Gosh, you really wanted to blame the refs in this one on the refs, calling seven straight penalties against the Flames, but really you couldn’t. A total of eleven shots on goal for the Flames compared to 31 for the Sharks was the tally at the end of two periods. Calgary really didn’t show up despite all the talk about their renewed sense of urgency. The playoffs are 23 games away but the Flames were severely outclassed tonight.
Flames Steal Two
If it wasn’t for Kipper standing tall in goal Calgary would have been down early (and by a wide margin). Instead, capitalizing on the limited chances they had, they were tied at two after two. That would make for a very interesting third period; a chance for Calgary to come out fresh in game they had no business being in.
The third period started much the same way as the first. 7-0 the shots midway through the third until SJ took the lead off a close-in tip. The top lines for Calgary weren’t firing, the team all around struggled to take control of the game especially down the middle. Calgary had one last chance late in the third with a rare powerplay opportunity. Despite sustained pressure they couldn’t muster a single shot early.
With 1:16 left Keenan called a timeout to rest the top line. The plan was to pull the goalie and give the Flames a 6on4 advantage. More pressure eventually found the puck at the point where Phaneuf managed to get a wrist shot on net after keeping the puck in the zone to score and tie the game. Seems as though Keenan’s ploy payed off and the Flames tied it up late again.
And the end of regulation how would one assess the Flames? Kiprusoff was the only Flame who showed up for 60 minutes stopping 40 shots all together. The rest of the team? Well they got lucky. With 30 seconds left to play Phaneuf (man he’s looking good) takes the puck in the SJ zone and draws a crowd. Sneaking on the far wing was Iginla who fired a one-timer PAST Nabokov. Yes folks, Calgary stole two points tonight when they should’ve lost two.
The questionable play witnessed today will only spell NO PLAYOFFS for the Flames. Poor play on this road trip will equate to a slippery slope of losses that the team won’t be able to recover from. The Calgary team looked unprepared for this crucial game; they were either bored or horribly outclassed against one of the top teams in the NHL.
Notes: Iginla had no points until his GWG. Smith had his first goal as a Flame tonight.