Lightning Strikes Twice
The Flames fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime tonight by a score of 2-1. A hurtful reminder of the last time Calgary lost 2-1 in the St. Pete Times Forum. For those who do not know, it was game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final, a loss that Flames fans will not soon forget.
Two goals by Ruslan Fedotenko was all the Lightning needed that night, as the Flames ran out of gas in their 26th postseason game. Six years have passed since that memorable spring run and you look down the line of the Flames bench and there are very few that can even recall that fateful game. Jarome Iginla, Robyn Regehr, Craig Conroy, and Miikka Kiprusoff are the only Flames left from that run. Cory Sarich, however, was in Tampa, but he was celebrating as a part of the Lightning. Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier are the only Lightning players still in Tampa since their inaugural championship. It is amazing how two teams can look so different in only six years. A definite sign of how the salary cap era has forced teams to shuffle the deck more often than not.
Back to the game.
The Flames have now managed to grab points in six of their last seven games. They have climbed back into 7th place in the Western Conference. The powerplay is 3 for its last 7 attempts. Kiprusoff has a .938 SP% over the past three games; alright, so some things have not changed. Following the trading bonanza that took place a week ago and discounting the bizarre circumstances that surrounded the Flyers game, the Flames have looked much improved. They are not out of the woods yet, but most Flames fans might agree that the team looks better, which is a good thing.
Giordano has fully embraced his expanded role, since the Dion departure, as the go-to offensive threat from the back-end recording two of the Flames three goals on the weekend. Jay Bouwmeester has also looked better playing close to 30 minutes in both Florida games and recording points in two of the last three.
The Flames actually dominated a team in the face-off dot, winning 28 of 46 draws in the Florida. They also more than doubled the Panthers in shots and despite the heroics of Tommy Vokoun the score would have been much worse.
The Flames are clearly still trying to figure everything out and with the injury to Rene Bourque, and the absence of Dawes, Moss, and a lesser extent Conroy, they will be hoping for the new additions to start finding the net a bit more.
Speaking of new additions, who knew Ales Kotalik was brought into fight? What a goon! The reason he did not have his jersey tied down was clearly because he never expects to scrap; possibly a savvy move by Lightning forward Stephane Veilleux.
The Flames fly to Ottawa for a game against the Sens, than back home for a match-up with the Stars and Ducks before the Olympic break. The Flames, who have played 2 more games than Colorado, Nashville and Vancouver, simply need points in every game this week to position themselves well for the long Olympic hiatus.
This has been,
Newman on the Flames
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