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The Five Takeaways

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames
The Calgary Flames hoped that a shift in their lineup would give them a boost in their second game in a back-to-back scenario but even with a few roster tweaks, they fell 3-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

Henrik Karlsson made 35 saves in his sixth start of the season and Olli Jokinen potted the Flames lone goal in the loss.

Takeaway One - King Karlsson

After a strong performance on Dec. 10 against the Anaheim Ducks, Karlsson was given his sixth start of the season and he proved once again why he's a capable caddy to Calgary starter Miikka Kiprusoff.

Karlsson faced 37 shots in the loss, allowing 2 goals in the opening 40 minutes and made several clutch saves for his club, including two key stops in the second frame.

First, with Antoine Vermette in the penalty box for interference, the Flames went looking for the equalizer but instead found themselves facing a dangerous Columbus scoring opportunity. Derek Dorsett and Kyle Wilson were able to go steaming into the Calgary zone after a turnover at the Columbus blueline, leaving Mark Giordano all alone to defend against the duo. The Flames blueliner did an admirable job of cutting off the passing lane but Dorsett opted to shoot instead of pass. The forward sent a hard wrist shot high-glove side but Karlsson flashed the leather and managed to make the save.

Just a minute later, Vermette was left alone in the Flames zone and thought he had a prime chance to notch his 10th of the season thanks to the abundance of time and space Calgary had given him. Karlsson, however, had other ideas. He flung himself out of the blue paint and went for the risky pokecheck on Vermette. The move paid off as he was able to get enough of the puck with his stick and shoved it into the corner.

Takeaway Two - Slow Start

Prior to the game, several players stated the team needed to have a energetic, chippy first period if they hoped to leave Ohio with two points.

"We need everyone engaged because it's going to be a lot of board battles, a lot of tough hockey. We've got to be ready for it," head coach Brent Sutter told the assembled media after Monday's loss in St. Paul. "When games happen quickly like this, you can't sit around. Like I told the players, 'When you walk out of this building tonight, start getting ready for our next game.'"

Despite that mindset, the Flames first 20 minutes of play was lackluster. They were outshot 12-9, outchanced 8-5, won a dismal 24 percent of faceoffs and allowed the game's first goal when Jakub Voracek was given far too much room to work with in the slot.

No member of the Flames had more than a single shot on net in the period and their physical game wasn't up to par either, with the leaders in hits having just 2 apiece in the first period.

Had that first frame featured more life from Calgary, the Flames may have left the Nationwide Arena with at least a single point.

Takeaway Three - Lucky #13

Jokinen has been chastised by fans and the media during points of the campaign but the maligned forward has been nothing but superb for his club in his last 7 games.

The Finn picked up his 5th goal in that span at 16:34 of the second period when he tossed a Jarome Iginla pass over Mathieu Garon's shoulder while the Flames were on the power play. It marked his second power play goal in the past 2 days.

Knowing no one is safe from being parked in the press box as a healthy scratch after first line center Matt Stajan sat two straight games has proved to be motivation for him and the rest of Sutter's squad.

"It's a competition right now," Jokinen said on Friday. "Any game we've been winning this year, we pretty much have every single guy playing well and that's what you need in this league. If you want to win every night, you need all four lines going and that's been the secret for us for the last four or five games ... We've been able to win because we have every single guy working hard."

Jokinen now has 7 goals and 17 points in 32 outings this season.

Takeaway Four - Less Than Stellar Night for Flames Top Four Blueliners

Given the 2 goals scored against Karlsson were from Voracek and Jared Boll, who aren't exactly known as snipers around the league, it might have been expected a less experienced defenceman like Adam Pardy would have been on the ice when the Blue Jackets scored.

That wasn't the case.

Jay Bouwmeester's game took a step back defensively as the workhorse blueliner was -3 on the night. Giordano was a -1 while Robyn Regehr was a -2 after 60 minutes. Only Cory Sarich escaped with an even rating in the loss.

A bright side was that the Flames defence were able to chip in offensively against the Blue Jackets. Bouwmeester, in 23:01 of ice time, had 4 shots on net and regularly hopped into the play. Giordano assisted on Jokinen's power play marker, giving him his 19th point of the season. He also had 3 shots in 22:41.

Pardy and Babchuk had an even +/- rating against Columbus.

Takeaway Five - Muscle from Moss

David Moss has had an up-and-down, injury-plagued season but lately the 28 year-old forward has been able to find some consistency in his game.

Centering the fourth line with Tom Kostopoulos and Tim Jackman, Moss has added energy to the Flames lineup night after night and while he hasn't scored a point in his last five games, he has looked sharp.

He had an excellent short-handed opportunity with Curtis Glencross in the last minute of the first period. The pair had a two-on-one chance that nearly evened up the contest after Glencross was able to send a hard wrist shot low glove-side. Garon had trouble with the shot but managed to snag it before it trickled past him.

Overall, Moss played 13:55 and had 2 hits in the game.

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