SUN Hockey Pool

Powerplay has serious outage

Ottawa Senators' Jesse Winchester (R) knocks Calgary Flames' Mark Giordano to the ice during the...

Ottawa Senators' Jesse Winchester (R) knocks Calgary Flames' Mark Giordano to the ice during the second period of their NHL hockey game in Calgary, Alberta, on Nov. 15, 2011. (REUTERS/Todd Korol)

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:51 AM ET

CALGARY - The Calgary Flames’ powerless powerplay cost them another two points.

The Flames spent close to 10 minutes with the man advantage — including a key 5-on-3 for 1:04 — but came up with yet another goose egg.

Flames centre Olli Jokinen said the team’s inability to find the net on the powerplay was the difference in a 3-1 loss to the visiting Ottawa Senators.

“It was better than it was because it was pretty bad (before),” Jokinen said. “A five-on-three for over a minute. We should score. That’s the difference.”

The Flames came up empty on a half-dozen opportunities and are now in an 0-for-17 tailspin on home ice, where they are 2-for-40 (5%).

Winger Tom Kostopolous, the only Flames player to solve Sens goaltender Craig Anderson Tuesday night, said the lack of production on the powerplay is becoming a gorilla on the team’s back.

“It might just be in their heads,” Kostopolous said. “But they’re working hard on it in practice every day.

“They’re getting chances out there and they could use a bounce right now.”

Defending Bourque

Rene Bourque might not be on Kelly Hrudey’s Christmas card list — or vice versa.

But Flames bench boss Brent Sutter came to the defence of his embattled winger Tuesday.

“I have issues with the fact you guys talk about Rene Bourque and his offence,” Sutter said. “That’s part of the problem ... he’s getting told every day how he has to score goals, how he has to do that and, to be quite honest as the coach working with Rene, I’m trying to get Rene to have his game where it’s a complete game where he’s playing in all three zones for us, where he’s being responsible, a guy you can look at as a coach and put him in any situation, and he’ll respond to it.”

Sutter pointed to Jokinen as a blueprint for how a player can crawl out of the fans’ doghouse by altering his style of play.

“Look at Olli,” Sutter said. “He changed his game here last November and he’s been a very consistent player for us.

“Part of that is understanding this is what it can do. At the end of the year Olli will be the first to tell you he never thought he’d get so many scoring chances in his life playing the other way.

“It goes hand in hand. As you get older, you have to be able to accept change in your game. If you can’t, you fall by the wayside. Rene is in the same situation and we’re working with him to become a complete player for us.”

Bourque, who has posted back-to-back 27-goal campaigns, is slightly off that pace this season.

But Sutter said he’s not just looking at the offensive numbers.

“Again, I think there’s a perception out there he’s a 40- or 50-goal scorer, a 90- or 100-point guy and he can be that if he gets all aspects of his game in order,” Sutter said.

“He may not be that but you know what, I’ll take Rene Bourque at 25 goals a year but being a player who’s outstanding in all three zones with strong work and competes.”

Off the glass

Scratched for the Flames last night were D Cory Sarich, RW Pierre-Luc Leblond, RW David Moss (foot), D Brett Carson (back),

D Anton Babchuck (hand) and C Brendan Morrison (knee) ... Carson has been practising with the whole team the last couple of days, albeit with a yellow caution jersey, but inching closer to a return. “Just push it a little more each day and see how it responds. Right now, there’s not really a timeline, but hopefully sooner rather than later,” Carson said.

In the corners

Miikka Kiprusoff tried to jumpstart the Flames powerplay, sending a long breakout pass to Lee Stempniak, who sent Curtis Glencross in on a partial break. Glencross drew another penalty, setting up a two-man advantage for 1:04. But, as usual, the home side came up empty ... The all-star ballots are out with Flames Jarome Igina, Alex Tanguay, Miikka Kiprusoff and Mark Giordano on the list ... Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson hadn’t scored against Calgary since a 4-4 tie — yes, a tie, that’s how long it’s been — Nov. 22, 2001. Alfredsson snapped his 10-game goal drought late in the second period to end his second-longest dry spell against a single team for the franchise’s all-time leader in goals with 393.

Butler serves Flames

How was Bobby Butler goal-less through his first nine games? His beautiful individual effort on the game-winner suggests this guy could score a few more this season. First, it was the finesse — a perfect toe-drag around Giordano. Then it was the power — a big slapper past Kiprusoff.

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca


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