After being treated to an offensive showcase last night in Anaheim, the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings buckled down, and provided over 55 minutes of scoreless playoff-like hockey. Then within a 65 seconds, both teams scored once-- and overtime would be required. Despite a powerplay for the Flames in extra time this game headed to a shootout, and the Flames with their playoff lives pretty much on the line, fell short in yet another difficult loss amidst this intense Western Conference Playoff race taking with them a mere "Gary Bettman point".
By all accounts the hockey being played in the Staples Center this evening was playoff hockey. With only 2 points seperating the two teams going into tonight, this was a must win for both teams, but a "muster" win for the Flames. Sitting in 10th spot in the West, the Flames desperately needed to rebound from last nights loss to the Ducks-- but unfortunately despite a well faught game, the outcome just wasn't there.
This was the second straight time the Flames and Kings would need a shootout to decide the outcome (The Kings won that one too). Tanguay started things off for the Flames with a beauty, but Bourque (who looked banged up earlier in the game) and Glencross both missed, opening the door for Kings leading scorer Anze Kopitar to score the game winner.
Outside of a few plays, and a really scary penalty kill, the Flames played a strong defensive game. In fact they gave up 7 less scoring chances this evening then they did in Anaheim-- providing Miikka Kiprusoff with the help he so desperately needed the night before. Despite having the SO winner, Kings Center, Anze Kopitar was kept off the scoreboard, continuing his three game pointless streak-- but it was more to do with the Flames full press defense then the big Slovenian's offensive struggles as of late. Kent Wilson of Flames Nation even went so far as to say, "LA spent more time on the outside of the scoring area than any team I can remember the Flames facing this year - they had the puck more often in the offensive zone, but mostly just fired pucks from the shallow end or from the blueline." The Flames were playing like a team that desperately needed to win. They did all they could, but Jonathan Quick (and his posts) was the difference maker in tonight's big game making 27 saves-- plus two missed shots in the Shootout where he's now 8-0 on the season.
This was yet another big loss for the Flames that further crushes their playoff hopes-- it's starting to look grim now, but mathematically (math sucks in all aspects but this, this is not the official stance on math by Matchsticks and Gasoline) the team's still in contention, and with the heart of their "easy schedule" on the horizon, the season isn't lost yet. Keep an eye on Niklas Hagman, who only played 4 shifts in the first period-- if he's out for any extended time that's another big hit to the Flames lineup and could further complicate matters. Here's the good news, if the Flames continue to play like the way they did today (they played good enough to win), they should be able to close out their road trip with 6 total points, and 6 out of 8 isn't bad.
Jarret Stoll and Olli Jokinen scored the goals in regulation, and I think I saw Randy Jackson of American Idol fame (but it could have been someone else!) in the crowd and Snooki (but it could have been something else) of Jersey Shore infamy-- that's everything you need to know.
The Otherside has a really nifty poll going on right now called, Which King makes the best cat name? While watching this game at a bar, the gentleman to my right probably thought he was watching a different team because he kept calling everyone on the King's team "turd",.. "hit that turd", "why'd turdy score?!", "someone cover turd!" . Wouldn't that be a terrible name for a cat? Turd. Meow, meow, meow, Mr. Turd. Who know's though, take part in the poll and have your say, maybe it'll catch on... (hint).
The Gentleman to my right at the bar's Analysis; Hard hitting Answers when asked about,
the overall game: "tough loss, tough loss, I just want to go home and cry"
How many posts the Flames hit: "had to be 20"
the shootout winning goal: "where'd he learn that move? Slovenia, watch Iginla score next"
the validity of the shootout: "F*%##$#*&^$#&$^#&*#$#$#$ turd &^*&^*&^*&^ amateur hour" [It was like 8 swears, and he said it so fast I could not accurately type them in fast enough]
the flames playoff chances: "Gotta believe in something, and its sure as hell not my wife losing any weight" [yes, he said that LOL]
What did you think about the game? Is that it for the Flames playoff chances? Did anyone else see Randy Jackson in the stands?