January 25, 2012
Sharks shut out Flames
By RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency
CALGARY - The Calgary Flames have to find a way to score goals on teams other than the Edmonton Oilers.
They’re struggling in the offensive department against everybody else these days.
The Flames head into the NHL all-star break on a downer, thanks to a bugaboo that has hindered them the last couple of weeks.
Once again, the Flames (23-21-6) couldn’t muster much offence — in this case, none — and dropped a 1-0 clash to the San Jose Sharks Tuesday night, which knocked them back down to 11th in the Western Conference standings, three points out of a playoff spot.
In five games on both sides of Saturday’s 6-2 shellacking of the Oilers, the Flames have just four goals.
“We’ve got to produce more than that, obviously,” said Michael Cammalleri, who’s been with the Flames for all but one of those contests.
“It doesn’t feel good, especially for a lot of us whose responsibility it is to help that way.”
Sure, the Flames have a 5-2-1 mark in eight outings since their 9-0 blowout loss at the hands of the Boston Bruins early this month, but you knew the lack of production was destined to catch up to them.
It did Tuesday thanks to Benn Ferriero’s goal with eight minutes left in regulation, which finished a crazy series of action during which Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff made two incredible saves only to see the third chance end up in the net.
“It’s a 0-0 hockey game going into the third. You find a way to win, even though you haven’t played well up to that point,” said Flames head coach Brent Sutter.
“Look at the goal they got. They got three glorious scoring opportunities right around our net and we don’t have anybody around our net.”
It’s not like the Pacific Division-leading Sharks (27-14-6) looked like world beaters, either.
San Jose has just two wins in its last six games, and both came at the expense of the Flames, but this one lacked action until the final frame before the Saddledome sellout crowd of 19,289.
“We had opportunities and had chances, especially in the third, but we weren’t good enough,” Sutter said.
“We’re a team that’s fighting to get into a playoff spot, and you cannot have a second period like we had. We played the whole period in our zone.
“For me, it was disappointing.”
Likewise, the production, or lack thereof, from the team’s top forward lines.
“One line has three shots between three of them and end up being a minus,” Sutter said of the trio with Cammalleri, Jarome Iginla and Mikael Backlund.
“And the other line (Olli Jokinen, Lee Stempniak and Blake Comeau), everything was perimeter. Our top lines have to play well, and for whatever reason they didn’t have it tonight.”
Frankly, not many on either side had ‘it.’
“Not a complete game and (at) this point of the season, you’re not going to win with that kind of effort,” said defenceman Chris Butler.
“We were kinda standing around, looking to each other to make plays and make decisions, instead of taking the bull by the horns as individuals and playing the right way.”
Sharks goalie Antti Niemi stopped 25 shots to record his third shutout of the season.
On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak