Flames Look to Continue Domination over the Avalanche in Denver after Disappointing Weekend

Jesse Bruni March 20, 2012 1

Tough Weekend

Gerry Thomas – Getty Images

Like the Flames have done so often this season they allowed the fans to get excited about their play and optimistic about its postseason chances only to quickly turn that optimism into pessimism. After decisive 4-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes for their fifth consecutive win the Flames found a way to lose back to back games to the 29th and 30th placed teams in the NHL. The Flames now find themselves in eleventh place in the Western Conference and are two points back of the Colorado Avalanche. When the Flames rolled into Edmonton they were playing their fourth game in six nights and also were coming off a big game the night before.Irving also started for the Flames but there is no excuse for such a poor offensive effort in the third period, which included a measly two shots on net. On Sunday the Flames got off to a slow start against the Blue Jackets who had just played a tough game in Vancouver the night before. It wasn’t until late in the first period that the Flames finally were able to sustain some consistent pressure in the offensive end. From that point on the Flames were the better team and had a number of chances but could not covert on the power play and could not find a way to solve goalie Steve Mason. Chalk it up as another home game where the Flames made a goalie look way better than he should.

Preview

Calgary  34-26-13  (6-2-2 in last ten)  vs.  Colorado  39-30-5  (6-3-1 in last ten)

Tonight is the first of three straight on the road for the Flames with the biggest game coming Tuesday night in Denver. While the Flames hold a game in hand, they are currently two points back of the Avalanche who are tied with the Coyotes for the last two playoff spots. The Flames have completely dominated the head to head match up as of late including a 4-0 record in games played this season. The Avalanche are coming off a successful road trip where they were able to pick up five of a possible six points, including a win in the Big Apple against the Eastern Conference leading Rangers.

The Avs are led by rookie of the year candidate Gabriel Landeskog who has forty seven points in seventy four games this season. The Avs have also been sparked by the trade deadline acquisitions of Steve Downie and Jamie McGinn. Downie had four multi-point games in his first seven games after arriving from the Tampa Bay Lightning. McGinn has tallied seven goals in the ten games he has played since coming over from the San Jose Sharks.

Injury Update

It looks as though Tim Jackman will return to the lineup for the Flames after missing the last six games with an upper body injury. The Flames are still without a number of players including TJ Brodie and Mike Cammalleri who seem to be suffering from concussions. Mikael Backlund seems to be a long way from returning but there was promising news regarding the potential returns of Blair Jones, Chris Butler and Lance Bouma as they all took part in the pre-game skate in Denver on Tuesday morning. With the return of Jackman, it looks as though Greg Nemisz will be the odd man out on Tuesday night.

Boll Elbow

Was very disappointed to see that Blue Jacket forward Jared Boll was not further penalized for the elbow he landed to the jaw of Flames forward Alex Tanguay on Sunday night. I was under the impression that these were the type of hits that Brendan Shanahan and the NHL were trying to eliminate from the game. As Tanguay approached Boll on the boards in the Jackets corner, Boll looked over his one shoulder to identify Tanguay was approaching and with his opposite elbow blatantly hit Tanguay. There is no question he knew what he was doing and it is fortunate that Tanguay wasn’t more seriously hurt, especially since Tanguay has struggled with neck issues this season. Brent Sutter did not believe the two minute call was sufficient during the game and will not be happy with the decision for no suspension or fine for the hit. What would have happened if instead of Tanguay, a player like Sidney Crosby or Steve Stamkos was hit? I imagine there would have been further discipline for Boll in that situation.

Glencross

Glencross showed signs on Sunday of the un-disciplined play that caused him to fall out of favor with coaches in recent seasons. In the third period with the Flames on a power play and desperate for their first goal of the game, Glencross took a slashing penalty. It was an over aggressive play and not a smart one at one of the worst possible times. Less than 30 seconds after returning to the ice he received a high sticking penalty for a cross check he delivered to the face of Jackets forward Derek Dorsett. Fortunately it ended up being coincidental penalties and the Flames weren’t forced to kill another power play. It hurts the Flames to have one of their top scorers in the box while the Blue Jackets lose one of their under utilized forwards. I am surprised that the blow delivered by Glencross was not talked about on the Flames broadcast. It was another poor decision by Glencross that could have easily been a more serious penalty and/or suspension if there was more of a reaction from Dorsett. Going forward, Glencross will have to control his emotions and avoid needless penalties.

Quick Notes

  • The Flames finished off their season series with the Blue Jackets going 1-1-2 which included a shootout win and two shootout losses at home.
  • The Flames have outscored the Avs 13-8 this season with their last loss coming Oct 28th, 2010.
  • After the Flames shootout loss on Sunday they now sport a 3-8 record in the skills competition. They are also now 2-5 in overtime for an overall extra time record of 5-13. Only Carolinawith fifteen, have more loser points than the Flames.
  • The Flames are lucky to have the tiebreaker advantage over the Coyotes, Sharks, Avalanche and Kings. If one or more of the teams end up tied the Flames would rank higher as they have more regulation and overtime wins. The Avalanche for example have nine shootout wins this year.
  • Matt Stajan continues his strong play of late as he now has seven points in his last seven games. He is coming up with big goals at important times in games for the Flames which included the game tying goal in Sunday’s game against the Jackets.
  • The Flames signed free agent David Eddy who was playing for St. CloudStateUniversityof the WCHA. The six foot forward will forego his senior year and join the Flames next season on a two way contract. This signing marks a new direction for the Flames who have typically stayed away from free agent university players. At twenty two the hope is that Eddy will be further along in his development compared to recently drafted junior players.