Powerless play starting to become crucial in losses

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

In the aftermath of Friday night's 3-2 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers, the Calgary Flames were pinning much of their loss on the powerplay.

Moreso, the lack of powerplay success.

Five times the Flames had the man-advantage against the Panthers. Five times, they came up empty.

Head coach Mike Keenan admitted that inability to convert cost them the game -- especially a couple of third-period opportunities.

Yet, he opted to credit the performance of Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun when asked what was the problem with his charges.

"We had lots of chances. Their goaltender was really strong. We had glorious chances," he said. "Give them credit."

Problem being, the Flames powerplay sputtered all week. About the only thing colder is the temperature outside.

In the last four contests, the Flames have scored just one goal over 16 chances. It hasn't cost them just one game, but quite possibly all three during their current losing skid.

Revisit Wednesday's 4-3 OT loss in Detroit. One goal on five chances and only four shots on net. When the score was tied 3-3 late in the third period, a two-minute powerplay went for naught.

The night before in Montreal finished with a 4-1 loss, but the Flames had back-to-back chances in the third period when they were within a pair of goals. A tally or two at that point could have made a major difference.

"We haven't really had much practice time with our schedule lately," said forward Michael Cammalleri. "We haven't had a chance to work on it too much, but we're definitely searching a bit right now. It's hard to pinpoint, but at this point, it's best to have a five-on-five mentality, try and outwork four penalty killers with five powerplay guys, the rest will take care of itself. We're not tic-tac-toeing right now."

The lack of execution is one thing. The lack of urgency Cammalleri alluded to is another. Too often, the Flames have been guilty of being too slow with their work, giving defenders too much time to be in position for a block, interception or save.

When they return to the Saddledome for today's practice, it's with the expectation time will be spent reviewing the sputtering powerplay.

"Our PK lately has been good and our powerplay was rolling up until a few games ago," said captain Jarome Iginla. "We're going to have some time to get back at it, work on it. It's a key part of the game and could have been a difference maker."


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