Well, that’s a whole lot better. After Calgary’s 4-0 loss on the road in Edmonton, the Flames looked a whole lot better Sunday in their home opener, a 3-1 win over the LA Kings. Curtis Glencross scored goal #1 on the season, shorthanded to boot, and Calgary rode a strong performance from Miikka Kiprusoff in net en route to the win.
After a first period where the Kings dominated possession, Calgary started to get their legs. LA looked strong in the first period, and played well, but weren’t able to solve Kiprusoff on their eight opening frame shots. Even though Calgary won the shot contest 12-8, they needed to focus more on puck possession, and they did in the final 40. The story of the first period were injuries to defenceman Adam Pardy and forward Rene Bourque. Pardy left with a shoulder injury and didn’t return, followed by Bourque leaving with a suspected head injury; he also didn’t return. Bourque collided with Kevin Westgarth and seemed to catch an inadvertent elbow or forearm.
It took Calgary 91 minutes and 31 seconds to score their first goal of the season, but it was a nice one that came on a Kings powerplay. Jack Johnson made a bad pass under pressure that got picked off by Calgary’s Brett Sutter…he found Curtis Glencross behind the LA defence before Glencross finished with a nice right-to-left to put Calgary up 1-0.
Calgary came to play in the third period, outshot the Kings 14-7, and scored twice, including a Craig Conroy marker that seemed to tip off the LA defenceman. The goal happened very shortly after the Kings hit the post at the other end. Calgary had a number of quality scoring chances in the third period following that as well, and give credit to Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier, who was solid in net as well. Dustin Brown finally got the Kings on the board at 14:06 and had a few chances to tie it up, but a late penalty from Brad Richardson killed any momentum; Niklas Hagman sealed it with his first of the year into an empty net.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? I’ll go with consistency. They played a fairly solid game start to finish and avoided any of the swings they seemed to suffer on Thursday in Edmonton. Once they started to get their possession game under wraps, I felt they played a whole lot stronger…I was pretty impressed with their final 40 minutes. Calgary’s strength is when they work it down low and use their cycle, and they were good doing that on this night.
This one was a no brainer for me. Stefan Meyer was really good, and fits his role really well. For the second straight game, he drew a pair of penalties and was strong on the puck. I was really hoping he might pot one in the third period, because through two games with his new team, he’s been pretty impressive.
Sum It Up
Well, the game was impressive for the most part, but the main story will be injuries…once again. The status of Adam Pardy and Rene Bourque are going to be hot topics over the next few days. Bourque has a history of concussions, and speculation is that he’s suffered another one, judging from the way he left the ice tonight. If Pardy can’t go, then Cory Sarich or Steve Staios may draw into the lineup.
Next up is the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.