Postgame: It's a Start

Pat Steinberg
October 13 2011 08:49PM

It's always good to see a solid effort rewarded with a victory, and that's exactly what we saw on Thursday night in Montreal as the Calgary Flames earned their first 'W' of the season, 4-1 over the Canadiens.  After a strong opening frame, the Flames did a nice job making life difficult on the Habs for the final 40 minutes, not allowing the goal for the final 58 odd minutes of the hockey game.

What Happened

Bad luck hurt the Flames early, thanks to a Cory Sarich broken stick at the point.  Trying to direct the puck towards the net, Sarich snapped his twig and it lead to an odd man rush the other way; after Max Pacioretty missed the net with a shot, the puck took a friendly bounce off the end boards to Andrei Kostitsyn who would pot his first at 1:47.  Calgary stayed the course however, drew a penalty and drew even at 7:15; on the powerplay Alex Tanguay fed a gorgeous pass to a wide open Rene Bourque in the right circle.  Bourque's perfectly placed shot was good for his second of the season and a tie game.  A powerplay about four minutes later saw Niklas Hagman score his first of the season, taking a nice feed from behind the net from Olli Jokinen at 11:38 for Calgary's first lead of the game.  They'd extend that 14:54 thanks to a nice breakout play.  A long lead pass was directed nicely at the offensive blueline by Jarome Iginla to Tanguay, who would eventually feed David Moss untouched who was good for his first on the year.  A 10-7 scoring chance differential helped the Flames to a 3-1 lead after 20.

The second period was another decent one for the Flames, as even though they allowed 14 shots on net, there wasn't a ton generated by Montreal of the "ten bell" variety.  When the Habs did make things happen, Miikka Kiprusoff was up to the challenge, as he played a solid game in net.  Calgary would score the game's final tally at 13:23 of the middle frame as Matt Stajan took a shot that was stopped initially by Carey Price.  As the rebound went behind the net, Stajan would try to hammer home the rebound, but it was Bourque who would get the job done for his second of the night.  Chances were 8-4 Montreal in the second, but as mentioned, Kiprusoff was strong.

Up by three, the Flames played a sterling third period I felt.  While they allowed 12 shots on net, it was a lot of perimeter and outside shots as Calgary allowed only one scoring chance in the final frame, period.  That included a Montreal powerplay and an entire 20 minutes where they should have been chasing, so well done on the Flames front.  Also well done on the Kiprusoff front, as he became Calgary's all time winningest goaltender, passing Mike Vernon with his 263rd career win.

One Good Reason...

...why the Flames won?  Because they played a fairly complete hockey game.  After a strong first period, Calgary did a good job of stemming the Montreal tide, knowing they'd be playing the score in the second period.  While the Habs generated 8 scoring chances in the second period, I felt the Flames were in control the whole way through, and their third period was exactly what they needed to do.

Red Warrior

I loved David Moss on this night, as I felt he and Tanguay drove the top line against Montreal. Moss had a number of chances to score, and ended up potting one, his first of the season.  Moss is a consistent hockey player and while he may not be the ideal choice to centre the Iginla line, he does the job and did the job Thursday against the Habs.

Sum It Up

Montreal was a beat up, thinly stretched hockey game and the Flames took full advantage of that, and good on them.  Calgary got pucks behind the depth-lacking Habs blueline and forced some turnovers.  Even though they didn't get a ton of shots, they controlled the puck for the most part, and did a very strong job locking the game down in the third period.  Toronto will be an interesting test to finish the road trip on Saturday night, because they are a much improved team and probably a little better than this current incarnation of the Canadiens.

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Pat Steinberg can be heard daily on the Fan960 in Calgary at can be read at the FAN 960. Born and raised in Calgary, Steinberg considers himself a huge fan of all sports including the CFL, MMA and 13 round bare knuckle boxing matches. Follow Steinberg on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Fan960Steinberg.
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#1 Vintage Flame
October 13 2011, 08:53PM
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GREAT choice for Red Warrior Patrick!

