Cryptic Starts Kills Calgary

March 18th, 2013 | Posted in Game Takes
By: D'Arcy McGrath

The Calgary Flames are dangerous when the world has given up on them. They fill the net, go on home winning streaks, find hat tricks on Cowboy night, and entertain their fans.

However, when the same team starts feeling good about themselves they play dangerous, which almost always results in ice cold starts and brutal first periods. We saw the same on Monday night in Dallas with a listless Flames spotting the home side a 3-0 lead before digging back into the game and coming up short in a 4-2 Texas dust up.

On The Line

A few important potential milestones available to the Flames in this one; their first three game win streak of the season is possible with two points, and so to is the end of a six game road losing streak. Oh and a chance to move a game above .500 for just the second time this season.

The Flow

A sloppy start for the Flames with too many odd man rushes, turn overs, and loose play in their own zone. The Flames survive a penalty shot and some solid chances, whiff on their own powerplay and then look to have settled things down. Not so fast. A Star’s rush results in a centering pass that bounces off of Derrek Smith and past Joey MacDonald. Alex Tanguay gets lazy covering a Jay Bouwmeester pinch givin up a 2 on 1 and just like that Nystrom scores at its 2-0 for the hosts. Things get worse with another goal late almost wrapping the game up for the Stars after 20.

The second, as you’d expect was a Calgary push back, as the Flames generated more shots, got traffic to the net and had their feet moving. The tide turned midway towards the latter half of the stanza when a TJ Brodie puck on net on a powerplay was redirected by Jiri Hudler to make it 3-1 Stars. Lee Stempniak made a great individual effort to draw another penalty and Jay Bouwmeester cashed in to make it 3-2, setting up a much more intriguing third period.

Calgary has their chances in the third, they get a powerplay and a few anxious moments. Jiri Hudler gets run by Eric Nystrom creating a stir, but it’s the Stars pushing back ahead by two with seven minutes to play. Calgary scores again (Tanguay), but they can’t find the equalizer with the tender pulled.

Three Stars

1. Loui Eriksson: Scored the Star’s third and fourth goals in the game, including the game winner.

2. Eric Nystrom: Scored a goal, and was around the puck all night. Great sand paper night from the Flame’s draft pick.

3. Mike Cammalleri: Two assists, an even player (which was tough with two of the three Flame’s goals coming on the powerplay) and almost 23 minutes of ice time. If only he could play Dallas every night!

Hit of the Game

Curtis Glencross, he of the hot goal scoring stick, used other parts of his equipment, in this case his size when he ran Loui Erikson over the boards and into the Flames bench.

Save of the Game

Joey MacDonald made an amazing glove save on Star’s captain Brendan Morrow on a second period powerplay; literally an open net and boom, trapper.

The Goat

You’ll see it in my Odds and Ends section, but the Flames can’t have laziness and a lack of focus from their skill top end players. The Tanguay coverage play and Glencross turning away from his check on the fourth goal are the difference between winning and losing hockey.

Mr. Clutch

I like Iginla in this one. Even player, no points, but had jam, and dropped the gloves to inspire his teammates. He hasn’t put the points up this season, but he’s sure taken less nights off.

Odds and Ends

Hands up; how many saw that first period coming? The Flames hit the net 11 times in 47 shots on home ice and start thinking they are a playoff team again only to pratfall once again in a statement game to prove they are ready to move up the standings. It’s like a recipe, we’ve seen it over and over again. They are at their best when they are written off and annoyed by the lack of respect, and at their worst when they claw back into it and have a chance to do something, all the while staying close enough to the pack that they avoid making actual change. Sigh … That Tanguay play on the Stars second goal was inexcusable, just a brutal lack of one or both of try or vision. If you cover the dman you have to play his position, not stand there for a while and then go back to playing forward. … Impressed with Iginla for dropping the mitts with Eakin, didn’t pan out at the time but it came at exactly the moment the Flames needed a boost. … Speaking of that fight, wonder what Eric Nystrom had to say to Iginla when he was leaving the eyes, Iginla didn’t look impressed. … Not to pick on too many players, but similar to the Tanguay play in the first, the Glencross backcheck on the Star’s fourth goal was similar. He was thinking turnover and back up the ice and curled away, his man scored. Teams in this era don’t win if players aren’t going to play 200 feet. Brutal play. … Will be interesting to see how that game in Nashville goes on Thursday. The Predators are sinking fast and ripe for the picking, but the Flames have taken that down turn again after two home wins, and they tend to go low when they’re down. They’re running out of real estate on a season that will require them to be 5 games over .500 at the end. 21 games to go so that’s now 13-7-1 or a .642 winning percentage. Hope the Flames executive group have similar Excel skills.

Next Up

The Flames continue on their three game road trip with a stop in Nashville against the Predators on Thursday. Game time 6pm on Sportsnet.

Lines:

Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak
Hudler – Backlund – Comeau
Tanguay – Cammalleri – Iginla
Jackman – Cervenka – McGrattan

Brodie – Bouwmeester
Giordano – Wideman
Butler – Smith

Kiprusoff


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