The Return of Defensive Scrambling Costs Calgary

February 10th, 2013 | Posted in Game Takes | By: Ryan Laurie

Two steps forward, one step back. Just as the Flames seemed to be turning the corner, they fall back down to earth in a real hurry. Tonight the Flames struggled to do a lot of things like getting the puck out of their own zone, or making tape to tape passes, or even staying structured in their own zone. Tonight was a night where nothing seemed to click for the Flames.

Leland Irving looked very solid between the pipes, making some big saves, but the Flames were unable to translate Irving’s solid performance into a win. The Flames will have to put this game behind them and come out against the Wild on Monday looking for redemption.

On The Line

A chance to be above .500 for the first time this season. A 3 game winning streak. Bragging rights over a division rival. 2 points. A very big game for the Flames tonight.

The Flow

The Flames had some issues getting the puck out of their own zone this period, which would prove to be foreshadowing. The Canucks forwards forechecked very aggressively and it led to a lot of turn overs for the Flames. Despite the pressure from the home team the Flames were able to keep the play mostly to the outside, and use a couple of good sticks to disrupt some of the passes. Towards the end of the period Calgary finally started to show some signs of offense which led to Lee Stempniak knocking in a Matt Stajan rebound to open up the scoring 1-0 for the good guys.

The second period was not kind to the Calgary Flames. Calgary again has trouble getting the puck of the zone. About midway through the period Henrik Sedin, from the corner of the Flames zone, fires the puck towards the net, the puck bounces of Bouwmeester’s leg and sits under Irving until it is knocked in by Alex Burrows. Less than thirty seconds later, with Roman Cervenka in the box for hooking, Jordan Schroeder gets his first NHL goal to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead. Towards the end of the period Kevin Bieksa unleashes a big shot from the point that banks off Blair Jones and goes in top shelf to give the Canucks a 2 goal lead.

The third period starts off a lot like the second period. Calgary fails to get the puck out of their zone again and Higgins is able to roof the puck and give the Canucks a 4-1 lead with the period just over a minute old. Jordan Schreoder gets his second goal of the game off a rebound from Mason Raymond to extend the Canucks lead 5-1. I have to give the Flames some credit as they didn’t give up despite being down by 4. While it was far too little too late they kept skating till the end of the game and even got a couple chances near the end.

Three Stars

1. Jordan Schroeder: Had his first 2 goals in the NHL tonight in just over 17 minutes of ice time.
2. Henrik Sedin: 2 assists and a dominating night in the faceoff circle.
3. Leland Irving: Don’t bother looking at his stat line. He didn’t have a chance on any of the 5 goals. He made some really good saves tonight and if it wasn’t for him the score would have been even worse.

Big Save

Early in the first period, with the Canucks keeping the pressure on, Irving is forced to make a spectacular save, sliding cross crease to stop a  one timer from Chris Higgins.

Big Hit

Not a lot of physicality today. The biggest hit was probably to the Flames ego after playing 3 very good games in a row.

The Goat

Calgary’s top defensive pairing definitely get the goat horns here. They had trouble doing everything from getting the puck out of their own zone to clearing the front of the net. They just couldn’t handle the speed of the Canucks forwards and they spent most of the game scrambling.

Mr Clutch

Leland Irving was very good between the pipes tonight and gave the team a chance to win. Unfortunately the team didn’t show up until they were already down 4-1.

Odds and Ends

This was easily Calgarys worst game since they opened the season against San Jose…On the bright side Irving looked very solid in net. If he gets any kind of help from the team in front of him the Flames should be able to string a few more wins together before Kipprusoff gets back…Brodie had another solid game tonight. He has shown some great progression this year…How Calgary responds to this game will be very telling to how the rest of this season goes. They need to put this behind them and get back to what was making them so successful. They can’t afford to let too many more points get away from them…Ben Street didn’t look out of place tonight. He looks like a very intelligent player…Calgary’s lack of a top line center was exploited for the first time this season. Sedin went 19-5 in the faceoff dot while Tanguay and Iginla combined to go 4-17…At the end of the day it’s just one game and even the best teams have bad games. On the other hand this shortened season means the Flames can’t have too many more of these or they risk letting the season slip away.

Next Up

The Flames get to head home for 3 games, starting with the Minnesota Wild on Monday at 7pm on Sportsnet

The Lines

Glencross – Tanguay – Iginla
Cervenka – Street – Hudler
Comeau – Stajan – Stempniak
Begin – Jones – Jackman

Giordano – Bouwmeester
Brodie – Wideman
Butler – Smith


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