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Flames handed third straight loss in heartbreaking fashion against Avalanche
The Calgary Flames were handed their third consecutive loss in the past five days as they fell victim to the hard working Colorado Avalanche in overtime Tuesday night in Denver. After failing to take advantage of an easy schedule this past weekend against the two worst teams in hockey, you really have to wonder if this Calgary Flames team has learned anything from the past two seasons of falling just short when the going gets tough.
Calgary - March 21, 2012 - The Calgary Flames were handed their third consecutive loss in the past five days as they fell victim to the hard working Colorado Avalanche in overtime Tuesday night in Denver. After failing to take advantage of an easy schedule this past weekend against the two worst teams in hockey, you really have to wonder if this Calgary Flames team has learned anything from the past two seasons of falling just short when the going gets tough.
Matt Stajan would provide his team with the opening goal of this night at the 1:47 mark of the first period when he would single handedly outwork three Colorado players and drive to the net to earn his 8th goal of the season.
After scoring just one goal in his first thirty nine games to start the season, Matt Stajan has been one of the only Calgary Flames players to raise his game on a consistent basis throughout the month of March registering an impressive seven goals and eleven points during that time span. It should come as no surprise to the followers of this team that the Colorado Avalanche would go on to tie this game before the midway point of the 1st when “flame killer” Paul Stastny would redirect a Shane O’Brien point shot past a screened Miikka Kiprusoff for his 19th goal of the season. This would mark Paul Stastny’s thirty seventh career point against the Calgary Flames in just 34 games played.
Considering the circumstances this game would have on the standings in the Western Conference, it was not completely shocking to see a tight checking second period of play that would result in no goals scored by either team. There were however some great open ice hits dished out by both teams, and non more notable then 19 year old rookie Gabriel Landeskog running over Blake Comeau as he successfully cleared the defensive zone. Much of the Flames struggles throughout the season would reoccur on this night, as they struggled immensely at getting the puck out of their own end and as a result they were far too often pinned deep for an extended period of time due to the aggressive fore-check of the five man attack of the Avalanche. The shots on goal after two periods of play was actually fairly even as Colorado had the slight 22-20 edge in that category.
The Calgary Flames would be given three opportunities on the night to grab the lead on the powerplay, but would again struggle mightily to generate a consistent set up in the offensive zone. Specialty teams has been a huge let down for this team down the stretch as they continually let glorious chances slip by the wayside in important games. You could possibly give the team credit for staying out of the penalty box as they went the entire night without being penalized, but that can easily be attributed to the officiating in this game. After getting away with a few fairly blatant calls throughout the game, Calgary would receive their largest break of night with just over three minutes to play in regulation. After ringing a shot off of the post, Avalanche forward Ryan O’Reilly would catch the stick of Mark Giordano in the in nose which caused him to bleed profusely as he skated off of the ice. Somehow this play would be missed or completely ignored by the officials as no penalty was called on the play. Even after getting numerous bounces and breaks throughout the game, Calgary would fail to capitalize and as a result this game would need overtime.
Realistically all one would need to do in order to determine the winner of this game would be to look at each teams respective records in overtime and the shootout. Colorado went into action with a league leading 15-5 record after regulation time, while Calgary boasted an awful 5-13 record. David Jones would score the game winning goal with just over a minute remaining in overtime after he converted one of the few lucky bounces his team received all night. Jones would score from behind the goal line as he banked a centering attempt off of the skate of Miikka Kiprusoff and into the net, it was certainly not a pretty goal but in the end it got the job done for the Avalanche. With the loss Calgary remains in 11th place in the western conference and sit two points back of the eighth placed LA Kings who just so happen to also have a game in hand on the Flames. Realistically Calgary will need to win six of their remaining eight games to sneak into a playoff spot. If they are lucky, they might be able to land a spot with a 5-2-1 record down the stretch.
1. David Jones (Game Winning Goal)
2. Semyon Varlamov (31 Saves, 0.969 SV%)
3. Miikka Kiprusoff (32 Saves, 0.930 SV%)
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