Game No. 23: Wak wak wak

What will happen now that Calgary has picked up a controversial but decent win?

Not surprisingly, people in Philly were not enamored of Chris Pronger getting whistled for the Avery Rule. Some even demanded that the referees offer an explanation to the "fans that feel scammed" in direct violation of their collective bargaining agreement. It was all really good stuff.

Especially because it ignored that the Flames played a pretty cogent game of hockey against one of the best teams in the league. Kiprusoff played very well even and the team actually looked sound in defense. The real reason Philly shouldn’t have been allowed to win, of course, is that they allowed Steve Staios to score. Like any Derek Boogaard goal, that should put an immediate end to the game and actually deduct points from the opponents’ season total.

But now the Flames roll on to Pittsburgh for another bright and early start to their fifth game in six days. Now, I don’t want to get toooooooo presumptuous here, but I think that Philly game might have been a turning point in the season. Look at the schedule. A 7-2 pounding of Chicago, a 4-5 OT loss to Detroit they easily could have won, a one-goal loss in New York, a shootout loss in New Jersey and now a shootout win? Why, if I didn’t know any better, that might just be points in four of the last five games, all but one of which have been on the road. A hell of a turnaround from points in one of the previous eight (between Oct. 28 and Nov. 17).

But the problem is this: as close to turning it around as the Flames have been lately, the Penguins have long since figured it out. After failing to grab points from half of their first 14 games, Pittsburgh has 17 points in their last 10, only one of which was a regulation loss. The last five have been wins. It’s difficult not to remain worried about what a guy like Sidney Crosby, who’s on an 11-game scoring streak in which he’s piled up 22 points, will do given last change against this patched-together Flames defense.

Of course, we probably all said that about the Flyers yesterday. So maybe all we need is for Matt Cooke to try to wave his arms and jump up and down in front of Kiprusoff. Then Calgary can ring up another easy W.