Postgame: Return to Form

Some of Calgary’s more recent wins have come in games where they weren’t playing the type of hockey that’s gotten them back into the Western Conference playoff race, but some good fortune and opportunistic scoring staked them to some important wins.  In Sunday’s 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators, the Flames were the better team because of the way they played, and they now sit fifth in the Western Conference.

What Happened

After Olli Jokinen rang a shot off the outside post in the early seconds of the first period, it was the Preds scoring first on a bit of a goal mouth scramble.  After a nice play by David Legwand to move the puck to the middle, Martin Erat would hammer home a loose puck for his 11th of the season and a 1-0 Nashville lead.  But just like Friday’s game against Columbus, the Flames would rebound thanks to a very fortunate bounce, this time on the powerplay.  A Mark Giordano point shot would pinball a few times and eventually up and over Preds goalie Pekka Rinne, and at 7:15 of the first things were all tied at one.  Nashville would strike again 5-on-5 in the later stages of the first, with Erat feeding Ryan Suter for a great shot from on top of the left circle…with scoring chances even at seven, the Preds took a 2-1 lead into the intermission.

The second period was one of Calgary’s better periods over the last number of games, and it started with a bang.  After Jarome Iginla was sprung on an early breakaway, it was penalty shot time again at the ‘Dome.  But it was Iginla, so he wasn’t scoring…moving on.  Oh, except Iginla pulled out "some kinda move" and went fivehole on Rinne, outlasting the Preds goalie and scoring his 30th of the season.  The goal was quite the milestone, becoming the tenth player in league history to do just that for ten straight seasons, so good on him.  The Flames would keep pushing after that goal 59 seconds in, and they put together a dominant second period and were tied 2-2 after 40.

Calgary was 10-2 when tied after two periods heading into this final frame, and they’d add another number to the left side of that record, putting together another impressive third period.  After a pretty strong shift from the second line of Rene Bourque, Olli Jokinen and Curtis Glencross a puck would pop loose at the top of the crease, and Glencross would pounce for his 22nd of the season at 10:23.  The Flames would do a very nice job to contain a chasing Nashville team, still coming out ahead in the chance count and the team was full marks for a 3-2 regulation win.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames won?  Because they were the better team, start to finish.  The Flames and Preds were fairly even in the first period, and you might even make the argument Nashville carried the play.  But right off the hop in the second period, Calgary came to play and they could have scored two or three others on top of Iginla’s penalty shot goal.  Rinne was very strong in this game, and held Nashville in this one in the final 40, but the Flames didn’t get away from their game, and once again they were rewarded.

Red Warrior

This one is easy tonight.  Jarome Iginla has done something only nine other players have done in this league, and the first ballot Hall of Famer joins an exclusive crew along with the likes of Gartner, Esposito, Dionne, and Gretzky.  The top line with him, Tanguay and Moss were very good, especially in the final 40 minutes, but on a night like this, Iginla deserves the nod.

Sum It Up

Hey, for the first time in a few games, the Flames were the better team and they won the hockey game.  They ran into a Vezina quality goalie and were still able to keep moving forward.  This is an important regulation win, and if Nashville misses the playoffs, they’ll think back to their four losses against Calgary this season.  The Flames move into fifth in the West, and they keep winning, and they keep making it difficult on the teams with games in hand.  This whole "playoffs" dream is becoming more and more a reality.

  • Great win. All four lines looked good. A few players really stood out for me:

    – Moss looked like he belonged on a top line that was running on all cylinders. Good for him.
    – Backlund had one of his best games to my eye. Its a shame he doesn’t have better line-mates.
    – Bourque was very good tonight helping keep the Jokinen line from missing a step with the loss of Moss to the top line. Glencross and Jokinen were also very good.
    – Regher was a monster.
    – Giordano contributed offensively, but more then that was there defensively. At least one of his blocks might have been a game saver.
    – Modin was the only player to stand out in a bad way. I was NOT impressed with his play. Sloppy. Penalty didn’t help (though it was a soft call).
    – Staios hasn’t been bad most nights in a 5/6 role. Tonight he was actually pretty darn good.
    – Tanguay missed one key opportunity to shoot, then he missed a wide open net. But he was still very good tonight.
    – Best game by Iggy in awhile. And he got his 30th. Congrats to the captain.

