The Calgary Flames are riding something crazy right now, and they’ve moved into an absolute logjam tied for fourth in the Western Conference. The team won again on Wednesday night, this time riding some nice bounces from lady luck to take a 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars. The Flames sure weren’t great, but it’s two more points, and they’ll take it and move outdoors for their next game on Sunday night.
The Flames ran things in the first period, killing the Stars in possession, shots, and scoring chances, and were able to come away with a lead. Olli Jokinen would tip home a Mark Giordano point shot for his 13th of the season, and in a period where the Flames outshot the Stars 16-3, they’d lead 1-0. Calgary seemed to ease off the gas pedal as the period went on, and really were letting a beat up and thin Dallas team stick around, something they’d take advantage of in the second period.
That middle frame saw Dallas tie the game at 7:21 when a failed 3-on-1 rush would actually end up successful. Mike Ribiero made the decision to sweep the puck right through the slot on the rush, not shoot, and then somehow put the puck in from the left corner for his 11th of the season. Then as a powerplay expired, Jamie Langenbrunner put home his sixth of the season, and a poor second period for the Flames had them trailing. Calgary certainly didn’t get things on track in that frame, and yet they were able to score a goal, with Tom Kostopoulos tipping home a Rene Bourque shot on the powerplay at 14:09, and after 40, Calgary and Dallas were tied 2-2.
It was a pretty mediocre second for Calgary, and the third wasn’t THAT much better, yet the Flames were able to do enough to put the game away. At 2:35 on a weird sequence, and a span where Stars Head Coach Marc Crawford thought there were a few missed penalty calls, Cory Sarich floated home the eventual game winner, eluding an out of position Kari Lehtonen for a 3-2 lead. Well, you know things are going your way when Cory Sarich would score the go-ahead marker, and Steve Staios would add the insurance IN THE SAME PERIOD. Staios scored his second shorthanded at 4:47 on a nice feed from Rene Bourque, and bam, this game was over.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? They capitalized on some favorable bounces tonight, plain and simple. Two tips, a change up from Sarich, and a shorty on this night means the needle was pointing towards Calgary’s side. They’re getting the bounces right now, but what’s important is they’re taking advantage of them. Dallas nailed a post immediately after the Sarich goal, and Dallas got a few more chances after that, but once again, the Flames found a way to earn two points.
Five blocked shots, and assist on the opening goal, and an all round whale of a game gives the go-ahead to Mark Giordano. He could be a fair nominee for this "award" almost every night, but there was no other choice on this night, he was the best player on the ice. Giordano is just a really, really good hockey player, plain and simple.
Sum It Up
The Flames get a three day break heading into their Heritage Classic main event on Sunday afternoon. Calgary has played .740 hockey over a 25 game stretch, and they’ve won their games in different fashions. They’re getting crazy bounces. They’re resilient in almost any situation they’re in. And they really are playing their best hockey of the season. Tonight’s game wasn’t strong overall, but if you’re a good hockey team, you have to find ways to win hockey games when you’re not playing well. Sure is interesting to watch though.