The Calgary Flames continued their streak of alternating wins and losses, with a 3-0 shutout loss to the St. Louis Blues Sunday, less than 24 hours after a big 5-2 victory in Colorado. It was also the first shutout loss for the Flames this season.
The Flames who are on a three-game road trip, dominated in shots on goal with 24 and held their own, but just couldn't come up with any offence, losing their first in eight games against the Blues.
Calgary heads into Detroit for a matchup Tuesday where they'll look to get themselves back in the win column.
"I think we’re taking pride in turning down the shots, we just have to eliminate some of the good chances that they get and I think we’ll be okay,” said David Moss, following the loss.
McElhinney gets first start
|THE TURNING POINT |
| Blues' Brad Boyes took the wind out of Calgary's sails with a goal in the final seconds of the middle frame. His goal, which was the insurance goal for St. Louis came with only 24 seconds remaining in the period on the power play. It was a deflection goal with the help of Doug Weight as the Blues' forward flew in for the pass. |
|STATS AND NUMBERS |
|20 - Minutes in fighting majors in the second period. |
24- shots on goal for the Flames
1 - empty net goal in the final minutes of play.
1 - start for the Flames' backup Curtis McElhinney this season.
|THE BIG SAVE |
|Curtis McElhinney with a huge save on Jay McClement's booming slap shot from the top of the circle at 13:01 in the first. It was a turnover courtesy of the Flames that resulted in McClement picking up the puck, but his attempt fell short after the quick glove hand of McElhinney snapped it up mid-air. |
|THE BIG HIT |
| Flames' forward Daymond Langkow skates in hard past the blue line dabbling with the puck when Jay McKee throws a hard hip check into him. Langkow immediately falls to the ice rattled, but proceeds with the play. |
|WORTH NOTING |
|Another big fight for Flames' Eric Godard, this time 2:01into regulation. It was clear right from the drop of the puck it was going to be a physical game, but when the Flames' heavy hitter dropped the gloves to dance with Dwayne King, it got the team revved up. No more than three seconds later, fourth liner Mark Smith also dueled with Dan Hinote...This was the second fight in two games for Godard. |
|UP NEXT |
|The Flames travel to Detroit to meet the Red Wings, 5 p.m. MT only on Detroit |
It's something he's been waiting for since the start of the season and he finally got his prayers answered. With Flames' star netminder Miikka Kiprusoff finally getting a night off, Curtis McElhinney received the thumbs up for the game starter.
While it didn't go exactly as planned, with the Blues registering their first goal only 27 seconds into the opening period and a loss when all was said and done, he did make a phenomenal save on Jay McClement. It would appear that was the save that got the 24-year-olds confidence back up after giving up a goal so early in the game.
“Anytime it’s your first game, you’re apt to be nervous, there’s no doubt about it," commented Craig Conroy. "But I think he played really well; I mean he made the saves in the first and just didn’t get the rebounds."
Here's to hoping the Flames can help McElhinney next time by creating some offence and keeping the game more evenly matched. Over three frames, McElhinney stopped two of 18 shots on net, with the third goal being tallied as the empty netter.
Do back-to-back games hamper Flames' spirits?
For the second weekend in a row, the Flames played in back-to-back games over the weekend, with Sunday's match with the Blues coming within less than 21 hours of the Flames win in Colorado on Saturday.
As been the case this month, Saturday and Sunday games don't fair well for the Calgary squad, with the Flames usually winning their first of two games, but falling in the second as was the case last weekend in back-to-back games against the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks.
After a Battle of Alberta win November 17th, the Flames flew into Vancouver, where they fell 4-1 to their Northwest Division rivals.
And to the team's disappointment, they continued that pattern this weekend.
In a matter of speaking, it's hard to say whether consecutive games for the Flames in less than 24 hours hampers their play or makes them play harder, but if one things for sure, it's not working in the team's favour this season.
"It was a great test for us as far as if we can make up ground or not," said assistant coach Rob Cookson.
"In this league, back-to-back games are more or less a mental aspect , where they have to prove their mentally strong."
Flames face new St. Louis squad
The Flames have had the Blues number over the past few seasons, winning their last seven games against the St. Louis squad.
In fact, the Blues have struggled to overcome the Flames since a 2-1 victory back in February of 2004. In that time, Calgary outscored St. Louis 27-13.
It's a different story this season -- especially with the additions of Paul Kariya and Brad Boyes. And to make it even harder on the Flames, the Blues were 8-3-0 at home heading into the matchup.
"They definitely have a different look and are a different hockey team, " said Flames' blueliner Dion Phaneuf.
"They have a lot of skill up front and have a really strong back end."
"It's almost a whole new team," Conroy added. "They've been through some hard times in trying to make the playoffs over the years, didn't make it and now they're coming back and they have some good young players."