With the trade deadline around the corner, and the playoffs quickly becoming a distant dream, you would think the Flames would dig deep and start finding ways to win. Unfortunately the Flames don’t seem to be able to get out of their own way quick enough. A loss tonight puts Calgary tied for 29th in the league, 2 points out of last, and tied for 15th in the conference. On the bright side, The Flames won’t have much time to think about this, or any loss. The Flames have another game tomorrow, and a game at least every other day till the end of the season.
On The Line
(Insert obligatory ‘chance to get back to .500’ comment here). Also a chance to end a 7 game road losing streak.
The Flames were able to get on the board 5 minutes in when, with T.J Brodie sitting in the box for hooking, Lee Stempniak strips the puck at the Flames blueline and carries it into the Predators zone. Stempniak circles back and finds a trailing Mark Giordano, who powers a one-timer past Pekka Rinne. Midway through the period Mikael Backlund takes a 4 minute minor for high sticking. 20 seconds into the Nashville power-play Bobby Butler fires a shot past Mikka Kiprusoff to tie the game at one. 30 seconds later, with Backlund still in the box for high sticking, Blake Comeau scores Calgary’s second short handed goal of the period off a nice cross ice feed from Mark Giordano. With the first period winding down Chris Butler turns the puck over in his own zone. The puck would eventually finds the stick of Mark Fisher, who would make absolutely no mistake and tie the game up at 2.
The second period started off slow…very slow. It lulled me to sleep. It may have lulled the Flames to sleep as well because Nashville would take the lead 13 minutes in when Mike Fisher puts the puck into a wide open net off a beautiful cross crease pass by Roman Josi. 1 Minute later Nick Spaling puts Nashville up by 2 with a deflection past Kiprusoff. The rest of the second period would return to uneventful and would end with Nashville up 4-2.
The Flames would appear to get within one part way through the third, only to have it called back due to Goaltender Interference. Not long after, Brandon Yip would put the Predators up 5-2 finishing off a nice 2 on 1 play. Late in the period Iginla would score with an extra attacker on the ice to draw Calgary within two but it was too little too late as Nashville would end their 4 game losing skid with a 5-3 victory.
1.Mike Fisher: 2 goals and a dominate performance in the playoff dot.
2.Roman Josi: Completely under-rated defenseman. His pass on the second Fisher goal was ridiculous.
3.Martin Erat: Busts out of an offensive slump with a goal and 2 assists.
Was there one? I didn’t really see any good goaltending from either side tonight.
Not a lot of physical play in this one. The biggest hit was probably to any dreams the Flames might have had of making the playoffs.
Take your pick. The top line was invisible until the final 2 minutes of the game. Chris Butler had a brutal giveaway on the second Predator goal. Absolutely no shortage of goats tonight.
Blake Comeau, Lee Stempniak, and Mikael Backlund got the message about getting back defensively. Possibly the only 3 forwards to show up tonight.
Odds and Ends
There doesn’t seem to be any urgency from this team at all. ..Blake Comeau has really upped his game lately. He has been playing well in all 3 zones…It’s hard to tell if T.J. Brodie is in over his head on the top pairing, or just isn’t used to playing with Jay Bouwmeester…Another night where Calgary’s lack of centers was exposed in the face-off dot…Roman Josi might be the most under-rated defenseman in the NHL right now…Kiprusoff’s save % tonight was a pitiful 0.782. It’s tough to blame him for any of the goals, or even the loss, but he’s been the second best goalie in most of the games he has played this season…Giordano had his best game of the season tonight. Solid in his own zone, jumped into the rush well, and was firing the puck every chance he got…The Flames have games in hand on every team in the league right now. The good news? They have a chance to gain back points. The bad news? They won’t get the chance to get any rest over the last half of the season…
Flames continue the road trip tomorrow night in Columbus at 5 pm on Sportsnet.
Tanguay – Cammalleri – Iginla
Comeau – Backlund – Hudler
Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak
McGratton – Begin – Jackman
Brodie – Bouwmeester
Giordano – Wideman
Butler – Sarich