February 15th, 2013 | Posted in Game Takes
By: D'Arcy McGrath
We’ve all heard it before. A goaltender is the last line of defense, a romantic figuere in the cage that usually ends up the hero or the goat; nothing in-between.
Usually when a puck enters a net there are not one but many mistakes or breakdowns … a defenseman leaves a guy unattended in the slot, a forward doesn’t tie up the defenseman, a stretch pass is laced on to the stick of the opposition. Sometimes though, the goaltender just wasn’t good.
Tonight the Flames had trouble with not one but both goaltenders, two guys that matched their teammates sketchy start to get down four in the first period and end up losing 5-2 to the St. Louis Blues.
On The Line
Having just gone two of three on a three game road trip, this game set up as a great chance to add to that stretch by earning five of six points on a three game homestand. The Flames minus Kiprusoff haven’t been all that scripted or predictable but they are finding points.
They hope to add to that record tonight.
I don’t even want to write this! The first period was a mess. From the first shot of the night finding the twine behind Irving, to his being pulled after two, and then newcomer Joey MacDonald getting beat twice himself before the end of the period it just wasn’t pretty.
Mike Cammalleri had a chance ten seconds into the second and fanned … that was an interesting moment, much like the Brodie chance in the first you had to wonder if that went in. The Flames finally found their legs midway through the period and then started pouring it on. They were finally rewarded when Wideman wired a frozen rope to the top corner on a late powerplay.
Down three going in, they actually got that all important early goal when Glencross tapped an Iginla pass in just a couple of minutes into the third. It looked good. A tipped powerplay goal by the Blues pretty much ended it though and that was your final.
1. Alex Steen: A goal and two assist to pace the visitors to a big road win.
2. David Perron: Scored two goals and had jam from start to finish. Solid player.
3. Jake Allen: Not bad for a second NHL start, the young stopper was amazing in the first period when the chances were pretty close given the four goal Blue lead.
This is about as easy a pick as you’re going to find. The Flames on a two on one that turned into a tic tac toe four on two saw the puck land on T.J. Brodie’s stick with nothing but an empty net. Easy goal right? Nope … Allen slides back and reaches with his goal stick, deflecting the puck up and snagging it with his glove.
Was there one? Maybe I was just too stunned by the save of the night to pay attention to other details but I didn’t see much by way of contact in this one.
The Tanguay-Hudler-Cervenka line … minus 3 for all three in the first period, which is simply not good enough. The trio was great against Dallas flipping the puck cross ice, but tonight they were all picked off resulting in chaos for a shaky Calgary cage crew.
Jay Bouwmeester … not enough to get a game star, but he was literally the only guy really going for Hartley tonight which you could see by his ice allotment. Usually the game would feature four 20 minute players, but Hartley rolled four lines and three pairs all night with only #4 seeing the ice for a third of the game. Not a minus player on a tough night.
Odds and Ends
We’re all thinking it so I’ll just start with it. Why? In a game coming apart at the seams why did Hartley move Comeau on to the line with Tanguay and Hudler in place of Cervenka? I get that Cervenka was minus three, but so too was Hudler. The real victim seemed to be Roman Horak who moved down to the fourth line, but it wasn’t a good move. Tanguay and Hudler set Comeau up three times in the third period only to see him fire wide, fall down, or fan on the puck. Any of those on to Cervenka’s stick and you get a nail biter finish. … There will be some talk about Irving and the next start because of his shaky start after the shaky moments against Dallas. He doesn’t look great, I’ll grant that, but neither did MacDonald, and at 33 MacDonald isn’t likely to get a whole much better when he settles down. Still have to go with the kid. … Personally I did appreciate the Flames attempt to get back into this one. It looked over after 20 minutes but they did push pretty hard to attempt to make a game out of it. … I’ve taken flack for my Iginla comments this week so thought it best to say he wasn’t the problem tonight. He was a plus player with an assist though he played a wildly low 13 minutes. … Have to wonder how different this game would have gone if Allen didn’t make the circus save off of Brodie in the first period. Boom it’s 2-1 and a different game. Instead the Flames press and come up empty and it’s 3-0 soon after. … Bouwmeester is a different player this year, but I still cringe when Wideman and Brodie come off the ice on a powerplay; huge step down with unit two on the blueline. … Did the Blues watch video on the Flame’s cross ice and stretch pass game plan? They picked them off at will in the first period. Hopefully that’s an execution issue for the Flames and not an end to entertaining hockey because the league has the book on them. … Baertschi has been skating for a week now, wonder when he comes back. Also wonder who he will play with when he does.
The Flames having gone 1-1-1- on the homestand head back out for a road game in Dallas on Sunday, game time 4pm on Sportsnet
Glencross – Horak – Stempniak
Cammalleri – Stajan – Iginla
Cervenka – Tanguay – Hudler
Comeau – Jones – Jackman
Giordano – Bouwmeester
Brodie – Wideman
Babchuk – Smith