Postgame: Two Points is Two Points

The Calgary Flames found a way to earn two points for a fourth straight game on Wednesday night, taking a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues in a game where they rode some good goaltending and some good bounces.  The team goes into the All Star break on a high, and it sets up a much more interesting stretch drive than we might have thought a month ago.

What Happened

After St. Louis took an early penalty, the Flames got their suddenly red hot powerplay working again, with a little help from their opponents.  After a Ty Conklin save, Blues defenceman Erik Johnson scored the prettiest own goal I’ve ever seen, roofing a clearing attempt to put Calgary up 1-0.  The initial shot came from David Moss, who would get number 11 on the season, and the Flames were pretty locked down for the rest of the first period.

The second period was as odd as you could get, with the Blues noticeably carrying the play, but it was the Flames who would come away with a pair of goals.  Thanks to an early powerplay, Calgary would score again, this time with Moss tipping home an Anton Babchuk point shot for his 12th and second of the game, and all of a sudden, the Flames would have back to back games with multiple powerplay goals.  And then you really knew it was Calgary’s night at 18:38 when Olli Jokinen would find Adam Pardy streaking down the left wing.  He’d be sprung on a clean break to score his first of the season, putting a nice little move on Conklin to give Calgary a 3-0 lead heading into the final frame.

The Blues would keep pushing in the third, and finally break through, with Phillip McCrae getting his first career goal at 7:49 on a nice play from Jay McClement.  But it was as close as St. Louis would get, as Jarome Iginla would ice it into an empty net with his 22nd at 19:16, and Calgary would skate to a 4-1 win.  Overall, an all right first period and a couple breaks in the second was all Calgary would need in the scoring department, and some top notch saves from Miikka Kiprusoff did the rest.  But that’s how teams win games sometimes.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames won?  They got the bounces.  For a team that got virtually zero bounces in the first 40 games of the season, seeing them get some in bunches as of late is just fine with most fans.  In a lot of ways, it’s just the stuff teams can’t control evening themselves out.  Bounces hurt the Flames in games earlier, they’re helping them right now, and it’s been part (but certainly not all) of the reason they’ve gotten back into this thing.  They were never 14th place bad.

Red Warrior

I’d like to give it to Pardy, but it’s gotta go to David Moss, who once again played a strong game.  It shouldn’t surprise most readers here, because of how good he’s been the last six or seven weeks, but once again he was strong against the Blues.  Along with Rene Bourque and Olli Jokinen, they were given some tough defensive responsibility, and finished above water in the scoring chance category overall.  Moss scored two powerplay goals, well really one, but he scored his one goal by planting his big body in front of the net, and tipping home Babchuk’s shot.

Sum It Up

The win over Nashville and the win over St. Louis were different animals, but in the long run, it really doesn’t matter.  The Flames held on for the final 40 minutes, but they found a way to close out the win, and they’re now just two points back of the playoffs.  The Avalanche and Predators both lost on Wednesday, while the Kings beat the Sharks in a shootout, so Calgary keeps moving closer.  With 31 games left, they’re right back in this thing…but they won’t win hockey games at this clip from here on out.  But avoiding an extended slump needs to be the key now, because they’re going to lose games…not letting those losses snowball is what the playoff teams will do.

  • All we need now is for Vancouver to go on their annual 8 game slump, Colorado’s goaltending duo of Anderson and Budaj to keep sucking it up, and maybe the Flames can squeak into 3rd instead of 8th. I mean, after all, hasn’t the trend the last few years been that whoever was in 1st in the NW division come Christmas never stayed there?

    …the pigs are flying over my house as I write this, mocking Satan’s now icicle-laden home.

  • Jarom

    We’ve been saying for a while that the Flames needed a win streak and some help. Well they’ve gotten it. At the end of the day do we really care how the team won? Finding ways to win is important and even more so in our situation. Im trading my doom and gloom hat in for a playoff run hat in the morning.

    Go Flames Go!

  • Vintage Flame

    Patty… If it does come down to Conroy retiring, you should have him on overtime with you, so all his fans can call in to say thank you, show appreciation and say goodbye!

  • Vintage Flame

    Ahh… its seems the stars have finally aligned for the Flames, and I’m lovin’ every minute of it. Good on them to find ways to win, especially after such a disappointing first half to the season, and as the article states “They got the bounces”. Good job boyz! GFG!

  • Gange

    Well look at how the tone has changed now.

    Two weeks ago most people were trading Kipper, Iggy, and Reggie in the hopes to rebuild this team. Now it’s all good news. LOL

    For the record I was never an advocate for that course of action.

    The record over the last couple of weeks is great and I’d like to believe. I’m going to hold off until the end of February and the trade deadline before I come to any conclusion on what this team is. I still have the crazy feeling that the rug is going to get pulled out from under them.

    I really have to wonder if Darryl cast that dark a shadow on this team? Nothing has really changed but the GM. Interesting.

    Finally, I’m sad to see Connie go. I’d love to see him remain with the team in some fashion though. He’s the type of guy that you’d like to keep around.

  • BobB

    We’re never as bad as we seem, we’re never as good as we seem.

