March 19 2009 10:12AM
That was just what they needed.
Calgary, I don't have to tell you, was really draggin' ass at the end of that road trip. They just looked worn out and not entirely willing to play hockey.
But they caught a couple days off and got to come back home, and I think that made all the difference last night.
The Flames not only seemed rejuvenated, like they'd been plugged into a charger after having the battery almost run out against Toronto, but they also seemed, I don't know.. interested.
The forecheck, I think, was the best it's been since the Philadelphia game, which, not coincidentally was the team's last win in regulation. It was certainly the reason for the second goal, obviously, but it was also effective in turning back the Dallas rush more than a few times, and that disrupted Dallas' flow through the neutral zone and, consequently, limited the Stars' chances in transition. Five days ago, Calgary was giving up goals like that with alarming regularity.
The defense, too, seemed more into the game. They pounded the crap out of Dallas last night, leading the Stars in hits 26-9. If a Dallas player ended up along the boards, he was getting a good, solid jolt from SOMEONE and that helped set the physical tone. After the first period and a half or so of that, the Stars were a lot more reluctant to spread the defense out and work the cycle.
This was, in a lot of ways, played like a road game. Calgary hit hard and took its chances when it could (that Lundmark goal was so pretty it hurt) and ground out a win. I've always felt like that's the best way to break out of a tough slump: play a greasy, hardnosed game when the other team probably isn't expecting it. Dallas had no answer for Calgary last night, and that's something to which I could become rather accustomed.
Eric Nystrom — Real nice goal. Real nice.
Dustin Boyd — Probably the best Flame on the ice last night. Even if he doesn't make the gorgeous one-handed pass to Nystrom or get an assist on the Lundmark goal, he and the rest of the checking line did a great job to produce scoring chances in transition.
Jamie Lundmark — He has been playing his ass off lately. It's really nice to see him contributing not just on the scoresheet, but by getting in a fight as well.
Team defense — I thought Calgary did a great job last night of producing turnovers, and not just on the Nystrom goal. It would appear as though the three or four days off and return to Calgary really helped the team refocus, because it looked completely different from Saturday night's debacle. Limiting a decent offensive team like Dallas to 19 shots is always good.
Olli Jokinen — No points but he was really dictating the game when he was on the ice. Something like three legit scoring chances and five shots, which is just fine. He also seemed to have won a good amount of own-zone draws, which is also important.
The power play — Calgary went 0 for 4 and, despite seven shots, I didn't think it looked all that good.
Nothing for now. I'll just let this one sit so I can enjoy it a little bit.