Two games in and I'm already struggling to find the motivation to dissect another loss and another blown opportunity by this team. Nonetheless, it's only been two games so I'm not going to start forecasting doom and gloom quite yet. I couldn't find a stream to watch the Ducks game and only listened to it on the radio so you won't have to put up with me for very long, this recap will be short.
After going down 3-0 in the first period alone, the Flames came back to tie the game early in the second on goals by Curtis Glencross (2) and Alex Tanguay. The Flames managed to keep things tied for the remained of the middle frame as they outshot the Ducks 14-3 in their first real good period of hockey since the first period against the Sharks. In the third, however, the defensive mistakes that caused the team to go down 3-0 after less than 10 minutes of play allowed the Ducks to regain the lead. Goals by Daniel Winnik and Ryan Getzlaf put Anaheim up 5-3 when the Flames defence failed to clear the puck from in front of their net.
Lee Stempniak scored on a slick breakaway feed from TJ Brodie (who was in the lineup after sitting out on Sunday night against the Sharks) to bring the Flames back to within one, but the home team could not summon the puck prowess that allowed them to overcome the prior 3-0 deficit to tie the game, and were out-shot 12-6 in the third period.
While this game represented progress on the offensive front and the likes of Sven Baertschi, Mikael Backlund, and Lee Stempniak continued to impress, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done on the defensive side of things, which makes me extremely nervous for tonight's game. Despite the fact that the Canucks are winless and missing some key offensive components like Ryan Kesler and David Booth, the Canucks still have some players who can put the puck in the net against Calgary; the Sedins notwithstanding, Alex Edler former Flame Chris Higgins put the rubber to the Flames last season.
Kiprusoff struggled a bit in Monday's game but the Flames D needs to be much better at protecting the front of the net. Too many goals have been scored so far this season where opposing players have had free reign to walk out in front of the Flames goal uncontested and either shoot point blank on Kipper or shovel in a loose puck. They'll need to work on that as well as staying out of the penalty box and limiting Vancouver's chances on the powerplay.
Some links ahead of tonight's game:
'Nucks Misconduct predicts a 4-2 win for Vancouver tonight ['Nucks Misconduct]
Roman Cervenka is cleared to stop taking his blood-thinning medication by the Mayo Clinic, and both him and Jiri Hudler could be in the Flames' lineup as early as this weekend, which presents some tough choices for the team up front [Flames.nhl.com]
How are the Flames' prospects doing in January? [Flames Nation]
Speaking of Flames prospects, the John Gaudreau for Hobey Baker campaign is in full swing over at BC Interruption, and has been for quite some time. Cast your vote for Johnny Hockey and check out their sweet t-shirts [BC Interruption]
More to come later including projected lineups. See you tonight!