Moss played very well tonight. Drove the play like you said, and easily could have had 2 or 3 goals tonight. I like how strong on the puck he is this year. Looks like he has picked up the physical side of his game quite a bit.

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#2 ChinookArch
October 13 2011, 09:02PM
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Moss was really good tonight. That was nice to see after he struggled in the first 2 games. I thought he played like a man possessed in the first two periods.

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#3 D_mac15
October 13 2011, 09:40PM
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Flames played really well tonight. Pat I agree with you the fact that Kipper didn't see a barrage tonight I'd say Montreal only had maybe 6-8 quality chances against Calgary tonight, the Flames did a great job on the forcheck and Alex Tanguay was great quarterbacking the PP reminded me alot of a Feburary game last year. Would be nice to see the Flames play like this most nights, hell even Stajan was good. Consistency will be this teams plague this season but if you could have the Flames play this well every night they could be a pretty solid squad in the western conference

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#4 RKD
October 13 2011, 10:33PM
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Nice to see the Flames not collapse in the second period. Congrats to Kipper on passing Mike Vernon with 263 wins. I like the chemistry between Jokinen and Hagman. Moss looked really good tonight centering Tangs and Iggy.

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#5 Kevin R
October 13 2011, 11:17PM
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Great win for us, badly needed for the psyche of this team. Had they lost, the sticks would have been squeezed awful hard on Saturday Hockey Night in Canada. Looking forward to the next game. When we think we are bad sometimes, just think of those poor bastards in Ottawa.

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#6 otto
October 13 2011, 11:44PM
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Why do guys like Sarich use composite sticks?

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#7 Greg
October 14 2011, 12:39AM
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I think it might be time to update the schedule page :)

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#8 the-wolf
October 14 2011, 06:02AM
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It's disconcerting that only 2 games into the seasno the coach has to have a closed door meeting and give them a blast in order to see some effort.

Therefore, it was somewhat predictable that they answered the challenge andplayed hard.

The interesting part will be to see whether or not they sustain that effort or for how long?

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#9 icedawg_42
October 14 2011, 07:57AM
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the-wolf wrote:

It's disconcerting that only 2 games into the seasno the coach has to have a closed door meeting and give them a blast in order to see some effort.

Therefore, it was somewhat predictable that they answered the challenge andplayed hard.

The interesting part will be to see whether or not they sustain that effort or for how long?

yeah - amen dude..the real test is Saturday now that they're feeling good about themselves. Do they let their guard down? Hopefully not. Again - win or lose, I think we can all handle the result, as long as we see some intensity. I think with the intensity would come success because Butter gets them playing a very simple structured game.

To me Moss is the one guy you need to get signed early on. 1.3M today - what's he worth as a "20 goal scorer" assuming he reaches that mark again? Would he command a GlenX type contract on the UFA market if he did? I think as a Flame, I'd like to see him in the 2.0M range. As much as I like Moss, no NMC of any kind please. Reserve that for star players.

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#10 Rain Dogs
October 14 2011, 09:41AM
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Yes, it's a start.

The Flames needed this game and now they need an even stronger effort against the Leafs.

The Flames played well, but not great and the lop-sided score may get them feeling more comfortable than they should.

Their puck pursuit and play in the neutral zone was much better, more NHL-level than AHL level.

And see the results. This is not to give warrant to the idea that goaltending isn't a difference maker, because it is, but the difference in play between Kipper game 1 and game 2 was negligible. (He actually was controlling rebounds slightly better in game 1) However, with the players in front of him, the difference was vast... therefore the end result was vastly better.

We still allowed too many shots against (36) We still unravelled in the third more than ideal. (Outshot 12-1 in the third)

But we eliminated many of those high "option" chances against.

At least that effort, is satisfying, is a win well earned. A little tightening on the screws and we'll see a good game.

Any looser and we're lost cause guys like Price won't have 4 in 21 go by him very often.

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