Postgame: What a Night

Calgary Flames' Steve Staios (R) knocks Edmonton Oilers Andrew Cogliano (13) to the ice as Flames' goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff watches the action during the first period of their NHL hockey game in Calgary, Alberta, October 16, 2010. REUTERS/Jack Cusano (CANADA - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

It was an outstanding night at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday, and the result ended up being the right one for the home squad, a 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers in round two of the Battle of Alberta.  Jarome Iginla scored his first of the season on the powerplay with just over 12 minutes to go in the third period, and the Flames evened their record at 2-2 on the season.

What Happened

Calgary fell behind early in a fired up building, thanks to a collision between Miikka Kiprusoff and Ian White; Ales Hemsky picked up the junk and scooted a puck in at 5:21 to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead.  Things went back and forth from there, with Alex Tanguay converting a great feed from Matt Stajan to tie things up.  The first frame saw Calgary outshoot the Oilers 10-5, but it was certainly misleading, with play very, very even.

The second period was very similar, with a ton of chances exchanged at both ends, and three goals scored.  Dustin Penner’s goal to put Edmonton up 2-1 came 22 seconds into the period, and it came off the face of Ian White.  White went to the bench, got stitched up, and returned to play later on in the period…the goal itselfhappened  when Jarome Iginla was unable to clear the puck.  It didn’t take long for Brendan Morrison to tie things up after a very odd sequence…Morrison took a bad penalty for boarding which lead to an Oilers powerplay.  At the tail end, Kurtis Foster rang a shot off the post before the Flames went down the ice and tied things up; Morrison scored his first as a member of the Flames.  But Magnus Paajarvi put the Oilers up 3-2 at 4:16 off a Jay Bouwmeester giveaway; after a review, the goal was good and Edmonton carried their one goal lead into the final frame.

Give Calgary credit, as they’d stuck with it for 40 minutes, generating chances and getting their opportunities.  Nikolai Khabibulin was strong in net for the Oilers, but the Flames kept skating, and it paid dividends starting with Niklas Hagman’s second of the season at 4:29 of the third.  Then on a powerplay, drawn thanks to strong skating and posession by Calgary, Iginla put the home side ahead for good.  Alex Tanguay scored into an empty net late to ice a three point night.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames won?  Because they actually did the things needed to generate offence.  They weren’t overly strong in the defensive zone start to finish, but they did the things they needed from start to finish driving the play down the ice.  Calgary dominated in the scoring chance count, and deserved to finally get something going in the final frame.  Sure there’s still work to do, as there should be four games in, but at least we saw things done on a fairly consistent basis.  After doing none of it on Thursday against Florida, it was good to see things happen on this night.

Red Warrior

DENVER - NOVEMBER 24: Cory Sarich #6 of the Calgary Flames skates against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on November 24, 2007 in Denver, Colorado. The Flames defeated the Avalanche 5-2. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

I was going to go with Alex Tanguay, but I’ve gotta go with my heart.  Cory Sarich was outstanding on the blueline for the Flames, adding a much needed physical spark and not looking out of place at all in his 18:12 of ice time.  The scoring chance data was even more impressive, with a 13-0 count at even strength to go along with Mark Giordano’s 11-2.  Sarich certainly earned himself a spot Tuesday in Nashville, maybe beside T.J. Brodie?

Sum It Up

A much better effort and a deserved win for the Calgary Flames.  They put 46 shots on the Oilers net and can at the very least have an all right feeling heading into Tuesday’s game against the Predators in Nashville.  Granted, the Oilers are a little loose in their own end, and made some glaring mistakes, but the Flames win and let’s see if they can carry over anything into Tuesday.

  • Finally, Loved to see Sarich in tonight and he didnt dissapoint. Not saying he was top 2 tonight, But I believe if Gio and Sarich are paired together they are a good fit for each other. Now all I want is Brodie for Staios and then I will be happy with the back-end.

    On a side note, How about them jerseys?!? Im not 100% sure (And this is probably more of a question than a statement) but arent they 7-0 or 8-0 with these jerseys including last season wins?

