Postgame: Surprise, Surprise

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 22: Goaltender Henrik Karlsson  of the Calgary Flames celebrates after netting his first NHL win after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-2 on October 22, 2010 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

Is anyone shocked that the Minnesota Wild and Calgary Flames played to a one goal decision on Friday night?  I would doubt it, as these two teams played the same type of game we’ve seen them play many times before…on this occasion, Rene Bourque’s shootout winner would give Calgary a 3-2 extra time win over their Northwest Division rivals, and Henrik Karlsson would pick up his second win in the Flames net.

What Happened

A fairly non-descript opening period…kind of started off a fairly non-descript hockey game.  Neither team really did much at even strength, and it was the powerplay that generated most of the scoring chances…overall, Kent had them 6-5 in favor of the Wild.  Calgary had a 5-on-3 advantage in that first period, but both teams came away with nothing to show for their powerplay time.

The second period saw the first of the offence in this game, as Pierre-Marc Bouchard would open the scoring with his first of the season, and his first in 14 months at 12:37 to give the Wild a 1-0 lead.  Karlsson would come up huge robbing Patrick O’Sullivan later on in the period, and the lead was negated late in the middle frame with the teams playing 4-on-4…Mark Giordano would finish off a nice Niklas Hagman rush with his third of the season, and the Flames took a little bit of momentum heading into the third.  The Wild had the edge in the second I thought, and scoring chances seemed to bear that out, finishing 6-3 on the Wild side.

Calgary would stake themselves to their first lead early in the third period, thanks to Alex Tanguay who would pot his eighth of the season after a nice bit of work from Matt Stajan; Stajan would feed Tanguay who would make no mistake to put the Flames up by one.  Calgary did a fairly nice job in the third period of keeping the Wild to the outside, limiting to them just four shots…but a mistake would lead to a goal, as Martin Havlat would cash on a great individual effort at 12:39…his sixth took things to overtime.

The extra frame saw the Flames get the best chance with Alex Tanguay unable to convert on a breakaway, and they’d end up with five shots on net in that extra frame.  So, for the fourth time this season, it was off to the shootout…Alex Tanguay and Patrick O’Sullivan would score for the Flames and Wild respectively, setting up Rene Bourque’s shootout winner…the Flames win 3-2.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames won?  They played a fairly solid game.  No one team was markedly better in this game, but the Flames did enough to win the hockey game, and were deserving of doing so.  Calgary did a nice job, especially in the third period, of limiting the Wild offensively…plus did a strong job of getting in the shooting lanes, with 15 blocked shots counted for Calgary.  It looked like a pretty tentative effort for both teams, as both are struggling and failing to meet expectations…but the Flames did enough to come away with the win.

I also liked how Calgary stuck with it after the Havlat equalizer, not changing a whole lot and continuing to do a nice job on the Wild.  Granted, Minnesota isn’t a great team…Kent compared them to a midget quality team at times, but if that’s the case, get the two points.  The Flames did that, even if it seemed kinda difficult.

Red Warrior

NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 24: Jay Bouwmeester  of the Calgary Flames during a hockey game against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on November 24, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
 

I liked Henrik Karlsson, he was very good, but this one has to go to Jay Bouwmeester.  He finishes with 33:45 of ice time and was strong for the whole way through.  His job in the defensive zone was extremely strong, making countless smart, important plays to negate chances.  His outlet pass in overtime almost set up the game winner, and against some tough matchups, he fniished above water when it comes to scoring chances.  Very impressive once again.

Sum It Up

Hey, it’s a win, and at this point, it doesn’t matter who the opponent is.  Minnesota is a division opponent with a better record than the Flames, and if Calgary is going to try and march up their standings, the Wild are a team they’ll have to chase down.  The Flames are within a point now, which would move them into third in the Northwest Division.  Calgary has a pissed off opponent waiting in the wings…the Flames handled the Blackhawks 7-2 in their last meeting, and Chicago is coming off a loss to Vancouver on this night.  Sunday’s game will be very interesting.

  • everton fc

    Good win tonight for Flames, when you think about it it’s 3 wins in last 5, very interesting to see how they play against Chicago, I don’t think the Flames have won back to back games since October. Nice to see Karlsson show some emotion in the shootout, hopefully that emotion can be passed on to other players

  • everton fc

    I didn’t see the game, but love the result, thought it would have been nice to win in regulation.

    Question – Backlund only had 7 minutes and change. Did he centre the fourth line? And, if so… could this be a sign he may be the odd-man-out when Kotalik returns?

  • everton fc

    Nice to get the W. A dull 3 periods was compensated by a pretty entertaining overtime. It seemed as if the spirits of hockey players from the seventies and eighties took mercy on the crowd and possessed the bodies of all the contestants.

    So far, I would say Karrlson is a keeper (in both senses of the term). Whatever he lacks in refined skill and experience, he offsets with pure determination and emotion (not to mention sheer physical size). I like the kid and enjoy watching his celebrations (he reminds me of theo in that respect)

    Also, as I stated before, if this team is not in playoff contention by mid-January -as in, sitting within six points or less of a playoff spot- I hope (heretically, I know) that we lose almost every game thereafter to ensure a first pick.

    Such a pick could be crucial in a mini rebuild as there are easily five players in this draft that can round into top 3 forwards or top 2 defencemen. Let’s get the best that suits our needs.

    With such a player in the system and an Iggy trade at the deadline or offseason, we can perhaps pick up another blue-chip prospect and first rounder at the very least.

    Also, we can garner draft picks by shedding some salary. Hagman and Glencross will most certainly attract attention, and both will bring back second rounders. Hopefully Sarich and Staios can also be traded, but in the case of the latter, who cares. He’s coming off the books at the end of the season anyways.

