The Calgary Flames closed out their road trip tonight with a game in Chicago to take on the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks played last night and won against the St. Louis Blues and the Flames needed to improve their record with a win against a tired Chicago team. But the Blackhawks were anything but tired.
It was a rough start with the Flames showing off their giveaway skills early. But they snapped out of it for a few minutes to put some pressure on Darling in the Chicago net. It seemed to me that the Blackhawks, during what some refer to as a "cup hangover" seem to have similar problems to the Flames; giveaways, missed chances, and long passes that don't work. The only difference is that Chicago plays do indeed work well sometimes. Specifically, Panarin. He embarrassed the Flames defense, landing a shot on net but it didn't go in. On the other hand, Calgary seems to have been working on their passing skills lately because most passes were tape to tape and there were fewer giveaways during stretch passes. Chicago dominated the period, but the Flames, mostly Karri Ramo, held them at bay. The Bennett-Backlund-Frolik line did well in the opening period. There was no score after the first 20 minutes.
Just as it has been so far this season, I had hope early on in the second period after Matt Stajan passed to Kris Russell who dumped it in front of the net and then David Jones scored to out the Flames up 1-0. But, with two quick goals 63 seconds apart, the Blackhawks were up 2-1 over the Flames. And then Panarin happened to make it 3-1. The Flames seemed to have lost their ambition after netting their first goal and not being able to score on a 5 on 3 powerplay. Before the end of the period, Michael Frolik would take a shot that run up the length of Seabrook's stick and caught him in the face. Frolik, showing what kind of truly classy guy he is, skated over to Seabrook to give him a friendly tap. Again, the Blackhawks dominated the period and the score was 3-1 going into the third.
The third period was full of Chicago's pressure on the Flames net. But that's not to say the visiting team didn't do anything. Johnny Gaudreau had a good chance on net and Matt Stajan almost buried his first goal of the season. Deryk Engelland pushed himself further in the final frame and saved a good chance at the Calgary net. In the end, Chicago out-worked the Flames with their quickness, their crafty plays, and their relentlessness. The final score was 4-1 Blackhawks after scoring an empty net goal.
Sam Bennett, Johnny Gaudreau, Michael Frolik, Matt Stajan, Mark Giordano, and Deryk Engelland had a good game tonight, but they just couldn't keep the pace that the Blackhawks predicted. Ramo's .925 save percentage was by far the most impressive I've seen from any of the Calgary goalies this season so far.
And I miss Lance Bouma. ‘Nuff said.
Flame Of The Game
Matt Stajan. He's very skilled at puck possession and can hold off his opponent, creating chances for his team by using his passing skills. He has 2 assists this season in 19 games, which highly underrates his playing ability. If he can keep up the force he displayed in the third period with his shot on net (a goal that was called off because it hit the corner of the post), I'm convinced Stajan's first goal of the season could happen very soon.
The Flames make their way home now to host the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, November 17th and then they try again vs. the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, November 20th.
Go Flames Go!