Calgary probably shouldn’t have given up a three goal lead Wednesday night in Dallas, but in the end it was the Flames coming away with two points thanks to a 4-3 shootout win over the Stars. The truth is, it wasn’t Calgary’s strongest game, and they’re league leading wins total in the shootout will end up sinking them in the event of a tiebreak…but it’s a win, and the Flames move on to Phoenix for another crucial game.
Dallas seemed to have some jump off the hop, with Brad Richards returning to the lineup for the first time in ten games, but Calgary had the first chance thanks to a Mark Giordano shot that rang off the post. That seemed to turn things for the visitors, as they’d get on the board midway through the first period thanks to a Curtis Glencross pass to Rene Bourque out front, and at 10:26 the Flames had a 1-0 lead. It would start a bit of a surge, and Calgary would score 62 seconds later after Mikael Backlund would make a nice move to the front of the net, and after a bit of a scramble, Tom Kostopoulos would jam home his sixth of the season for a two goal lead. Then at 13:41, with Calgary really pushing, Anton Babchuk would drive home a rocket from the right point for his 11th of the season and a quick 3-0 lead. The Stars would get some powerplay time late in the frame, and after not being able to score on a two man advantage, Jamie Benn would pot his 18th on the tail end of powerplay time to give Dallas some jump heading into the second.
Calgary would be pretty fortunate to come out of the second period still with the lead, as the Stars would outshoot the Flames 15-4 and outchancing them in a large degree as well. Dallas would score once, with Mike Ribeiro ripping home his 14th at 5:12 to get the Stars within one after the Stars gained an odd man rush. Nonetheless, the Flames took a 3-2 lead into the second intermission.
Dallas would tie it early on in the third, with Tomas Vincour netting his first ever NHL goal on a nice play by him to keep a play alive behind the net. He’d wrap around and rip one high on Miikka Kiprusoff, a goal Kipper might want to have back. A late powerplay for Dallas got them close to taking the lead in regulation, but Calgary would survive and off to overtime we’d go.
The extra frame was great to watch, as both teams had scoring chances, including Kiprusoff robbing Alex Goligoski and Kari Lehtonen making a number of great saves at the other end, including a goal line stand on Matt Stajan. Then off to a shootout, where Alex Tanguay and Mike Ribeiro would score respectively, setting up an opportunity for Glencross to finish it off…a nice little hesitation would give him a little room to do just that, for a 4-3 Calgary win; their eighth shootout win this season.
One Good Reason…
…why Calgary won? Because they survived a poor second period and had the coin flip on their side in the shootout once again. Dallas could have really done some damage in that middle frame, but some big stops from Kiprusoff allowed Calgary’s three goal lead to be enough in the end. The Flames certainly do have success in shootouts, and it’s not just good fortune. Tanguay has been money all year, and Kiprusoff has also done a very nice job…so while it is a coin flip, the Flames have done a nice job affecting what side the coin lands on.
I’m going to do it. I’m going with Anton Babchuk. I thought he was fairly good defensively overall, and even made a few good plays against real opposition. He covered one chance that developed off a bad pinch from Steve Staios, he blocked two more shots, and he scored a dam holding goal in the first period. I know the guy is closer to Rick Berry on the ice than Jay Bouwmeester, but he’s added something.
Sum It Up
The most important things is, it’s a win. I totally understand the negative that comes along with a league leading shootout wins total, BUT, if Calgary keeps playing winning hockey, they may not be a in a tiebreaker situation when it’s all said and done. We’d all rather not have the Flames hack up three goal leads, that’s not desirable at all, and yes they gave a point to the Stars…but they’ve moved into a tie for fourth in the West, and it’s all about Thursday’s game in Phoenix now.