Their coach’s name is Playfair. But the Flames, in the opinion of those officiating their playoff game in Detroit on Sunday, weren’t — playing fairly, that is. And so they were penalized — a lot, five times in the first 8:13, in fact, and then, basically, the game was over before it really started.
The Red Wings grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first four minutes, and now the Flames are in a critical situation.
The Wings lead the Flames 2-0 in what has easily been the most lopsided of the NHL’s opening playoff series.
And Jim Playfair’s hanging onto his job with a proverbial thread.
See, Playfair’s days are, without question, numbered in Calgary. Barring a comeback of major proportions against the Wings, Playfair will be replaced before next season, likely by his boss, Flames general manager Darryl Sutter.
Tonight, the series shifts from Detroit to Calgary, which has boosters of the Flames thinking a trifle more positively. The Flames, remember, won an NHL-high 30 games during the regular-season on their home ice.
In Detroit, however, they were wretched, leaving Miikka Kiprusoff more or less on his own. The talented goaltender saved 48 Detroit shots Sunday after facing 46 shots in the series opener. He turned away 21 shots in the first period alone Sunday.
“We’re just being dumb out there,” the Flames forward Alex Tanguay lamented. “You’ve got to work smart, especially against a team like the Red Wings, who have has so many skills and so much talent.
“We’re allowing 50 shots a game and you’re not going to win any games allowing 50 shots.”
Especially conspicuous by his unspectacular play has been the Flames’ captain, Jarome Iginla, who has only two shots on net in the series.
• Detroit goaltender Dominik Hasek, incidentally, will collect a $450,00 U.S. bonus if the Wings oust the Flames.
• Sportsnet’s John Garrett thinks the Vancouver Canucks are on Easy Street in their series against Dallas.
“The Stars are in big trouble,” Garrett said. “I’m sure they’re thinking, ‘We can’t score. We can’t put teams away. And, every time we go into overtime, we lose.’”
Indeed, the Stars are woeful in OT. They’ve lost six overtime games in a row and nine of their past 10 in playoff games since 2001.
The Canucks lead this series 2-1.
• The Ottawa Senators also are in good shape, with a 2-1 edge over the Pittsburgh Penguins in their series.
Lack of experience seems to be affecting the Pens, especially in the case of rookie-of-the-year favourite Evgeni Malkin, who’s clearly in a scoring slump.