Postgame: Good Third, Big Win

Calgary Flames' David Moss (L) can't get the puck past Colorado Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj (C) and John-Michael Liles in the first period of their NHL hockey game in Denver November 9, 2010. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

Looking at this game on paper heading in, it was a game you thought the Calgary Flames should win if they made life difficult on the Colorado Avalanche.  Well, that wasn’t always the case Tuesday night in Denver, but it happened when it counted most and the Flames took a 4-2 come from behind win over the Colorado Avalanche.

What Happened

The Avalanche opened the scoring early thanks to Brandon Yip’s fourth of the season…it came at the tail end of a bad Cory Sarich penalty, and it put the Avalanche up 1-0.  The Avs would outshoot the visitors and carry their lead into the second period.

The middle frame saw Calgary take advantage of some early powerplay time, as a Daniel Winnik hooking call carried over from late in the first.  Jay Bouwmeester’s point shot was deflected nicely by Curtis Glencross who got credit for his fourth of the season.  Shots ended up 13-6 for the Avs in the middle frame, as they really started to work the Flames as the period progressed, but a couple saves from Miikka Kiprusoff would end up being key for the final 20 minutes.

The third period saw some odd bad fortune for the Calgary Flames, as a scrum at the end of the second saw both Mikael Backlund and Cory Sarich penalized, and with the penalty situation as it was, the Avs found themselves on a 5-on-3 powerplay 39 seconds into the frame.  A Chris Stewart goal would put Colorado back on top, as he potted his 10th off a rebound.  The goal came at 1:25 and the Avalanche had a few chances to go up by two before the Flames tied it back the other way, thanks to Mikael Backlund’s first in eight games at 9:03.  It came after a strong shift by both David Moss and Niklas Hagman, and spurred things on for the Moss winner at 15:45.  Again, it was some nice down low work by both Hagman and Moss, as the latter would outwork Colorado’s Ryan O’Reilly to put the Flames in front.  Glencross sealed it at 19:26 in an empty net.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames won?  Becuase they exerted their advantage at even strength when it really counted, in the third period.  This was an odd game, with a lot of penalty calls messing with the flow of the game, so it was difficult for a lot of even strength success.  However, there was a span in the second period where Calgary really gained some momentum, and the third period as well.  That third period is where they did their most important damage, and took advantage of a beat up Avalanche team the way they were supposed to.  Good on em.

Red Warrior

Solid night for David Moss, as he picks up a goal and a helper and really helped drive things on a line with Hagman and Backlund.  Those three were put together in the second period, after Brent Sutter made the call to staple Brendan Morrison to the bench.  Moss had a number of pretty good opportunities in the second and third period, and then helped things materialize on the tying goal.  He really worked on the winning goal as well and deserves the tip of the hat here.

Sum It Up

Hey, they’ll take it, regardless of whether it was a perfect effort or not.  I do think the disjointed nature of the opening 40 played into some of the lethargic nature of the Flames, but there really isn’t any excuse for it either.  Calgary responded after the Avs took their third period lead, and when this thing got to even strength for an extended period of time, they leaned on the Avs and were able to score some goals.

Couple notes…both Morrison and Craig Conroy were both benched by Sutter in this game, and were not battling any injuries.  Morrison played just 5:54 while Conroy only saw 6:00 of ice time.  Sutter said they were both fighting it.  On the Avs side, T.J. Galiardi suffered a broken wrist and David van der Gulik suffered a torn MCL.  Yikes, that team is injury riddled to say the least.

  • Olli playing against good players. That’s a sad proposition.

    Though what other choice is there, really?

    I mean is there even a centre on this roster that has experience playing against good players, is healthy and showing that he can yet move the puck to the offensive zone and scoring areas with great zeal and effect?

    Even if we could hypothetically name such a player on this roster (and this man would be highly paid, not a chance that he would play for minimum wage), wouldn’t he still be much worse than Olli, because despite the latter’s lack of non-icetime-driven success at any point in his career, he’s still Our First Line Centre?

    And though we daily read on these boards pleas of swift unemployment for Sutter Sr., does it not still make sense to embrace his most flawed assertion, that in fact Olli Jokinen is, was, and ever will be one of the 30 best centres in the game?