    With their salaries hopefully dumped, we may actually have a notable chunk of money to spend in the off-season, as it is obvious that Langkow will not be coming back. His 4.5 milliion will not count towards the cap. Secondly, as mention in an Edmonton newspaper earlier this year, Kotalik only intends to remain in the NHL for this year. He wanted to redeem himself this year and head back to Czechslovakia for the next. When a player explicitly states such intentions in the media, I highly doubt he will renege. Plus, I’m quite sure the hostile ambience in the organization will only buttress his desire to flee back to Europe.

    Hence, with Haggy, Glencross (who might be resigned), Staios, Kotalik, Langkow, and hopefully Sarich gone, this team can pursue some premeir players in the off-season (not many to be had admittedly).

    But the accruing cap space and high-end prospects could certainly remedy the team’s problems. We would get a couple of blue-chip pieces and some salary cap space to work with.

    Of course, the Sutters would be fired in anticipation of this mini-rebuild.

    Whatta ya think, brothers? Am I smoking too much BC Bud (again)?

    • SmellOfVictory

      haggy is signed for next year.the question is do you risk glennie to fa for nothing,tangs will be looking for a raise, and with the possibility of a 2 million dollar cap raise,the potential langkow buyout do you continue to get older with 17 players signed for next year. what about karlsson? i think you move some bodies for prospects.moss for a 3 rd pick perhaps.move glennie while you can get a return.alot of teams have big offseason decisions.

  • You don’t get rid of actual hockey players like Glencross and Hagman to pick up actual hockey players. Dumb idea. Glencross will be resigned unless he demands stupid dollars (or Sutter is dumb enough to listen to you guys) and Hagman is good value.

  • everton fc

    I agree w/Stampede44. Just imagine if we could somehow land an elite, or close-to-elite centre for Iggy and Tanguay (someone like Nash, for example). Would we be in the position we are in today?

    That said, I still think the coaching staff shares the current blame with bizarre player-personnel moves by the GM. Not to mention hiring Keenan.

    We remain all over the place. But this is beating a dead horse, so I’ll digress…

  • everton fc

    Yeah, I know they both have worth. That’s not the point. However, given where this team is going, I highly doubt they are the two cornerstones around which to build. They are and have been support players wherever they have gone. They are not core players around which good teams are built. My line of thought is that until we have a new core in place, try to unload as many depth players as possible so that core can be established via free agency and draft picks.

    • T&A4Flames

      I agree with BCFlame, if the Flames are not in a good spot for the playoffs, they have to trade guys like GlenX and Hags for good value only. Hags is under contract for 1 more year and if they can’t get good value they may as well hang on to him. I would rather see a package or 2 made up for some higher picks or prospects. Hopefully something will go in our favour.

      • T&A4Flames

        Yep. But one caveat: when was the last time you saw the words “good value”, “trade”, and “Sutter” in a sentence?

        Nonetheless, if the Flames are out of it by January, rest assured D Sutter will not be around in the capacity of a GM.

        I’m ambivalent regards B Sutter, though. The guy has proven himself at the Junior level, but the defensive system he employs in the NHL may truly be outdated. I mean, look at New Jersey and Dallas before Tippet left. None of the great defensive teams of the past decade are relevant anymore. Phoenix only survives on the superhuman efforts of Bryzgalov all the time.

        Or maybe the blame rests on our “core”. I have mixed feelings regarding this issue, and defer to greater and more astute hockey minds than I.

        Nevertheless, the matter is important as the system we employ serves as the context within which management evaluates the value of prospects and players to the organization. Just look at D Sutter’s history over the last couple of years.

  • Actually, in a year like this, Glencross, Tanguay, Hagman, are exactly the kinds of players you would trade. They have value.

    You keep support players like that on your team if you think you have a chance at winning. If you don’t, why bother cutting the paycheque? Might as well get something for them, and look to resign them in the offseason.

    This is the problem, team needs to decide on direction. If you can get rid of secondary players for some nice pieces in the future, they should be doing that. Unless the team is that desperate for a few playoff gates that they need to go all out for 8th.

    • SmellOfVictory

      As long as they ask them really nicely to sign with the Flames in the off-season. 😉

      Seriously, if the Flames did trade them away and they re-signed with the teams they were traded to, the Flames would probably be screwed for at least a couple of seasons (moreso than now). The UFA crop next off-season is looking relatively grim overall, and I doubt more than one or two of Calgary’s young bros will be ready to hop into the bigs by next season. I’d go so far as to say that trading the three guys you mentioned would put the Flames dangerously close to “last season’s Oilers” territory as far as their forwards go.

  • Agree with BCFLAME.

    Glencross & Hagman are great players, that’s the reason we need to get rid of them. Our “core” have all turned into high money low impact players.

    GlenX & Hag are guys who will receive interest from other GM’s because of their price & skill, we in turn can stock the cupboard.

  • SmellOfVictory

    only one pick in the first 100. hard to rebuild, or reload through the draft. glennie will be gone at the end of the year, chicago and florida have tons of picks in the top 100. karlson is a FA at the end of the year, do you let him walk? and how much does he command in dollars. not alot of cap room for next year with a ton of needs. 4th dman, frontline center etc. the list is longer than santas.

  • rayray

    Great game last night! Flames have played well for the past week n half except for games in pitts and against canucks. We will need to put together 4-5 straight wins to get right in the thick of things! We should not get rid of anyone coaching or management, if they wanna do something do it in the offseason! The problem aint out coach, problem is our core, how many coaches do they need to finally figure out how to play hockey! I still believe in this team and Sutter!!