Postgame: It’s a Win

CALGARY, CANADA - APRIL 6: Rene Bourque (C) of the Calgary Flames celebrates his goal with teammates Jarome Iginla #12 and Matt Stajan #18 against the San Jose Sharks in the third period of NHL action on April 6, 2010 at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta. (Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)

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.

What Happened

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.

Red Warrior

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!

  • icedawg_42

    Little nervous at the “comeback” in the second, but you’re right, the Reggie hit on St Louis pretty much summed it up.

    Overall a good complete effort, with most guys chipping in. Nice to see Pardy back in action. Glad Backlund drew in, not that I remember seeing a lot of him. – EDIT: except for that beauty play for Bourque’s goal…

  • SmellOfVictory

    These Flames are a tease. Great game by Borque, though. Where the hell has that been these last 2 weeks. Either he’s been nursing an injury or being paired with Moss and Glencross has somehow hindered his offensive prowess. I think it’s the former.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Still, outside of a 7 game winning streak in December, followed by a 66% win rate for the remainder of the season, we’re pretty much done. The entire conference is ahead of us, despite most teams having played fewer games.

    It may be for the best. What we don’t need is for the flames to be sitting a few points out of the playoffs come 2011, as that will inspire Darryl to give our first rounder away for “veteran leadership”. My guess: Horcoff.

  • GermanFlame

    I dunno, But I like this game.

    First period, good start to the game, got the early jump and the key factor… Actually scored to make the good period worth it.

    Second period after scoring the third it got a little dicey,a bit of a ‘collapse’, but not to the extent of losing the lead. They weathered the storm.

    Third period they shut it down, Kipper made key stops when needed, Iginla scored a key insurance goal when needed.

    Well done flames, now if only we could see something similar to this game with some consistency im sure they could get a couple of more wins here and there.

    Edit- Hey Pat, Love the work on Sportsnet! Dont become a traitor anytime soon, Overtime is your home, Imagine all the disappointed fans. Dont go to the dark side…

  • CitizenFlame

    That was a good game for the Flames. Glad to see Bourque and Iggy score in the same game. Go figure, they win when it happens.

    GWG’s has got to be one of the most useless stats recorded. Let’s be honest, in a 4-2 victory it is hard to say one goal is more important than another, but goal 3 will be official GWG even though it happened in the second when the Flames were already up 2-0; the 4th goal was the dagger. That looked like it took the wind out of the sails of the lightning and to me was the more timely goal.

    I’m not even sure what I want anymore. I love seeing the team get this result, and play the way they did however, I don’t know if I am cheering for victories or a top 5 pick? That and I don’t know who to cheer for when scoreboard watching either (other than east vs. west teams).

    I will say this though, for everyone who says that it isn’t worth the Flames just making 8th and squeaking into the playoffs I disagree. After the lead they have spotted everyone else in the conference they would have to be one of the hottest teams going into the playoffs and would be a team to be reckoned with.

    • everton fc

      I would agree with you, I don’t know what to cheer for either, but if they did squeeze into a playoff spot that would be excellent, but Its an all or nothign for me, the season is a complete failure if they end up in the 9-12 spots, and received a middle of the pack draft order again. Its either playoffs or top 5 draft pick for me.

      Now just sit back and see what happens!

      • BobB

        Draft picks mean very little to this team. I may eat my words, but we’re not going to finish worse than the NYI, NJD, TOR, EDM. So unless we only beat those teams, our pick could have almost the same odds of becoming a lifetime AHL’er as it does becoming a annual difference maker, especially in this years draft.

        Cheer for the playoffs or cheer for LUCK, don’t cheer for draft number.

        What have you done lately Alexander Daigle, Patrick Stephan, Bryan Berard, Chris Phillips, Rick DiPietro, Alex Svitov, Bryan Allen, Rico Fata etc. etc. ???

        Don’t forget, we may be near last in the west, but we’re 10th in the East, we could have as many as 10 teams drafting ahead of us by years end, and still be in 14th.

        • PrairieStew

          I am well aware of this teams horrible drafting record, which would probably pick a defensive defensemen if we ended up with first overall this year, but given that the odds are higher that some of those in the top 5 will become regular NHLers’, I would be okay with tanking this season, restructuring a bit(not a lot of flexibility) and go hard next season. But I am fully on board with this team winning games. In my mind, if they go on a couple of streaks we are right back in it( a couple of 5 game winning streaks and we are laughing), so I’m not cheering against success, but this team will be forever average if we keep drafting in an average draft order, and drafting average players.

          As much as there are failures as you have listed, there is just as many successes, its a big gamble, but your odds are better the better your draft order.

          • PrairieStew

            I am actually more worried about next year. The only bad contract coming off is Staios, and all of that is eaten up in Gio’s new deal. Good value contracts of Glencross, Tanguay and Morrison expiring. Kotalik and Jokinen still eating up $6m and top 6 minutes ( ugh) and no apparent replacement for Langkow.

