Nation World HQ
January 10 2012 11:04PM
There have been a number of games this season where the Calgary Flames have played some pretty decent hockey only to catch a few bad breaks and come out on the losing end of things. On Tuesday night, the Flames managed just 14 shots on goal against the New Jersey Devils, yet came out on the winning end of things by a 6-3 score. Some shoddy goaltending and good fortune helped them along to their seventh straight win on home ice.
The first period didn't give us the best lasting impression of Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who was likely making his final start at the Saddledome. Just 5:54 into the first period with a Calgary powerplay recently expired, the Flames opened the scoring on Jay Bouwmeester's second of the season. It was a weak one on Brodeur's part, having the puck go right through him from the right point. Less than two minutes later, Cory Sarich tallied his first on the year beating Brodeur on another one that probably should have been stopped, firing a shot high of the right circle for a 2-0 lead. With Johan Hedberg entering the game in relief, the Flames made it 3-0 at 13:12 with Curtis Glencross finishing off a nice sequence for his 18th of the season. At 16:38, T.J. Brodie would finish the first period onslaught with his second on the year; a powerplay goal gave Calgary a 4-0 lead. Not bad for eight shots and two scoring chances!
There wasn't much happening for much of the second period, until the 14:48 mark when Ilya Kovalchuk opened the scoring for New Jersey with his 16th on a nice pass from Adam Henrique to start a very odd final 25 minutes or so. Lee Stempniak's first goal in 16 games restored Calgary's four goal lead at 16:38 before the Devils responded less than a minute later with a Henrique shorthanded marker.
A pretty powerplay goal from Patrik Elias at 6:04 of the third period got the Devils the within a pair of goals, the first time they'd been that close since the first period. But a weird breakdown in the New Jersey end gave the Flames the last opportunity they'd need, as Jarome Iginla would complete the Gordie Howe Hattrick with his 17th of the season getting us to our 6-3 score. Of note, Henrique also finished with the GHH, as he dropped the gloves with Iggy in the first period.
Of note in this game, the Flames scored six goals on 14 shots. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that's the largest goal total scored on 14 or less shots since 1967, when the NHL started tracking shots reliably.
One Good Reason...
...why the Flames won? Um, some good fortune. I won't say Calgary was lucky to win this one, because it wasn't like New Jersey was shooting the lights out in the first half of the contest. But when you score at least three, maybe four goals, that goaltenders would like to have back, you can make a pretty good case for Lady Luck smiling on you. That's fine though, because these things even themselves out over the course of an 82 game season, and needing points, the Flames will take the points.
T.J. Brodie, hands down. The guy gets more impressive every time you see him play, and tonight was no different. He finished in the black in scoring chances at even strength, scored a goal, and counted at +3 in 22:43 of ice time. The guy is an NHLer and has put the Abbotsford Heat behind him, and it's awesome to say.
Sum It Up
The Flames weren't overly happy with their performance following the game, and nor should they be. The blueprint executed isn't one that you'd put in the "sustainable" category, but on this night, it got them two points. I felt Calgary was noticeably better Saturday against the Minnesota Wild, and with the lineup as it is right now, that's the type of performance the team needs. That said, take the money and run with this one!