After 40 minutes worth of funk a night before in the home opener, Flames bench boss practically guaranteed, “we will be better”. Well after the first 20 minutes of this game one had to wonder. 3-0, early goals, the team playing demonstrably bad. Fans rolling their eyes and the coach clearly incapable of leading his troops. Leading the way with his second straight lackluster game, Jay Bouwmeester, lolly gagging around the ice -2 before 15 minutes were even done. Every time I see that guy I remember ‘Darryl Sutter’ and the bygone era that’s left a bad taste in my mouth.
It’s a bitter taste that’s crippled this team.
But here we are, new year, new faces, still weak at center (paging Hudler and Cervenka….) and down 0-3 early. The worst possible scenario.
When the team takes two steps back you know they’re due for one step forward. Enter the second period. Well actually things got rolling with about 2 minutes left in the first when the PP struck. Despite having a tough time defensively 5v5, the top line of Glencross (2 PP goals), Tanguay, and Iginla, put together a 3 goal run thanks to special teams and net presence.
Calgary went back to less than average for the third period. Under performing? The defence and the goalie.
Kiprusoff’s start will begin raising questions on his ability to play back to back games, of which there are many this season. His performance was sub-par. He never controlled the puck, and could be faulted for a solid 2 goals.
Anaheim killed the Flames on the transition, just like San Jose, making the defence look slow and foolish. 2 more goals; Stempniak potting his first to make it close at the end but not close enough.
If this was game 48 people would be calling for changes. Calgary is this year’s Columbus, vastly short in every way. I’ve never been this early in the ‘season’ and been so adamant that the team lacks any form of upside. Baertchi may have moments of excitement, but he’s out of place. Every defender struggles. Bouemeester and newly acquired Wideman the worst culprits. Iginla largely silent and ineffective unless he’s getting a minus…..the list goes on.
It’s early, but there’s little to celebrate, few positives that will actually translate to winning games. Another loss on Wednesday versus the Canucks? Likely.
Notes: TJ Brodie in for Derek Smith. He was a lone bright spot. Horak looked good too. Begin out with Jones in. Henrik Karlsson was traded early in the day for a 7th round pick of Chicago in next year’s entry draft.