Another game, another loss. That my friends is what is happening with the Calgary Flames. They dropped their second straight game, this one to the Detroit Red Wings. Losing to Vancouver was one thing, but losing to the team seated 8th(right above you) that’s just terrible. This could’ve been a good step into the Flames playoff run, but instead it became a huge misstep.
Now I’m not going to say that this game went all wrong for Calgary, because it didn’t, but the thing is they collapsed at the worst time! They built a small lead and did a decent job protecting, to a point.
Let’s take a look at when exactly the Calgary Flames broke down and let the Red Wings get past them.
First goal came from the Calgary Flames. Only 1:47 into the hockey game they managed to capitalized. Craig Conroy scored on a backhander. The assist came from Nigel Dawes. So they got that early boost of confidence to get their game going. However they did not take advantage. The first period would end with Calgary up 1-0.
The second period appeared to be closing with the same result as the first, until, goal! The Detroit Red Wings had finally put one past Kiprusoff on the power play. Pavel Datsyuk scored of a wrist shot at 19:10, to beat the world-class goalie and tie the game up 1-1. Assists came from Brian Rafalski and Johan Franzen. The second period was winding down and the game was all even.
1 period left, 1 goal could make a big difference! Once again Calgary did a great job of making sure the red light in their end did not light up, once again, to a point. With the period winding down it looked like we needed overtime to settle this one, but then it happened. Tomas Holmstrom from the Detroit Red Wings put in the difference maker. The goal came at 18:41. The assists were from Johan Franzen and Brad Stuart.
So the Flames were done. With so little time left in the game a Calgary comeback looked doubtful. They tried it a few times, but they could not get it done in the end. Detroit got the win, they got the 2 points and they got 8th place just that much more locked up.
Now you can’t blame the goaltending in this one for the Flames loss, hell it’s rare that you can. Miikka Kiprusoff played an outstanding game as he was named 1st star of the hockey game. Kiprusoff posted a .929 save percentage to cap off a beautiful performance. This was a great game for goalies all around. Both Jimmy Howard and Miikka Kiprusoff got the job done well, but in the end one goalie had to win, right?
The Detroit Red Wings outshot the Calgary Flames in this hockey game 28-23. The shot totals were not in favour of the Calgary Flames in any of the periods, with the exception of the first period where both teams had 10 shots a piece, Detroit outshot Calgary at most times. Now I know it’s just shots, but shots can really make a difference in a hockey game. You never know when that weak wrister or that off target slapshot will get redirected or take a funny bounce and end up in the back of the net.
The loss pushes Calgary two points further back of Detroit for that 8th and final playoff spot. 3 points seperate the Calgary Flames and Detroit Red Wings with Detroit at the 80 point mark and Calgary with 77 points in the bag. This is not too bad of a situation, you never know when a team will suffer a mental breakdown in the locker room after a loss. So Calgary has got to hope that everything that can go wrong for the Red Wings, will and everything that can go right for the Flames, does.
However as mentioned in previous articles the schedule does not favour the Calgary Flames at all. Only 4 of the upcoming opponents are currently out of playoff position. To make it worse more than half of their upcoming opponents are seated in the top half of the playoff tree. Finally if you want to put a lock on it, they’ll be playing both the 1st placed team of the west and the east(West-San Jose, East-Washington).
A tough road lays ahead for the Calgary Flames, the players just need to really focus on hockey and get their minds working as a unit again. When all else fails you know you have a goalie that is without a doubt ready to make the big robbing save or the “how did he do it!? flashy stop. Kiprusoff is in a zone and the Flames know it, however the work load needs to be spread around on this hockey team if they are dead serious about making the playoffs.
Calgary Flames next 5 games:
Wednesday vs. Colorado Avalanche (3/17/10)
Friday vs. San Jose Sharks (3/19/10)
Sunday vs. Minnesota Wild (3/21/10)
Tuesday vs. Anaheim Ducks (3/23/10)
Thursday vs. New York Islanders (3/25/10)
The next five games aren’t going to be too difficult one Calgary seeing that 3 out of 5 teams are not in playoff position, however that just means that the rest of the schedule is that much tougher around the edges for Calgary.
Flames nation, don’t lose hope yet because the season is not lost and certainly not over. Have faith in our Calgary players that they can get back on track and get those all important wins. Oh and don’t forget to pray that the Detroit Red Wings choke at all costs. I’m Svyato and I’ll be here all playoff push.
This article was originally posted on FTS Sports Writing under the name "Failing To Egnite: Flames Lose 2-1 To Detroit Red Wings." Check out more great pieces from our talented staff of writers.