If this was a regular season game, and Dennis Wideman was playing, you could blame him and the refs. But this is the playoffs, and the Flames didn’t show up, that’s as simple as it gets. It was abundantly obvious that nerves got the best of the young team, as they spent most of the game on the penalty kill. It’s easy to blame the officials, they called a terrible playoff game, but they were bad for BOTH sides, and the difference was how poor Calgary was executing.
Here are the reasons for the loss, which the Flames need to fix in a hurry if they stand a remote chance of winning ANY game, let alone one in Anaheim.
- Dougie Hamilton was abysmal. 3 minor penalties. Caused the first goal with a boneheaded play. PLAY TO THE WHISTLE DOUGIE.
- You win and lose on special teams, I said that in the pre-series post, and the Flames LOST on special teams. They were in the box too much and they had AMPLE opportunities on the powerplay, but were outworked and played. They aren’t playing to their system, and not executing when it matters most.
- Gaudreau is soft, we know that, but he was a liability out there trying to do too much. He also had a wide open net to tie with 16 seconds left and blew it. He wasn’t good.
- Flames were controlling play and had the lead in the second, but the most IDIOTIC line change in the history of the playoffs. You’d expect the brain cramp from the Oilers, LAST YEAR. It cost us the tying goal and Anaheim never looked back.
- It was obvious the Flames were nervous. Now that game 1 is out of the way, this young team needs to pick up the pieces and learn to play 5v5. Discipline was the issue, play their game and they’ll win a few.
Calgary had plenty of opportunities revealing some weaknesses, especially 5v5, and seemed to have control of the game until the boneheaded 2nd period line change.
If they stand a chance to win this series, they have to get back to their gameplan and start executing. The big name players need to play bigger. The vets need to pull out all the stops. They showed they can play and there’s a chance, but how they’re playing now is a recipe to always come up just short.
Saturday will tell if this team has any interest in winning. Time to buckle down.