Postgame: By the Numbers

Pat Steinberg
November 03 2011 08:22PM

One of the main calling cards of the Calgary Flames during their improbable run last season was their ability to abide by the "don't get too high, don't get too low" mantra.  After a 5-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, the Flames responded with a decent outing in Detroit to kick off a three game road trip, taking a 4-1 win over the Red Wings.  It wasn't anything special or overly dominating, which is exactly what the doctor ordered.

What Happened

It was a fairly solid opening period of a three game road trip for the Flames, as they didn't allow the Red Wings to get into full desperation mode by allowing just three scoring chances against.  At 15:53 Calgary would open the scoring on one Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard would like to have back, as Lee Stempniak would stuff his second of the season home from the side of the net after the puck took a bounce off the side boards.  The Flames would take their one goal lead into the second period.

The second period saw the Red Wings control the play but also saw them give up another goal, this time thanks to some nice powerplay passing work.  Mark Giordano found Olli Jokinen with a great outlet pass with Jiri Hudler sitting in the penalty box, setting up an odd man situation for the Flames.  Jokinen's pass left to Curtis Glencross saw another pass left to Jarome Iginla in the circle and he'd hammer home his third of the season.  On a powerplay of their own, Detroit would break through on a fortunate bounce, with Dan Cleary's mid-section counting for his first of the season at 8:11.  The Red Wings would outchance the Flames 7-3 in the second but found themselves down after 40 by a goal.

The third period saw Calgary lock things down fairly effectively and also saw them capitalize on a Detroit miscue in their own end.  With a few Red Wings players overskating the puck on the way out of their own end, Glencross would feed Iginla in the left circle once again for the captain's second of the night and fourth of the season.  At 18:42 the Flames continued the frustration for Detroit with a Jokinen empty netter and a 4-1 victory.  Final scoring chances saw the Red Wings ahead 15-14, but with Calgary having the lead most of the game, that's a pretty decent effort for the visitors.

One Good Reason...

...why the Flames won?  They played a calm and composed brand of hockey and stayed with it to the end.  There were never any overly great spans for Calgary, but when they had opportunities to score, they made good on them.  On the other hand, and more positively, there were no stretches where the Flames were severely outplayed.  Even in the second period when Detroit controlled things, the Flames still defended rather intelligently.

Red Warrior

I really liked Alex Tanguay's game against Detroit, as I felt he and Lee Stempniak drove things on their line with Brendan Morrison.  I wasn't big on the game from the centre, but I certainly liked the wingers, and while Tanguay didn't end up with any points, I felt he played one of his best games of the season.  His line was the only one in the plus when it came to scoring chances on the night, good stuff.

Sum It Up

It was exactly the type of effort the Flames needed after their effort at home to Vancouver two nights prior.  Nobody needed to see Calgary come out and dominate the Red Wings, because that's not something that is going to happen on a regular basis.  Instead they stuck with what they needed to do, played a solid and composed game, and moved back to the .500 mark.  Do it again against Buffalo on Friday and who knows, maybe they move above .500 for the first time this season.

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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 icedawg_42
November 03 2011, 08:33PM
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Well..I didnt get to see any of this game, which is probably why they won, but from the sounds of it all went as well as could be expected. ONe thing you said really stuck with me Pat

"There were never any overly great spans for Calgary, but when they had opportunities to score, they made good on them. On the other hand, and more positively, there were no stretches where the Flames were severely outplayed"

To me this is the way this team is going to have success - play a very tempered, flat game.

2 goals and no red warrior for Iggy? right place, right time on his tallies? - anyway, really relieved they won this one, I had a very uneasy feeling all day about this game.

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#2 SmellOfVictory
November 03 2011, 08:40PM
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@icedawg_42

Iggy does deserve credit for putting himself in the right place at the right time on his goals, and I think it was his best game so far (not that it's saying much, but nevertheless).

