Against fairly good-sized odds, the Flames turned in their best performance in about three weeks. Too bad it was only the Kings.
Let’s talk about how important that win was last night, shall we?
The Flames enter the game knowing they have four games left on the schedule, but also knowing that, if they win the next two, they win the division. This is basically like a two-game playoff.
Well, good news: Game 1 was an emphatic W.
The Kings hadn’t been playing terribly, despite their position in the standings. The opposite could have been said of the Flames. And Calgary bulldozed its opponent last night in a way we haven’t seen in (conservatively) two months. It was very impressive, especially considering the Flames rolled 16 skaters for the second time in two games.
It was the first time the offense scored more than three goals since mid-March and it was the first time the defense looked like it had any idea what it was doing in at least five games. And to have it all happen at once? That bodes very well for tonight’s contest.
One down, one to go.
Offense — The Kings are one of the best teams in the league at limiting shots. Despite that, the Flames put 38 shots on net and repeatedly poured the pressure at Erik Ersberg all night (except in a couple situations, which I’ll get to in a moment). That’s fantastic.
Miikka Kiprusoff — He made a number of difficult stops last night and generally looked entirely unlike the goaltender we’ve become accustomed to seeing over the last month or so. That’s also fantastic.
David Moss — Kid’s a hockey player. His goal was gorgeous, as was the feed from Craig Conroy to set it up. Congrats on hitting 20.
Another goal for Jarome Iginla — Three in four games now. If he starts heating up properly, the Flames are going to be awful tough to stop in the first round.
Mike Cammalleri — Two points last night. When was the last time you could say that AND say he had a steady influence on the game? I thought it was his best performance in weeks.
Jim Vandermeer — They all look pretty on the scoresheet, Jimbo.
The win itself — Massively important. Incredibly.
Dion Phaneuf — Finished plus-2. That’ll play.
The power play — More than 2:30 of 5-on-3 time and they don’t do a thing with it. Literally two shots in 150-something seconds of two-man advantage. That is inexcusable. This power play hasn’t scored in what, seven games? I understand LA has a good penalty kill, but come ON.