Precious division points were squandered as the Calgary Flames failed to provide a worthy effort in tonight’s game. The first road game after a lengthy home stand began in Denver where the Flames were playing the 3rd of 8 meetings against their divisional rivals. Miikka Kiprusoff kept the game close, but stupid penalties and poor special teams were once again the sore point for the Flames.
Kiprusoff made 30 saves in the night including some game savers in the third when the score was close. He was eventually pulled to give him a rest as the Calgary forwards, the top line being the worst, refused to play defence all night.
The first goal of the game came off a blatant goaltender interference non-call courtesy of non-other than Ryan Smyth. Terrible officiating in front of the net all game. Refs need to step up and call plays where goalies are pushed out of the crease–they should know Smyth does this every game–but he never gets called. All in all, the refs called one penalty against Colorado compared to Calgary’s six.
The penalty box has been a sore spot for the Flames all season and proved to be their downfall yet again. Poor penalties and bad penalty killing have combined to put Calgary behind early in games. It may be that a system change is in order.
A spirited scrap between Nystrom and Laperierre took place late in the second with Nystrom taking the upper hand. Any chance of the visiting team taking any momentum was lost as the Flames couldn’t manage any offence.
The top line for Calgary played sparingly in the third, Iginla only seeing the ice 3-4 times. Perhaps a message from head coach Keenan to his top three? Although they did combine for the teams only goal, the centers of Calgary are struggling lately and the defence are missing basic cues. This sounds like a team still stuck in the pre-season, but reality is they’re in game 16.
Next up, another division rival, Thursday, against Vancouver.