It's always a good night when the Flames beat the Oilers. It was also nice to see the Flames end the losing streak. But that might be where the positives end. I re-watched the game this morning to tally scoring chances and the fact of the matter is the Oilers generated more and better scoring chances for most of the evening and it was only bounces and better goaltending that had Calgary ahead by the end of the contest.
The line shake-up worked and it didn't: Bourque, Jokinen and Dawes were by far the most dangerous trio for Calgary on the evening, with Bourque counting for 3 goals (is he the best forward on the team right now?) with all three players on the plus side of corsi and scoring chances. On the other hand, playing with Langkow and Glencross didn't do much for Iginla, who was underwater in terms of scoring chances at ES despite spending 60% of his night at 5on5 versus Horcoff, Brule and Jacques. That's Horcoff and two NHL tweeners, which is the type of opposition Iggy used to eat for breakfast. Bourque and Jokinen, it should be noted, spent more than half their ES ice against Penner and Gagner (that is, tougher opposition) and more than held their own.
Watching the game again today also highlighted to me the numerous times Calgary either iced the puck or banged it off the glass into the neutral zone in a panic: control coming out of the defensive zone was in short supply last night and it's not like the Flames were facing the Chicago Blackhawks. Versus a superior opponent with actual elite players, that type of play is going to result in a lot more goals against, either off the rush or after a face-off.
Of course, the main complaint from last night - and it's becoming a consistent issue with this team - was Calgary's inability to get the puck on net. The Flames blocked 5 Edmonton shots at ES. The Oilers blocked 18(!). Calgary also fired 15 ES shots wide. So, out of the 46 pucks they directed at Deslauriers last night at 5on5, just 13 made it through to the Oilers goalie. That's a ghastly 28%. Edmonton, in contrast, fired 43 ES pucks at Kipper, with 24 (55%) making it through. So while the two teams spent about the same amount of time in offensive zone at ES, the Oilers generated far more shots and scoring chances.
I don't know what the cause or cure is. Is it lack of creativity up front? Bad bounces? Whatever it is, it's becoming a significant cause of concern for me.