    This latest stretch of hockey has been great, and we’re only 2 points out today. Right on.

    However, we need a 82Game ~.580 win% (95pts) to make the playoffs. Approximately

    We’re still -2.5 wins from that pace (or 5 points) as we’re .529 today. Bad news is Oct. was .545, Nov. .385, Dec. .536, so even with November as an outlier, we’ve lost pace the other two early months. Losing .5 wins Oct and Dec.

    Good news is, we’ve gained 1 win back in January playing .654 hockey making up for Oct. and Dec. Since Christmas, we have been .700 which is incredible.

    VERY INTERESTING, is that until today we’ve played exactly .580 hockey (excluding November as an outlier), with 44 pts in 38games. So, if we’re actually a .580 team for duration, plus our one bad month (Nov. 10pts in 13gp) we finish with 90pts.

    Can we turn it up a little more? .700 since Christmas says maybe… maybe we can.

    • BobB

      It’s true. I will admit, I was one of the first to say the playoffs will never happen, but I’ve also not supported any idea of “tanking.”

      It looks like 2 pts today, but really it’s 5… so it’ll still be tough. That said, draft picks, shmaft picks, I’ll not cheer for a team to lose, regardless of any incentives. If we lose is one thing, hoping to lose is another.

      Similar to your example, if anyone told us only that we’d have an entire month with a .385 win % and asked what position they’d think we’d be in by the all-star break…

      I think most of us would answer: Last.

    • …please Kent. They are one win out of being tied for 7th place. You’re such a positive guy 😉

      …It’s a long season and although 4 game win streaks are rare, (IMO) they had under achieved by playing slightly sub .500 hockey the first half of the season, things we’re only going to get better.

      Go Flames Go!

    • Vintage Flame

      Indeed I was viewed as a mad man. And chastized by negative feedback. I
      Still think when the sum of its parts are working as one, this team is better than the middle of the pack.

      Dallas might not be as good as they are currently Ranked and Calgary is definitely not as bad.

      Funny thing is Darryl said these players all slot in where they belong, and with that comfort level, some are starting to overacheive. Don’t look now Stajan is getting settled in, all we need now is Bourque to be Bourque and Hagman to get to the blue paint more often. I reserved opinion on Kotalik til now. Huge talent, zero motivation. He won’t play much more on this team if he continues on this path. I wish someone could find a way to light a fire under his ass cause he could be useful.

      At any rate, Very happy with this team bringing the work ethic.

      • everton fc

        Perhaps a demotion to Abbotsford will light a flame under Kotalik’s bum. He’ll certainly have an opportunity for ample ice time in the AHL. Perhaps he goes on a mad scoring streak, and becomes useful down the stretch…

        Don’t count on it, though.

  • icedawg_42

    No kidding guys! I wasnt sure where to “place” the team at the beginning of the year, save for saying somewhere around .500 (which is where I still think they will end up at the end of it all)
    I must say that it’s refreshing to have some winning hockey to cheer about, I hope the ASG break doesnt ruin their groove, but yeah, this pace will be very hard for them to keep.

    • Vintage Flame

      I was really hoping Connie got to play in the Heritage Classic as his last game. Out with panache against the team that drafted him, in a game that will garnish more attention than the sorry excuse for an All-Star game [that hardly contains any All-Stars now]

      Would have been a great ending to a great story!

  • I had to do a double take on Pardy’s goal. I could see #7 on the back, but thought I just couldn’t see the #1 to the left of it. I’m sure the jokes will be running rampant in the dressing room that he should be moved to winger.

    Indeed, a sad day that we all knew was coming, but hoped it would wait until summer. I don’t think we’ll be able to tell Connie just how important he was to this team and to this city. Even the past couple of seasons with a diminished role, as an ambassador,speaker and especially as a person he was/is held in high regards by everyone. I hope the Flames brass do something for him that will allow the fans to show him how they feel. The 1000 game presentation was nice and all…but I think a lot of people held back waiting for this!

  • @ Pat or Kent-

    With Kotalik on waivers and the available open roster spots, are the Flames making room for a move or two? I don’t see anyone in Abbotsford that is worthy of bringing up. Now if they can rid them selves of Kotalik, how about turfing Steady Steve Staois? Trade Stajan to the Islanders for Brent Sutters old dressing room stall.

  • everton fc

    Maybe Stone, Keith, Nemisz, Meyer, Rheault and/or Brodie (or Cunning, or Armstrong) get looks? If Kotalik is on waivers… based on Feaster’s comments last evening (“Time to give some of the kids on the farm a look up here”)… We may see a few of these kids up here, which I think is a good thing.

    I don’t think we’ll see a trade. In fact, with the momentum we have, bringing up a few hungry kids from the farm makes the most sense, though I’d move Hagman, if someone were interested.

    @Gange

    I never brought into moving Iggy or Reggie. Kipper is still as close to an elite goalie as one gets, and at 34, if there was interest, and we were out of the race, I’d consider moving him. But I wouldn’t move Iggy or Reggie, regardless. To me, they are part of the core, and vital to any rebuild.

    Perhaps Staois is the next to go on waivers, though Feaster seemed a bit excited that Steve would be back sooner, than later.