Via a combination of blurry internet feed and the radio, it looked to me like the Flames probably deserved a better fate last night. They were the better team for the first half of the game and were full value for the 3-1 lead the carried into the third period. A combination of bad bounces, bad penalties and the deaded "defensive shell" conspired to tie things up in the third. And once the game ended at 3's through four periods, well...we all know the inevitable outcome when the Flames go to the shoot-out.
Calgary started things out tentatively, getting out shot 6-1 in the early going and falling behind 1-0 on a Modano snipe. A 5 minute major to Mark Fistric (for bonking Eric Nystrom on the head with his helmet during a fight) turned the tide in Calgary's favor. The Flames actually managed to tally a couple with the man advantage, first on a Phaneuf blast off a Lundmark feed and then with a Iginla back-hand during a scramble. It was the first time in recent memory that the Flames PP managed to measurably swing things in their favor and it ironically featured guys like Boyd and Lundmark, who both garnered assists.
The second period was probably the best one for Jarome Iginla's line. They scored the only goal of the stanza (Jokinen on a rebound) to put the team up by two and were well in the black in terms of possession after 40 minutes. Predicatably, however, things started to go wrong in the third. The Flames sat back in an attempt to protect the lead and found themselves pinned in their end more often than not. Iggy and company gave a bunch back in this frame and the second goal was scored after a Sex Panther give-away at the offensive blueline. During the ensuing Chinese fire drill in the Flames end, a Dalls point shot caromed off of Bouwmeester into the net.
The Stars tied things up in even more galling fashion. Rene Bourque (the goat of the evening) broke his stick and then skated around with the remnants clutched in his glove. Two minutes. During the penalty kill, Jay Bouwmeester was called for a rather marginal "boarding" call when a man he was chasing behind the net fell into the boards. During the 5-on-3, A Mike Richards point shot that was headed 4 feet wide hit Dion Phaneuf and glanced into the net. For those counting, that's 4 goals in the last three games that have taken improbable bounces of off people in front of the Flames net.
The Flames suffered from the PIM blues in overtime too. Some controversy cropped up when Dustin Boyd was blatantly tripped in the defensive end by an errant Jamie Benn stick. The turn-over caused some Dallas pressure, which then in turn created another Dallas PP (Kipper for slashing). That, in turn, created another Dallas 5-on-3, with Kipper counting his second minor in under 40 seconds (slashing again). I think Brent Sutter's face turned slightly purple during this sequence of events.
Calgary survived the PK, only to fall in the shoot-out when none of their shooters (Lundmark, Jokinen, Iginla) managed to score. Loui Eriksson was the lone scorer for Dallas.
For those wondering about Mikael Backlund, he finished with just less 9 minutes of ice and a -1 (Modano's goal). He spent most of his time on the 4th line and didn't really stand out in any fashion. Disappointing for some, perhaps, but better than looking hopelessly out of his depth at least.
Overall, the Flames were the marginally better team at ES, although they were so overwhelmed for most of the third period, one could argue that either team deserved to win. Dallas benefited from some unlikely bounces, but what the hell is new in Flames country right now? Calgary ended up out-shot in the game 36-26 and at ES (28-22), although they did direct more shots at the net than Dallas. As per their custom this season, they simply failed to get a majority on Alex Auld (22 shots/22 shots+20 missed shots+15 blocked shots = 36%). The good news is, the team scored more than two goals, the PP looked competent and the Iginla line had one of it's better games. I know, I know, the time for moral victories is rapidly coming to a close, but there's nothing else to take away from a game like this during a run like this for Flames fans. Just have to continue to wait for the clouds to break.