December 23 2010 09:53PM
Okay, perhaps a little hyperbole in the title, because the fact is the Calgary Flames won a hockey game they played well enough to win on Thursday night in Dallas. Alex Tanguay was the man of the hour, tying the game late and scoring the only goal in a shootout to propel the Flames to 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars. And seeing as how it's the last game before Christmas, why not...it's a miracle!
The Flames opening was a little slow and certainly had a few people thinking "here we go again" but it didn't take too long before they reeled things back in. The games first fireworks came just over five minutes in, as Jarome Iginla dropped the gloves with Stars forward Jamie Benn...probably call it a draw overall, but it was Iginla coming away looking a little worse for wear. The Flames would get the first powerplay of the game thanks to a Steve Ott tripping call, and they'd cash in at 11:03 thanks to Anton Babchuk; he'd take a Jay Bouwmeester pass and wire it past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen from the left point. But Dallas would equalize late in the first, again on the powerplay...Mike Ribeiro would take a real nice cross-seam feed from Loui Eriksson and put it wear Miikka Kiprusoff couldn't grab it, and after 20 things were tied 1-1.
No scoring in the middle frame, but plenty of Calgary action, as they'd put ten shots on the Dallas net sprinkling a few quality scoring opportunities in there too. They had a massive possession edge in the second period, but came away empty handed after a pretty good 20 minutes of hockey.
The one thing I was thinking while watching the second period was "this is exactly how Dallas plays" and they were in a position to win a hockey game tied heading into the third period. And early on, the Stars would capitalize on one of Calgary's few mistakes in their own end...Brenden Morrow would score his 13th at 2:41 after the Flames failed to get the puck out of their own end. Calgary went into chase mode in the latter half of the third period, and started to generate some chances, and they'd catch a bit of a break late. On what seemed to be disjointed line change, Jarome Iginla would feed Alex Tanguay on a break and he'd make the Stars pay; his shot went roof on Lehtonen and sent this sucker to overtime.
The overtime was pretty fun and Kiprusoff gave us the highlight, making two great stops on James Neal, and he'd help the Flames move things to a shootout. Alex Tanguay would start things off with an easy goal, and it would turn out to be the only goal in the shootout. Eriksson, Brad Richards and Mike Ribeiro would all be thwarted while Niklas Hagman was unable to score for Calgary; the biggest shame was we didn't get to see Ales Kotalik go in the shootout. Oh well...Flames win 3-2.
One Good Reason...
...why the Flames won? Because they really did give them nothing. Dallas is a team that is extremely efficient with their offence, so if you don't give them anything, they aren't going to break through a lot of the time. And that's what we saw in this game: the Stars scored on the powerplay and capitalized on a mistake, but other than that, they didn't generate a whole lot. Calgary was very strong in their own end and made it very difficult for the Stars to do much.
I'll go with Ales Kotalik BECAUSE I WANT TO. For a guy who's been dreadful, at least he shot the puck, plust I wanted to use the link: http://kotes.ytmnd.com/ And he had six shots on net. And it's Christmas.
Sum It Up
It's a game the Flames deserved to win, and good on them for winning it. What does it mean? Who knows. But the Flames played a pretty solid game and came away with two points, so they go into Christmas with a good feeling. Yay!