February 14 2013 01:07AM
There was no doubt going into tonight's match up that the Calgary Flames needed the win. Regulation time, overtime, shoot-out, it didn't matter, but they needed two points.
On a night that saw the city of Calgary re-ignite the Olympic torch to celebrate 25 years since the 1988 Winter Olympics, the Flames needed to find a way to ignite this offense and avoid getting punched so hard, they saw stars. Good way to do that is to light the lamp at the right end of the ice.
When you score often, it's not likely the opposition will spend a lot of time in your end, which served Leland Irving well. Even better is once again having the bad guys on the second night of a back-to-back, and once again facing their back up.
The Flames were lucky enough to have the Stars aligned for all these factors and in the end were able to do something the Oilers just can't seem to manage; they beat the Dallas Stars.
The Flames didn't waste any time to bother guaging just how tired Dallas was from last night's game in Edmonton. They came out skating with a purpose, looking to set the tone quickly. They got what they were looking for.
At 3:11 of the first, with Cammalleri and Stempniak buzzing in front of Richard Bachman, Jay Bouwmeester would sneak in the back door, find the loose puck and put it in the back of the net. J-Bo has had a great start to the year offensively and as was mentioned by TSN (and everyone else paying attention), you can really see the freedom Jay has this season to engage himself in the play, even when it's deep in the offensive zone. It was also good to see Cammalleri get involved in the scoring early after missing the last three with a hip flexor, though with six assists he was still looking for his first goal this season. (*foreshadow)
Three and a half minutes later, all you #Hudlerites would cheer as Jiri Hudler tallied his fourth of the season while on the power-play. How good has this guy been for your Flames? Normally with a 2 goal cushion it would be time for the boys to break out their favorite shell; but not tonight. At 9:55, once again on the PP, Mike
Finalleri Cammalleri would put put a tick in the goal column. As nice as the goal was, the pass that Iginla made cross-ice to put it right on his stick was nothing less than filthy. A quick U-turn at the blue line into the open ice, draw the D-man then saucer a perfect pass to Cammy, all that was left was the finish; and Cammalleri knows how to finish. Not even at the mid-point of the period and it was 3-0 for the Flames.
Dallas would cut the lead to two when former Flame, Eric Nystrom would snap home a shot past Irving. Leland had made some dandy save up until that goal and it was hard to fault him on this one. As the puck came from behind the net, the Stars' Garbutt would clip Paul Byron, taking him out of the play. It also left Nystrom uncovered between the circles with a free shot at Irving. Byron would leave the game with what we later learned was a fractured hand. How was your cup of coffee Paul?
Calgary would re-establish the three goal lead at 17:18, with Roman Cervenka getting his 2nd NHL goal on a pretty feed from Alex Tanguay. The Flames out-shot Dallas 10-7 and Kent had all 10 shots as legit scoring chances while only 5 of the Stars 7 shots constituted a chance. Calgary would take a 4-1 lead to the intermission thanks to going 2 for 2 on the PP, while Dallas would split their first PP between the first and second.
To review, it is 4-1 for Calgary after one period, and Richard Bachman hates himself so much he might go back to being Stephen King— FlamesNation (@FlamesNation) February 14, 2013
Dallas would get back into the game just 45 seconds into the middle frame; Brendan Morrow, on the PP. However the Flames would restore the 3 goal lead again 3 mins in, and again it would be Mike Cammalleri lighting the lamp. Determined to keep his team in it, Morrow would come right back just 24 seconds later with his second of the game. It looked like we were in for a shootout.
Calgary would go into the second intermission still with the three goal lead because of another great pass from the captain. Iginla carrying the puck into the Stars zone was pretty much right in his wheel-house for winding up the shot. Bachman must have thought the same thing as he readied for the shot. Instead Iggy would feed the puck through the defender, right on the tape of Curtis Glencross for the easy re-direction into the net.
Two goals for each team and also six scoring chances apiece as the Stars outshot calgary 13-7.
The Stars made their push in the third period. They outshot the Flames 14-6 and out-chanced them 6-4. When they scored just 1:05 into the period, the Flames went into full retreat and it was batten down the hatches, hold on for dear life and just pray Irving can hold off the Stars for 19 more minutes.
In the end, an empty net goal at 18:34 - his 5th career hat-trick and the 200th goal of his career, by Mike Cammalleri would ice this one for the Flames
Why the Flames Won...
Because the team didn't fold after the Stars answered one of their goals with one of their own; even though Dallas did it twice. In fact, not only did they not fold, the Flames made sure they got the next goal. Everytime the Stars cut the lead from 3 goals to 2 goals, Calgary was able to restore the lead.
Because even when Irving didn't look like he was going to be able to hang on to the lead, the five guys in front of him made sure they did; except Sarich, he looked just terrible and should have been wearing a Stars jersey tonight.
Because the Flames finally got scoring from the guys that are expected to score for this team. Yes they got another goal from Jiri Hudler. Yes they had another great game from Tanguay at center, showing that he can be good with anyone he plays with as he demonstrated some nice chemistry with Roman Cervenka; who incidently had a two point night himself.
Even though Cervenka only had 1 goal and an apple, he was everywhere tonight. He easily could have, maybe should have had 3 goals, as he hit the post on one and just missed the corner on another shot.
Because even though he didn't score, the captain got nasty tonight with a couple of fights to go with his two gorgeous assists!
Because they had a big enough cushion in the third that they didn't crumble when the Stars organized their assault.
I'm gonna go with
Jiri Hudler... Sorry. force of habit. No doubt tonight who ignited the offense for the Flames. After Mike Cammalleri had a dreadful start to the season and then missed three games, he came back into the line-up and led this team like he is expected.
15:44 of ice-time, five shots on goal, and he had an assist to go with his 3 goal performance. It was really good to see Mike step back into the line up and be able to contribute immediately and often. It's something the team is going to now need him to continue to do.
Sum it Up
This is going to be good for the Flames after coming off back-to-back losses.
It's only the team's second win in their own barn, and that's not sitting well with the fans, coaches or the team itself.
Now the important thing to do is to try and generate some momentum. The Flames still sit 12th in the conference, 4 pts out of 8th. Now the team has 3 games in hand, but those only count if you win them right?
Friday night brings the Blues to town. They won tonight too, but that comes after a 5 game losing streak, so they have had tehir struggles as well. St. Louis is also one of those teams currently in the top 8, that the Flames would like to reel in a bit. Putting together back-to-back wins at home is a good start. Scoring another 7 goals would make that easier as well.
As to who gets the start in net? Well since I have a bet with BookOfLoob that says Joey McDonald WILL play before Kipper returns, and Irv was damn lucky the Flames did score 7 tonight, I'm going to say Joey gets the call.
The story is the same as when Taylor was the back up. The team needs to see what he can do and Irving isn't doing anything to inspire confidence or entrench himself as the #1 guy whilst Kipper is on the limp. BoL can consider it community service to Flames Nation as we go check out the Tilted Kilt, and let him spend a few shillings towards the new sponsor!
Everyone wins, right? See you Friday. Game time is 7:00 PM on SNET-W