  • Helluva game. The cycle looked good, the front line showed up and it was just a no quit game start to finish. I’d also like to point out that Glencross was solid yet again, despite being left off the score sheet. A couple of HUGE chances for him and his line tonight.

  • OilFan

    We need to wear these jerseys from now on at home. We are undefeated, I believe 9 and 0, wearing our throwbacks.

    Maybe it’s nice to look AND feel like a winner?

    Classic Tanguay. The guy’s always had an underrated shot. It’s nice to see him hook up iggy and make it look easy haha.

  • JPK

    Things I liked about the game: 1. Finally(!) that good old Tanguay-Iginla chemistry kicks in. That’ll be key down the road. 2. Sutter broke up Iginla and Jokinen, never going to work with those two together 3. The PP gets its first (real) goal. Minnesota already has seven! 4. Stajan proved he can centre the first line – three assists.

    What I didn’t like. Bouwmeester seems lost sometimes, still has no points. Hell, the defence only has 3 assists combined.

  • the-wolf

    Thank you Sutter for finally taking Jokinen off the top line. I was petrified that it’d end up being a 20 game experiment or something. Jokinen tries as hard as anyone, but just seems lost out there. I think the reduced pressure of being on the second line will serve him well. Stajan seemed like a good fit in there.

    On the negative side, I’ll admit that Calgary out-chanced Edmonton, but if not for Kipper they could’ve buried Calgary and their seemingly new-found confidence early. This game largely came down to Kipper outplaying Khabiboulin to me.

    But what happens when it’s time to play the Karlsson? Does the team have another meltdown, unable to play without their safety blanket back there?

    • Kipper outplayed Khabibulin? The first goal against was on Kipper. And the Flames outchanced the Oil by a huge amount. Heck, Edmonton had all of 3 scoring chances through the first 20 minutes.

      The Flames won the game because they grossly outplayed the Oilers.

      • OilFan

        Kipper was the reason the Flames stayed in the game and then took over the game. Face offs where huge for the Flames and the Oilers d-man look brutal in there own end. Flames got the win and deserved the win. 3 scoring chances in the first 20 min ? No scoring chance from Hall or Foster when he hit the post ? The one guy who stood out the most was Hagman in my eyes he played solid.

        I’m a Iginla fan but hate the flames good to see him score again to bad my Oilers where the team. It’s just one game rememeber we have more to come.

        • Foster hit the post from the point if I recall. I don’t count point shots as scoring chances.

          Honestly, I don’t understand this Kipper was great stuff. He saw five shots in the first period and one of them went in because he screwed up royally. I counted 3 scoring chances for the Oilers through 20. Dennis counted 2. Edmonton wasn’t overly dangerous at any part of this game.

      • BobB

        Come on Kent. Really?

        You get all tied up anytime someone mentions goaltending as a positive.

        He didn’t say “stood on his head”

        he could have said Nik “outsucked Kipper”

        We all know that wins come from more than just out-chancing. Look at every game Colorado played last year.

        Was it a dominant game or a beautiful game by Kiprusoff last night. NO. Absolutely not. Full Stop.

        But to try and discount his play, which was solid, and better than Khabibulin, based on the first goal is weak.

        That goal was as much on GlenX, for the lame neutral zone effort complete with over-the-head stick swat and JBO for the weak positioning on the near-camera boards and poor hustle as it was Kipper.

        AND then there is White, who not only ran into our goalie, making any kind of butterfly slide across the net impossible, but also chased a faster more skilled player behind the net. You learn to not do that in Pee Wee.

        Kiprusoff eliminated the initial scoring chance entirely, that’s his job, but the two defenders allowed an un-challenged second chance, and one (White) bumped their goalie. That’s on them

        Sure it was ugly, sure the Oilers embarrassed the Flames on that play. And sure, Kipper is probably glad the game is over and they got the win. He wasn’t “spectacular”

        But saying any of those goals are “entirely on him” shows a lack of importance on positioning and defensive play.

        Hockey is a volume game, but it’s more than just that.

