Postgame: Somehow...

Pat Steinberg
January 19 2012 11:40PM

The Calgary Flames have scored just four regulation goals in their last four games, yet they've won a pair of those games and have five of a possible eight points.  It's not what you'd call a sustainable brand of hockey, but it's worked to this point, and they picked up another win Thursday night by taking a 2-1 shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings.

What Happened

The Flames fell down early in this one, as the Kings capitalized on a weird bounce early with Dustin Brown's 13th coming at 3:28.  The puck was kinda coughed up to the left of the slot allowing Brown to jump on a loose puck, firing it by Miikka Kiprusoff for the first goal of the game.  The scoring chances had LA ahead 5-3 after one.

Calgary would tie the game midway through the second period, on their third and final powerplay of the night.  What seemed like a breakdown in coverage by LA allowed Jarome Iginla far too much time in the left circle, and the captain isn't going to miss there.  He teed up a slapshot for his 18th of the season at 9:15 which ties Iginla for the team lead in goals.  We had a tie game heading to the final frame.

Nothing changed in the third period, with only three chances a piece in the final frame.  Both teams did a very good job of funnelling everything to the outside, making it a heck of a challenge to generate anything of note.

Off to overtime we went, with the Kings getting the better scoring chances only to be thwarted by a couple of really nice Kiprusoff saves.  Calgary's best chance was stopped on an old-fashioned two-pad stack from Jonathan Quick, and it was shootout time in LA.  The Flames scored on their first two shots thanks to Olli Jokinen and Mike Cammalleri while a Justin Williams goal wasn't enough thanks to misses from Jack Johnson and Mike Richards.  The Flames aren't generating much of anything offensively, but they're winning games.

One Good Reason...

...why the Flames won?  By getting this game to a shootout.  For a second straight contest, Calgary did a strong job of frustrating their opponent, as the Kings went long stretches of time without much of anything.  However, I did feel LA had the higher quality chances overall, so Kiprusoff had to be strong once again.  All things combined for the Flames only allowing one regulation goal for the second straight night.

Red Warrior

I'll give it to Miikka Kiprusoff tonight, who made 31 stops for his 21st win of the season.  He was particularly strong in overtime and the shootout, but once again, gave his team more than a chance to win like he has all season long.  If Calgary does plan on trading Kiprusoff, they'll be doing it with him playing very well.  If they decide to keep him in the fold, well, he'll likely keep giving them a chance to win.

Sum It Up

I guess it depends on how you look at it.  Calgary's last four games have seen them score only four goals in regulation.  Or in their last three wins, the Flames have allowed just two regulation goals.  They're getting some good fortune right now, and the bounces are certainly going their way, but at least they're getting points.  Now just two pack of eighth in the Western Conference, it could be a nice night for them on Saturday in Edmonton.

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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 Pekka Rautakalio
January 20 2012, 12:05AM
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For the most part I agree with the analysis. While both teams were kept to the perimeter with limited quality scoring chances, the Kings certainly seemed to have more consistent puck possession. I don't recall the Flames putting more than two completed passes before turning over the puck in the whole Third Period. I don't know if it was more the relentless forecheck and backcheck of LA or the Flames being out of sync but it wasn't pretty. Looking forward to seeing Morrison and Tanguay back, perhaps as early as Saturday.

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#2 jeremywilhelm
January 20 2012, 12:09AM
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I know you don't like the hockey Pat, but this is exactly the brand of hockey that has given the Kings their recent success and got them back in towards the playoffs.

It sucks, but its playoff hockey. Hard checking, tight to the chest, low scoring games. Flames need to learn to win these games if they want to make it this year, which is pretty obviously the goal.

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#3 lionlager
January 20 2012, 12:33AM
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Can't help but feel that the SJ game should have been a win and tonight's game a loss. The 3 of 4 possible points are pretty nice though...

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#5 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
January 20 2012, 01:00AM
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Flames were definitely out of sync tonight, and did not play as good as they did in San Jose. That being said, they still got the two points without two of their top 6 forwards. With Tangs hopefully back on Saturday, the Flames top six will look much better, not to mention the PP. Still need a physical shut-down d-man if we`re really serious about the playoffs.

Playoffs!!! Did I just say Playoffs!!!!!!!!!!!!! Playoffs!!!!

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#6 canUdigitsucka
January 20 2012, 01:07AM
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There is no chance that Calgary will make the playoff. We will need to get 100 pts to maybe get in and that would mean winning 95percent of remaining games.

