Postgame: Bourque Powers Flames

DALLAS - JANUARY 27: Left wing Rene Bourque #17 of the Calgary Flames at American Airlines Center on January 27, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

After a 4-2 loss Thursday night in Detroit, the Calgary Flames bounced back with a 6-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night, getting their record back up above .500.  It gives Henrik Karlsson his first NHL win, and finishes a three game road trip on a winning note.  And Rene Bourque scored late in the third period to finish off his third career hat trick.

What Happened

It was an odd hockey game, with Calgary doing all the damage needed in the first period.  The Flames scored three times in the opening frame, starting with a Niklas Hagman marker following a powerplay.  Hagman scooped up an awful Steve Mason rebound and made no mistake with the finish.  Calgary would score again thanks to a nice pass from Matt Stajan, again following a powerplay…Stajan fed an Ian White one-timer from the point to put the Flames up 2-0.  Derek Dorsett would get Columbus back within one, and the Jackets almost tied it late in the opening frame.  But following a golden scoring chance at one end, the Flames went back the other way with Rene Bourque finishing an Olli Jokinen drop pass to put Calgary up 3-1.  Steve Mason was suspect on at least two of the goals, and I didn’t feel the Flames dominated by any stretch, but they scored on their opportunities and took advantage of subpar goaltending.

The second period saw just one goal, again from the Flames, as Mikael Backlund fed Bourque beatifully on a Jackets powerplay.  The shorthanded goal put the Flames up 4-1 and put them into a defensive shell for the rest of the game.  Calgary really started to sit back, and they probably felt fairly safe in doing so, as the Jackets responded with almost zero push through most of this game.

The final frame saw both teams score, with Columbus gaining momentary life on a Jan Hejda pointshot, but that was cancelled very shortly after.  Jarome Iginla found Alex Tanguay all by himself at the right circle and Tanguay made no mistake, blowing it by Mason to put the Flames back in front by three.  In the dying seconds of the period, Bourque ripped one past Mason to give him the trick, and give Calgary their largest lead of the night.  6-2 would end up being the final.

Henrik Karlsson was fairly strong in net, giving up one bad goal (Dorsett), but making some big saves later on in the game.  It’s kind of difficult to get a strong read on the Calgary Tower, because, well…that wasn’t the most difficult game to play in as a goalie.  He certainly outplayed his counterpart, though.

One Good Reason…

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 03:  Olli Jokinen#21 and Jarome Iginla #12 of the Calgary Flames stand for the National Anthem before the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on December 3, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Flames 2-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

…why the Flames won?  Well…the opposite of what we saw on Thursday.  The Flames got contribution from their top offensive threats.  Bourque finished with three goals and four points while Iginla finished with three assists.  Jokinen and Stajan also had two points in this one.  Granted, it was against an uninspired opponent, and you weren’t blown away with certain "top players" overall, but the top guys added offence and that’s important.

Red Warrior

SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 5: Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff #34 is congratulated by Mark Giordano #5 of the Calgary Flames after defeating the Florida Panthers 2-1 on February 5, 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Well, tonight I’ll give it to Mark Giordano, just because I want to.  Oh, and also because he was extremely strong and reduced Jackets sniper Rick Nash to a sniveling child in the second period.  Gio delivered a strong, clean check to Nash on the end boards and Nash reacted like a child who lost his ball.  No points, but a +2 for Mark, and he continues to be Calgary’s best skater.  But no one is surprised by this.

PS…Rene Bourque should probably be here, but I like #5.

Sum It Up

The Columbus Blue Jackets looked like a team who had to show up but didn’t want to.  There was almost zero push back in this game, and they made it pretty easy on Henrik Karlsson and the Flames.  But, it’s rather cynical to say "the opposition sucked" as a reason why a team won a game.  The truth is, Calgary was the better team, and while they may not have generated a ton of quality chances, they did convert upon the ones they did create.

I’d be wary of sitting back and admiring this one, but it lets the Flames finish their first road trip of the season successfully, and it gives them a win heading into a tough Sunday game against the Sharks.

  • Tough to judge with the easy competition. But was that chemistry I saw between Bourque and Jokinen? Wouldn’t that be nice.

    Overall, not much to complain about. It wasn’t a great benchmark for the Flames. However, it did reset the club getting them out of the basement in scoring. Both individually and as a team. (Four players all of a sudden in the PPG range.)

    Hopefully that will result in some chemistry and confidence leading on.

    The PP sort of ended in results tonight. However, the PP is going to be the achilles heel of this team if they don’t get it in order. Almost cost us the game in Nashville. Probably did cost us the game in Detroit. Is it weird to say I miss Kotalik?

    As a side note, anyone else find it odd that Tanguay has 3 goals and an assist while Iggy has 4 assists and a goal?

    • It seems to me as Bourque makes players better. Last year he worked well with Langkow, and if he can keep it up and him Jokinen, I see some positives that can be had out of the flames second line.

      But this shows how valuable Bourque is to this flames team, and even last year he proved that. Hopefully no one touches him the rest of this year, and he stays injury/concussion free. He is a key secondary scorer. (At this rate, Seems like he will be the flames main scorer)

      And as a side note for me, Love to watch Hagman with his stick-handling ability. Im sure most of these guys can do it, Its just that I notice him (More than anyone else) stick handle with confidence and beat people one on one to get a shot away. Anyone agree there?

  • The opposition did seem a bit weak, but in all fairness the Flames were coming off a back to back and many did diminish their win over the Kings when they came off a back to back.

    The best way to teach defensive zone discipline and positioning is by killing penalties. Teaching it at game speed is ideal and offensively gifted players such as Backlund need to learn the defensive part of the game as offense comes more naturally.

    Flames still need to go to the net harder but are gradully improving that aspect of the game-if they can remain committed to it they should score sufficiently.

  • It was a solid game all around. When the Bluejackets scored the Flames were able to repsond and found the back of the net again. This is the kind of effort and chemistry is what will be required to play against the better teams and if the Flames want to be an elite team themselves. This is the level of play they will have to bring more often than not. I was quite pleased with the regular season debut for Henrik Karlsson and if they can get him more games and let him work at his game so when he does get a chance to play against a more balanced and stronger opponent he will be ready. There were lots of good signs last night and nice to see them bounce back after a inconsistent effort against Detroit. The Blue Jackets were okay last night but I felt their goalie Steve Mason had a poor performance in goal which just never gave the Blue Jackets a chance to really come back and make a game of it because Karlsson was much better on our end.

    Good result all around though.

    Have a great day Flames fans!