  • the-wolf

    Good overall game. Tangs was great and I thought that Joker was working hard on the 2nd line. I’m glad for the win but I do have concerns about our backend. Staios was his usual terrible self and White seemed off his game even before he took the puck off the face. Sarich reminded me why we got him with a strong performance. Regehr was good but someone needs to talk to him about waiting to release his shot to allow someone in front to screen or tip it. Anyways, glad for the win and hopefully we see Brodie next game instead of Staios.

  • Section 216

    Was at the game last night, very proud of the effort. Cory Sarich was very solid last night, reminded me of his 2004 Cup run play.

    It’s too bad that when everyone comes back that it probably spells an end to Stefan Meyer. I could really care less about Brett Sutter but Meyer has played his heart out on the fourth line.

    Though in the end more offense is what we need.

    • the-wolf

      Sarich was GREAT last night with Gio and it actually showed, I HATE Staios but all in all he only took one bad penalty that i saw and he kept his head above water on the powerplay but Brodie is a better fit anyways. Bye bye Steve.

      Bouwmeester still hasn’t impressed me, and Regehr is doing great defensively again. White hasn’t impressedme either…….

      ya meyer deserves a spot with this team but hey maybe he could be our 13th forward?

      nice to see Iggy and Tangs workin things out

  • the-wolf

    Stefan Meyer is quickly becoming one of my favourite Flames. Hopefully he sticks with the team. I cant imagine him being sent down even if the injured return not with how he was playing; even Tim Jackman was doing it for me. Glencross is awesome and had an awesome game. He needs to be signed.

    Something about Ian Whites game makes me not like him all that much. In a debate between him and Gio hands down they need to keep Gio. Its only 4 games in but at this point for a man playing for a contract he hasnt done anything to impress (-2) on the season. Its a young season though and hopefully he gets it together.

    I pray to god that was Staios’ last NHL game ever. Hes played 2 games against weak teams and is already -4 on the year. I knew he was bad but this is way worse than i remember. Brodie surely must be the guy they call on going forward (at least until Pardy returns).

    This was an exciting game and even if the Flames lost I would have been happy with the effort and it was exciting. They need to keep this effort going forward. Part of me wants to think they will but really if history has taught us anything they absolutely will not and we are in for a lot more “treats” like game 1 and Florida.

    With every passing game I watch I am starting to believe Peca a little more than Buow might be an easy opponent. If I had my way they would trade him ASAP because he proves further to be an extremely over rated defender in the NHL. NJ or Washington absolutely need better defense (cap isnt an issue in Washington too much either).

    Anyways GFG! They can beat Nashville I think.

  • I don’t know what’s wrong with White right now. He looked so good last year, and now he’s not even close. If he does underperform this year I still hope he gets signed at a discount, because he is not this bad.

  • BobB

    Lawrence: I don’t often see goalies make save attempts where their pad extends all the way past the post, nor do I often see wraparound goals into open nets.

    That one was all Kipper.

    • BobB

      by saying “That one was all Kipper”

      you are implying that White made the correct play in chasing Hemsky behind the net.

      Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night.

  • BobB

    you are implying that White made the correct play in chasing Hemsky behind the net.

    Do you leave Hemsky unchecked but not in a scoring area, or do you let him go back to the front of the net but keep his options limited?

    Hemsky is obviously very good so you don’t want him in the scoring area but you also don’t want him unchecked and ready to put the puck in the scoring area.

    That’s what one calls 50/50.

    What isn’t 50/50 is that there should be no scoring chance on a wraparound there.

    • BobB

      Do you leave Hemsky unchecked but not in a scoring area, or do you let him go back to the front of the net but keep his options limited?

      …umm, chasing a guy behind the net is not a 50/50, it’s a 0/100. In that, White will always lose, the only person he is checking or eliminting is himself. The only option White limits is Hemsky going back behind the net and all he is effectively doing is forcing a guy from a zero chance to score position to a chance to score position. Even if the goalie recovers after being bumped by White he could still be scored on because Hemsky comes out alone.

      This is Pee Wee hockey coaching. Pee Wee.

      Look, it’s really meaningless to argue this. If you want to believe that Kipper screwed up one shot, I’m not going to bother trying to convince you otherwise. But there is no coach, no person in hockey, who is going to tell a player to chase a guy on that play, if they have even a remote idea of what they are talking about.

