In a rare afternoon affair at the Saddledome, the Flames failed to gain any momentum on their current home stand by falling to the Nashville Predators 5 to 3. Losers of 4 of their last 5, the Flames, seemingly, were still asleep for the first 15 minutes of this game. Looking sluggish and disjointed from the drop of the puck, save Rene Bourque, the Flames were in a hole down 2-0 midway through the first. However, they managed to fight back on the shoulders of Jarome Iginla who came alive tonight after struggling since his 1st star award winning month of November. Iginla scored his 19th and 20th goals of the season and chipped in with an assist to propel the home team to a 3-2 lead midway through the second period. Unfortunately, the Flames could not hold onto the lead and gave up a late goal to Marcel Goc and went into the 3rd tied at 3. The Flames outplayed the Predators in the third period out-shooting them 10-4 but lost on the scoreboard that matters as a tipped point shot by unsung hero Cody Franson beat Kiprusoff for the game winning goal.
The Flames are not familiar with afternoon games but that is no excuse. They are professional athletes and should come ready to play every game. In saying that, despite the early crater that they dug out for themselves, they outplayed the Preds for a majority of the game; as was evident in the shot total of 25-10 over the final two periods. The Flames power play is looking better as it connected on 1 of the 2 chances it had. They are moving the puck better and creating more chances because of it. The Predators for their part took advantage of their chances and made sure Kipper had traffic to deal with on a majority of their opportunities. Nashville is one of the hottest teams in the league and have now scored 23 goals in their last 4 games. They are firing on all cylinders and the Flames simply are not. With numerous players who are in severe scoring slumps (Jokinen, Moss and Conroy to name a few), the Flames are not finding that depth scoring that had propelled to so many wins earlier in the season. This can not continue if the Flames aim to be contenders come spring time.
Dion Phaneuf is starting to find the net more and has noticeably improved his accuracy on his point shots. With two almost identical tallies in the past two games the ‘Caveman’ is regaining the confidence he once possessed two years ago.
On one broadcaster note, if Peter Loubardias uses the saying, “Some kind of (insert either: shot, hit or save)” one more time I might lose my mind. I counted three times throughout the game where he used it and twice in a span of 5 minutes. It does not have the same ring as “Oh Baby” that the venerable Bob Cole uses and Peter, it sounds brutal, so please stop it. Please switch places with Roger Millions.
The Flames face the Blues of St. Loo on Wednesday before the three day holiday break.
This has been,
Newman on the Flames
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