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#3 Sincity1976
November 03 2011, 08:54PM
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Three point game. Two goals. First time this season he has looked like himself. First star in the hockey game. The GWG. Tough crowd for Iginla who should have ran away with the red warrior tonight.

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#4 schevvy
November 03 2011, 09:05PM
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@icedawg_42

TEH! I agree that this is the way the Flames will have to play to have success and possibly make the post-season. Going into Detroit and pulling out a victory is never a bad thing and is a tough thing to do, good on 'em! Iginla, Glencross and Jokinen, new found trio...?

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#6 gussey
November 03 2011, 09:45PM
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Don't care, its still over.. blow it up

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#7 Mangotanker
November 03 2011, 10:08PM
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Only got to see the first period tonight, but I liked why I saw. A pretty smart period from my point of view. That stempniak goal was brutal, btw. That was some ugly goaltending by Howard on that one

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#8 Vintage Flame
November 03 2011, 10:14PM
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It may not have been the BEST performance in terms of shots or scoring chances, but the effort tonight was miles ahead of what we saw against Vancouver.

The team remained composed and stuck to their game plan. I was most impressed with the third period play. In the beginning of the 3rd, the Flames seemed to revert back to the chase mode. Then you could start to see them regain their composure and actually out-chanced Detroit 8-5. Very impressive.

Not sure if the new line combinations had everything to do with it, but it certainly gave the players a new perspective... something they really needed.

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#9 schevvy
November 03 2011, 10:16PM
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GOT ON THE RADIO!!!! Life=made! Thanks Pat!

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#10 schevvy
November 03 2011, 10:38PM
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Since Pat feels so inclined to read my posts on air... I'm ggoing to ask this question:

What is your opinion on the Pekka Rinne deal? I asked it during the live chat tonight and most people thought it was ridiculous, but in my opinion it's not crazy. A slight overpayment, yes, but it's not DiPietro or Luongo bad. Rinne I think is an elite goalie who can and I think will continue to play that way. Had a shutout tonight :)

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#11 Kevin R
November 03 2011, 10:56PM
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Big win for us! Didnt see a lot of the game, how did Babchuk do with Hannan? Big game for Iggy, nice to see. Gotta say, 6 losses in a row for Detroit, everyone screaming for a trade, saw one poster wanting to rebuild, geez, maybe Feaster should go out for a nightcap with Holland & see if can get enough Drambuie's in him to swing a deal to get Stajan & Hagman sent over. Hudler & a 2nd would do.:)

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#12 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
November 03 2011, 11:38PM
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Here we go again. One step forward, two steps back. All season long.

I`m Olli Jokinen, of course, as the Flames will end up with more wins than losses at the end of the season, but they still won`t make the playoffs.

Just hoping they don`t sit pat at trade deadline this year. We should seriously unload Jokinen if he is not willing to resign for 2.0 million and Mosser if he`s looking for more than 1.5. HEll unload them both anyways and revisit them in the summer. Also look into trading Ren and Stempy if they are still playing mediocre.

I`m kinda ambivalent if I want this team to crash and burn, since I crave a lottery pick this year, but at the same time don`t want to scare away UFA`s like the boys up North this coming summer.

Sigh..In an ideal world we would be able to draft Yakupov and sign Parise this off-season. Most likely, neither will happen.

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#13 Kevin R
November 04 2011, 12:00AM
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If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin wrote:

Here we go again. One step forward, two steps back. All season long.

I`m Olli Jokinen, of course, as the Flames will end up with more wins than losses at the end of the season, but they still won`t make the playoffs.

Just hoping they don`t sit pat at trade deadline this year. We should seriously unload Jokinen if he is not willing to resign for 2.0 million and Mosser if he`s looking for more than 1.5. HEll unload them both anyways and revisit them in the summer. Also look into trading Ren and Stempy if they are still playing mediocre.

I`m kinda ambivalent if I want this team to crash and burn, since I crave a lottery pick this year, but at the same time don`t want to scare away UFA`s like the boys up North this coming summer.

