Home isn’t always where the heart is for the Calgary Flames.
After wrapping up a tough road trip that resulted in three straight losses, the team hoped to build off the electric energy of home ice and start picking up points.
Against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, November 12th, things didn’t look too optimistic to start. Sluggish and tired-looking, the Flames allowed the Sharks to go two up in the first, with a wrister from Logan Couture in the first few minutes and a powerplay goal from Patrick Marleau in the last few minutes of the period.
The lack of energy continued throughout the second, as the home team failed to score to cut the lead in half. Thankfully, Reto Berra was on his game, stopping all 11 shots on net to keep the Sharks at bay. After 40 minutes of play, San Jose had outshot Calgary 28-6.
A couple of Red Bulls must have been handed out during the second intermission, however, and the final frame saw a much-needed burst of energy for the home team. As Justin Braun served a penalty for interference against Matt Stajan, the Flames capitalized on the man advantage and a slapshot from Kris Russell made its way to the back of the Sharks’ net.
Not long after, it was Mike Cammalleri’s backhander that lit the lamp and with less than half a period left to play, the Flames and Sharks found themselves all tied up at two.
San Jose found redemption for blowing a two-goal lead in the short-lived extra frame, thanks to Joe Thornton’s shot deflected off of Brad Stuart.
Berra’s 32 saves earned him the first star of the game, and the Flames’ late push earned them a much-needed point in the 3-2 overtime loss.
Two Stars in particular made Dallas’ visit to the Saddledome a successful one. But it wasn’t just Jamie Benn’s six point night and Tyler Seguin’s 4 goals that contributed to the Flames’ devastating loss. It was also the Flames’ lacklustre play.
It was the same old story in Calgary, as the Flames allowed the Stars to stomp all over them in the first two periods. Five unanswered goals (one in the first and four in the second) had the Stars riding high, while the Flames struggled to match not only their shots on goal but their energy and determination.
30 seconds into the third period, Tyler Seguin notched himself a hat trick, and although both David Jones and Matt Stajan managed to answer back for the boys in red, Seguin’s fourth of the night, which came at 16:21, sealed the Flames’ fate.
Calgary was sent reeling by Seguin and company, dropping yet another game 7-3.
The Battle of Alberta is always much-anticipated, and Saturday night’s matchup was no exception, despite the fact that the Flames and Oilers are currently the two worst teams in the Western conference.
The Oilers hoped to end their five-game losing streak that night with the help of their prized first-line youngsters. Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were all in the lineup, but the first goal of the game did not come from any of them.
Sean Monahan got things started just over halfway into the opening period. In his first year in the NHL, Monahan is giving Edmonton’s two highest-touted players a run for their money, with 14 points to Hall’s 15 and Eberle’s 16 to date.
Dennis Wideman added his second of the season in the middle frame, and Reto Berra shut out the Oilers throughout 40 to give the Flames a two-goal lead to start the third.
And suddenly the Flames collapsed.
The scenario that unfolded in the final period was completely opposite to their last two games, the Flames started off strong and lost their edge as the game wore on.
In just over five minutes, the Oilers scored three goals, and a stunned home team fell 3-2 to their provincial rivals.
Seven straight losses, three at home. The Flames’ hard luck is beginning to show a glimpse of how the team was predicted to perform before the season started.
Against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday, November 18th, the team will start anew and attempt to get back the surprise winning underdog status they had earned in the first few weeks of the season.
Graduate of Mount Royal University’s Journalism program and a freelance sports writer from Calgary, Alberta.