            No one on the farm distinguishing themselves in any appreciable way, save for maybe Brodie as #5 d man to replace Staios.

            Everyone else one year older, which is probably only good for Backlund.

  • CitizenFlame

    I would like to qualify that last post by stating that I don’t actually think that the Flames are going to do that. I think that it was Lawrence(?) with an excellent post on another thread outlining what Calgary would most likely need to achieve in order to make the playoffs, and we’ll likely know that by the end of December.

    I’m not naive enough anymore to believe that this team will or has “turn(ed) a corner”. I am resigned to the fact that we will probably see a mediore performance at best against LA. When they can string a 4-5 game win streak together I will allow myself a glimmer of hope that maybe then this team will be prepared to compete for a playoff spot. Again, I am not entirely convinced that will be the best outcome for this team looking long term but may make for an exciting 2011.

    • BobB

      You were probably talking about my search for positives and finding them in the next 11 games.

      I don’t think the Flames are as bad as they appear today. I also believe they may not be that good, we’ll soon find out.

      However, let’s face it. The 11 game stretch before we played TB was brutal. 7 on the road and this for opposition:

      CHICAGO x2, PHI, PIT, VAN, DET, PHX, NYR… MIN x2, NJD… We got 10 pts.

      Seriously, before we played that 11 game group. I’d say we needed 2pts vs MIN, NJ, NYR, PHX and two upsets for 12 pts. We got 10. We could have had 12 but maybe could have easily only got 6 vs that volume of elite teams.

      The 11 games following that are 6 home, 5 road with this arguably easier competition:

      COLUMBUS x2, DAL, TB, LA, ANA, COL, BUF,… MIN x2, TOR.

      Going 7-3-1 would give us 39 points in 38 games a .513W% at the year’s end and likely ~11th (likely 2-4pts out).

      Let’s do it. We’re 1-0 thus far in those 11 games beating one of the best teams of this 11 team group. When you suck as much as we do, it’s baby steps.

      Plus, there is another kill-our-season stretch in Late Feb. early Mar.

      • PrairieStew

        Lawrence :

        I have furthered the Kiprusoff discussion back on yesterday’s pregame thread.

        Agree with your thoughts here – all is not lost, but we will know by Dec 31, unless they do something middling like 5-3-3 and string us along a little longer.

    • PrairieStew

      26 pts in 28 games = 76 point pace. Not very good.

      12 pts in 16 games vs ‘tough’ opposition; 20 of those games left – projects to 27 points in 36 total, need at least 33, so 21 point in last 20 games. 10-9-1 v Det,Chi, SJ, Van, La, Colorado, Mtl, Bos. That’s achievable.

      4 pts in 4 games ‘against’ middle level oppostion, with 16 left projects to 20 pts in 20 games. Need more like 26, so 22 pts in 16 games. 10-4-2 v STL,Dal,Nash,Pho,Tor,Carolina. Again I think that is within reach.

      10 pts in 8 games against ‘weak’ teams projects to 32.5 in 26 total games. Need more like 37, so 27 pts in 18 games is a 13-4-1 record against Anaheim, Columbus, Minny, Edm, Buf, NYI, Ottawa,Atlanta.

  • everton fc

    I’ve personally decided to be positive for now. They had a good win last evening. I’m rooting for a little winning streak. We are not that far off pace, and we have played poorly.

    L.A. and Colorado seem to be coming back to the pack. Ditto San Jose, St. Louis… We can beat all four of these teams, methinks, on any given night, if we play well. We have also played well vs. Detroit.

    Again… positives…

  • CitizenFlame

    What are the chances that we see Karlsson in net on Friday against Anaheim? Or is the team now desperate enough that Kiprusoff plays the rest of the games until New Years?

    I’d like to see Karlsson play again. I guess that also depends on what Calgary does on Thursday.

  • PrairieStew

    @PrairieStew

    That’s been a glaring weakness both the media and the fanbase like to point out…lack of solid NHL prospects. If he continues as he has, Brodie should be ready for next year, but we should hope he’s capable of top 5 D-man minutes as playing as a #6 or #7 could hinder developement (i.e. Adam Pardy).

    Word is that Lance Bouma is coming along nicely and could contend for a spot on the 3rd line next season. You never know who could come in during training camp after spending a productive summer getting ready and play themselves into a spot and, and…oh, wait. Darryl always brings in older, mostly overpaid players to take up all the roster spots anyways. Never mind what I said about a prospect or 2 making the team next year, there won’t be room for them.

    Flames picks currently on the roster who spent time in the minors first: Giordano, Moss & Pardy! I only recall 3, if anyone knows of someone I missed speak up.

  • icedawg_42

    I think that if the Flames “turn the corner” that would make them a consistent .500 team..which is better than they have been in a long time (and which is what we have been seeing of late)
    They might put together a string or two, just to give us fans fits and heart attacks. But I still maintain, this roster is a .500 team.

