Flames-Oilers: Calgary Scorched By Lack Lustre Start

Jay GandhiContributor IJanuary 14, 2008

Time and time again, the story of the Flames as of late has been the lack of mental alertness, the lack of jump, the lack of energy, and being caught offguard which in the end had cost them games.

The final outcome of last night's game against the Oilers could have been much different had it not been for a very timely and lucky bounce, and a horrible attempt by Sarich and Regehr to foil Hemsky's breakaway against Kiprusoff. Jarome Iginla, captain of the Flames said it best of his team's effort as of late, "in our last few games, let's be honest, we've slipped a bit and we have to get back at it".

The only resurgence that could be seen after a dismal performance against the Isles by Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff was consequently of himself on the D-line, on 31 shots faced, Kiprusoff stood tall for the Flames, while his only breakdowns came upon a unlucky bounce and a one-on-one situation with quite the tricky deke performed. Although hardly surprising from previous year performances, one can be quite impressed with the bounce back performance Kiprusoff waged after an average performance with the Islanders prior in the week.

Most notably during the 2003-2004 playoffs, Kiprusoff waged an impressive 7-1 record, 1.71 goals against average, and 0.953 save percentage when allowing 3 or more goals in any game during the playoff run. The Flames netminder could be seen between the pipes the only chance of salvation for the Flames as they were upended by the Oilers in a tight divisional game, 2-1. Although Dion Phaneuf did perform quite the dazzling play to bail his netminder when he saved an impossible shot, Kiprusoff gave his team more than stellar performance to keep their hopes alive of stealing points out of Rexall place.

With the mighty words of Iginla, and Kiprusoff's returning vezina form, the Flames are undoubtedly going to be a force to be reckoned with as the all-star break approaches, and come April when the playoffs are around the corner the Flames woe as of late will soon be forgotten as they plow through the pack to make their way to the Stanley Cup.