SUN Hockey Pool

Lapse turns into collapse

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

CHICAGO -- The warning signs have been there all season.

The Flames finally had the crash.

A team that's been staking themselves to a lead nearly every game so far this season but has faded down the stretch.

Had goalie Miikka Kiprusoff not been brilliant in third periods and overtime, they wouldn't have won four of their first five.

Blowing a five-goal lead and losing 6-5 to the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime might just hammer home the message about not sitting back.

"I hope it does," head coach Brent Sutter said. "If there's one wake-up call, this is it. It's stuff that we've talked about. It's stuff we've gone through. It's stuff we've shown them. It might only be six games into the season, but maybe it'll be a blessing.

"I don't mean it in a positive right now because it's brutal to lose like that, but if there's something that should wake them up and they should be embarrassed about, this is it."

In the opener, the Flames had a three-goal edge and needed a 20-save third period to win. It's a scene that's played out a few times now.

"You don't let up on purpose and it's not like we were trying to shoot the lights out and score," said captain Jarome Iginla.

"We just stopped being aggressive and physical and playing in their end.

"This is an extreme case. In games, there's shifts in momentum and that's part of it, but we're not finding the way to get a shift back our way. They're gonna have a push at home and get one, even if they get two, we should be all right and play in their end."

Sutter said he can only do so much. It's up to the players.

"You talk to them and go through it when them, but still it comes down to the individual and where he's at in his mindset," Sutter said. "It's something that is concerning, it's been concerning for me. That's why we've been an erratic team in games. We play some good minutes, some bad minutes. Some good periods, some bad periods. It's not about physicality."

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos