Postgame: Elementary

Pat Steinberg
December 11 2011 02:03AM

You can make it eight in a row for the Calgary Flames over their provincial rivals, as the Flames were victorious in round three of the Battle of Alberta, taking a 3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.  While it was close in the opening 20 minutes, the Flames gradually took this one over and snuffed out their upstart rivals to get above the .500 mark for the first time this season.

What Happened

A very entertaining first period saw both teams have the puck in scoring areas, and saw both goaltenders have to make some pretty impressive saves.  Miikka Kiprusoff's save on Ryan Jones in the waning minutes of the opening frame was his best of the night, and robbed the Oilers forward of what looked like a sure 1-0 lead after 20 minutes; because of that save, it was scoreless after one.

The second period saw the Flames really push the pace, and their edge with the puck really started to show.  With three seperate powerplays in the period, Calgary got their chances and scored on their second man advantage of the frame from an unlikely source.  Off a Matt Stajan faceoff win, Derek Smith would take an unbalanced shot that would find it's way to Tom Kostopoulos in front; his third of the year beat Devan Dubnyk at 13:45.  With the teams playing four-on-four in the final minute of the second, you could see Jarome Iginla get loose in the slot and so could Brendan Morrison; with a perfect pass to Iginla, the captain hammered home his tenth of the season and giving the Flames a two goal lead after 40.

The third saw Calgary snuff out most anything from the Oilers, and a chasing Edmonton team couldn't generate a response.  Making all 21 saves, Kiprusoff was good for his second shutout of the season.

One Good Reason...

...why the Flames won? Because they were strong all night long, and wore away at their opponent.  Edmonton was playing the second of a back-to-back and Calgary took advantage of that, and you could see them taking over in the final 40 minutes of this one.  The Flames have won six of their last eight and have played their best hockey by following this script more often than not.

Red Warrior

I really liked Jay Bouwmeester on this night, as he played 28 seconds short of 30 minutes on this night and was very good.  He helped set up the second goal on the evening, had a little bit of an edge to his game, and showed us a lot of the things that make him still valuable on this team.

Sum It Up

The Flames are taking advantage of a rather light schedule opponent-wise right now, and that's a good thing.  It's something they need to do and will have to do for the rest of the month. Over this eight game span, where they're 6-1-1, they've played consistent hockey and the same type of hockey they have to play against good teams.  Nashville is beatable on Tuesday, and so the blueprint is very well laid out.

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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 Chris
December 11 2011, 09:52AM
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Good article, Pat. As a fan, it's encouraging to see the Flames come together and play as a team. Powerplay looked different but was effective. Also, can't remember the last time the Flames scored four on four. Nice to see the special team units scoring. Most importantly, Jarome is rolling and gaining momentum. Can't help but think claiming Comeau was the spark that ignited the inspired team play. Any thoughts as to when Leland will get a start?

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#2 Jeff Lebowski
December 11 2011, 10:33AM
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It really is night and day when you look at the style of their play from the beginning of the season to now. Arguments that they're beating weak opponents don't resonate with me. Even in the Vancouver game (I only saw first period) they played well.

I think there are many reasons for improved results (PK, PP, Kipper etc) but to me it's all the transition game. The defencemen are making great plays coming out of their end. Without Gio.

As Pat mentioned a real big reason for this is Bouwmeester (and Butler). They are winning the tough assignments right now and it let's guys like Brodie and Smith have success and grow their confidence with the puck. One thing I'm noticing about Smith is he can sometimes be too poised with the puck. He's starting to hold on too long in his end and although it hasn't cost him yet, you can see turnovers waiting to be converted. However, for the most part he is doing a good job and Brodie is just growing and growing.

The trade off comes in their own zone defending. Bouwmeester, Butler and Hannan are good but the other guys are losing coverage. The worst example was the Carolina game but they have been slowly improving. I guess thats the toughest thing to teach and learn but you have to credit the coaches. Sarich would help but he seemingly doesn't transition as well and I'll live with the mistakes and take the trade off of offensive ability every time.