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#7 funkyjaman
January 20 2012, 01:12AM
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A 100 points?? Come on...really?

Good win boys, good win indeed!!

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#8 crapshoot
January 20 2012, 02:06AM
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canUdigitsucka wrote:

There is no chance that Calgary will make the playoff. We will need to get 100 pts to maybe get in and that would mean winning 95percent of remaining games.

They are two points out of 8th place battling for position with a bunch of other middling teams. How does that translate into "no chance"?

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#9 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
January 20 2012, 02:06AM
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Dude, your math is so fu"%ed up I don`t know where to begin.

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#10 Kent Wilson
January 20 2012, 06:55AM
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#11 everton fc
January 20 2012, 07:10AM
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The Flames, Wild & Avs will battle for the final spot. Any of this trio who goes into a slump of any kinds (say, four game losing streak) will be on the outside looking in very quickly.

So the Flames do have a chance...

If Carson doesn't clear waivers, does that make room for someone like Jeff Schultz here? He certainly couldn't hurt our defence, and we really have little depth down on the farm; more fill-in fodder than real prospects.

When does smith return? With him, and if you could snatch Schultz, you'd have JBo, Gio, Butler, Hannan, Smith, Brodie, Schultz, Sarich, Babchuk. Room could be made via waiver-wire or trades for picks...

Just a concept. Babchuk/Sarich/Hannan would be the likliest guys to move. Cammy's cap hit makes it a bit more difficult, I suppose, and I haven't done any math.

Hannan has not played poorly. Smith's season was a tremendous bit of luck until his injury. Both contracts are good for the Flames.

Babchuk and Sarich's might be movable come trade deadline....

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#12 xis10ce
January 20 2012, 07:35AM
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Can't argue with that red warrior choice at all, but two things come to mind in regards to goaltending.

1) Are we running Kipper ragged? Come mid March is he going to be all burnt out? At the start of the season it was intended to play him 60 games this season and not more like 70 which we have done in the past. He is currently at 41 GP and 39 GS with 34 contests remaining. If we are seriously in a playoff hunt we need to go with the number one guy, but at what point do you give the poor Fin some rest?

2) Karlsson will be back eventually and so far this season we have seen one good game out of him? What happens with him, are we talking waived to the AHL upon his return? Or at the very least sent down for a "conditioning stint". I trust Irving way more as our back-up then the Tower.

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#13 the-wolf
January 20 2012, 07:43AM
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Given that the team is going for the playoffs vs a rebuid, this game pretty much cements that Kipper will not be replaced by Ramo any time soon. Simply too much risk if Ramo were to flop. Ramo will finish this season and next season in the KHL is my supicion and then be brought over during Kipper's final year to split playing time.

Which leads me to wonder what deals they are exploring. I wonder how long Backlund will remain a Flame or how long we keep our 2st round picks for this summer and next.

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#14 Kent Wilson
January 20 2012, 07:57AM
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@everton fc

I personally wouldn't want Shultz. His sky-high plus/minus from a few years ago was due to the Capitals scoring a ton of goals. He's currently facing middle tier competition and starting more often in the offensive zone...and still being outshot. He's big, slow and doesn't have any real offense to speak of.

As for Sarich and Babchuk...here's hoping the Flames find buyers for at least one of them.

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#15 Drinking Buddy
January 20 2012, 08:36AM
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What about Brian Allen, he's tough and moves well for a big man. Didn't Jaybo play with him in Florida?

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#16 Bob in the Abbey
January 20 2012, 09:06AM
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@ Kent

I agree about Schultz. If the option was there I'd like to see Alzner back in Calgary. Turning into a good shut down D-man and still has room to progress and get better. But I'm guessing Washington would want too much for him.

It will be interesting to see if Feaster moves any of our D-men before trade deadline. Sarich seems the best bet as an upcoming UFA...just not sure which teams would be needing him for the remainder of the year. Depends who's in the play-offs I guess. If we make play-offs, do we hang onto him for depth?

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#17 kittensandcookies
January 20 2012, 09:15AM
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My five year old daughter skates faster than Sarich.

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#18 jeremywilhelm
January 20 2012, 10:48AM
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@Pat Steinberg

I dunno. They need to be a team that gives the other team nothing at all for long stretches and then capitalize on the other teams mistakes. It is Literally the only way they will have any kind of long term success. Last night was kinda the way they need to play.

