It wasn’t the prettiest hockey game of all time, but it’s a win and a big two points for the Calgary Flames as they skated to a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night. Rene Bourque’s three point night paced the Flames and his 12th of the season in the second period ended up being the winner.
The Flames got something good going early, even if there’s a few goals Tampa goalie Dan Ellis would like to have back. Cory Sarich scored his first of the season at 7:21 of the first period, as the Flames did a nice job moving the puck around before finding Sarich at the right point…his shot eluded Ellis who was screened at the last minute by Tim Jackman. Some nice work by a forechecking Bourque helped set up Calgary’s second goal…Tom Kostopoulos would bang a puck home thanks to a bounce off the end boards, and at 13:46 the Flames had a 2-0 lead.
The Flames got things going early on in the second period, as they pounced on a Lightning turn over…Curtis Glencross found a streaking Bourque who finished things off going hard to the net giving the Flames a 3-0 lead at 4:43. Johan Harju scored a weak one off the left wing at 8:35 to maybe give Tampa a little life; they’d get within one at 19:00 when Ryan Malone roofed one at point blank.
The third period saw the Lightning come out with a few quality scoring chances, with a couple opportunities to tie the hockey game, but Miikka Kiprusoff stood tall in the final frame…Jarome Iginla’s powerplay goal at 8:42 put the game away, as Jay Bouwmeester fed him in the left circle; Iginla potted his 12th to get us to our final score. Kiprusoff would make a few more quality saves before the night would let out, but all in all, the Flames did a nice job of closing things out for their 12th victory of the season.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? Because they made life difficult for the Lightning pretty much all night. After watching that game, I don’t think anyone is going to mistake Tampa as a Stanley Cup contender just yet, and the Flames exploited the things they could. Calgary forced turnovers with good sticks and hard plays, and when you force turnovers against a passive Lightning forecheck, you’re going to generate chances. They were a more physical team, and they exploited that throughout as Robyn Regehr’s hard check on Martin St. Louis late in the third put an exclamation point on that aspect of things. And the Flames put pucks towards the net, with a high Corsi rate for most of the team minus a certain trio…when you’re going against a rodeo of a goaltender in Ellis, putting pucks towards him and around him is going to pay off. It did.
After an absolutely dreadful stretch, let’s give it to Rene Bourque who finished with three points on the evening. We all know Bourque has the ability to control a hockey game when he’s doing the things that make him succesful…using his speed and strength to fend off opponents. That was on display on two seperate occasions leading to a goal, and was also on display a a number of other times. On a night when the top line was rolling, Bourque also made sure he finished the night on the right side of the scoring chances tally.
Sum It Up
Overall, a pretty good effort for the Flames…they were a better team than the Lightning, they forced a ton of turnovers and won a hockey game. Now, we all know what’s really important is this two game stretch through Cali starting on Thursday…but it’s a win. Even though the Flames powerplay scored, it still needs to be better…the first few opportunities were not very good. And the unit of Niklas Hagman, Olli Jokinen and Ales Kotalik was no good…at all. But we’ll look at the positives!