February 01 2011 09:30PM
Style points aren't counted in hockey, and for just the third time this season, the Calgary Flames won a hockey game when trailing after 40 minutes, taking a 3-2 shootout win over the Nashville Predators. Calgary trailed 1-0 and 2-1 in this game, and for the seventh time this season, it took a shootout for Calgary to get the win, but at this point that's not important...you can make it five straight wins and a little closer to that all important playoff spot.
An absolutely furious start for the Flames gave them opportunity after opportunity, and Kent had scoring chances 8-0 early on, yet things remained scoreless. And then a string of giveaways from Cory Sarich helped the Predators break in on a 2-on-1, with Martin Erat finishing a Sergei Kostitsyn pass, and on their first scoring chance, the Preds took a 1-0 lead. From there on out, Nashville tilted things back the other way, getting the next nine chances and carrying a one goal bulge into the intermission.
The middle frame was fairly tame, with not much happening at either end of the ice. Bad ice in Nashville seemed to really hamper anything from happening, and both teams fell into a very conservative game plan, which I guess is to be expected in the first game after the All Star break. For the 24th time this season, Calgary trailed into the third period, with only two wins to show for it.
Calgary drew even early on, with Matt Stajan scoring at 2:57, getting his fourth past Pekka Rinne in a soft manor. Rinne should have stopped the slap shot from just inside the blueline, but the Preds cancelled it off on the powerplay at 5:24 with Patric Hornqvist putting home his 16th catching Miikka Kiprusoff going the other way to restore the one goal lead. But a nice shift from Calgary's first line midway through the frame drew Calgary even once more, from an unlikely source. After Jarome Iginla started the shift, Alex Tanguay would eventually find...CORY SARICH in from the blueline, and he's fire home his second of the season. The Flames wouldn't be able to score on a late powerplay, and off to overtime we went.
Neither team did a whole lot in that extra five minutes, so it was a shootout that would decide things once again for Calgary. These two teams each had six shootout wins heading in, leading the NHL in that category, and Rene Bourque's goal was the only one needed as Kiprusoff stopped all three Nashville shooters to help Calgary to the win.
One Good Reason...
...why the Flames won? I really liked their third period. Even though Calgary gave up the powerplay goal after tying it the first time, the Flames played a strong final 20 minutes to get this thing to extra time. They scored twice at even strength, limited the Preds to very little (one chance) at 5-on-5, and got themselves in a position for at least a single point. They now have points in 10 of their last 11 games, and the third period in this game was a big reason why.
As much as it was nice to see Stajan score his fourth of the season, I'll go Curtis Glencross who was very strong along with Stajan on that third line. Both players had strong games, but Glencross was making things happen offensively with a nice physical game, and his work at the other end was just fine. When Glencross is on, he's a difference maker, especially on a third line. I felt he made a difference a few times on this night.
Sum It Up
That's a sixth straight win for the Flames in Nashville and a fifth straight win overall, yet, they don't move out of 12th place in the Western Conference. Sure they're tied with a few other teams with 56 points, but it shows you the difficulty of really moving up. That being said, they've taken three of three from a conference opponent, even with the Preds taking two of a possible six points. Calgary's got six of six, and they'll take that. Just start winning in regulation...because these shootout wins get nullified in the event of an eighth place tie.