…that was a pretty darn impressive victory for the Calgary Flames. With a crucial game staring them in the face, I really felt the Flames needed to rise to the occasion, however I knew with the opponent they were playing, it still might not have been good enough. Well, on this night, the Flames rose to the moment, and with a little bit of debate (albeit the right call was made), the Flames are 4-3 shootout winners over the Vancouver Canucks.
This one sure didn’t start well, did it? The Canucks opened the scoring 3:32 into the first period, as a Henrik Sedin drop pass found the stick of Alex Edler who fired it past Miikka Kiprusoff. It looked like Kiprusoff was screened, and you kind of had that feeling things could go south for the visitors. But, a Calgary powerplay got this game all square at 8:42, as some nice work in front by Tim Jackman saw a puck pop loose for Brendan Morrison; he’d go roof on Roberto Luongo to score in his old barn and tie this game 1-1. And then 20 seconds later, it was a bit of a Canucks breakdown in their own end, and a nice pass from Matt Stajan behind the net found Curtis Glencross; his backhand gave Calgary their first lead of the game. After a shaky start, the Flames kind of had the Canucks on their heels in the first period, and they took a one goal lead into the first intermission.
The Canucks would tie the game early in the second though, with Edler getting his second of the game after a bit of a Flames defensive breakdown. Eventually, Alex Burrows would find Edler on the left side and he had a wide open cage to shoot at, and he’d make no mistake, tying this game at two 73 seconds into the frame. I thought the Flames really held on for the rest of the second, and Kiprusoff made some big stops on some pretty quality Vancouver chances. After 40, it was 2-2, with the Canucks leading in the scoring chance count.
Vancouver carried the play in the opening two periods, but what was really impressive to see was how the Flames raised their game in the third period. They were hard on the puck, they were driving the middle of the ice, and they were generating scoring chances. And give Calgary credit for taking their second lead of the game at 6:42, with Mikael Backlund doing a nice job driving the net and dropping to Adam Pardy; his shot would be stopped by Luongo, but his difficulty in controlling the puck, Tim Jackman would follow through and put it home for his seventh of the season. However, just under three minutes later with Calgary on a powerplay, Ryan Kesler would burn the Flames again, scoring shorthanded at 9:33. The Canucks woke up from there on out, and carried the play for the remainder of the period, but off to overtime we went.
Once again, the Canucks carried the play in overtime, even with a Flames powerplay sprinkled in there. And fancy that, we were off to a shootout. Jeff Tambellini and Rene Bourque would both score on their first shots, while Mason Raymond and Olli Jokinen were stopped. After Kesler would miss on Vancouver’s third shot, Alex Tanguay would score on Calgary’s final chance…or would he? Yeah…he would, after a review, the right call was made, and what do you know? The Flames have back to back wins over division leaders!
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? Because they held on in the first two periods, and yet the game was tied after 40. And then they rose to the occasion. The Flames played a really strong third period, and Vancouver need a shorthanded goal to come away with a point in that final frame. I felt Calgary held on, but did it in a smart way, and didn’t look desperate doing it. Were they the better team throughout? No probably not, but they hung with Vancouver and probably pissed em off a little too.
Hands down, Miikka Kiprusoff. It was really nice to see him play a very solid game, especially after the first goal went in, seemingly right through him. The saves he made after Vancouver went up 1-0 kept the game within reach, and he made some solid stops throughout the rest of the evening. I really liked how he was square to the puck and how he was challenging shooters.
Sum It Up
What does this mean overall for the Calgary Flames? I don’t think it’s some sort of message to the league to watch out or anything like that, BUT, it’s an important two points. Vancouver was kinda non-chalant at times, but the Flames took advantage, and most importantly they played their game. Do they win that game every night? No probably not, but they did all they could, and on this night it was good for a ‘W’. Why am I all of a sudden feeling so optimistic? That was fun!