Yes, the Calgary Flames let a two goal slip on Monday night, but they were able to pull out two points at home. Thanks to a Jarome Iginla overtime winner, the Flames were 3-2 winners over the Columbus Blue Jackets to give them points in back to back games. The Flames have moved out of the Western Conference basement and get two days off before their next game on Thursday.
The Flames got on the board nice and early, as Jarome Iginla wired one past Jackets goalie Steve Mason at 2:20 for his 13th of the season; Iginla took a nice pass from Mikael Backlund on the right wing and fired a nice rising shot from the circle to open the scoring. It was a borderline bad goal from Mason, but it was also a really nice shot from the captain…however, the second Flames goal was not borderline. Mason would lose his net and Brendan Morrison would score from the left circle; Morrison’s fifth came at 4:25 and gave the Flames a 2-0 lead after 20. Kent had scoring chances 7-5 for the Flames, which was about right…a marginal advantage play wise after one.
The second period started well for Calgary, as they continues frustrating the Columbus attack early on. In fact, for the first 25 minutes of this hockey game, it seemed like the Jackets had trouble getting anything through thanks to really good sticks and strong positioning. But the Jackets started to tilt things as that middle frame continued, and were able to pot their first shorthanded at 18:45. A soft play from Alex Tanguay lead to a turnover and the Jackets made good on it; Andrew Murray fed Antoine Vermette who rifled it past Miikka Kiprusoff to get Columbus within one after 40.
The Jackets were in full chase mode in the third, and the Flames countered by going into a full shell. Columbus generated a number of high quality chances but were unable to convert; that was until the 15:41 mark. With the Jackets on their first and only powerplay of the night, Rick Nash absolutely ripped one top corner to tie finally tie things up. In a lot of ways, Calgary was lucky to get this thing to extra time, because they weren’t in it at all in the third. But they did, and it paid off.
Overtime was very entertaining, and the Flames were able to generate a ton of opportunities. Iginla scored his 14th at 3:49 of the extra frame after a very nice sequence in the Columbus end; after a Cory Sarich shot missed, Tanguay was able to find the captain who fired it into an empty net for his second of the night, and an important two points.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? Because they got things together and took over in the extra minute. Yeah, the Flames were on their heels in the third period, and they didn’t do a great job of playing with the lead. But they were able to keep things from getting away from them and were still in a position to win at the end of regulation. Calgary took the ball and ran with it and outchanced the Jackets 4-1 in OT, and they deserved to win the game because of it.
I was very impressed with Mikael Backlund, the scoring chance count enforced that. I thought Backlund really drove things playing with Rene Bourque and Curtis Glencross for the majority of the hockey game…he was driving the puck to scoring areas, he was using his speed, and he fed Iginla on the opening goal of the game. I thought it was a mistake to sit him for the one game, because it didn’t make sense…however, since then, he’s been very good.
Sum It Up
Hey, there were some things that didn’t go right for the Flames…in fact, had they lost in regulation, this would have been very, very tough to take. But the message from Head Coach Brent Sutter was don’t critique the win. The team earned two points and that’s all that matters; on top of that, they have three points over two games. Hey, it might be grasping at straws, but it’s the truth.