Tougher opponents might make them pay but there is always Kipper.

At some point it would be nice to see Brodie qb the first unit PP and put Bouwmeester on the second unit. Anyone can see Brodie has terrific instincts with the puck on his stick, especially manning the point.

The point is, Calgary is making more plays because they are making more passes. It all starts from the back end.

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#3 Kevin R
December 11 2011, 11:22AM
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I truly thought when Gio went down that we were so screwed. Sometimes adversity will bring out that norepinephrine & raise the level of urgency & play. Whats blowing me away is that we have 2/3 of our blueline of new faces and having a degree of success. I'm enjoying the win streak & enjoying seeing Iggy with a smile on his face again on a post game interview. So far this grueling 16 game month we are sitting at 4-1-1. A 5-5 record for the last 10 games will make for a really interesting January that will determine whether we are in the hunt for the playoffs. Gotta say, this is a way better scenario than I had thought we'd be in at the end of November. I just love the different kids getting a game or 2 with the big club as well. What a bonus. Never thought this would happen at the start of the season either. Brodie is emmerging fabulously & JBO is starting to put value in an asset that many were writing off as simply a salary dump. Despite the prospect of having to shovel snow, life aint too bad right now:):)

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#4 jeremywilhelm
December 11 2011, 11:30AM
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This win was perfect if only to throw back all the trash VF got for his GDP. Goddamn are the Oiler fans whiny and bitter.

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#5 RKD
December 11 2011, 11:55AM
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Very happy the Flames won and are now above .500. They won the games they needed to win this week, I'm more interested to see if they can win the games we think they aren't supposed to win.

Iggy's creeping closer to 500, I hope he gets it at home. Kipper is playing great, two shutouts already is pretty good.

Jay-Bo looks to be skating and playing with a lot more confidence, maybe he's more relaxed not being in Gio's shadow.

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#6 Captain Ron
December 11 2011, 04:57PM
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jeremywilhelm wrote:

This win was perfect if only to throw back all the trash VF got for his GDP. Goddamn are the Oiler fans whiny and bitter.

No $hit eh! I guess their shiny new toy is broken. Those stupid Flames how do they do it with that old and slow team of has beens.

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#7 loudogYYC
December 11 2011, 05:02PM
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Jbo definitely looks different out there. Likes he's pissed or coming out of his shell or something. He's not playing shy and that's a real good thing.

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#8 Vintage Flame
December 11 2011, 05:13PM
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Great game for the boys against the 'slump-busters'.

The best part about Iggy's first goal was when it was described as a "Goal-scorers goal". What made it even better was the Oil being shut out on top of the loss.

As for the trolls on OilersNation. Meh, it was to be expected. As I said on their thread, the best satisfaction for writing an article like that and getting the reaction I did... Is being right.

If the truth hurts, then Oilers fans must need a prescription of morphine by now.

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#9 Vintage Flame
December 11 2011, 05:14PM
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loudogYYC wrote:

Jbo definitely looks different out there. Likes he's pissed or coming out of his shell or something. He's not playing shy and that's a real good thing.

I've really liked Bouwmeester's game over the last month. Like you said, he has been playing with an edge lately and I think it's great for his game and for the Flames, especially while they will have to do without Gio.

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#10 Captain Ron
December 11 2011, 07:35PM
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JBO is really starting to redeem himself and Butler has exceeded my expectations so far. I have been at the Dome this year for most of the games and see a big improvement in the teams play from a month ago. There's a long way to go yet and I don't view us as a contender but we may as well enjoy it while it lasts. The players are obviously beginning to believe in themselves and look a little more relaxed and confident in their play. It's amazing what a few wins will do for the team morale. Some tougher tests coming this month but wouldn't be out of the question to think they could go .500 or slightly better the rest of the month. The biggest difference that I see is the improved play in their own end, especially from the forwards Iggy included.

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