January 01 2011 11:27PM
When you're a team that needs points in any way possible, the Calgary Flames should be just fine with their 2-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. It was a game where they could have lead by a few more goals after one period, and after taking their second lead of the game, the Flames did more than enough to keep a bad Oilers team at bay.
The Flames really did work the Oilers in the opening frame, firing 19 shots on net and really didn't let the Oilers do anything. Aside from a Taylor Hall breakaway, it was ALL Calgary in the first, as Kent's scoring chance numbers will show - 9-2 in favor of Calgary. Oh, and the Flames scored a goal thanks to their fourth line once again. Tim Jackman would make good on a nice David Moss pass from the corner at 12:47; Jackman would score his fifth of the season and second in as many games to give Calgary a 1-0 lead, a lead they'd carry into the second.
The second period saw the Oilers reel things in a little bit, and they had better possession numbers...even though they didn't generate a ton from that possession, they would tie things up just past the midway mark. At 10:19, Ryan Jones would finish off a nice passing play as a result of a Flames breakdown - his ninth of the season would get the game back at even footing, at least temporarily. Calgary would go ahead for good on Mark Giordano's fourth of the season, as a point shot would find it's way home at 14:16. Intial credit was given to Olli Jokinen on a re-direct, but Giordano would get credit after further review.
Edmonton had a bit of a push in the third period, as you'd expect, and Miikka Kiprusoff came up with some big stops...but there wasn't any real long stretches of strong Oilers play. Yet, Edmonton had a real chance late in the third thanks to a bizarre decision from Olli Jokinen, who decided to bat the puck out of mid-air in his own end; it'd go over the glass for a delay of game, and an Oilers powerplay. And what a powerplay it was. Or not. Edmonton passed the puck around and kept possession, but generated exactly nothing...and to top it all off, after pulling the goalie, the Oilers thought it was good for TWO extra attackers. A too many men call sealed the game and sealed a fourth straight win for the visitors.
One Good Reason...
why the Flames won? Well - they kinda are just a better team, and did enough so their advantage won out on the scoreboard. The way Edmonton played tonight, the Flames would have had to do something drastically awful to screw this up. They didn't, they scored two goals, generated some other chances, and did a nice job of keeping the Oilers to the outside. Not a whole lot to see here, the bigger picture is more important - a fourth straight win.
He really was a warrior, it's everyone's favorite non-drafted free agent signing. Mark Giordano blocked ten shots on this night, and three or four of them were important shot blocks. The guy is third in the NHL in that category, and not because he's constantly out of position. Oh, and he also scored the winning goal.
Sum It Up
This win starts a very interesting stretch for the Flames, as they play two of the worst teams in the league before playing two of the best. Calgary's next contest is Monday night at home to the Islanders, a team playing some scrappy hockey of late, but a team the Flames should take two points from. Then it's Vancouver on the road Wednesday and Detroit on Friday. If the Flames are riding a five game win streak heading in to Wednesday...who knows?
One note: both Jay Feaster and Brent Sutter confirmed the Flames will be sending forward Mikael Backlund to Abbotsford of the American Hockey League on Sunday morning. He'll play four games with the Heat before the team plans to recall him following the Detroit game.
The Flames go on an Eastern road trip, so the expectation is Backlund will be on it.