Flames make another lead vanish

Jean Lefebvre, Calgary Herald

Published: Sunday, October 19, 2008

There were perhaps a half-dozen of them, a contingent of red-sweatered invaders nestled in nosebleed-section 336 at Rexall Place.

With the visiting Flames up 2-0 in the dying moments of the first period, the cheeky Calgary-supporting crooners broke into a chorus of the nah-nah-hey-hey-goodbye song.

Leaving aside for the moment the wisdom of such brazen behaviour in enemy territory, the Flames fans in question obviously haven't been paying very close attention this season.

Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff deflects a shot from Edmonton Oilers forward Ethan Moreau during second-period action Saturday night in Edmonton.View Larger Image View Larger Image

Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff deflects a shot from Edmonton Oilers forward Ethan Moreau during second-period action Saturday night in Edmonton.

Dan Rieldhuber, Reuters
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With the way the Flames have been floundering in their own end, no lead is safe and any sort of in-game gloating is incredibly premature. Sure enough, the two-goal cushion was vaporized and the tide decisively turned in a four-minute stretch of the second period as the Oilers scored three times en route to a 3-2 victory.

The Flames fall to 1-3-1, despite having held a lead in four of their five contests.

"You're always concerned about giving up any lead," said Flames coach Mike Keenan. "Particularly when you've earned it on the road. We went out and earned it in the first period and we weren't able to find that instinct or the ability to put (more goals) past their goaltender (Mathieu Garon) who, I thought, played pretty well. He closed the door and we couldn't get the third to make it a 3-0 game."

Ethan Moreau, Fernando Pisani and, with a spectacular individual effort, Andrew Cogliano did the second-period damage as Edmonton swept the home-and-home series with their provincial playmates and remained perfect (4-0) on the young season.

What will be disappointing for the Flames is that unless they were in an especially greedy frame of mind, they could hardly have dialled up a better start for themselves.

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Calgary outshot the Oilers 17-3, killed off their only short-handed situation and cashed in on two of four power plays -- Todd Bertuzzi, maintaining his early goal-a-game pace, and Daymond Langkow did the honours -- to take the early lead.

Then came the second act.

Not long after skating condominium Steve MacIntyre wiped out Flames forward Dustin Boyd in a corner of the Calgary zone, the Oilers comeback started.

But the timing of those events, say the Flames, was a coincidence.

"I don't think it was the hit at all (that turned the game in the Oilers' favour)," insisted Calgary captain Jarome Iginla. "They actually had the momentum before that.

"You're telling yourself they're at home and they were obviously embarrassed from the first (period). They're going to come out and react, just as any team will and have a big push. That's what we were telling ourselves but, unfortunately, we didn't do it on the ice. They did have a great push and we weren't able to hold the momentum."

"Again, on a couple of goals that they got, we need to tighten up a little bit," said defenceman Cory Sarich. "The one thing (that comes up in every game) is we need to keep working on our defensive-zone play. For whatever reason we have a missed assignment here and there and we're going to keep working on it until we get it right.

 
 

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