Postgame: All Flames

ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 10: (L-R) Alex Tanguay, , Jerome Iginla , Olli Jokinen  and Mark Giordano  of the Calgary Flames celebrate Jokinen's goal against the Anaheim Ducks in the third period at the Honda Center on December 10, 2010 in Anaheim, California. The Ducks defeated the Flames 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

It was a legitimately dominant performance for the Calgary Flames in a 5-2 Thursday night victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Dion Phaneuf was a complete non issue in his return to Calgary, and the Flames made sure they skated circles around an inferior hockey club from start to finish.

What Happened

It was actually Toronto opening the scoring and igniting the sizeable contingent of blue and white fans at 6:14 of the first period; after Jay Bouwmeester was thwarted on a great scoring chance at the other end, Nikolai Kulemin would finish off a Leafs rush to put the visitors up by one.  But it was answered in very short order by Mikael Backlund who would pot his fourth of the season at 7:11, and this was all knotted up after twenty.  Scoring chances were slightly in favor of the Flames, and they were the better team overall heading into the second period and were victimized on an incredible Jean Sebastien Giguere save; Alex Tanguay is still wondering.

The second period went back and forth for quite a while before the Flames busted this hockey game wide open; but it was Calgary controlling the play and spending much more time in the offensive zone.  And then Alex Tanguay scored his ninth of the season on a gorgeous pass from Matt Stajan, and bam, the game is busted wide open.  Tanguay’s goal came at 15:17; 33 seconds later, it was Olli Jokinen scoring his fifth on the powerplay, firing a shot from the left boards past Giguere.  And then at 16:14, it was a laser beam of a shot from Rene Bourque at the right circle, and it went from 1-1 to 4-1 in a span of 57 seconds.  The Flames were dominant overall though, even though the goals came in a short span…Kent had chances 11-4 for Calgary and 9-3 at even strength.

The third period really was a formality; Hagman would add a powerplay marker at 2:30 on a nice pass from Jokinen, and the Leafs would snap the run of Flames goals at 8:45 thanks to Mikhail Grabovski.  Jarome Iginla would be stopped on a penalty shot in the final 90 seconds or so, and this game would finish 5-2 on the home side.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames won?  Because they came out to play and made sure they were the better team.  Honestly, the Maple Leafs are not a good hockey team, and Calgary made sure they drove that home, and they deserve full marks for it.  Jarome Iginla’s line was straight up dominant against Toronto’s top unit, and they were matched up for a good chunk of the opening 40.  Only David Moss finished under water in the chance count, and at 0-1 at that in 11:26 of ice time.  Calgary was much better and won the hockey game; simple.

Red Warrior

DETROIT - OCTOBER 21: Matt Stajan  of the Calgary Flames skates during a game against the Detroit Red Wings on October 21, 2010 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
 

Gotta give it to Matt Stajan, who returned to action against his former team after sitting out two games as a healthy scratch.  Stajan had a very strong game right from the very start, generating chances with a number of very strong passes from in tight; he also was unable to convert on a wide open chance in front of the Leafs net in the second period.  Stajan was pretty strong in this game, and finished 80% in the faceoff circle.

Sum It Up

Hey, it’s consecutive wins for the team, and that’s really all that matters at this point.  They were the better team and deserved the two points, and they didn’t let some outstanding goaltending from Giguere derail their night.  The Flames kept playing, they kept pushing, and they made the return of Phaneuf an absolute non issue.  Neuf Dog really did nothing positive, and was chasing Iginla when the late penalty shot was called.  Hey, the team has won two straight and they go against a Minnesota Wild team that isn’t very strong on Saturday; so lets see if they can make it three straight.

One note: Curtis Glencross ended up sitting as the healthy scratch in this game, and the team didn’t really miss him.  We’ll see if he’s back in on Saturday.

  • It was nice to see Dion suck the big one for somebody who wasn’t us for a change. Iggy made him look like a fool, forcing him to draw that penalty shot.

    2 penalty shots in one night (with the other going to Cammalleri) leads me to the following question: Is the NHL calling more penalty shots intentionally? Iggy’s was a good call but I think the Cammalleri call was horrendous as was Crosby’s when we played there a few weeks ago. What’s going on? Why are they giving a penalty shot to what could hardly be considered a penalty?

    • That’s actually a good question. I saw a game the other night (forget who was playing) where a guy beat a defenseman wide and was cutting in on the goalie, got tripped and they called THAT a penalty shot. It wasn’t anything near a “clear cut break-away”.

  • I didn’t get to see the game last night so I can’t comment on what happened during the game. I just wanted to say that hopefull this will lead to more wins.

    This game shows that even though we are close to the bottom of the league we are definatly not close to the worst team in the league. It’s primarily been underachieving. In saying that I don’t think we have a cup contending team and probably not even a playoff team. I say we finish around 10th in the west and 20th overall

  • good analysis. minny is starting their free fall, makes you wonder how safe fletcher is? the ducks are led by the big unit and hillier, not much after that at all. as for the oilers, the 5 kids are playing very good, still a year or two away, they have some big needs.

