The past few years have been tough on us Flames fans because of the less-than-stellar play, not making playoffs, and barely showing up for the regular season. But for those of us who have stuck by the team through it all, this season looked good in the beginning. And then last night happened… The First 40 The Calgary Flames played a good two periods of hockey at the beginning of last night’s battle. Considering that the team has a new net-minder who is only two games into his career, Baertschi was a healthy scratch, and the IR list is too long with Giordano, Stempniak, and Breen not able to play, the Flames showed determination, perseverance, and motivation on the ice in St. Paul for the first 40 minutes of play. The Flames were on the board first with a nice feed from Billins to Bouma and then Hudler buried the puck deep. Russell showed a hunger for goals all game long and that intensity seems to be increasing with each game. One mistake by Calgary in the first period cost them the lead as Koivu netted a rebound to tie the game. Shots on net were 8-7 in favor of the Flames during the first period which proves that they did their best in both zones. An early hooking penalty by Bouma early in the second period put the Minnesota Wild ahead with a lone goal by Parise. Back To The Days Of Old Even though the Flames had a few scoring chances and Butler did his best to block shots at the beginning of the period, the team soon fell apart both offensively and defensively. Fontaine scored because Berra couldn’t see the puck through Billins, Konopka scored, Jackman took out his anger and aggravation on Stoner, and Parise scored his second goal of the night. The one highlight moment for the Flames in the third period was on a Minnesota breakaway when Berra stonewalled the opposition to keep Calgary from further embarrassment. To top off the night, Glencross got hurt in the third to twist the knife on the team and possibly add him to the IR list in future games. The Wild ran away with the game in the third and won with a final score of 5-1. My Thoughts Much like last year, the Flames seem to falling back into their old ways of playing only 40 minutes of hockey and losing in epic fashion in the 20 minutes that they fall apart. My hope is that this is just a phase that will go away as time goes on. There’s only so many games the team can lose before they’re out of the playoff run again and I hope the realization sets in sooner rather than later.