      • BobB

        Sorry buddy we all love Kipper but he overplayed it beyond an angle where the scoring chance was eliminated. The fact that he extended his pad past the post caused him to be contacted and then be out of position on the wraparound.
        Also I don’t see where he out played Khabby.
        It is ok for Kipper to not be the difference maker all the time.
        He was average and we won-all is good.

  • BobB

    you also don’t want him unchecked and ready to put the puck in the scoring area.

    Behind the net while unchecked is where a lot of the elite players in this league initiate ten-bell scoring chances.

    Every time an elite player like Hemsky is unchecked behind your net with the puck, bad things will happen. Every time.

    And of course if he does come out, he’ll be checked but there’s a brief window when he can pick far side anywhere or short side corner and potentially score too. Not on a wraparound, but after getting ten feet from the slot, in that quarter second before White takes him out.

    The reason coaches don’t advocate D’s chasing F’s behind the net is that it’s the supporting F’s job to do that. Coaches don’t advocate leaving good players with time and space to make a pass into the slot from behind the net. And the puck’s in transition, White had no supporting F but Hemsky was going to have an F in the slot right quick. And this aspect of the game isn’t paint by numbers, you have to adapt. White adapted, made a judgment call.

    • BobB

      I recommend watching it again, then reading again. Cause nothing you’re describing is true. The first man back after White and Hemsky was Bouwmeester. Then Iginla, Then Stajan with an Oiler driving in as the 6th man after the puck was in the net. The Oilers were changing, Hemsky just came on.

      “White had no support”??? You must be watching a different highlight.

      When goals go in, it’s often because of numerous breakdowns. Kipper didn’t save it, White screwed up… Potentially initiating a chance is far better than being given one, especially when you have two other Flames coming back first in support.

      I’ve said it twice, I’ll say it again, and you can make up all the “White had no support, adapted this, adapted that stuff you want.”

      Whites mistake is a mistake in Pee wee. Full Stop.

  • everton fc

    Some good comments here. My thoughts:

    Sarich should have earned a regular spot on defence. He is a leader. Remember in the series vs. the Hawks – broken leg, arguable showed more heart than any Flames. I hope he plays out his contract here.

    Meyer won’t go down (though I think he’s on a two-way, is he not?) Nor will Sutter (he’d be picked up off waivers this time around) Perhaps one of the d-men (Staois) goes down… and is (hopefully) picked up on waivers. Or Backlund goes down when Moss returns…?

    Glencross is indeed, under-rated. Jackman has done well here. Backlund could go down to spare Meyer and Sutter. A fourth line of Sutter-Meyer-Jackman – they’ll be sandpaper, while potting a few goals… Where does Conroy fit, though? When Moss comes back… Kotalik…?? Morrison seems to be safe. He is putting up points. Backlund may be the odd man out here. Does anyone think he has improved much centering the third line? Or would Moss be better centering Glencross and Kotalik (eventually)…?

    I agree that White looks less and less like a $3million/season defenceman. And Bouwmeester… could be our way to get some high draft picks for the future. Or some immediate offensive talent. Gio is bound to be re-signed. And Glencross… (We still don’t look so deep defencively, do we?)

    Our first line looked like they enjoyed themselves. The second line looked okay, as well. I actually like Morrison there. I like Morrison on our team.

    Finally… we need to scrap our current jerseys, and wear the vintage not just at home, but on the road. Not because we are 7-0. But because they look GREAT! One of the best jerseys in the league. The colours are awesome. Looks great vs. the Oilers, as well. Makes us look tougher. More old-school.

  • icedawg_42

    I have to say that im fully in Lawrence’s corner on this one – when I watched White (who was also in bad position to start with) chase Hemsky behind the net, I started screaming “What the !&@^%# are you doing” at my TV. – indeed I wouldnt let my ATOM team get away with that! Maybe Kipper got suckered on that one and over committed, but you are going to be hard pressed to catch someone even on a straight away if you are a stride and a half behind…why would White think he could do it around the net with Hemsky on the inside track???