Sigh..In an ideal world we would be able to draft Yakupov and sign Parise this off-season. Most likely, neither will happen.

Sorry man but this team is actually too good to be a lottery team. We're a .500ish team which yes isnt playoff bound but it will make it interesting come trade deadline.

Wouldnt that be ironic if Joker & Iggy finally find that chemistry & Daryl will be phoning Brent from the farm saying "I friggin told you so"!!

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#14 FireOnIce
November 04 2011, 12:23AM
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@schevvy

schevvy - For the most part, I agree with you that Rinne's deal isn't all that bad. In fact, he's had 3 shutouts so far this season and they're only 12 games in.

I've always seen him as quite underrated, and while he didn't get past the 2nd round of the playoffs, he took a red-hot Vancouver team to 6 games.

Some think that he's a product of the Nashville system and that the defense in front of him is the reason for his success. My feeling is that the defense can only do so much, and having seen Rinne play on many nights, dude often stands on his head and makes huge stops night in and night out.

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#15 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
November 04 2011, 12:57AM
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@Kevin R

Haha, yeah. And then he would prolly rant about how we traded Kotalik for nothing.

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#16 ChinookArch
November 04 2011, 08:08AM
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If the last few games are indicative a the team's play this year, Feaster's mantra ought to be: slow and steady, constant improvement through trade for this year. Good trades will be the ONLY way for the team to quickly turn their fortunes around.

I'm certain the team has already identified what players are not part of the long term plans for the Flames (which is likely the majority of the roster). Each of those players should be moved as each player gets hot, during this season or next. He needs to concentrate on the pending UFA's first. Hopefully, this list is gone before the trade deadline. Given the number of scouts at the Flames and Heat games, I believe trades are close. I just hope whatever trades are made, they are made for the long-term.

I hope jay is a good poker player, cause he'll need to bluff a lot over the next few seasons to get this team on track.

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#17 everton fc
November 04 2011, 09:20AM
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Unrelated... Perhaps... But man, Kolanos continues to score. Wonder if they'll ever call him up?

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#18 Fabian L
November 04 2011, 09:30AM
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@ChinookArch

I totally agree with you. I heard the commentators saying there was twelve scouts at the game last night. I have a feeling something will be happening as opportunities present themselves. We all know that this is not going to be a quick fix.

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#19 jeremywilhelm
November 04 2011, 10:23AM
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Weird. People are poo pooing the win, but this one is the only game i thought they were in the whole time.

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#20 the-wolf
November 04 2011, 11:33AM
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I have to admit I only saw most of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd, but from what I saw Kipper won that one. Calgary could not even get out of their own end and Detroit simply couldn't find the back of the net.

Agree with Pat that Iggy was not very good defensively, but at least he showed up last night. I could almost live with his one-dimensional offensive game if he just brought that level of compete every night. Or he may have just been in the right place at the right time because I missed chunks of the game, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. for doing so and putting it in when it mattered.

Interesting to see how the team plays on back-to-back games tonight and then again on Sunday.

To echo some other comments - what I really find difficult with this team is trying to enjoy the victories because I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop. The wins almost seem hollow (unless you're Peter Maher whose "put it in the win column" refrain last night sounded as if Calgary just won round 1 of the playoffs)in the sense that we all know this team can't contend for the Cup, so what's the point? There in lies the attraction of the rebuild, hope where there currently is none.

I don't know, from what I saw las tnight we were lucky and Kipper was channeling the spirit of 2004, but maybe someone can enlighten me as to how we were better in the first and second half of the third.

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#21 Bean-counting cowboy
November 04 2011, 11:47AM
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@ the-wolf

You're probably talking about the sequence when we were hemmed in our own zone for over a minute. Glencross tried to get it out several times, others tried - no one could get it out.

To me that was the worst sequence in the game. If you had seen the rest of the third period, it was much better.

To see the Flames get chances in the 3rd WHILE LEADING, was very refreshing.

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