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.
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.
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.