Sharks Bite Flames

This was not a good game for the Flames. They were very lucky to even get a single point. Their performance overall was below what we have seen in the majority of the games since their resurgence at the end of December.

The Sharks were the stronger team for the majority of the game while the Flames looked cautious at best, if not outright tepid. A terrible third period of scrambling around trying to protect the lead ended in predictable fashion with the Sharks tying it and then taking the extra point in the SO.

In a nod to a previous article and comments by Ryan and Kent below – the fact is this game supported their skepticism that the Flames may fall with a thud out of the playoffs, and if they do not get back to the complete 5-on-5 style they have previously illustrated they will.

This level of effort is not going to result in a playoff position - game review to follow after the jump.    

Game Review

The Flames looked slow starting the first and were outshot not only in this period but all of them. Anton Babchuk answered an early goal by Devin Setoguchi late in the period to tie it up. Tim Jackman was his usual self and stood up to take on not one but two fights. The first fight was against Ben Eager and the second against Ryane Clowe in the second period. Jackman took a bomb of a punch to his left eye from Clowe in which he was injured and forced to leave the game.

The go-ahead goal for the Sharks was scored by Kyle Wellwood and I am not going to soften my criticism, it was a direct result of Steve Staios failing to clear the zone and turning the puck over.  David Moss took a feed from Olli Jokinen and scored the second goal for the Flames to tie it up. Then came the goal of the game in terms of individual effort, scored by Niklas Hagman who had been working hard all game. He simply schooled Niclas Wallin, split the defense and roofed it on Niemi.

The third period was simply terrible from a Flames fan perspective. They entered the third with a four minute long powerplay and only managed to register one shot. The entire period was a team illustrating the so often failed strategy of trying to bunker down and protect a one-goal lead. Miikka Kiprusoff made several excellent saves but the puck was in the Flames zone for about 75% of the period (excluding the four minute Flames PP to start the period). I was cringing for all of it and thinking it was only a matter of time before the Sharks scored. Sure enough Ryane Clowe scored the tying goal to send it to overtime.

Clowe proved himself to be a Flames killer in several ways. Taking Jackman out of the game in a second period fight, scoring the tying goal late in the third and then taking the extra point for the Sharks with the shoot-out winner.

 

Conclusion

There is no doubt the Sharks are a good team. Lets keep that in mind, but the Flames looked practically scared of them on the ice. I can’t recall one good check on a Sharks player.

It was the usual exceptions to the rule that we saw in the early season, Tim Jackman, Mark Giordano and Miikka Kiprusoff,  who all brought their best game, as they have all season. Niklas Hagman was an addition to the list for this game, with good hustle for most of it until he got his goal and then he seemed to disappear again. The rest of the team looked to be slipping back into the old 2010 form to some degree.

A player I thought looked especially weak was Jay Bouwmeester who was putting passes into skates and missing on decent shot attempts, even battles on the boards where he usually holds his own he was losing.  It may have been a result of the puck being in the Flames zone for the majority of the third period wearing him down but still.  

This was simply a game that I was very disappointed in. The Flames will not make the playoffs with these levels of effort.  It was the 2010 Flames making an appearance last night, not the 2011 Flames. One game I will give a pass on, but now it's two in a row. 

This team has to understand that a full team effort 5-on-5 is not an option, it is a requirement if they want to win games.

 

Scoring Breakdown

 

The Flames

The Sharks

 

Goals

Assists

 

Goals

Assists

Babchuk

1

0

Setoguchi

1

0

Moss

1

0

Wellwood

1

0

Hagman

1

0

Clowe

1

0

Jokinen

0

1

Pavelski

0

1

Staios

0

1

Mayers

0

1

Tanguay

0

1

Marleau

0

1

Morrison

0

1

Heatley

0

1

 

 

 

Couture

0

1

 

Shots

Saves

 

Shots

Saves

Kiprusoff

33

30

Niemi

24

21

 

 

 

 

 

 

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