March 24 2013 10:24PM
This team needed a win! It didn't matter how they got it, who they had to run over or who they got to score the goals to get them there, they just had to find a way to make it happen tonight.
It was fan appreciation night and I don't care who you are, you should never get embarrassed in your barn on the night you are trying to honour your fans for sticking with you through thick and thin; and let's face it folks, it's getting pretty thin for your Calgary Flames.
It would be the most unlikely of sources to get things going for the Flames tonight, and it would be the same guy, that was almost a healthy scratch tonight that would get the team back on the rails when the game started getting out of control. But it would be two familiar names, two household names that would keep it all in perspective and round things out to give this game the storybook ending that we all got to see.
So wipe the tears from your eyes and let's take a look back.
As you might have expected, since the Flames were back safely within the confines of the Saddledome that they would start this game with more jump than we have seen from them on the road.
There was nothing flashy about the start of this one, but there was also nothing devestating either. Miikka Kiprusoff made some decent saves in the forst half of the period to keep the two sides tied. One player that stood out was the Blues Alex Steen, who had a few chances. One had to think something had to happen for your Flames or else it was only a matter of time that something happened to them.
Brian McGrattan was a late scratch for the team which allowed Roman Cervenka to stay in the lineup. Hartley's intuition would be accurate as Cervenka would get the Flames on the board with just his fourth of the season. After Brodie and Wideman were able to get the puck out of their zone and down the ice, Roman would carry the puck into the St. Louis and let loose a perfectly placed wrist shot over the left shoulder of Halak.
A nice shot for the linguistically chalenged but talented Czech player; too bad we don't get to see it more often.
The rest of the period would fall on the shoulders of Kiprusoff as he continued with his Dr. Jekell persona. Calm and composed, Miikka faced some tough shots and open chances, but staved them off to keep his team ahead.
Not a sound period for the Flames as they were dominated 7-5 in shots, 4-2 in scoring chances and killed in the faceoff circle. Yet they were able to escape with the lead, so everything else was a wash. How long could they keep it up though?
The Blues didn't waste much time tilting the ice in the second period. Coming at Calgary with guns blazing, Kiprusoff continued to hold his ground, making one save after another. Calgary needed to do something fast if they wanted to avoid slipping into old habits that usually result in a disastrous period.
Cue Roman Cervenka... again, as he would take a pass from Jiri Hudler all alone in front of Jaro Halak. Showing some of that talent we have all been waiting to see, he made a deft move onto his backhand, which he raised over Halak and into the net. Good to see Roman earning some time on the PP, and having it pay dividends as well.
What also should be noted, was the great play of Mikael Backlund on the series. Not only was it Backs that carried the play into the zone, but he also displayed great hustle in getting all the way over to th other side of the ice to make sure the play stayed in the Blues zone before leaving the ice after his shift was over.
Backlund doesn't look 100% with that fractured foot, but he is still putting in the effort and making plays happen for the Flames.
Despite being grossly out-played, Cervenka was up 2-0 on the Blues, with a big assist to Miikka Kiprusoff. Where was the rest of the team?
It was becoming a turkey shoot on Kiprusoff as the Blues were out-shooting the Flames at a 4:1 ratio; and the Flames weren't helping their own cause with back-to-back careless penalties from Hudler and Glencross.
Despite the 2-0 lead, Calgary was letting the frustration of getting dominated get to them.
TJ Oshie, who went to the box with Glencross for unsportsmanlike, would step out of the box and steal the puck from an un-attentive Dennis Wideman. After that it was a foot race and as much as Wideman was trying to break up the play, Oshie was able to hold him off long enough to lift the wrist shot up and over Kiprusoff.
The Blues were back into it and now we would wait and see if the Flames would regroup or collapse... Jekyll or Hyde?
Not a good period by any metric for the Flames.mThey escaped once again with the lead, but there was also the sense that the dam was about to burst. They were out-shot 19-4 and St. Louis out-chanced then 10-2, nine of those were at even strength as well. Calgary problems 5 on 5 were continuing to plague them.
Calgary evened out the ice a little more to start the third, registering the first five shots of the period. When a team like the Flames start to take back the play, lately that means something also gives.
At 4:48, Kiprusoff doing his best to fend off the Blues, would lose sight of the rebound after a shot from the point. As he looked to find the puck, Vladamir Sobodka would tuck the puck under Kipper, and we were all tied up. All eyes now looking for Roman Cervenka, right?
