This is not the way we should have ended an otherwise stellar month of hockey.
Coming into tonight, these two teams looked to be a pretty good matchup, on paper. Once the puck dropped, however, it was a whole different story. Calgary put it to us right from the opening face off and never relented. They checked harder, dug harder and yes, fought harder (McGratton easily won the fight between he and Belak) throughout the entire game. Our lines were no match for their lines and it became very apparent all too quickly for me.
There was no pep in our step, er, skate; no urgency behind our plays. I only recall a grand total of two shifts that were in the least bit exciting to watch. They came from the Smithson-Legwand-Ward line and the Hornqvist-Erat-Tootoo line in the second period. Before and after that, it was all dead ice to me. It was obvious that Trotz wanted to switch things up when he started throwing out random lines again (we didn't expect him to keep the lines together much longer, did we?) though his attempt to freshen things up was all for naught.
No goaltender is solely at fault for losing a game, though there were definitely a couple of goals Pekka could have stopped. The team that played in front of him was just severely lacking in all things offensive (in the scoring sense, anyway). There were several occasions were our defense came through with a big save to help Rinne out or the night could have ended 8-0, in favor of the Flames. One defensive player that I could have done without tonight? Ryan Suter. Man, oh freaking man did he have a rough game. I yelled at him so much, I had to check myself to make sure I hadn't travelled back in time to the 2007-2008 season.
Not that I'm in any way condoning excuses BUT based on what I saw on the ice and what I witnessed while keeping a close eye on the bench, we look a little down and out right now. I know Joel Ward wasn't feeling 100% on Saturday and I'm fairly certain there are a few other guys under the weather as well. We've played through worse though so it's time to suck it up, take a Z-Pak, drink some extra Gatorade and pull it together.
I'm also positive that the blatant lack of crowd support had a little something to do with it too. BUT let's not go there because I really don't want to give people an open door to talk about our attendance............................
The season is long and there are plenty more games to be played. I just don't want to see another one played like this.