"I really liked our first and third period. I didn't like the second. We stood around a lot and let them take the play to us. We spent too much time in our own end and you end up relying on one guy, your goalie, too much."--Brent Sutter
Fix it, please.
This quotation basically sums up my biggest issue with the Flames in recent years. They are seemingly incapable of turning in a solid, sixty-minute effort on a consistent basis. That being said, I missed the Flames' lone televised pre-season game last night (I know, I'm terrible, but I'm a working gal now) but from what I've gathered, the Flames could have summoned up a better effort against a Canucks squad missing nine regulars including their nemeses, the Sedins. Miikka Kiprusoff was Flames' best player by a wide margin(collective sigh of relief), making 35 of 36 saves before getting beaten by Mason Raymond on the lone shootout goal, which proved to be the winner for the Canucks.
David Moss was very effective after missing most of the pre-season with a lower body injury, and scored the Flames' only goal on a line with Jokinen and Iginla. Bourque also looked like he was finally beginning to shake off the rust, showing his speed on a breakaway chance in the first period. It sounds as though the line of Dawes, Langkow, and Bourque could prove to be a regular season mainstay, and Moss seemed to fit in nicely on the first line.
On the defensive side of things, Dion Phaneuf continued to improve, as he led the team in ice time en route to collecting an assist and a +1 rating, hopefully a sign of things to come in early October. Anton Stralman had what was perhaps his least impressive showing of the pre-season, finishing -1 in just over eleven minutes of ice time. In special teams news, the penalty kill still appears to be strong point while the impressive powerplay production the Flames enjoyed early in the pre-season was nowhere to be seem, which is slightly worrisome and will probably be one of the biggest areas of concern heading into the regular season.
The Flames finished the preseason 3-2-2; not bad, but not great. It is common knowledge that pre-season has little to no significance in the grand scheme of things, but I think most Flames fans wish they had seen a little more consistency from the supposed "big guns" in preparation for opening night. I suppose we will have to wait until then to find out whether Coach Sutter's message has sunk in or not.
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