Well it was Fan appreciation night, so if the fans were looking for a potential game winning goal, then closeyour eyes because all hearts look to the captain. And th captain would not disappoint.
Alex Tanguay would feed the pass up the middle, but after that it was all Iggy. Wade Redden doing everything he could to get back in the play actually almost took Iginla right out of it as he steered him past Halak's right... Almost. Instead Iginla would throw on the binders, turn and take the smallest amount of space given to him by Halak, as he slightly lifted his pad. With shades of Iggy yore, Jarome would slide the puck through the opening and give the Flames the 3-2 lead; the fans would respond in kind, as they roared to their feet, 19,000 strong.
For the rest of the period, it was all about protecting that third goal. It didn't matter if they scored another, just for the love of God, don't let the Blues score.
In the end, Calgary would be out-shot 38-17 and dominated 19-6 in scoring chances, but in the end no one cared. The Flames would win their seventh in a row at the Dome and tonight the game winner was scored by the one man everyone in Calgary is talking about.
Why the Flames Won...
To be honest, I have no idea. When you come off an abyssmal road trip and then are so heavily dominated in your own barn, there is no way you should come out with the two points.
Except no one told that to Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff.
On a night where it was fan appreciation night, it was the fans that would appreciate most, the effort of the two guys that are most likely to not remain with this team for much longer.
Sometimes life is an ironic game and Flames fans witnessed that first hand tonight.
It was great to see Roman Cervenka display some of that flashy offensive prowess that we have heard about for so long. Scoring the first two Flames goals, including one while on the PP, most likely made Bob Hartley breathe a sigh of relief that he chose to start him over Brian McGrattan. It might have even gotten him out of Hartley's doghouse... maybe.
We can all agree though that your Calgary Flames would not have survived Fan Appreciation night, let alone won the game, if it had not been for Miikka Kiprusoff. He stopped 36 of 38 shots and 19 of those shots were straight up legit scoring chances. The boy stood on his head at times and had fans remembering back to when he was of a Vezina standard. However, the two goals he did let in were soft and were at really inopportune times for this team, so I couldn't go with him.
So who does that leave us...
Yeah, you know it. We're going with the Captain tonight.
Iggy played 16:42, had a couple of hits and even a pretty nice takeaway. He had 4 shots on net, but none nicer than the effort he layed out in scoring the game winning goal in the third.
I'm not going to sugar-coat this either. With rumours and speculation swirling around this city like vultures, this very well could have been the last goal we see from Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla. If that is indeed the case, then he is not just the Red Warrior for tonight, but all the years he has given this organization and city.
Scoring Chance Summary
|Home||1||8:48||Cervenka - Goal||24||12||13||5||26||34||21||74||4||22||41||5v4|
|Home||2||10:21||Cervenka - Goal||10||11||24||5||26||34||10||21||74||5||27||41||5v5|
|Away||2||3:21||Oshie - Goal||10||24||20||5||26||34||74||25||42||22||27||41||5v5|
|Away||3||15:13||Sobotka - Goal||18||24||22||4||7||34||10||17||74||6||22||41||5v5|
|Home||3||7:02||Iginla - Goal||18||22||20||4||7||34||20||25||42||4||46||41||5v5|
Flames Player Summary
Blues Player Summary
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Sum It Up
Tonight was a night that Flames won a game they had no business winning.
While some would complain, I think that it's important for the fanbase that we do still get to see nights like tonight, especially when you get to see the performances we did out of guys like Cervenka.
There can be no denying that this was probably Kipper's best game this year, and it should be considered that, because he outright stole this one for the Flames. He was composed and made several 10 bell saves to keep Calgary in it; setting the stage for a storybook ending.
Seeing Iggy make that rush, shake off Redden and then turn and score the game winner... as a Flames fan, how could you not have a smile on your face while sitting on the edge of your seat?
It was an iconic play from an iconic player that has served this city well. There is so much speculation as to what happens in the next few days. We know that Pittsburgh is out of the running with the Morrow(s) deal, so that leave Chicago, LA, and Boston as the main players. Boston is most interesting as they are going to want to answer the bell on the Pittsburgh deal, so does that drive up the value or the asking price on Iggy? We should soon find out.
But, if this is the last time #12 takes the ice for the home team in the Saddledome, then with all the emotions and all the mixed feelings that plague my mind right now, I have but one comment left to make...
THANK YOU IGGY!