Typical Flames Show Up – Inconsistency is Their Game

After a convincing 2-0 win at home against the Sharks in game 6, Calgary looked to move ahead to the next playoff round tonight in San Jose. Sports enthusiasts pegged San Jose with all the pressure coming into game seven and Calgary all the experience. Turns out everyone was wrong. The Calgary Flames were victimized by their consistent MO–inconsistency. Few can point to two consecutive games (other than the run in December) where the Flames were able to string solid back-to-back efforts. Tonight was no exception, from puck drop to final horn Calgary was a step behind and played more reminiscent of a pre-season game rather than a game seven.

In no particular order here are the top reasons why the Flames were manhandled.

Refs Turns Tides In San Jose Yet Again

Remember the refs in game two where a seemingly record number of penalties were handed out? One of the tandem from game two was taking care of business tonight, and although we didn’t keep track of who was calling bogus penalties, the NHL has diluted playoff hockey with their mandate to call repeated soft penalties. Although the refs would call lousy make up calls after,(not always, as going into the second Calgary had one man-advantage and SJ four,) the complexion of the game changes when weak calls are made. San Jose was provided a much needed boost by the terrible refereeing, but at the end of the day it was Calgary who put themselves in the situations.

Miikka Kiprusoff failed to show up–AGAIN. Must have partied to hard last night cause the second and momentum changing goal was a soft shot into the house with just enough wait to allude the goalie. Kipper didn’t do the basic ‘paddle on the ice’ and there you have it, the score was tied. He was pulled after the forth goal after two more softies (albeit SJ was doing a much better job putting traffic in front of the net.)

Anders Eriksson had a terrible game. Stats say he was -2, he was actually on for three goals. I don’t think he was poor during the season, but today he was terrible, caused 2 goals, and was in the penalty box. Small things like this change the complexion of games.

No nasty play. The two teams must like each other because there was very little rough play before or after whistles.

Defensive breakdowns. Calgary couldn’t clear the zone on two occasions, just simple plays again, and were victimized with either penalties or goals.

Coaching issues. No line combos remained the same, no continuity, and again, changing the complexion of the game with bid decisions. The choice to pull Kipper and literally cause the 5th goal on a col Joseph may have made the difference.

Because of these events Calgary couldn’t get in a rhythm to take control of the game. Credit SJ for coming out strong and their fans for turning the momentum from puck drop in the Sharks favour. Better luck next year I suppose, but you really have to wonder what the Flames need if their franchise goalie gets pulled twice–and in the seventh game, and tops players like Huselius and Tanguay can’t buy goals (but they can pick horses).

Perhaps our expectations as fans is too high? More analysis of the Flames break down to come.

[tags]playoffs, ericksson, keenan[/tags]