    • Vintage Flame

      Wow.. Is there a door #5?? I think I would rather Calgary play San Jose or Detroit. we play a solid game against the Sharks and I’m going to stick to my usual, and usually wrong spiel that Detroit is too old to 7 games with Calgary.

      Chicago worries me the way they are playing right now. And it’s not for the usual reasons. Towes is deadly and I think carries that team on his shoulders, much like Iggy does with us. Funnily enough though, If we had Daymond Langkow, I wouldn’t be as worried playing Chi-town.

      I don’t want to see them play Vancouver, NOT because i don’t think we can’t beat them, but if we don’t… i don’t want to listen to all the moronic, idiot Canuck fans planning the parade route and all that other sh… well you know!

      @Shevvy.. Do you know?.. Do you wanna, Do do you wanna know?…. Lol, just cause I missed the live chat tonight!

    • SmellOfVictory

      San Jose by a wide margin. They’ve got the weakest defensive corps/goaltending of the group, and the only team they might be comparable to in terms of forwards is Chicago (who would be a distant second choice as a preferred opponent).

  • Chris Muzyka

    Great game by the Flames. Jarome Iginla, wow, what a class act he is, and yes, as big a fan of Iggy as I am, not even I thought he stood much of a chance of scoring his 30th on that penalty shot against one of the best and hottest goalies in the league right now.

    I learned a valuable lesson tonight – Never Doubt #12.

    Furthermore, I don’t tend to get involved in the debate about who I’d like to face in the 1st round because I look at it this way – the road to the Cup in the West goes through ALL of those aforementioned teams as far as I’m concerned. The Canucks in the 1st round would be nice. If ANY team can knock them out, I’d love it to be the Flames. I also don’t like this BS in the poll question that is assuming the Flames can’t possibly finish higher than SEVENTH (???). The Flames could very well catch the Hawks and Coyotes.

    GO FLAMES GO!

    • Vintage Flame

      ” I also don’t like this BS in the poll question that is assuming the Flames can’t possibly finish higher than SEVENTH (???). The Flames could very well catch the Hawks and Coyotes.”

      I was thinking that exact thing Chris! I think the Flames finish 5th when this thing is said and done. I think I said before, no lower than 6th and a real possibility at 4th if they can maintain this pace, that no one seems to think they can.. Therefore, as a compromise.. I say 5th

  • Vintage Flame

    with all the shit talking from the HFBoards about how the Canucks would sweep us easily, I would love for the flames to play them in the post season. Personally I’d rather it be 2nd or 3rd round but those 4 top teams sound all like it would go 6 or possibly all 7. I don’t think Chicago is as good as they have shown lately and always weary about Detroit.

    Congrats to Iginla, one hell of a player and an even better guy. I feel bad for those poor saps in any league that doesn’t have a Captain like we do!

  • SmellOfVictory

    …good to see the Flames be 4 points up with 2 games in hand on the 9th place teams. Would really like to avoid the top 3 teams (dare I say we might get home ice advantage, what a dream).

  • RKD

    Congrats to Iginla on scoring 30 in 10 straight seasons. His name now gets to be mentioned in the same breath as: Gretzky, Hull, Bossy, Dionne, Esposito, Jagr, Kurri, Gartner and Sittler. The icing on the cake was getting to score the goal on a penalty shot at home!

  • To be honest, I see Chicago locking up the number 4 seed myself, so I’ll go with Calgary against one of the top 4 seeds.

    of the four, this might sounds crazy, I think Calgary would have the best shot against Chicago. Yes, the Hawks top end is deadly, but in a 7 game series you might be able to do some work on them. Calgary’s depth is better than Chicago’s, I think they’d have a shot.