A victory both unlikely and unimpressive

Calgary Flames v Washington Capitals


The Flames win over the Capitals yesterday was an unlikely one. Unlikely because of the gap between the two teams in the standings. Unlikely because Washington is the highest scoring team in the league and the Flames are…not. Unlikely because of Calgary’s ineptitude leading into the contest. Not a lot of folks would have put money on the Flames yesterday and for good reason.

They did win though. I guess. They jumped on a flat team with some shoddy netminding to build up a lead and then spent the rest of the contest getting their heads positively beaten in. By the third, the Flames were on a perpetual penalty kill; the shots were 20-2 in favor of WAS and the corsi was even more embarrassing (-43). To put that latter number in context, it’s the biggest differential I’ve personally ever seen in a game involving the Flames, and most of it occurred in the third (-37). That’s the type of outshooting you’d expect to see between an NHL and AHL squad. Awful.

Sure the Flames were playing for the second straight afternoon and they were facing a high powered club in their own barn. But that’s just not a sound way to win a hockey game. Luckily, the difference between Kipper and Theodore was enough to preserve the win, but the manner in which the Flames stumbled to the finish line yesterday simply re-affirmed the fact that they are not a playoff caliber team this year.

That said, there were some decent performances, including the "second line" of Bourque, Backlund and Kotalik. Bourque mainly drove the results with the trio finishing with 6 points and a +9. Backlund held his own (as much as any Flame did in this contest) in 11 minutes of ice which a positive sign. 

Three Stars

1.) Rene Bourque

2.) Alex Ovechkin

3.) Miikka Kiprusoff

The Big Hit

Eric Nystrom caught Mike Green with a big open ice hit midway through the contest

The Big Save

The entire third period. Really, it would be tough to choose amongst the multiple stops Kipper made in the final frame.

What it means

The Flames are now 4 back of the 8th placed Colorado Avalanche. They can narrow that gap on Friday when the two teams meet for the last time this year.

What’s Next

Flames come back home on Wednesday to face the Phoenix Coyotes