CALGARY, AB -- Brent Sutter declared it was time for execution.
By that the coach wanted a tough, defensive style of hockey that wears down the opposition. For most of Monday's game, that's what he got from his charges.
So, after a 2-0 loss to St. Louis, the coach wasn't about to be critical -- although he and the Flames would certainly like to see a couple of pucks fall into the back of a net.
"In the third period you are pushing hard and they get one chance and they score," said Sutter at his post-game news conference. "I'm not going to stand here and be negative because the rest of the world is. It's disappointing to lose the game...We certainly had opportunities tonight. It's just not happening for us. We've got to keep pushing."
A flukey, pin-ball goal in which Patrik Berglund's centering pass hit Cory Sarich
in the skate boot and bounced into the Flames net broke a 0-0 tie late in the second and the Blues went on to win 2-0 behind the 34-save performance of goalie Ty Conklin.
Early in the third period the Flames had several chances, including two in close courtesy of Jamie Lundmark. He was robbed by two consecutive pad saves by Conklin - perhaps his tow best stops of the night. Shortly after during a power play, Rene Bourque, Jarome Iginla
and Mark Giordano
all suffered the same fate at the hands of Conklin.
"It seemed like every shift in the third period there was a sramble in front of the net but they weren't going in -- we weren't getting the bounces," said forward Brandon Prust. "We have to work for our bounces. If we keep working this way it will turn around."
The Flames have scored seven goals and the last nine games and must be due for a bundle of goals any day now.
"We can't have guys feeling sorry for themselves because there is no one feeling sorry for us, that's for sure," noted Sutter.
At 11:21 of the third period David Perron put the Blues up 2-0 to send the Flames to their seventh consecutive loss.
The Flames now head on the road for two games beginning Wednesday in Dallas and continuing Thursday in Phoenix. The Dallas game is not televised but can be heard on The Fan 960. Thursday's game in Phoenix can only be seen on Flames Pay-Per View.
"We can't get down. We have to stay focussed and not hang our heads," said Prust.
|THE TURNING POINT |
|With the score 1-0 and more than half a period left, the Blues David Perron finished off a nifty three-way passing play to put the game out of reach. Defenceman Darryl Sydor deliberately shot the puck off the end boards. It was picked up by Andy McDonald who fed it cross crease through a maze of legs to Perron, who roofed it over a helpless Kiprusoff. The Flames had been pressing and holding much of the momentum at that particular juncture but the goal at 11:21 took the comeback sails out of the Flames ship. |
|THE MVP |
|Two goals got by him but in both cases Miikka Kiprusoff could not be faulted. One banked in off his own d-man and the other was a sick, three-way passing play. He made some big stops, particularly on Keith Tkachuk and Brad Winchester in tight and once again gave the Flames a chance to win. |
|GETTING PHYSICAL |
|Both teams like the physical game so it was no surprise to see a couple of booming hit lowered. |
In the first Mark Giordano stepped nicely into Cam Janssen in the neutral zone and in the second Cory Sarich rocked Alex Steen into the boards at the Flames blueline. Returning the favour, Blue Mike Weaver rattled Freddie Sjostrom on a rush in the St. Louis end.
|THE BIG BOUTS |
|Blues forward Cam Janssen always seems to draw the ire of the Flames. In previous games he and Flame Brandon Prust have had their share of fights. On this night, though, Janssen had to step up a little in weight class and tangle with Brian McGrattan in the first period. McGrattan definitely had the edge in this one and it appeared as though Janssen was waving the linesmen in to stop the fight with his free hand. However, he may have been signalling for them to stay away basedon the look on his face when they did break up the fight. |
In the second period, Prust and Janssen did hook up with Janssen landing more punches but with Prust getting one big right in before the end.
|ROSTER NOTES |
|D Aaron Johnson was a healthy scratch...The Flames are without F Nigel Dawes and David Moss because of injuries (undisclosed). The Blues were without one of their top scorers as David Backes is listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury |
|TONIGHT'S DIGITS |
|465 - Jarome Iginla is one assist shy of tying Theo Fleury for second spot amongst Flames all time assist leaders (466) |
34 - shots on goal for the Flames, including 15 in the third period
5 - shots on goal for Jarome Iginla and Dion Phaneuf
20 - blocked shots for the Blues
|THEY SAID IT |
|"On a different day 30-some shots gets you some goals. We're going to stick with it and get it turned around. We're not that far." -- Jarome Iginla |
"He's a star player who is unrestricted next year so you'd have to give up players under contract for a guy who isn't -- I don't think that's in the best interest of the organization." -- GM Darryl Sutter, in the Calgary Sun, quelling rumours of Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk coming to Calgary.
"Give me a night in the NHL when you don't have a tough opponent. Every night is like a playoff atmosphere. " -- Calgary coach Brent Sutter on the parity in the NHL.
"All we want is to win hockey games and get the positive feeling back." -- Flames forward Dustin Boyd.
"We've won some big games this year. We have to think back on it and draw from that. " -- Flames d-man Cory Sarich.
|HARDEST WORKING FLAMES |
| || || || |
|Brandon Prust |
Makes the most of a little more than eight minutes of ice time
| ||Miikka Kiprusoff |
Makes 27 saves in losing cause and was good in early going
| ||Rene Bourque |
Had chances around the net, blocked team high three shots