There's a bit of fan wisdom from baseball that says that every team wins 50 games and loses 50 games, just because. It's the other 62 games that decide your season.
It applies to hockey too, almost perfectly I'd say. You are going to lose at least 20 games no matter how good you are, just because. Sometimes you are the better team and just don't win. Sometimes you aren't the better team.
Calgary was not the better team, last night. And we might just lose more than 20 games this season.
EV Shots On Goal : 5-8
EV Shots Toward Net : 13-21
EV Faceoff Starts : 5-5
EV Shots On Goal : 6-12
EV Shots Toward Net : 14-18
EV Faceoff Starts : 4-6
EV Shots On Goal : 8-5
EV Shots Toward Net : 13-7
EV Faceoff Starts : 9-3
EV Shots On Goal : 19-25
EV Shots Toward Net : 40-46
EV Faceoff Starts : 18-14
Normally a breakdown like the above against Detroit is a bit of a small victory. But Detroit's forward depth has been depleted by injury. Granted, the Wings smoked the Avs, Canucks and Oilers - being 4th least pathetic team is some consolation prize.
The Flames actually had quite a few scoring chances (or maybe as Kent puts them, chances to get scoring chances) last night. The Flames at EV were getting players and pucks to scoring areas starting from the first shift of the first period. They only got one goal on the night but shit happens, it's the effort that's important.
And the effort was there, for about 130 feet of the rink. From the blueline back the Flames were a mess. The Wings built up zone time and chances at chances at an alarming rate due to the Flames forwards' ineptitude at a.) supporting the puck after the D retrieved Red wing dump-ins, and b.) breaking up the cycle along the boards. The F's cheated high all night, looking for long breakout passes that don't work against teams with active forechecks, i.e. good teams. You would think the Flames would know this, seeing as how they're aiming to be a good team.
I was so unimpressed with Iginla last night. It was quite possibly the worst game I've ever seen him play, and he had some stinkers last year. He started off against Datsyuk and Lidstrom, generated that early chance in the first, and then just spent extended periods being awful everywhere. In the defensive zone, it's like he was afraid to touch the opposition for fear of separating them from the puck. In the offensive zone, he gave away the puck in many ways (getting outmuscled doing old Iggy stuff, having his pass intercepted doing new Iggy stuff). Sutter noticed and moved him off to the Zetterberg matchup early in the second, and he fared no better.
It's just.... it's frustrating. The guy's getting paid $7M at an age where impact forwards are still impact forwards (even if declining) and we absolutely need him to take on tough minutes, this season at least.
Brent Sutter said it best:
Jarome ... did not have a good game
Amen, Brent, a-fucking-men.
The Bouwmeester/Sarich pairing were excellent I thought. Plays in particular that I noticed:
- Sarich did his best Scott Niedermayer impression going up and down ice in the second
- Bouwmeester standing up Datsyuk, who is one slippery bastard, deep in a transition.
Actually I can't complain about any of the D tonight, considering how badly the forwards were cheating. The fact that we were only -12 EV shots-attempted through two periods and -6 EV shots-attempted on the night - it speaks to how solid the D were without forward support, I would think.
The third period was also a dim light. Detroit was shutting it down a bit but it's not like a 2-1 lead puts the game out of reach so at least part of the territorial advantage was due to Calgary actually playing well. Some quality chances came out of it too, I remember one from Bourque just before that scary skate incident.