With rumors finally hitting the surface of truth, albeit unofficially, Cujo was welcomed as a member of the Flames by the media last afternoon. Though Joseph won't officially enter into Calgary's lineup until running a physical and his 1.5 million year contract (pro-rated to $650,000 for the remainder of the year) being approved by the league, the media frenzy surrounded by his controversial comeback into the league definitely sparked something in the Flames tonight.
However, it was far from the solution the Flames looked to achieve to fix their current woes, which has now extended to a 3rd four-game losing skid of the season. The Flames seemed to be a very tight and nervous bunch as the initial puck drop of the evening took place in the first period. After a seemingly productive tight first period, it was all downhill for the Flames as they weren't able to muster a shot on net for 12 minutes straight as the Predators kept true to their name and preyed on the Flames for 6 consecutive shifts keeping the puck in the Flames' territory.
A mercy pull was inflicted upon Kiprusoff as he was unable to hold down the fort in the third period siege that Nashville put forth on the Calgary netminder, as he allowed 3 goals on 26 shots. However, to no fault of his own Kiprusoff was the sole reason that Calgary was still in the game leading up to the third period, where Calgary going in had surrendered a fourth consecutive powerplay which was far from the hands of the Flames netminder.
Predictably, Kiprusoff was pulled to salvage himself from the frightful situation that Calgary had put themselves in, as Keenan could certainly see the end of the night for the Flames three minutes into the third. He also recognized that McElhinney would soon be sent back to the Quad City Flames, with the signing of veteran backup Curtis Joseph, therefore some playing time in a fruitless game for the Flames would provide some practice for the netminder.
He stood in relief of Kiprusoff and made some dandy saves to preserve the stale 3-goal lead on the remaining 12 shots faced. For Calgary, this would transpire as a wakeup call, and a much needed one at that. Going into January the Flames were definitely on the right path of achieving greatness, however after some gritty games to bring the new year in, the Flames were instilled with a false sense of invulnerability, best seen with their upset win over the Sharks.
The Flames now must regain composure if they wish to seek the Northwest Division title, and refuse to let up in the tight race in the conference. They will seek retribution in less that 24 hours, and the puck will be in their zone, if they wish to continue to make their mark in the conference, they will need the help of the continually strong Kipper and the zeal of their top forward line.