March 10th, 2013 | Posted in Game Takes
By: D'Arcy McGrath
After back to back wins against the Canucks and Sharks there was a feeling of optimism in Calgary. Kiprusoff was back in the cage, the Flames were getting healthy again, scoring depth was proving to be formidable and the team was finally above .500.
Sure there was a daunting road trip on tap, a voyage that would see them play three games in Los Angeles in 4 days against elite Western Conference but that’s just a blip on the screen for an emerging hockey team right? Not so fast. The Flames in a matter of 24 hours served notice that they aren’t ready to prove nay sayers wrong, losing by four goals again, this time 6-2 to the Kings.
On The Line
The Flames need to bounce back and avoid the drop below .500 again. The road trip is challenging, the Kings and Ducks are both formidable opponents, but to hold the line against dropping below that magic .500 line again is paramount on this trip if they hope to make the playoffs.
A high scoring first period that started with a near miss from center ice on Kipruosoff and a disallowed Flames goal for Lee Stempniak bumping Jonathan Quick ended with five goals, and a 3-2 Kings lead in a period where the Kings probably deserved a lead.
The second was a tepid period … not a lot of shot, but one goal for the Kings. The Flames didn’t really test Quick all that much and paid for it as the Kings doubled their lead heading in the third period.
The third was an exercise in running out the clock and getting back to the hotel for the Flames as they gave up two more quick goals and then went through the motions for 20 minutes. Enough said.
1. Justin Williams: Such a solid player, and a key part of the Kings march to the Stanley Cup last spring. Lit up the Flames with a goal and two assists.
2. Slava Voynov: Young King defenseman was pitched in three assists.
3. Anze Kopitar: The big brute was all over the Flames zone to the tune of a goal and an assist.
Kiprusoff, too many goals in too few shots. The Flames stalwart just isn’t getting it done a this point and if your best player is your bottom tier player then you won’t win ever.
I honestly don’t think there was one for the Flames. Nobody really showed up. From average goaltending to not generating much offense it just wasn’t a great road game for the Flames.
Odds and Ends
Crashing down to Earth? The Flames flush off of back to back home wins against Western elite hit the road with three tough games in Los Angeles in what seems to be the big turning point of their season. Can they play .500 on this trip and then return home and add to the forward reaching ideals of the club? Or do they prat fall and create that trade deadline selling atmosphere again? … Was interesting to see the Flames with another center. Say what you will about Mikael Backlund but he’s a presence in the dot and a help to Matt Stajan. They need centers! The Flames was 53% of faceoffs on the night if you want to cling to a good news story.
The Flames stay in L.A. and play the Kings again on Monday night on Sportsnet, game time 8pm
Glencross – Cammalleri – Stempniak
Cervenka – Backlund – Comeau
Tanguay – Stajan – Iginla
Jackman – Begin – McGrattan
Giordano – Bouwmeester
Butler – Wideman
Brodie – Smith