SUN Hockey Pool

Flames' new top trio fires blanks in second outing

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:14 PM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. -- From trio grande to trio godawful.

On Thursday night in Philadelphia, the Calgary Flames had an all-world top line.

Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen and Michael Cammalleri combined for seven points in the 5-1 victory over the Flyers.

Last night, it was a dud.

Save for Iginla's late and meaningless goal in the 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes, they were a non-factor.

It's a riddle befitting a scholar.

"Crazy game, huh?" Cammalleri said. "(On Thursday), we definitely were ready. It seemed like we came out with a purpose and an agenda, a real assertive game. A lot of the opposite of tonight.

"They came out assertive, desperate, and it seemed like we played into their hands. We played pucks where they wanted them to be to get their physical game going, their forecheck going, their quickness going. We played into their hands, and could have been a lot more desperate ourselves."

By no means were the Flames top guns alone in being substandard against the Hurricanes.

Nobody in the Flaming C deserves any form of immunity from criticism in the wake of their debacle. However, the cliche goes, 'Your best players have to be your best players,' and Calgary's best players were downright impotent.

The stats line tells the tale.

Iginla's goal in the waning moments was only the second of three shots managed on net.

Cammalleri failed to hit the net even a single time, firing wide twice.

Jokinen had a couple of shots blocked and three miss, but none had to be stopped by Carolina goalie Cam Ward.

Moreover, there were no creative passing plays.

No give-and-go sets that had defenders looking like the competitors in a game of Battling Tops.

Nothing like the exciting debut that had Flames fans looking forward to a scoring spree one night after another.

"We kept talking to each other. We were trying to dig and trying to get things going, and it didn't seem like we got into the flow," said Cammalleri. "There was a lot of penalties against -- we didn't have any powerplays until the third -- and we couldn't get going.

"It's no excuse. We're a line that expects to produce every night for this team and do our best to, it was much too little and much too late for it."

Instead, it was Carolina players like Ray Whitney, Erik Cole and Sergei Samsonov who appear destined for glory.

"We weren't ready," Iginla said. "We weren't ready to match them physically and their desperation. You gotta give them credit. They came out and were very physical early and were skating. We all started just getting rid of the puck, weren't managing it well, losing wall battles and just giving it right back to them so they could reload and come right back at us.

"It all stems from us, as players, not being ready to compete as hard as they were tonight and it showed all the way through the game. They were a very desperate, very hungry, energized team and we didn't match it.

"We've gotten ourselves ready a lot of games and that was a lapse."

Had a bit of complacency set into the Flames room?

After all, Carolina is one of those desperate teams left fighting for their proverbial playoff lives.

Calgary appears to be firmly entrenched in that No.-3 slot in the Western Conference.

"We're hungry. We love winning," Iginla insisted. "It felt great (Thursday) night and we relaxed. It's on us. They did to us what we did to Philly. We came out with a lot of energy, were ready physically, what they did to us tonight, and we didn't respond.

"But we're not satisfied. We're going to keep getting better."


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