again tonight against a better hockey club. They didn’t make life difficult enough for Dallas, and that meant they would’ve had to mount a heroic effort to tie the game.
They couldn’t, because it’s not last season.
Oh, and the power-play was 0-for-5. Again.
Poor Karri Ramo. After giving up 3 goals in just over a period yesterday, he was full marks today and kept his team in it.
And give Josh Jooris some credit: he got killed in terms of zone starts yet was always moving the puck in the right direction.
The Flames head home, but have one last big game before the All-Star Break. They host the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night at the ‘Dome.