A battle for first place in the Northwest division turned out to be a bit of a snoozer. Coming off a 3 game road trip in which they secured 5 of 6 possible points, the Flames came out looking tired. Getting beat to numerous pucks, the Flames could never find their groove in a loss to the Avalanche. For the second time this season on home ice, the Flames fell 3-2 to the Avs in what turned out to very similar games. The Flames once again severely outshot Colorado but failed to win the game. The Avalanche took advantage of their chances and were able to hang on to the lead; something they have been very good at this year. They are eerily similar to the Minnesota Wild of yesteryear, in that they lull you to sleep and then pounce on you when given the opportunity. Coach Joe Sacco (not Joe Sakic), has installed a very good system in Colorado and the young Avs are executing on a very consistent basis.
Can somebody tell me why Rich Preston was brought back to run the powerplay? Over the last nine games the Flames have gone a horrifying 3 for 33 with the man advantage. A team that was firing on all cylinders early in the season has gone ice cold. What is wrong? What is different? They can barely get into the zone and when they do, they take ill-fated shooting attempts that are either blocked or tipped into the netting. Jokinen simply fires the puck when it hits his stick as the thought of actually setting a play up never really seems to cross his mind. Nowadays a powerplay reverts back to two less minutes that the Flames have to defend their own goal. They might as well just ask the timekeeper to subtract two minutes from the time remaining and resume the contest. They must figure out their problems on the powerplay or the ‘goals for’ column will continue to shrink, and subsequently the loss column will continue to grow.
The Flames had a fantastic opportunity to claim first place in the division tonight with games in hand, yet failed to do so. Were the Flames complacent after winning five of the last six games? The first game back from an extended road trip always seems to cause problems for teams, yet that is no excuse for a Flames team that craves to achieve the elite rank in the NHL.
The Flames better be rested up because the pesky Blackhawks come into town on Thursday night. The history between the two teams is growing, and after the last match-up with the Hawks, the Flames should be chomping at the bit to destroy them. This time, Sutter will make sure to get out to a 6-0 lead….just to make sure.
This has been,
Newman on the Flames
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