Postgame: Killer Instinct

I’m on a fighting game kick, okay?  Let me roll with it.  The Calgary Flames carried a 1-0 lead into the third period against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night almost in spite of themselves, but that wasn’t the case in the final 20 minutes.  The Flames made the most of their third period, scoring five goals in the final frame to walk to a 6-0 win.  The loss essentially ends the season for St. Louis, and it propels Calgary to fifth in the Western Conference.

What Happened

After things were even for a full 60 minutes on Sunday night, it was very much the same story in the first period on this night as well.  Not a lot seperated the teams, even with a little more wide open hockey, and the play at even strength was fairly even.  It was 5-on-5 and late in the frame when Calgary opened the scoring, with Jarome Iginla stripping the puck from Barret Jackman on the left side of the Blues net.  The captain would feed a wide open Alex Tanguay in the slot and he’d make no mistake for his 17th of the season at 18:20, and the Flames would carry a lead into the second period.

The middle frame was ALL St. Louis, with scoring chances 9-2 overall in their favor, but they wouldn’t score.  Miikka Kiprusoff made a few key stops in net, and the Blues just could not convert on their opportunities, tipping pucks high, shooting them wide, and having them bounce off their sticks…and it was still 1-0 Calgary after 40 minutes.  Kent and I chatted on Twitter following the second period, and the feeling was St. Louis may be a little frustrated.  There was no question the Flames had an opportunity to pounce on a vulnerable team in the third.

Aaaaaand pounce they did.  The game was over at 4:59 of the third period, when Alex Tanguay started a 2-on-1 with a gorgeous pass out of his own end finding Brendan Morrison on the right win.  He’d feed a perfect pass to Jarome Iginla, and his one-timer beat Blues goalie Ben Bishop easily for a 2-0 lead.  And then the flood gates open…with four more goals going in.  Moss on the powerplay, Iginla even strength, Regehr on the powerplay and Hagman late and the Flames would completely snuff out the Blues for a 6-0 win.  Yeesh.  One team quit, the other team rammed a game down their throat.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames won?  Because they survived a supbar opening 40 minutes and crushed a vulnerable opponent in the third.  But give credit to Calgary, because they clearly realized they had a team on the ropes, and they delivered the knockout blow, followed by four more blows.  Instead of sitting back and trying to protect a one goal lead, like they’d been doing in the second, they showed a little sack and walked away with a lopsided win.

Red Warrior

Back-to-back shutouts means this is a pretty easy choice.  Miikka Kiprusoff wasn’t tested a ton, technically, as the Blues had such an issue getting shots on net and doing anything with their chances…but when he was tested, he was good.  Kiprusoff was the goalie of record for a Flames first, as the team shutout a home-and-home series for the first time in franchise history.  Now does he start tomorrow in Chicago?

Sum It Up

Hey, the Flames haven’t been playing their best hockey as of late, yet they’re still getting results.  Overall, they’ve still earned five a possible eight points in their last four games, and they now sit all alone in fifth place in the conference.  They’ve got a very good opponent tomorrow, and an opponent playing their best hockey of the season.  Calgary and Chicago at the United Center should be a lot of fun.

  • icedawg_42

    Boy – don’t I feel like a chump for poking my nose into your conversation and predicting/assuming the Flames would fall into their shell and try to nurse a 1 goal lead. Glad to be wrong for a change (kidding)

  • Bustmeester

    It is incredible how this team gels as a unit. They stand up for each other, never hang their collective heads. They are relentless, it has been at least a few years since we have seen that from a Flames team. I am in SHOCK Pat.

  • Jarom

    Dominant third period. Very good defensive effort throughout. I was a littele dissapointed at the Blues taking cheap shots and long runs at the end. Im even more glad we didn’t stoop down to that level along side them.

    4 huge points in a very important home and home. Kipper is on a roll, and needs to stay put behind the net.

  • Vintage Flame

    Pat, you and Kent said earlier today that this Blues team was a team that the Flames top line should be able to dominate. And dominate they did.

    It was nice to see Tangs play a game like he did before his temporary injury. What a smart player and it reflected in his play with Iggy tonight.

    When you see the Captain smiling like that it’s usually 1 of 2 things. He’s scoring or beating someone up. I’m glad it was the former, though I also enjoy the latter.

    May have been a grind in the first 2 periods, but i’ll take that 3rd any day of the week and a win is a win right!

    Also have to give some love to Babs tonight. Great play he made on the puck that snuck under Kipper’s arm and a solid 18 min TOI tonight. Love the way Sutter manages his ice time and is building himself as a solid niche D-man with this team.

  • Vintage Flame

    Just an update on something that I am using to track the Flames’ playoff chances. On February 14 I wrote the following:

    “The Flames have 64 points and 24 games to go. Of those 24 games, 2 are against what I would consider grade A opposition (Vancouver). I wouldn’t count on any points out of those games. 9 games are against what I would consider grade C opposition (Colorado, St. Louis, Edmonton) The Flames should be able to win 7 of those 9 games. The remaining 13 games are against what I would consider the B opposition (Dallas, Montreal, Boston, San Jose, Chicago, Nashville, Phoenix, Anaheim, LA). Assuming the 7 wins against the C competition, the Flames need to win 9 of these 13 games to get to 96 points.”

    Since then, the Flames went 2-2 vs the B opponents (Wins over Dallas and Montreal, losses to San Jose and Boston) and went 3-0 against the C opponents (Colorado, 2 against St. Louis).

    So, by my estimation the Flames still need to go 4 for 6 against the C opponents (Colorado X3, St. Louis, Edmonton X2) and 7 for 9 against the B grade teams.

    Still just a coin flip at best at this point.

    Here is a “win” for the Flames that was not considered at the deadline day; those C teams all got worse on or around deadline day, increasing the odds the Flames win potentially all of their games against those teams. The only teams that I see on the Flames schedule that really got better around the deadline were LAK (but at least we play Edmonton twice to make up for it) and Vancouver.

  • Just like to throw it out there that Chris Stewart is an ass. 5-10 seconds after the play was clearly dead, he sprays Kipper with snow.

    That and all the cheap shots and runs taken. Show some professionalism (you’ll never be the Flames of the mid to late 90s).

  • MC Hockey

    I agree the Flames are playing better, consistent, and truly as a team, and has good coaching. But y’all forgot one thing, the crappy puck luck the Flames had for the first 45 games has turned the other way…that’s why a subpar effort turns into a 6-0 win. Won’t happen the same against Chicago so let’s hope the A-game is back for the Flames. OY YEAH:

    Since the awesome radio guy who did all the impressions of hockey guys like Bob Cole left town, I will add this (from Mr Cole): “Woah baby….those amazing Leafs….if that Dion guy can score some goals down the stretch playing with that Sundin fellow…watch out! Oh golly, too bad Sittler just retired last year! Oh baby”.