Postgame: Strong Finish

Pat Steinberg
September 29 2011 10:12PM

Photo credit: Terence Leung, calgaryflames.com

The Calgary Flames finished their 2011 preseason with a 4-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes Thursday at the Saddledome, a decent finish to their exhibition schedule.  The Coyotes iced a fairly veteran laden lineup and were probably the best competition the Flames have faced thus far; Calgary controlled most of the game and did some damage on the powerplay to even their preseason record at 3-3.

What Happened

The first period was very controlled on both sides, with neither team taking many risks.  Phoenix had a few spans where they seemed to control the play, but all in all it was a fairly even opening frame with Calgary outshooting their opponents 9-6.

The Flames really took over in the second, however, firing 17 shots on net and scoring twice.  Their first marker came on the powerplay at 11:47 when David Moss finished off a nifty passing play in front of the net; it was started with a pass from Niklas Hagman to Olli Jokinen on the half boards.  Jokinen one touched it to Moss for a pretty opening score.  Late in the second, Calgary would go on the powerplay once again, and it didn't take long this time around.  After a faceoff win, the puck went back to the point where Mark Giordano would lay it on a tee for Anton Babchuk; he'd hammer home his first of the preseason at 19:09 for a two goal lead.

The third period saw a couple scoring chances generated on either side, but nothing went in until the latter stages when Curtis Glencross scored on a sharp angle shot set up by Jokinen.  That goal came at 16:03 but it took just 12 seconds for Phoenix to score their first of the night, with Boyd Gordon getting on the board at 16:15.  At 17:51, a Keith Yandle shot would be stopped initially by Miikka Kiprusoff, but Ray Whitney would tap home the rebound on the doorstep, as the lead got slimmed to one.  However Moss's second of the night into an empty net would seal the game at 19:17 for Calgary's second consecutive preseason win.

One Good Reason...

...why the Flames won?  They had the puck more.  Calgary really turned things on in the final 40 minutes and made it difficult for Phoenix to generate much of anything, mostly because the Flames didn't want to give up the puck.  When things are rolling for this group, they can be a good possession team, and you saw that in this game.  Add in some solid work from Miikka Kiprusoff when he was tested, and it was a pretty simple formula for success.

Red Warrior

I actually really liked Moss tonight, and would have handed him this coveted award had he scored twice or not.  Moss was good in front of the net on the powerplay, he helped work the cycle, and did some good work against the Doan line on his grouping with Jokinen and Glencross.  He would have scored 20 goals last year had he stayed healthy, and I've got him down for doing that again this year.

Sum It Up

It's a preseason win and the Flames did what they needed to do: finish off the preseason on a good note.  Now, they have an interesting week plus to manage correctly.  The team will skate on Friday and Sunday before spending the first three days of the work week in Banff.  They'll do some team building and some teaching, and this is a really good opportunity now for the Flames to work on a few of the new looks on the powerplay and some of the new things they're working on killing penalties.  FGD returns on October 8th.

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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
September 29 2011, 10:34PM
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I thought Moss had a really strong game, and it got stronger as the game went on. He drove the net well and played with a level of determination above that of a pre-season game.

Moss is going to have a solid year.. 20 goals is definitely not out of the question. He looks bigger to me this year, but that just might be me,

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#2 Vintage Flame
September 29 2011, 10:37PM
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Also really liked the play of Horak. One thing that still has me scratching my head is what the hell are the Flames going to do with Ivanans and PL3? With Jackman on the team, and Desbiens looking... serviceable, where do these guys slot in. I have to think Horak is going to start this season with Calgary.. he's earned it.

Even with a fairly brief pre-season, with limited line ups, i see no place on the team for either Ivan the Forgettable or PL3.

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#3 Tonelli's Stache
September 29 2011, 11:07PM
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How did Stajan play tonight? I am very interested to see where he fits in

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#4 Karasu89
September 29 2011, 11:11PM
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byron horak and lee looks really really fast

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#5 everton fc
September 29 2011, 11:20PM
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Here's my prediction; Horak centres Bourque and Stempniak, and Stajan centres Hagman and Jackman. Bouma may stay as the #13 forward, and Kosto is either traded or waived. If Kosto stays, he's the #13 forward, until Morrison returns. Desbiens heads to Abby, and puts points on the board, earning a call up. Byron goes to Abby, and may play there for most of the season, getting maybe 15-20 games with the parent club.

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#6 ChinookArch
September 29 2011, 11:53PM
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@everton fc

I could really see this happening. Nice to see a strong outing from bth Sajan and Hagman tonight.

