New look, same ol' Flames

Philadelphia Flyers Claude Giroux scores their second goal on Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff as...

Philadelphia Flyers Claude Giroux scores their second goal on Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff as Flames Jay Boumeester defends in Calgary. (MIKE DREW/QMI Agency)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

CALGARY — New-look Calgary Flames.

Same-look result.

The infusion of players from the blockbuster Dion Phaneuf trade gave the Flames a different makeup, but the end result was another low-scoring home defeat, 3-0, to the Philadelphia Flyers Monday night.

“Disappointing,” said Matt Stajan, one of the four newcomers to come from the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Sunday swap. “Yeah, that was a long 48 hours, but we’ve got to play a better hockey game. That’s the bottom line.

“We didn’t muster enough offence, didn’t have enough shots on net and they capitalized on some chances.”

Maybe it was a case of adding one-fifth of the active lineup through the trade with forwards Stajan, Jamal Mayers and Niklas Hagman and defenceman Ian White — plus the strange situation of having both Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust playing amidst rampant rumours they’d already been traded — but the Flames had the look of a team skating through the pre-season.

They were disjointed in all three zones and fumbled blindly like prom-night teens through seemingly every situation.

Proof comes in the fact they fired only 18 shots on goal

— the second lowest total of the season.

That probably should have been expected with the changes, but the lack of cohesion couldn’t account for the lack of emotion which came along with it.

There was a buzz among the Saddledome sellout crowd of 19,289 prior to puck drop as the Flames faithful readied to greet the foursome acquired for Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom and minor-league prospect Keith Aulie, but the excitement dissipated in a hurry.

“I was expecting the other (way),” said defenceman Cory Sarich. “A fresh look, we should have been a lot better than that.

“I can’t explain it. I don’t have a reason why.

“Whatever we did tonight, it didn’t work, so we’ve got to look at it, change it and make it happen quickly.”

The fans waited until the final buzzer to boo a team which has just one win in its last 11 outings, but feel free to wonder what took so long.

Passes were off the mark. Potential plays died before resulting in any tangible opportunities. Too few scoring chances were created.

“We started very tentative. We had a lot of guys here who just didn’t play well. What other way do you say it,” head coach Brent Sutter said.

“You focus to come to play and I thought when the guys left this morning (after practice), we were going to be ready and fired up. We went through things with everybody, but no excuses. We were outplayed.”

Flyers goalie Ray Emery barely broke a sweat to collect his third shutout of the season, while Mike Richards scored twice and Claude Giroux added a single for the Flyers (28-23-3), who have won five of seven games to climb back into a playoff spot.

Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff made 23 saves for the club which has fallen to 27-21-8 and drops back to ninth in the Western Conference. Although none of the newcomers had much impact, they weren’t alone in that regard, which is why Sutter didn’t want to assess their outings outside of the rest of the crew.

“I don’t think it’s right to judge them on the performance tonight,” he said.

“But the reality is we can’t have players, new and old, take too long to get used to each other because we have no time for that. We need to win hockey games.”

The Flames are back in action Wednesday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca


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