Flames lose second straight
Well, that was an exciting Saturday afternoon of hockey at the Saddledome.
Anyone who actually paid for tickets should be forming a line at the box office demanding their money back for that snoozefest.
Now, to be fair, this was in the cards from the beginning given the odd time of the game (2pm), which usually means players rhythms are thrown off forcing them to come out either slow, disjointed, lethargic, or all of the above.
Also, the Flames were playing the Nashville Predators, who possess no enigmatic scorers on their team and work as a team defensively to lull you into a dreary slumber and subsequently taken advantage of a lucky bounce – the first goal they scored off Niklas Bergfors shoulder—and then pounce on one of only legitimate scoring opportunities all game to put the nail in the coffin and the fans fleeing for the exits in disgust.
It wasn’t pretty.
However, the Flames didn’t play all that bad. The Preds just know how to limit “real” opportunities and also possess one the best goaltenders in the Western Conference, if not the NHL, in Pekka Rinne.
Coupled with the last second overtime loss to the Rangers on Thursday, the Flames now fall to 1-1-1 halfway through a crucial early season six game home stand.
The power play has gone cold going 1-for-12 on the homestand and 1-for-15 in the last four. In turn the goal scoring has gone MIA with only six goals in those four games.
A potential key player on that player, Anton Babchuk ($3-million annually), has been the early member of the Brent Sutter doghouse only suiting up for two games thus far this season. You have to think that he will suit up on Wednesday against Colorado in an effort to give the team a needed offensive jolt.
The Goaltending Debate
Going back to the Rangers game and the idea to start Karlsson over Kipper. I’ve listened to a number of people that were upset with the decision including a couple of knuckle draggers on the FAN960’s overtime call in show.
However, I was totally fine with it and given the out of conference game and an upcoming matchup with Nashville, a more important game technically speaking, the move made perfect sense and was clearly part of the plan from the beginning of the homestand, if not the season.
That’s two starts for the back-up in the first six games of the season. Compare that to last season where he didn’t see start number two until game 10 and go back a year further where the back-up to Kipper, then Curtis McElhinney, didn’t see his second start until game 13 and it is painstakingly clear that Brent Sutter is dead serious about keeping Kipper to 60-65 starts.
Last season, Kipper started 10 straight from the end of the October until the mid-November, and the trend of starting 8-10 in a row would continue throughout the season.
Sorry Flames fans, but these days are over, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, because Karlsson is a legitimate goaltender.
Despite his shaky first outing in St. Louis, he played good versus the Rangers and had many decent outings last season to justify starting him more.
It’s just something we as Flames fans aren’t used to. We are used to seeing #34 between the pipes night in and night out. Now, is this the beginning of the end for the team’s franchise wins leader? I’m not willing to go that far just yet and call for a trade but it’s simply a different philosophy that the Flames will be deploying this season.
Now, the question looms if the Flames continue to lose and are in need of picking up a lot of wins in a hurry, like last year, do you abandon that philosophy and ride Kipper into the ground like in years past?
I tend to think that would be the end result if the Flames slide, and Kipper would end up with 65+ starts.
Desperate times, right?
Aside from the goaltending in Calgary, which isn’t really the issue for the slow start, the Flames simply need a spark (no pun intended) to get back into the win column.
On a side note, why did the Flames sign this Leblond idiot? 1 GP. 2:56 TOI. 5 game suspension in pre-season and no redeeming qualities that guys like Jackman, Kostopoulous, et al don’t already have. I’ve seen just about enough.
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