@ Tonelli's Stache

Stajan was good tonight.

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#7 ChinookArch
September 29 2011, 11:55PM
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@everton fc

You need to vote for your boy Desbiens. He's behind P3L right now in the pole.

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#8 loudogYYC
September 29 2011, 11:57PM
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I still don't understand what Desbiens brings to the table that we don't already have. He played with Stajan tonight and they were easily the weakest line.

Sarich gets the benefit of doubt cause he's just getting back into action, but if he plays anywhere near as bad as he did tonight, he'll definitely be the expensive healthy scratch of the year.

Glencross-Jokinen-Moss are really good together, a nice mix of size, grit, speed and skill. My bet is that they'll be the most consistent line this season.

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#9 jeremywilhelm
September 30 2011, 12:07AM
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Desbiens doesn't really deserve to stick around. He's not very good.

Stajan looked good. Smith was invisible in a good way although I don't see what he brings that Brodie couldn't. I like Horak alot. Byron wasn't terrible, just not good. Bouma is great for the role he plays (I think it's the one Desbiens is trying to get). Bouwmeester looked pretty darn good. Butler was solid if unspectacular. Babchuk has a good shot... And that's about it. Backlund is finally a man in a man's game. Very good in the face-offs as was Joker. Who played great in the offensive zone tonight.

The team on the whole was great until they decided they had the game in the bag and stopped playing hockey. Something they were plagued with last season as well.

I think they will start the season with Horak and Bouma on the roster.

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#10 Tonelli's Stache
September 30 2011, 12:10AM
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@ChinookArch

Thanks - it's good to hear, that man needs some confidence and it would be nice if he could be consistent enough to allow the fan base to cheer for him.

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#11 Tonelli's Stache
September 30 2011, 12:10AM
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@ChinookArch

Thanks - it's good to hear, that man needs some confidence and it would be nice if he could be consistent enough to allow the fan base to cheer for him.

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#12 icedawg_42
September 30 2011, 08:05AM
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Yeah - Mosser definitely deserved the warrior merit, IMHO, the closest runner up would be Horak. Another strong outing for him - I'd hate to see him cut at this point.

I hate to say this, but Stajan looked better than usual these last couple of games - I may be wearing rose colored glasses though, as I usually expect crap outta him, but he actually did not look out of place in an overall fairly strong game for the team.

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#13 propositionWes
September 30 2011, 08:27AM
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As anyone seen Erixon play this preseason? Horak has looked great, I don't feel nearly as bad about that fiasco. Props Feaster!

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#14 Kent Wilson
September 30 2011, 08:55AM
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@icedawg_42

Stajan wasn't too bad the last few games. He really isn't as terrible as his reputation suggests this summer. The worst you can say about Stajan last season is that he was ineffectual (rather than an active detriment).

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#15 xis10ce
September 30 2011, 09:15AM
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Stajan is in a position where could get on as the 3rd line center. He might find himself between Bourque and Stempniak, perhaps.

While that is technically the "3rd Line" those are quality middle rotation players, we might see some offence from Stajan afterall this season.

Granted this is based on the premis that he makes it up to the 3rd line.

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#16 everton fc
September 30 2011, 09:30AM
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ChinookArch wrote:

You need to vote for your boy Desbiens. He's behind P3L right now in the pole.

Ouch! But warranted, I suppose.

Desbiens is seen to bring what a guy like Jackman brings... Not a goon, with decent hands... can skate... "Servicable". He didn't stand out in camp, but made it to the final cut. He must have done something to keep himself here. But agreed - not enough to stay up. Even the scrap w/Bissonette didn't go his way...

That said, if he can put up #s in Abby, like he has in the AHL before (similar goal production to Turris, if you look it up) he may be worth a call up.

I like Bouma better. He seems ready. Now. And the only reason P3L would be above Desbiens in the depth chart... is because P3L is a goon. Desbiens is not. Nor was Jackman.

As for our 3rd line... I think Bourque-Stajan-Stempniak is not too bad. I like Bourque-Horak-Stempniak better. And think this is what we'll see... If Horak falters... And Stajan delivers like Backlund did on the 4th line... Stajan moves up, and Horak goes to Abby.

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#17 icedawg_42
September 30 2011, 11:19AM
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@Kent Wilson

Well - im going to make a promise to myself this season, and judge players on their on-ice merit, and take the Darryl Sutterims (bad contracts) out of the equation...mostly just to keep from being too negative.

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