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Calgary, AB • Canada • 22 Years Old • Male
A lead blown. Three straight goals in the second period. Complete domination in the speed department. It was the same story in a different building tonight, as the Flames fell 3-2 tonight at Rexall Place, losing to the Oilers for the second straight night. I saw this game as simply a one period effort, with little promise shown.

After a 17-3 shot advantage and 2-0 lead in the first, the Oilers scored three goals in the second through pure domination of the Flames through speed. Just as they did last night, and just as they will throughout this season unless changes are made to the Flames. After a great save by Garon, the Oilers turned it around and Ethan Moreau was able to walk into the slot and wire one past Kipper. Then they scored on a great 3-on-2 play from their third line to tie the game. Andrew Cogliano raced past every defender and wired another slot shot for the winner.

Mike Keenan's constant line shuffling is resulting in zero chemistry across the board. I am seeing it constantly in every game: passes to guys who aren't there, nobody picking up rebounds or pinching when they should, guys pinching when they shouldn't, guys passing when they should shoot and vice versa, passes not connecting, etc.

Some notable statistics for this game: hit tally: Oilers 21, Flames 3; faceoffs won: Oilers 34, Flames 23; and here's my personal favorite: Matthew Lombardi's stat sheet - 14:00 TOI, 0 shots, -1, and 36% on the draw. I've made my opinions on Lombardi clear, but have faced disagreement, so I'm just going to post every terrible statline he puts up.

The only center more ineffective than Lombardi has been Craig Conroy. He is -3, has been the Flames' worst man in the faceoff circle, and is tops among centermen with 6 PIM (just as he led the Flames in the playoffs last year). I was surprised when the Flames re-signed Conroy for two years in June, now I'm outright questioning why they did it.

I think Miikka Kiprusoff was even better tonight than he was on Friday, helping keep the Flames in the game. However, he got outplayed by Mathieu Garon, and this was definitely one of the biggest factors in the game. But I wouldn't expect Curtis McElhinney to get his first start until next Thursday in Nashville at the earliest.

Jarome Iginla's cold streak is reminding me of his streak last year when he went, I believe, 10 games without a goal. He plays Phoenix next week, a team he's dominated in the past. But until then, the Flames' offense still looks dead. They're worse than a one line team; their most effective forward is Todd Bertuzzi. (Though I honestly think Bert will maintain his effectiveness in a top six role, no matter who else gets on track.)

Repeating this from last night, but I don't care: in a 1-4 hole, the Flames' next three games are at home against Washington (self-explanatory), on the road in Nashville (a place they always seem to play terribly, and against a team they should be better than), and on the road in Phoenix (against a team that could steal someone's playoff spot, and possessing similar speed as the Oilers). At what point does a slow start stop being just a slow start, and simply turns into a team with major, major problems? Well, if the Flames haven't passed that point already (I think they have), they will or won't next week. And you know what that at least should mean for a certain person with the initials MK (hint: he doesn't wear pads during games).

Filed Under:   flames   skr   crunch time  
October 19, 2008 2:22 AM ET | Delete
to early to be alarmed. big and dramatic changes were made for your team in the off season so it will take time to gel and after other slow starts you guys have gotten back into contention. ride the course to early to fire a coach
October 19, 2008 4:14 AM ET | Delete
I dont understand the Washington comment.
October 19, 2008 4:29 AM ET | Delete
What I meant to say was that Washington would be a tough game. sorry.
October 19, 2008 4:37 AM ET | Delete
I agree with oilerulez... we have had a tough stretch to start but i think we will come together soon. We just never play a full 3 periods.The oilers are looking faster than usual. I hate to say it but they may be the best team to watch in the west. Here is hoping to the 3-6 matchup in the playoffs. Everyone in the province should be hoping for it
October 19, 2008 3:23 PM ET | Delete
3 disagreements in this blog.1. You can never take the hit stat as a significant stat, because it is proven that the home team will always be given more hits tallied, because of crowd reaction to hits and home bias on a grey area stat2. Your analysis of Conroy's inability to play is way overstated. He has been one of the only flames to be able to actually win in the circle, and it seems to me that for about half the goals he's been blamed for, it was phaneufs man that was open, not conroys. 3. Washington will not be as tough a game as you believe
October 19, 2008 4:22 PM ET | Delete
I don't know what the right question is...but the answer can't possibly be Keenan. I hated his hiring and for all the abuse Playfair took, the team hasn't improved one iota under Mad Mike. Watching coaches like Julian and Quennville go to other teams while we go with Keenan just makes me shake my head. Changing half the roster hasn't fixed things. Time to try something else. I'd start with a new coach...
October 19, 2008 5:12 PM ET | Delete
Obviously, firing Keenan won't fix all the problems but it's the first thing that needs to happen.
October 19, 2008 7:02 PM ET | Delete
i saw reference to flames and face-offs, are you struggling, that might explain how the oilers won a bunch cuase we downright sucked hard all season in the face off circle
October 19, 2008 11:33 PM ET | Delete
a bit too strong i'd say, I'd agree with most of what you said but maybe temper it a little bit. I think Keenan has 15 games, it's been stated in the media, and he's walking the line already. The flames lost because they broke down for a four minute stretch, the first period WAS dominated by them, logic tells us they are capable. I hate the line juggeling act as well and agree Lombardi should be moved but then what speed are we left with?
October 19, 2008 11:58 PM ET | Delete
When was it stated in the media that Keenan has 15 games? That's interesting; if true I still can't see him surviving past the next 10. Moving Lombardi would remove some of what little speed they have, but all the speed in the world is useless if the guy can't do anything with it, and that's what we have with Lombardi right now.
October 21, 2008 1:21 AM ET | Delete
Keenan won't be fired the Flames will wait this out Sutter never rushes into anything. Unless he has lied in the past, I just don't happening. To early to panic yet, but what do I know.
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