Several teams have success with this style. The NY Rangers are exactly this type of team. They dont let many goals happen against, but they also arent generating goals at a high rate, they depend on Lundquist to make the big stops and their forwards to capitalize on the other teams mistakes.

It is a bit boring, but man, can it be effective. I am not saying trap, but lock it down in the dzone first and let the offense come as they can. The Flames defense can handle nothing else.

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#19 VK63
January 20 2012, 10:55AM
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Kipper is awesome.

the rest

good gracious

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#20 Kevin R
January 20 2012, 10:55AM
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everton fc wrote:

The Flames, Wild & Avs will battle for the final spot. Any of this trio who goes into a slump of any kinds (say, four game losing streak) will be on the outside looking in very quickly.

So the Flames do have a chance...

If Carson doesn't clear waivers, does that make room for someone like Jeff Schultz here? He certainly couldn't hurt our defence, and we really have little depth down on the farm; more fill-in fodder than real prospects.

When does smith return? With him, and if you could snatch Schultz, you'd have JBo, Gio, Butler, Hannan, Smith, Brodie, Schultz, Sarich, Babchuk. Room could be made via waiver-wire or trades for picks...

Just a concept. Babchuk/Sarich/Hannan would be the likliest guys to move. Cammy's cap hit makes it a bit more difficult, I suppose, and I haven't done any math.

Hannan has not played poorly. Smith's season was a tremendous bit of luck until his injury. Both contracts are good for the Flames.

Babchuk and Sarich's might be movable come trade deadline....

Not sure I agree with who you think we will be battling for a playoff spot. Just consider who is pretty well locked in short of a massive meltdown of injuries & play, Detroit, Chicago, Vanc, St Louis, San Jose, LA & Nashville(who maybe the only team that may slip). That leaves 1 spot that Calgary, Minny(who I see falling out of it before trade deadline), Colorado, Dallas, Phoenix & dont forget to look in that rearview mirror but Anaheim is going to be sniffing that 8th spot before the trade deadline as well. Kent is bang on, our best odds are 24% to making it. 50pts-34 games left, even if we click along at a 60% win percentage, which would be very good, would net us approx 42 points. 92 points aint getting this thing done. Sorry guys.

I love our compete level lately. I like what Cammi & Jones is bringing to this team & cant wait to see how Tanguay fits. Leiland & Brodie have to be considered huge accomplishments for the Flames regardless how we do. I feel really good about the change & direction we are going, but sorry 10th or 11th place is where we will be when the dust clears. I say Feaster stays the course, no blockbusters but move the UFA's not pencilled in for resigning next year & get what you can & continue to plug the spote with the the kids from Abbotsford. Dont worry Wolf, those 1sts will not be at play unless Parise/Suter/Weber are in play & we all know that will never happen. Anyone know if there is truth in Feaster negotiating a 2 way contract wih Kolanos? Do we have the room to add another contract?

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#21 jeremywilhelm
January 20 2012, 10:58AM
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I wouldnt say LA is a lock. They have been very lucky since Sutter took over.

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#22 the forgotten man
January 20 2012, 11:25AM
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@Kevin R

I pretty much agree with Kevin's analysis...my only quip is that I feel Jones is just another 3-4th line plugger and entirely replaceable by someone in the Flames Farm System when push comes to shove...I would really like to see the Flames focus on developing their 3-4th lines within their Farm System because they can then be had for the cheap...save your cap dollars for the 1-2nd lines and your top 4 defence + starting goalie...I am tired of bringing in the waiver cast-offs from Loser Teams or the junk thrown in during trades...it is death by a thousand paper cuts to our Cap Ceiling.

My opinion is that you need at least one young drafted stud on defence, preferably 2 younger drafted sniperish studs on the 1-2nd line forwards...round out your 5-6 defenceman and 3-4th forward lines with internally developed talent and then blow your load on your remaining top 4 forwards and top 3 defence + starting goalie. Without a Cap System all bets would be off depending on Murray's whim, but with a Cap in place, timing of bringing talent together outweighs given talent at any time...in short, I don't feel like the Flames have bought into the Timing thing and are still basing decisions on short term gratification/appeasement. Five year plans suck when running Nations, but may actually be advisable when running a Professional Hockey Org.

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#23 RKD
January 21 2012, 12:28PM
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4 goals in 4 games is somewhat frightening considering the level of upcoming opponents.

The L.A. and SJ games really felt like playoff games, I think the Flames are trying to win low scoring games.

However, not scoring enough will bite them soon enough. We have seen it too many times before.

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