    • icedawg_42

      Man – that sounded more gloomy and negative than I meant. Im still here, watching and cheering!!!! there are some positives…the entire team has looked much better lately than that garbage we saw in October!

  • Next year might be scary, but I think if management approaches it with the right mentality we could start building for success.

    Guys on the move:
    Langkow 4.5M -Most likely dunzo.
    Staios 2.7M -SEEYA!
    Tanguay 1.7M -Biggest point getter so far.
    Glencross 1.3M -Probably due for a raise.
    Morrison .725M -Doesn’t fit on this team.
    Conroy .5M -Great career, moving up to the office.
    Babchuk 1.4M -Questionable.
    Pardy .700M -Hopefully won’t demand too much $.
    Mikkleson .687M (RFA)-Spare parts?
    Karlsson .500M -Gotta resign him.

    Puts us at 14,712,500

    Out of that group I’d say Glencross, Tanguay, Karlsson, & Pardy should be resigned, if possible Babchuk & Mikkleson.

    You think Glencross might garner 2.3, Tangs is looking at let’s say 3.2, Karlsson 1M, Pardy 1.2M.

    So gonna take about 8M to get those guys resigned.

    Leaving us 6M to decide between guys like Mikkleson, Babbers, Brodie & the FA/Trade pool.

    As far as prospects go, Nemisz, Brodie, Meyer, maybe even Wahl could be roster candidates next year depending on how they show up to camp.

    I think just the fact that Staios will be off our roster (knock on wood, please Darryl don’t resign him) improves our team for next year.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Do you really think Pardy is going to get over 1M? I mean, I know at that level you’re just talking about a couple hundred grand in savings, but he’s never been more than a solid 6th dman.

    I’d personally like to see Mikkelson retained over Babchuk. Maybe even see if Babchuk can be moved at the deadline, if circumstances dictate.

    • CitizenFlame

      I don’t think I’d like to see either of Babchuk or Mikkelson retained. Unless Sutter really feels that the 6th-8th dman position can’t be filled from the farm. I think that Pelech and Negrin should be competing for that spot next year. Not to mention Brodie, unless he performed above his average this year. I’m tired of watching Sutter bring in these career journeyman from other teams that don’t really add anything when the Flames could be developing their prospects. Not to mention that they would be cheaper bringing them up from the farm than paying over a $million for a guy like Babchuk. If Negrin and Pelech can’t land that spot then it is time to cut them loose. How long have they been in the org?

  • PrairieStew

    CAPGEEK.COM CAP CALCULATOR

    FORWARDS
    Jarome Iginla ($7.000m) / Niklas Hagman ($3.000m) / Matthew Stajan ($3.500m)
    Rene Bourque ($3.333m) / David Moss ($1.300m) / Ales Kotalik ($3.000m)
    Olli Jokinen ($3.000m) / Raitis Ivanans ($0.600m) / Mikael Backlund ($1.270m)
    Tom Kostopoulos ($0.916m) / Curtis Glencross ($2.300m) / Tim Jackman ($0.550m)
    Alex Tanguay ($3.200m)

    DEFENSEMEN
    Jay Bouwmeester ($6.680m) / Robyn Regehr ($4.020m)
    Mark Giordano ($4.020m) / Cory Sarich ($3.600m)
    Brendan Mikkelson ($0.750m) / Adam Pardy ($0.750m)
    T.J. Brodie ($0.733m)

    GOALTENDERS
    Miikka Kiprusoff ($5.833m) /Henrik Karlsson ($0.650m)

    BUYOUTS: Nigel Dawes ($0.141m)

    CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
    (these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
    SALARY CAP: $59,400,000; CAP PAYROLL: $60,149,166; BONUSES: $600,000
    CAP SPACE (22-man roster): -$749,166

    So even without Langkow, if you give the money you suggest to Tanguay and Glencross, small raises to Mikkelson, Karlsson and Pardy and call up Brodie, you are already at $60.1 with 22 guys – most teams carry 23. And you have, save the subtraction of Babchuck, Staios, Conroy and Morrisson the exact same squad as you have now.

  • One of our $3M forwards has got to go. We’re paying too many middle of the road guys too much money.

    I think out of Kotalik, Jokenin, & Hagman, Hagman is the only one with any value. (Unfortunately he’s also the only one with any value to this team) Would a team like Dallas, LA, Nashville or Buffalo be interested in giving up a prospect/second round pick at the deadline to add some depth before the playoffs?

  • PrairieStew

    This is getting painful…The Flames just don’t have enough talent! In addition the average players they do bring in through trades tend to come from teams with losing records and losing tradions ( Toronto, Florida etc ) Why not a least trade for players that know how to win. The Flames are old,slow,average skilled and have no significant draft picks..wow what a formula for driving a once proud franchise into the ground..Again remind again how Daryl keeps his job