The Irish Eyes weren’t smiling on the Flames over the St. Patrick’s weekend.
Considering they’d won the last 2 occasions when they played on St Paddie’s Day perhaps Saturday is the day they should have played rather than book-ending the big day for the Irish by playing on Friday and Sunday.
Getting just one of a possible 4 points over the Western Conference bottom-feeders clearly put a dent in the Flames playoff driving after running off a season-best 5-game win streak.
Brent Sutter’s squad got the point on Sunday losing 2-1 in a shootout to last place Columbus.
Or, more precisely, to the goaltending of Steve Mason, who had to come off the bench 12:30 into the game when starter Curtis Sanford suffered a lower body injury.
Coming in cold, Mason got hot quickly as the Flames fired 5 shots at him before the intermission. Then 16 in the 2nd in a period where coach Sutter felt the Flames played their best middle period of the season but couldn’t score despite a 16-3 shot advantage.
Clearly, the bad start hurt the Flames as it gave the Jackets some life where a strong Flame start may have taken them out of it earlier.
Friday in Edmonton, the Flames got off to a wobbly start again, falling behind 2-0 in the first period and then could score just once on Devan Dubnyk losing 3-1. Jordan Eberle had a goal and assisted on both goals by rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
In the NHL there are no automatic wins and no automatic losses. Thats’ why they play the games. In fact, at this stage of the season, a team needing wins might have a better chance against a team your battling with for a playoff spot than a team out of it as the Jackets and Oilers are.
Despite the lost weekend, the Flames actually gained ground in there bid to make the playoffs. They started the weekend in 11th place 3 points out of 7th. They still 11th but just 2 points away from 7th. However, if they had swept the 4 points they be alone in the #7 position.
It places added pressure on the Flames for the 3-game trip, which starts Tuesday in Colorado continues Thursday in Minnesota and ends on Saturday at Dallas.