That was the total opposite of pretty, as the Calgary Flames were able to pull one of their behind and eventually skate to a 5-4 shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Alex Tanguay scored the winner on a gorgeous roof shot to seal a game where Calgary held a three goal lead late in the second period.
I thought a pretty solid first period for the Flames, outchancing the Oilers 9-4 and outscoring them 2-1. Brendan Morrison opened the scoring on the powerplay, his second of the season, as he walked in from the right point and wired a slap shot past Nikolai Khabibulin at 5:52. Just under three minutes later, the Oilers would equalize, also on the man advantage, as Kurtis Foster would blow a point shot past Miikka Kiprusoff at 8:38. But a late powerplay chance would give the Flames their lead back (TWO POWERPLAY GOALS!) on a Jay Bouwmeester goal from the left circle. But credit Tanguay and his deft no look pass to set that one up…goodness gracious that guy can dish.
The second period saw Calgary scoring early on, just over two minutes in the Flames best line (again) would cash in…Mikael Backlund fed Curtis Glencross off a Ryan Whitney giveaway to put Calgary up 3-1. You can make it 4-1 on Morrison’s third on a shorthanded breakaway, his second such break of the period unassisted at 9:48. Edmonton was downright awful at spans of the middle frame, and laughable at other times…there was a two minute span when it looked like they were the Washington Generals. Ugh. But, Jordan Eberle would score a softy on Kiprusoff with 17 seconds left in the second to put Edmonton within two, and give them some life heading into the final frame.
And that momentum would certainly come into play, as the Oilers came out flying. Edmonton media are calling the third period their best since opening night, also against Calgary. Magnus Paajarvi scored at 6:52 on a partial break to put the Oil within one before Tom Gilbert took a nice pass from Dustin Penner to wire it through and get this game squared at 9:19. Once it was 4-4, the Oilers had some real good chances to put themselves up by one, but Kiprusoff came through on some big saves, and the Oilers missed some quality opportunities as well.
Overtime solved nothing with a few okay chances both way, so off to a shootout where Kiprusoff made three stops on Eberle, Hemsky and Penner while Tanguay scored the only goal for the Flames to seal this one. Whew.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? Well, plain and simple, because they won the shootout. They blew this game in the final frame, and let a team playing downright awful hockey at teams get back into this hockey game. It’s a shame too, because there were some positives, including a dangerous looking powerplay that finished 2/5 on the night. Now, give Calgary credit, they won the game and got the two points and make it a three game win streak…but I know a lot of people weren’t thrilled that this one went to extra time. Head Coach Brent Sutter said you learn from it, and move on…because there was some good in this game, and some bad in this game.
No question. Two goals for Brendan Morrison only starts to tell the story of how much he was around the puck tonight. For a guy making very little dough, he’s been pretty darn good at times, but never better than he was in this game. The scoring chances flesh that out…10-3 in Calgary’s favour when he was on the ice. Very, very good night.
Sum It Up
Well…Miikka gets a win for the first time on his birthday, but it wasn’t pretty. Calgary played some sloppy, bad hockey in the final frame, and let the Oilers back in this hockey game. Alex Tanguay said following this game that it wasn’t really what Edmonton did, but more what Calgary didn’t do in that third period. Not to take credit away from the Oilers, but come on, 4-1 should not turn into 4-4 period, but especially not with how bad Edmonton played at times. But, move on, that’s all you can do…a beat up Colorado team is in next Thursday night.