December 31 2010 10:41PM
The Calgary Flames ended the calendar year the way they needed to: with a win. Three goals in the second period staked them to a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche and gives the team three consecutive wins for the first time since October. If the team is going to claw their way back into contention, they have to win games, in whatever fashion...they did that tonight.
Things were fairly even in the first period with both teams playing just okay at even strength. Calgary found themselves with a couple powerplay opportunities, and their second one midway through the period really seemed to get the Flames into the game. The period would finish scoreless heading into the second period.
The middle frame saw all the offence Calgary would get, and all the scoring they'd need. The fourth line would open things up at 5:53, all started by a Mark Giordano pass from the left point. He'd go cross ice from blue to corner to find Tim Jackman; after his initial shot was thrwarted, Tom Kostopoulos banged home the rebound to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
They'd go up two just 42 seconds later, this time catching a bit of a break. As the Avs broke in on an odd man rush, Olli Jokinen intercepted a cross seam pass right in front of his own crease to feed Alex Tanguay in the neutral zone; Tanguay would drop the puck too early on a play that seemed off side, but uncalled, Jarome Iginla made good on the follow up potting his 16th from the high slot.
For a team that hasn't caught a whole lot of breaks this season, I think Flames fans will be just fine with that one. Tim Jackman would put Calgary up three at 13:23 as he was sprung on a partial break away; staying with the play, he'd beat Craig Anderson to give the Flames a nice lead heading into the final frame.
The third period didn't go totally according to plan, but it worked. On a powerplay, the Flames would surrender a bit of a break and Daniel Winnik would make good on it, although Miikka Kiprusoff sure made it easy on him...but oh well.
On a rare Mark Giordano mistake, the Avs would get within one with 2:32 remaining, as Tomas Fleischmann would score his eleventh but that's all Colorado would get. Give the Flames a ton of credit for their final two minutes or so, as they really didn't give a high powered Avalanche offence much of anything and they made sure they earned the two points.
One Good Reason...
...why the Flames won? They did a good job of neutralizing the top players for the Avalanche. The top two lines for the Avs didn't do a whole lot, and that's where they really do live and die. Paul Stastny had about as ineffective a game as we've ever seen from him against Calgary, and his whole line was basically a non factor.
And while the Duchene line did end up scoring, they didn't get enough done on a regular basis...they were matched up against the Iginla unit basically shift for shift. And then on the powerplay, the Flames did what they needed, as the Avs came away with nothing on two opportunities.
Hey, why not, I'll go Tim Jackman. Did you see that fist pump on the first goal? That earns him the vaunted award alone, and he also had a couple points...so why not? Jackman does a decent job with his ice time on a fairly regular basis, and did so in a good way tonight. The Flames fourth line was good for two-thirds of the offence tonight...so I guess one of them can get some recognition.
Sum It Up
A win is a win, and the Flames deserved the win, I think that's pertinent to point out. They outplayed the Avalanche for a lot in this game, and made sure they didn't let them all the way back in this game. And where the Flames are right now, it's a little silly to be critiquing wins. They've got Edmonton on New Years Day, so three is better than four, right?
Happy F'ing New Year from all of us at FlamesNation:)