Calgary Faces Cocky Pittsburgh
Calgary embarked on a brief two game road swing out to face a couple of Eastern teams. Well actually tomorrow’s game is against Columbus, in the West Division, but tonight was all Pittsburgh. Facing the league’s #1 and #3 point getters in Malkin and Crosby, Calgary had their work cut out for them. Albeit, in the standings Calgary is better by four points, on ice you still worried if the inconsistent Flames could pull out back to back wins against playoff bound teams.
They did well against Detroit at home, but Pittsburgh was a different story. Although Calgary exerted physical force the Penguins responded in turn.
Special Teams Terrible Again!!! AGAIN!!!!!
After trading first period chances the Penguins hit the power play with Cory Sarich off for slashing. One PP for Pittsburgh and one goal to their credit. Calgary, 0 for 5 on the PP. The special teams are hurting BAD for Calgary. Playoff bound teams perform better on special teams; Stanley Cup teams do exceptionally well. The Calgary Flames are choking at the worst time of the season.
At times Calgary took control of the game from then spending most of the second in the Pittsburgh zone. They had a number of glorious open net and 2v1 chances, yet shots wide or big saves thwarted their attempts.
David Moss had the best chance on the PP but rang it off the crossbar. That would have been a game changer, along with Glencross’ miss of an open net in the first.
The speed of Pittsburgh turned the tide whenever Calgary gained momentum on the PP or after lengthy stints in the offensive zone. Calgary’s defence showed plenty of signs of being very incapable of handling any offensive challenges relying on Kirpsoff for big saves.
That speed eventually killed the Flames in the third as Malkin broke down the wing and dropped it to Hal Gill who had ONE goal the entire season until beating Kiprusoff high. Calgary tried to respond but from the top line down they couldn’t capitalize on their chances.
The fact is Calgary is behind their game and behind playoff bound teams. Iginla doesn’t match to Crosby and the defence can’t keep up. Jokinen doesn’t match Malkin and the defence can’t keep up. The Flames are old, slow, and what’s worse lack playoff intensity required to win seven game playoff series.
Another step backwards for Calgary who now give Vancouver a chance to move to within one for the NW division title. Expect them to take it next week as the Flames flounder to dominate. It’s over, another first round playoff exit totally expected if this caliber Flames waltz into the post-season with massive problems in their game.