Flames Problems Have Changed
Well, at least the problem isn’t scoring goals anymore.
The Calgary Flames, after averaging less than two goals for their first half dozen games, have become an offensive powerhouse reminiscent of the 84’ Oilers – averaging nearly four and a half goals per game.
It’s simply ironic that once the Flames start scoring, the defence decides to take a break. They have allowed 10 goals in their last two games. The defence was horrid, but the goaltending wasn't much better.
In his first home start as a Calgary Flame Henrik Karlsson allowed six goals on 33 shots. It wasn’t his finest performance and definitely didn’t instil a bunch of confidence in the team, the coach, or his fans.
Every single year since the lockout the Flames have been without a suitable back-up goaltender for Miikka Kiprusoff. This year, however, was supposed to be different with Mr. Karlsson warming the bench. He played great in the pre-season. He was fantastic in his first outing in Columbus last weekend.
Well hold the phone Calgary because the “Calgary Tower” is leaning sideways after tonight.
Karlsson did make some good saves tonight and the Flames didn’t exactly give him the best support in front of him to begin with. Regehr was waving at the puck like it was a magic wand and Giordano gave the puck away in his own zone like it was candy – he just failed to realize that Halloween was on Sunday, not tonight.
Still, Karlsson let in some soft goals that shouldn’t have found the back of the net. Stewart’s hat-trick goal comes to mind – a slap shot, without screen, to the far post. There is no reason that puck should have found the net and truth be told, Kipper would have had it.
I guess it’s unfair to hold Karlsson to the “Kipper Standard” but unfortunately, in Calgary, that’s going to be the case for the foreseeable future. Maybe he was nervous playing in first home game, maybe it was something else, either way he needs to be better when he is between the pipes and I guarantee Brent Sutter agrees with me.
As for the rest of the defence, I am sure it will not be pretty come tomorrow morning after allowing a season high 36 shots on net. The Flames were outshot tonight by 15 – the first time that has happened all season.
In the end the Flames tried to play out of their element and lo and behold it did not work. River hockey and the Flames do not co-exist – it’s a blatant fact. Case in point, last year when the Flames allowed four or more goals, they were 0-13-1. Well, when you allow four or more goals you shouldn’t be winning hockey games anyways, but the Flames couldn’t even squeeze out a single victory in the run’n’gun style. It’s like the Buffalo Bills trying to win a high scoring affair, it simply does not compute.
Trying to stay positive though, the Flames have scored power play goals three games in a row – a first for this season. Compounded with that, the Flames have been playing some decent hockey of late winning five of their previous six contests before tonight’s setback.
The Sharks victory had to be the most impressive as they faced a GOOD team and they annihilated them. The Oil and Jackets wins were formalities – or at least should be for a team that expects to make the playoffs. And yes, Darryl Sutter expects to make the playoffs, so that is what I am referring to.
The Capitals are next, followed by the Red Wings.
This is as REAL a two-game test as they will get in the NHL. Are the Flames up to it?
In my opinion, with Kipper in net, they always have a chance.