With the win over the Detroit Red Wings, the Flames managed to leapfrog the former NHL juggernaut into 8th place in the Western Conference. The victory was Calgary’s third straight, much of that owing to a sudden offensive outburst (14 goals in 3 games) the likes of which this club hasn’t seen since October. Granted, a couple of those were empty-netters, but you have to be ahead at the end of the game to get those chances, so…huzzah!
The Flames were actually outplayed through the first half of the game last night, generating very little in the way of shots or chances through the first 30+ minutes. The Red Wings mostly controlled the play, especially whenever Datsyuk was on the ice. That and a couple of power plays had them ahead by a goal after two periods and seemingly in the drivers seat heading into the third.
Calgary took control in the final frame, however, out-shooting the Wings 15-4 and outscoring them 3-0. The reversal was driven by the new-look "first line" of Iginla, Bourque and Stajan, a trio that scored on back-to-back dominating shifts 1:31 apart. The addition of Bourque to the top line has sparked the recent offensive fucundity, with he and Jarome tallying 12 points combined in the last two contests. They mostly faced off against Datsyuk, Franzen and Holmstrom, although Brent was very cognizent of getting them out against lesser lights in order to avoid hard match-ups against the Red Wings best players. Bourque’s GWG, for example, was a shift "out of rotation" for the first unit, which caught the Red Wings in the middle of change. That’s why you see Darren Helm’s number in the game summary beside that event instead of Pavel Datsyuk.
While not quite as impressive or dramatic, last night’s come from behind win was somewhat reminiscent of the Flames 6-5 S/O victory over Detroit (in Detroit) last season – for my money, Calgary’s best game of 2008-09. The Flames dominated the final period in that game too and were only robbed of a regulation win by a last second goal-mouth scramble marker. Of course, Detroit was a better team last year, but the stakes weren’t quite as high for either club at the time either.
With the ‘W’, Calgary improved their chances to make the post-season to a coin flip, which is a drastic improvement from just one week ago. They could put further distance between themselves and the Wings if they can beat them again this coming Monday.
And finally, special congrats to Chris Higgins, who broke a long scoring drought by potting the empty-netter. Higgins has been full value since the Flames acquired him, so it was good to see him finally rewarded with a goal.
Twas a tussle free evening
The Big Save
Just 12 seconds into the third, Miikka Kiprusoff stopped Holmstrom point blank to keep the deficit at just one.
The Big Hit
Mark Giordano roughly introduced ex-Flame (and my favorite punching bag) Todd Bertuzzi to the boards.
What it means
Flames are one point ahead of Detroit for 8th in the West and 2 points behind the Predators for 7th
Flames face the resurgent Ottawa Senators at home Thursday night.