October 22nd, 2013 | Posted in Game Takes
By: D'Arcy McGrath
Game nine on the schedule doesn’t usually mean a whole lot other than two points, but for Sean Monahan it could very well be his last game in the show this season.
Speaking of show, the Flames did little of that to start things off, sleep walking through the first period before arriving in the second and making a game of things. It was too little too late however as the Flames dropped a 4-2 decision to the streaking Coyotes.
On The Line
The unbeaten Flames hit the road with a spooky pre-Halloween road trip that could easily turn a great and unexpected start into a sub .500 trip. As expected the Flames got off to a tough start with back to back defeats in California before a big win last night in Los Angeles. Tonight the Flames can even the trip setting up a chance for .500 or better and a further story to the October saga.
Was that the worst period of the season for the Flames? Maybe not in goals for and against, but for jump, effort, cohesion and entertainment the egg was laid, and the subsequently broken. The Flames only garnered three shots despite almost scoring on the first shift with the kid line. From there they fell asleep and let the Coyotes dictate the play, and were lucky to escape only down 1-0.
The Flames showed up in the second, started their down low game and took the game largely to the Coyotes for most of the first half of the second period, but either had sticks block chances or the massive Mike Smith. As if often the case, the puck gets into the other zone and it’s the Coyotes who double their lead when Mike Ribeiro makes a great hand eye tip to elude MacDonald. Game over? Maybe, but the Flames do make it closer before the period winds down when Lee Stempniak finishes a solid effort by Galiardi and Russell to bring the score to 2-1 after 40.
The Flames have reasonable jump in the third period, possessing a slight edge in play and they’re rewarded when Jiri Hudler keeps his point streak alive by chipping the puck to a streaking Joe Colborne who made no mistake beating Smith with a great extension deke. Point achieved right? Not so fast … the Coyotes answer quickly when the Flames get running around in their own zone, and Ribeiro makes them pay again. Calgary presses late with a few chances but can’t get it done as Phoenix hits the empty netter for points in seven straight games.
1.Mike Ribeiro: The man was always a Flame killer in his time in Dallas, and the move back to West has pretty much the same ring to it; two goals including the game winner.
2. Keith Yandle: Solid blueliner paces the Coyotes with two assits.
3. TJ Galiardi: Effort for an assist that almost queued a comeback for the Flames, was plus 2 on the night.
Talk about timing, Joey MacDonald made a solid save on a Coyote two on one in the second, stoning Antoine Vermette and keeping the Flames to within one goal in the middle of a section of the second that had the Flames pushing.
Was there one? Usually you have a few to pick from but this one was a non hitter as far as I’m concerned.
I’m going with the NHL scheduler as the Flames got in to Phoenix at 2AM and didn’t manage to wake up until 9pm the next night. (yes it’s weak, but if Darryl Sutter can complain about the Kings schedule I may as well jump on board).
Going with Jiri Hudler on this one. Kept his streak aside by assisting on Joe Colborne’s third period goal, solid play and 24 minutes of ice time.
Odds and Ends
If Kari Ramo took big steps towards the starting goaltender job with his hanging in in San Jose and beating the Kings, Joey MacDonald threw him another helper with a flakey first period that saw him out of his crease and floundering more often than not. … Speaking of first, anyone else have that odd Sportsnet audio mismatch that had Rob Kerr warning you what was coming about 18 seconds before it actually happened. Fancy new feature! … Sure will be interesting to put the Monahan watch behind us all tomorrow afternoon when the Flames head to the airport. The line has the kid staying and once that decision is made final the roster will undoubtedly change. With Cammallari, Jones and soon Stajan back from injury the Flames forward group is getting pretty crowded. … Either way when the kid is on the ice with the goalie pulled I can’t see him going to the OHL. … Hard to play without captain Mark Giordano, the man has been the Flames best player so far this season in almost every facet. Offence, defense, leadership, he’s done it all. … Giordano’s injury meant Chris Breen saw his first NHL action on Tuesday night and did well with limited ice time. The Flames don’t want to lose the hulking youngster to waivers so the audition may be for permanent duty or potentially trade bait. … Not often you see a goaltender writhing around after taking a puck in the baby maker, would have thought the protection there would be bullet proof! … This road trip was always about Monahan and his decision time but you have to love the move that Joe Colborne has arrived with a little more piss and vinegar. The man has size, but will never be a scary guy to play against, but he’s come along way both in terms of body positioning and confidence. …
The Flames wrap up their trip with a date in Dallas on Thursday, game time 6.30pm on Sportsnet.
Cammallari – Galiardi – Stempniak
Baertchi – Monahan – Hudler
Bouma – Colborne – Horak
Glencross – Backlund – Jones
Butler – Brodie
Russell – Wideman
Breen – O’Brien