December 04 2013 11:47PM
The Flames, returned to the dome after a brief road trip to California that saw them go 1 and 1. They won Saturday against LA in a tight checking affair and came into tonight with high hopes of winning their second straight game, a feat they haven't reached for nearly two months.
The game was a good one. Unlike all previous Phoenix Coyotes vs. Calgary Flames games for all eternity, this one was actually relatively entertaining. It was appreciation night for the Canadian Armed Forces and the Dome was rocking. Captain Mark Giordano returned after a broken ankle, providing a huge upgrade on the backend. And as a effort would have it, the Flames scored more than the Coyotes and beat a team they don’t often beat. So, as the kids say, it was all good in the hood tonight.
The first period started off with your typical Phoenix strangle hold where they gave up very little. At 4:47, Doan fed Yandle sneaking in from the point. He whiffed on the shot a little bit but that worked to his benefit as it went right past a fooled Ramo to give the Yotes the lead. The Coyotes continued to dominate for the first half of the first period, generating essentially all of the chances. The Flames started turning the play the other way in the second half of the period. They tied it up with eight seconds left in the first with a similar play to the Coyotes first goal. The puck, after a nice Hudler zone entry and missed pass attempt, eventually made its way to a wide open Brodie at the point. He ripped one top right shelf where grandma keeps the hard candies. All square after one. Chances were 7-6 for Phoenix although the Flames were outshot 11-3.
The second continued to be an entertaining one. The Flames and Yotes traded shots back and forth before Backlund took a beautiful cross-ice feed from Hudler at 5:48 and beat Greiss over the right shoulder. At 11:46 on the PP, Gio let go a knuckle puck from the point that bobbled past Greiss to give the Flames the 3-1 lead going into the third. Chances were 6-5 for the Flames in the second with the Flames outshooting the Yotes 11-10.
The Flames kept right on rolling in the third. They took an early penalty which was quickly turned into a positive rather than a negative. Stajan made a great play to tap the puck off of Yandle at the blueline to create a two on one with Stempniak. Stajan carried the puck into the offensive zone faked the shot and dished it over to an open Stempniak at the side of the net who tapped in the shorty. The goal, consequently, was the Flames 6th shorthanded goal of the year and puts them at the top of the league in that category. Chances were 5-3 for Phoenix in the third.
WHY THE FLAMES WON
The Flames deserved this one. They were the better team. They won for many reasons among them: the Flames generated a lot of chances against a team that doesn’t normally give many up, they outplayed a tired team that played the night before and almost everyone on the Flames played a good game with very few errors.
This was a tough one to call as there were a lot of Flames that played real well tonight. Unable to decide, I took it to the live chat and Gio came out as the clear favorite. The Captain was great in his return tonight. He had a goal and an assist, logged over 20 minutes in ice-time and was a real calming force out there.
Honorable mentions: Hudler, with two assists, was deadly in the offensive zone all night. Backs, potting his third goal of the year, looked great and Sven, even with limited ice-time, was good every time he was on the ice.
SUM IT UP
The Flames played a good all-around game, beating a Coyotes team that has had their number over the years. They won their second game in a row tonight. They have only done this two other times this season and the last time was against Montreal and New Jersey in mid-October. With the win, they improve to 10-13-4 on the season. Next up, Colorado on Friday and Edmonton on Saturday. Hopefully they can continue their strong play from the past two games and build on their longest winning streak in some time.
December 04 2013 12:07PM
Now that the Flames have returned from a back-to-back road trip that saw them get obliterated in Anaheim and snatch two points in tinsel-town, the local heroes return home, all of them just finishing their friending of Mr. Cammalleri on their myspaces and Calgaryplanets.
Tonight's game features the Pacific Division's most inexpensive team to purchase, the Glendale Coyotes. The 'Yotes are just coming off of laying a conversion-less touchdown on our dear northern kinfolk and if the Flames aren't careful, a similar fate could await them.
I know you are all absolutely dreading being subjected to another Flames home-game against the Coyotes and frankly, I don't blame you. The past 4000 of these games have been Godfather III. However, tonight's game features the return of Captain Gio, so it will be worth it just to watch for that.
December 04 2013 08:57AM
Ah, November. The first month of regression. A lot of the Flames hopefuls got out to tremendous starts in October and although the numbers are still very healthy, many have come back down to earth a little. Except Johnny Gaudreau, of course.
Go here for a primer on NHLE. Otherwise, hit the jump.
December 03 2013 04:01PM
As we cross-over the quarter mark of the season, it’s time to look back at how each Flames player has done possession-wise. If you recall, at the end of last season, Kent wrote an article that provided adjusted final Corsi numbers to give a depiction of how good each Flames player was at driving the play, controlling for various circumstances.
December 03 2013 12:57PM
(photo courtesy the Abbotsford Heat)
Anybody hoping that the rebuild for the franchise will be a quick one are probably keeping tabs on the AHL's Abbotsford Heat, and they're probably pretty impressed by their performance thus far.
At the beginning of Decemberbthe Heat sit with a 17-6-0-2 record, good for first overall in the AHL. Better yet, the team's doing it with a roster almost entirely bereft of veterans, with the possible exception of goaltender Joey MacDonald and team captain Dean Arsene.
Last week I had the chance to have a phone conversation with Abbotsford head coach Troy G. Ward, now in his third year at the helm of Calgary's farmhands.