The Calgary Flames are officially in a slump. They are not playing desperate hockey and are not playing well. After a nice three day break where they could take some time to work out some of the kinks that have been bothering them over this stretch, it seemed as if this would be a perfect game to bounce back in. The Blues, after coming off of big wins in both Edmonton and Vancouver, looked primed for a letdown. However, things did not exactly pan out that way. The Flames applied pressure for the first five minutes of the game, and then let off into their meandering ways that have plagued them for the past couple weeks. The Flames lost in a shootout to a team that they should beat.
Unable to put anything past Blues Goalie Chris Mason in the first two periods, the Flames finally broke the goose egg when Mark Giordano fired a low point shot that snaked its way through a plethora of sticks and skates and found the back of the net. Giordano, who earned first star honours at the game, was Calgary’s best player outside of the crease. He played with confidence all night long and created opportunities and excitement, seemingly, every time he hit the ice. He played just over 26 minutes and scored the tying goal. He has assumed first time duty on the powerplay as well, as Bouwmeester was relegated to second line duty with Regehr. Sutter has been known to reward good players with more ice time, and this seems to be the case here.
The Flames now sit in 7th place in Western Conference, only 3 points clear of 9th place Vancouver. They have lost 7 of 10 games in December. They lost only 9 games in all of October and November! Goal scoring has dried up as the Flames have failed to tally more than 3 goals since November 30th when they pounded the Predators 5-0.
Where did that chemistry go?
It seems like the entire team is ice cold. No one has any confidence outside of Kipper and not one person wants to take the reins. Is Sutter’s mantra wearing thin? It is only 36 games in; what will this team be like after 82 games at this pace? The Flames were labelled to finish in the ‘tops’ of the West this year, yet now are swimming in mediocrity and failing to capitalize on opportunities like tonight. It is scary to think that with the talent this team possesses they can not seem to figure it out. Hopefully it is just a lull in the schedule and that this Christmas break will give the team time to shake the cobwebs off of their sticks. Without Kiprusoff, I hate to think where this team might be as they have become reliant on a single player to win them games.
The Flames now play 4 games in 5 nights starting on the 27th against the Canucks. If they continue to drag their knuckles through the New Year, the Flames could be in some serious ‘Barney.’ Barney Rubble; Trouble!
This has been,
Newman on the Flames
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