From satisfaction to utter shock.
What just happened? Did that just happen? Did I just witness that?
Surely, some of the many responses from shocked Flames fans after they blew a late two goal lead in Detroit to lose 5-4 to the Red Wings.
But really, they didn’t do the things necessary to win the game. They took too many bad penalties (see Stajan tackling Filppula near the end of the game) and when they were HANDED an opportunity to close the game out, they decided to take the conservative route instead.
Let me explain.
The Flames were awarded a 4-minute power play mid-way through the third period when leading 4-2. The casual fan might think to just play it safe and don’t do anything stupid, but any hockey fan should know that when you are given the chance to stomp on a team’s throat, you stomp, and you stomp HARD!
Instead the Flames wussy-footed around for roughly a minute and half barely getting it over the opposing blue-line and generating ZERO scoring chances. Subsequently, Hagman takes a slashing penalty (albeit a terrible call) and the Wings take over from there scoring whilst 4-on-4 and then tying the game up with four seconds remaining in regulation.
If the Flames pressure the Wings during the aforementioned power play and possibly score, this horrifying display could have been avoided. Instead, the Flames played prevent defence, which we all know, only PREVENTS teams from winning in the end.
But that’s the difference between good teams and, well, not so good teams – their ability to close out teams when given the chance. The Flames do not have that killer mentality and that’s a huge problem when trying to succeed in this league.
The frustrating part of this loss is that the Flames played reasonably well for two periods, despite taking a plethora of un-needed penalties. The Flames had a two-goal lead with less than 10-minutes remaining against the top team in the Western Conference. It’s that elusive 60-minute effort that once again plagued this team.
And here I was, ready to praise the team from coming out and destroying the Blackhawks on Friday night and playing a solid road game in Detroit. Well, they played five really solid periods of hockey – good enough for three of four points. That was the third loss to the Red Wings this season, and fourth in a row to the Wings dating back to last season, just as an FYI.
Despite the nasty nature of the loss, there is some good news to speak of.
Captain Jarome Iginla is back in a big way – scoring five goals and adding one assist in his last two games. Not coincidentally, he has been guaranteed that he won’t be traded by a team official, which probably eased his mind and enabled him to break out of his slump.
Coupled with Iginla taking flight is the rest of the offense joining in on the fun – that’s 11 goals in two games.
The seven goal output on Friday was the team’s highest in over two years dating back to a 7-6 win over Nashville in 2008.
So, how do you choose to look at the Flames current situation?
Optimist? 1-0-1 in last two against two very good teams with Jarome Iginla heating up.
Pessimist? Losers of eight of their last 10 and still not within yelling distance of a playoff spot.
One final note: Dear Tom Kostopolous, I know you are new here but when there is less than 10 seconds on the clock and you are clinging to a one goal lead, just tackle Datsyuk, please? Do whatever it takes to bring him down! Just whatever you do, don’t let him dance into the zone. Anything would have been better than waving your stick at him trying to do your best Harry Potter impression.
Read more of my work and dont forget to follow @TheRevBW as he travels with the Flames on their east coast trip at: www.thesportsroundup.com
P.S As per Vicki Hall’s Twitter: Robyn Regehr walked out of Joe Louis Arena on his steam. "I'd feel better if I didn't go head-first into the boards," he said.