The Calgary Flames gave up the lead 2 times in 2 days to hand the Edmonton Oilers their 3rd and 4th straight wins to start the 2008-2009 season. With the losses, the Flames now sit at 1-3-1 and have started the season in a very lacklustre style that makes it hard to be a Flames fan in October.
Flames Captain, Jarome Iginla has 1 goal and 3 assists to open the season, and has been in 2 fights – one good one with Willie Mitchell (despite getting ‘jerseyed’) and one that was a waste with Cody McCormick. The Flames have a tough enough team and should not have to rely on their captain (and top scorer) to flight for them. Surely this has something to do with Sean Avery’s comments… but this shouldn’t be happening. Iginla needs to be on the ice to score.
Miikka Kiprusoff has started the season at a snail’s pace. He has a 4.36 goals against average, and has been out of position too many times. Typically he’s let himself slide out of the net while stopping the first shot… only to let in many 2nd shot chances. Granted, the Flames defence is not doing what they should to stop their opponents from getting these 2nd (and 3rd!) shots on net… but Kipper needs to realize this and adapt his game. He is obviously not comfortable and not happy.
The Flames are being led on the scoreboard by Todd Bertuzzi who has 5 goals in 5 games, and by Daymond Langkow with 1 goal and 5 assists. These guys are supposed to be putting points on the board for the Flames, but they need a little backup from the 2nd and 3rd lines. The Flames have averaged 2.8 goals per game (3.5 goals-per-game if you remove the 6-0 opening night blowout), but have allowed 4.4 goals per game. The Flames typically rely on their one-time Vezina goaltender to bail them out, and they need to realize that Kipper is more than human, and needs a lot of help. I should point out that Kipper won the Vezina during a year that the Flames had one of the most defensive-oriented teams in the NHL. During the 2005-2006 season any team that got behind the Flames by a goal or more had little chance of winning. This season is completely different.
The Oilers are now 4-0-0 to start the season – something that nobody would have predicted last summer. The only other teams that remain unbeaten this season are Minnesota (4-0-0) and Buffalo (4-0-1).