Flames throw a block party

If you’re a big fan of broken Plexiglas and people throwing themselves in front of speeding rubber, then Thursday night’s all-Canadian contest between the Flames and the Senators at the Saddledome was for you.

Some Jacques Clouseau-like repair work on the Saddledome glass resulted in a lengthy delay to the the start of the contest and maybe that’s why the majority of the game had all the allure of a week-old egg-salad sandwich.

Meanwhile, the Flames followed up their most important victory of the season to date — Tuesday’s comeback effort in Detroit — with a pretty sloppy performance, but they did so well in the closely related blue-collar categories of shot-blocking and penalty-killing that they pulled out a 2-0 win over the Sens. It was the Flames’ fourth straight dubya.

The blue-line tandem of Cory Sarich and Mark Giordano in particular was in self-sacrificing mode as each d-man seemed intent to give Miikka Kiprusoff a run for his money in the race to stop the most pucks. Between them, Sarich and Giordano accounted for 11 of the Flames’ 30 blocked shots. Kiprusoff, incidentally, made 33 stops for the shutout.

In addition to drawing assists on Jamal Mayers ice-breaking goal — the ex-Leaf’s first as a Flame — Curtis Glencross and Eric Nystrom played integral roles in a Calgary penalty-killing unit that survived five straight Ottawa power plays.

Chris Higgins also beat a goaltender for the first time since joining the Flames (his first Calgary marker was an empty-netter to ice Tuesday’s contest at the Joe Louis Arena).

Flames lines


Defence pairings


Three Stars

  1. Mark Giordano
  2. Cory Sarich
  3. Miikka Kiprusoff
  4. The Saddledome workman who finally suggested they use a replacement pane that was the same size as the hole in the seamless glass

Fight Card

Everyone was more or less on their best behaviour and the fists were kept holstered.

The Big Save

The combination of a crossbar, Ottawa forward Peter Regin’s wayward shooting and perhaps, just perhaps, the very edge of Miikka Kiprusoff’s pad resulted in a whiff on a wide-open chance at the Flames net in the third period.

The Big Hit

Ottawa’s Milan Michalek had a full head of steam rushing into the Flames zone in the second period but he was abruptly cut off at the pass by little Calgary blue-liner Ian White’s solid jolt.

What It Means

For a third time in a week, the Flames (34-24-9) responded to a Detroit victory earlier in the day in an easterly time zone by recording a win of their own. Calgary thus stays one point ahead of the Motowners. It also means the Flames finished the season 5-0 in their spiffy vintage red sweaters.

What’s Next

Jarome Iginla returns to the scene of Canada’s recent Olympic triumph on Sunday and he’ll have the rest of his Calgary buddies with him as the Flames take on Jannik Hansen and the Vancouver Canucks.