  • CitizenFlame

    The Flames have leap frogged Minnesota and even though the Wild have 2 games in hand (as does everyone else it seems) the Flames play a home and home vs. them. These are big two games and could really pull the Flames out of the basement.

  • CitizenFlame

    …hopefully Jokinen and Kotalik can build some confidence off of last game. They’ve got the “tools”. Backlund looked good again. Hopefully the Flames can start to go 2-1 for the next little while.

  • BobB

    Don’t look now but we’re .700 (3-1-1) in our previously discussed “11 critical games stretch”

    TB – win (2)

    LA – loss (0)

    ANA – OTL (1)

    CLB – win (2)

    TOR – win (2)

    MIN, MIN, CLB, DAL, BUF, COL – to come before year’s end.

    I overlooked the difficulty of the 11 games prior to this 11 we’re currently in. We may not be as bad as we look today.

    If we go 4-2 of the remaining 6 we finish with 39 points. 4-1-1 we have 40 in 38 games. Again, likely in 12th or 13th, but only 2 or 4 points behind the big 5 team group in front of us.

    • BobB

      …IMO, we match up well against Minny and Columbus. Dallas is “hot” but definately not as good as the Nucks or Wings. Buffalo and Colorado will be tough games, but Buffalo has struggles (I think because of injuries) and Colorado is young and playing the collective a$$es off. Looking forward to some good Flames hockey to bring in the new year.

    • the forgotten man

      Wow…this “Flames Hot Streak” reminds me of Phys Ed Dodgeball in Grade 5…pretty easy to pick off the token Fat Kid.

      Tampa Bay goaltender’s have the worst save percentage in league:
      http://lightning.nhl.com/club/stats.htm?gameType=2&season=20102011&srt=gname

      and

      The jig may finally be up for Steve “Santa Claus came early to Calgary” Mason: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/546507-steve-mason-is-it-time-to-pull-the-plug

      and

      Toronto is an AHL team – period.
      (no reference needed to back up this fact)

      LA is the only bonafide playoff team in the recent schedule and they simply outclassed the Flames (final score notwithstanding)

      The Players will continue to tease the Fanbase, and Daz/K.K. will continue to whisper “sweet nothings” in our ears, to ultimately end up 11th/12th in the Conference and out of a top 5 draft pick (which is really inconsequential when you have a scouting staff that could not “draft” themselves out of a wet paper bag)

      IN DUTTER WE TRUST
      ~Amen & Pass the Ammo

      • BobB

        So… what’s you point?

        That we SHOULD be winning those games? Ok, fair enough.

        BUT, then by your logic, we SHOULD have been losing more than we won, during the 11 games prior. We faced PIT, PHI, CHIx2, DET, VAN, PHO etc. We were 500%, not 300%

        Do you let them off the hook when they lose to Elite teams? Doubt it.

        Everyone, even the best in the league, lose 30% of the time, and win 30% of the time. The difference is in the other 40%.

        So, if the Flames are losing to the Elite and have had a tough schedule to previous, why be so down on them? It’s a two-way street, if you devalue wins vs shitty teams, then you should do the same for losses vs elite teams… or do you just like complaining because it’s en vogue?

      • BobB

        So what’s your point?

        If you’re going to devalue wins against poor teams, then by your logic, you should devalue losses against elite teams like PIT, PHI, CHI, VAN, PHO, DETx2….

        It’s a two way street. Everyone loses 35% and wins 35%, it’s the other 30% that matters.

        But we don’t let the team off the hook when they lose to Pittsburgh do we? So, then we celebrate the wins as well. Those teams ARE ahead of us after all.

        Sounds like you just like bitching for the sake of it, what are you bringing to the conversation?

  • BobB

    …the Stars have some serious depth on the LW:

    Eriksson

    Morrow

    Neal

    Benn

    Ott

    …wonder if they are going to unload one of those guys for a D-man towards the deadline?

  • the forgotten man

    The players are finally starting to buy into Sutters system. We have the right mix of players and the management to go deep if we keep believing. Excellent game, now we start our ascent.

    • PrairieStew

      the flames finally won back to backs, and one was the leafs. it may be a bit early for a parade teddy. and the sutter’s system ted was played by every team in the 60’s. its called 2 way hockey, not a new radical approach to hockey.

  • SlapStick

    The second period went back and forth for quite a while before the Flames busted this hockey game wide open; but it was Calgary controlling the play and spending much more time in the offensive zone.

    how can a game be back and forth with Calgary apparently controlling the play?

    Let’s not sugar coat it, the flames got a game against a poor team, quite possibly the worst team in the league, and weren’t able to dominate (3 minutes isn’t domination)… they merely scraped by. Arguably it was a battle of the two dullest teams in the league, are we really celebrating the fact that Calgary is the best of the worst? Maybe the flames can win just enough games to ensure they don’t get a top 5 pick, although that’s probably a good thing as I’m sure it would just be traded away at the deadline in an effort to ‘push’ for a playoff spot and to see just how close they can get to the cap without going over while icing a mediocre team at best. I guess there is a silver lining though… tickets are much easier to come by now