In a stinking shootout...
I cannot believe we're standing here talking about two losses to Calgary. The first game should have resulted in at least a point...and this one, which we clearly controlled up until the Souray injury, could have gone our way on numerous occasions. A few things that happened and were really crummy tonight:
- Botching a 4-on-3 PP in OT (What was O'Sullivan doing taking those short shots that had no chance?)
- A highly questionable goal with 1.5 seconds left in the game (though even then, how do you allow Phaneuf and Bouwmeester to take a shot that late in the game?)
- An SO goal that apparently should not have counted followed by a post
- Souray getting whacked and it only resulting in a 2-minute PP
- A late 2nd period goal when this team had a ton of chances to make it 3 and 4-zip.
I understand there are going to be some growing pains with this team. That happens every time you have turnover like they've had this year. I'm willing to be patient with them as a group. That sentiment doesn't make this type of loss any easier to take. We were very much in control of this game and playing an excellent collapsing defensive style for much of the game. We fought off a BS 5-on-3 and should have scored immediately thereafter.
This is the kind of game where I don't go as in depth with the players individually. I didn't particularly think anyone was a huge star; though Khabibulin sure had his moments and kept this team in it for 1.5 seconds less than was needed. He's got some really bad breaks despite some absolutely stellar saves.
Up front, it's plainly obvious that the Jacques-Horcoff-Hemsky line needs to be put to rest. Sure, they had one good sequence in the third where they wound up scoring a goal, but it just isn't working. Ales didn't have a very good game, Jacques continued his "way behind the play" routine, and Horcoff, though physical, just couldn't get anything done.
I was more annoyed with O'Sullivan tonight because he should have been a lot better than he was. Comrie's not impactful in the way that many guys are, but he sure looks like he's going to keep getting his points. He's the most consistent guy at creating chances for them right now. Stone is Stone. I don't mind him against Calgary but my was he ever bad with the puck.
Penner had it going again until the third. By then he looked just plain wiped and was making defensive zone screwups that wound up costing us. Brule I'm really starting to like. He was a half-step away from 2 or 3 goals tonight. He's using his skills (quickness, shooting, physicality) very well. He also doesn't ever seem to tire near the end of his shifts. Cogliano, once again, I felt all he did was skate around not producing anything in particular. It was nice to see him go to the net in a dynamic way twice late in the game. He used his first-step advantage effectively for a change. I hope that continues.
I didn't really mind the Moreau-Gagner-Stortini crew, but felt Sam got a little too much icetime tonight. He was playing okay but not great. I loved the goal Moreau scored.
Our D flat ran out of gas. Major kudos to Strudwick and Smid for stepping up in Souray's absence and almost keeping us in there. Denis was better...and worse. Tom was fine. Lubo finally showed his elite opposite blue line skill and made a bunch of recovery plays, but also had far too many shots blocked.
The key for us going forward is to keep the effort level high while making the strategic leaps forward that will come with time. It's far from panic mode in that we have a team that honestly looks like once it gets going it will rattle off winning streaks; but let's just hope we don't have to wait that long.
Other than that I'm too frustrated to write much more tonight. This could easily be a 3-0 team right now and it's not. ARGH.