It's not really surprising that the Flames are a bad team. The fresh hope of a new season has worn off; the enthusiasm and effort they granted us in the first games has been exhausted.
They won't always be this bad, though. Not even the rest of this season. More changes will happen (hopefully of the less truculent variety) and more kids will play, but it's looking increasingly likely that the Calgary Flames pick up their first ever top five draft pick in franchise history.
In the meantime, they still have a better record than the Oilers. Little victories!
The Flames got off to a decent start, initially outshooting the Blues 4-1. The Blues would soon take the lead in shots after two powerplays, and right after the second powerplay expired, the Blues took the lead on the scoreboard. Derek Roy passed the puck to Chris Stewart, who was waiting in the slot. The pass went between TJ Brodie's legs, onto Stewart's stick, and right in the net.
Just 2:05 later, Vladimir Sobotka skated up along the boards into the Flames zone, took a shot, and put the Blues up 2-0 on a goal Karri Ramo would probably like to have back.
Bob Hartley called a timeout after that goal. While it stopped the bleeding, it didn't exactly inspire the club. The Flames got a four minute powerplay, courtesy of Maxim Lapierre. The Blues' agitator was originally called for interference, and picked up an extra minor for crosschecking Brian McGrattan from behind, because... ... I don't know why he did that.
Not that it ultimately mattered to the Blues. The Flames got two shots on the four minute powerplay, and left the first still trailing St. Louis 0-2 and outshot 12-6.
The Flames got a pretty good scoring chance to start the second. Mikael Backlund passed to Mike Cammalleri who passed to Lee Stempniak, who took a shot from the slot as Backlund drove the net. Barret Jackman pushed Backlund into Halak, however, and was called for interference on the play. Jiri Hudler rang a shot off the post that fooled everybody for the Flames' best scoring chance of the game.
However, The Flames got stuck in their own end soon after while the Kevin Westgarth - Joe Colborne - McGrattan line was on the ice. Vladimir Tarasenko drew all the Flames right to him before passing across the ice to a wide open Ian Cole. Ramo, who was too far over facing Tarasenko, left a wide open net for Cole, who put the Blues up 3-0.
The Flames were able to put more pressure on the Blues in the second period, garnering 15 shots and drawing the shot clock to 21-22. Score effects should be noted here, as the Blues were already up by three, and likely not concerned about a Flames comeback.
They would be correct in that sentiment.
The Blues increased their lead to 4-0 early in the third. A shot from the point by Alex Pietrangelo on the powerplay was tipped by Lance Bouma's stick before going off Chris Butler's leg and into the net.
Almost right after Westgarth proved his worth by being tough and elbowing Cole in the face. This gave the Blues another powerplay. Jordan Leopold sent a perfect cross-ice pass to Tarasenko, who shot it right into the wide open net to put the Blues up 5-0.
The Flames would at least continue to generate shots on net throughout the period, putting 12 on Halak, but 5-0 ended up being the final score of the game. That's five shutouts in the last seven games, folks.
- 0-6 on the powerplay? 0-6 on the powerplay. The Flames' powerplay is 27th in the league at 13.4%. Who's worse? Buffalo, Dallas, and Florida. The poor bastards.
- Bouma had two glorious chances this game that would've for sure gone in the net if only he'd been able to get the puck on his stick. The kid's not a goal scorer and probably never will be, but you have to feel blfor him there. They wouldn't have been meaningless goals, either; the first golden chance he had would've tied the game at one.
- McGrattan was out on the ice to take a final penalty with 1:13 left in the game, because really, by that point, who cares?
- At least he's not Westgarth, though. I was against the Westgarth trade initially because it took a roster spot away from a kid. It's still doing that, but man. Two games ago he tried to injure Duchene and went after McGinn. This game he elbows Cole right in the face. I can watch a 5-0 loss - it's not fun, but I'll watch it - but get this thuggery out of here. Dress seven defencemen if you have to. Stop playing a guy who will go out there just to hurt people. I keep harping on this subject because it's horrible, and it's Burke's only move he can take full credit for thus far. He brought in Westgarth to try to make the Flames "tougher to play against" (this after being shutout for two games, so that's going really well right now, yeah?) and all that's happened is wasted ice time, a wasted roster spot, and a guy actively trying to injure opposing players. That last part is by far the most offensive element. That should not be on the team. Guys like that need to be removed from the game, full stop.
- The score could have been far worse than it was. In spite of some of the goals Ramo would probably like back, he still made some absolutely beautiful saves that might have made the game more interesting were the Flames able to, well, score a goal.
- I'm trying to include at least one positive element per recap, so here are some stats for you: Joni Ortio currently has a .921 SV% in 20 games with the Heat, and Jon Gillies is at .941% in 16 games at Providence. Also, Corban Knight, Markus Granlund, and Ben Hanowski are sixth, seventh, and ninth in rookie scoring in the AHL with 26, 25, and 25 points respectively. You never know - after the trade deadline, the Flames might be fun to watch again.
Assuming the Flames feel like it, they'll be taking to the ice Saturday night against the Penguins on Hockey Night in Canada.