There really wasn’t much competition Thursday night at the ‘Dome, as the Calgary Flames took a 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche without much resistence. The game was decided on two early powerplay goals, and with the Flames needing a win, they did more than enough to make sure a winnable game didn’t get away on them. The victory snaps a three game losing skid and moves Calgary back into a playoff spot for the time being.
This game was over pretty early, to be honest. A Cody McLeod tripping penalty 2:05 into the game turned quickly into a 5-on-3 with a Ryan O’Reilly goalie interference call, and the Flames made the Avs pay dearly. First, it was a Jarome Iginla no-doubter on the two man advantage, with Alex Tanguay feeding the captain in the left circle for his 31st of the season. 24 seconds later, it was Mark Giordano sweeping home his seventh, also on the powerplay, and very quickly it was 2-0 Calgary. The Avalanche would show a little life, catching a nice break off the referee which allowed Matt Duchene to feed Mark Olver for his first NHL goal at 7:35. Colorado wasn’t terrible for the balance of the first, but the Flames drove home the dagger with 18 seconds remaining in the frame; Rene Bourque would notch his 24th on a seeing-eye shot past Peter Budah, and Calgary would take a two goal lead into the second period.
The second period was about as uneventful a period of hockey you could ever imagine, and as such, no goals and only a few chances. It was 3-1 Calgary after 40.
The Flames would just pad the lead in the final frame, starting with Ales Kotalik’s welcome back goal at 4:36. His fourth of the season came on a nice Niklas Hagman pass from the other side of the crease and put this game out of reach. Jarome Iginla would score just under two minutes later, good for his 32nd of the season before a Cody McLeod powerplay goal cashed in on the powerplay late, getting us to our final score.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? This one’s pretty easy…they were a whole lot better. I know the scoring chance count ends up somewhat close, but that’s due to the Avalanche getting a few in the latter stages of the game. Overall, the Avs weren’t close, because they just aren’t a good hockey team, and they aren’t going anywhere. This team clearly sees the finish line, and while it wasn’t a 9-1 win for Calgary, the Flames took advantage of a poor team and won the game.
Let’s do it. Ales Kotalik. Welcome back. Who knows if he plays effective hockey at all the rest of the season, and hey, it wasn’t as if he was a world beater tonight. But Kotalik had two points, which is almost as much as he had in his entire season prior. So, good on em.
Sum It Up
It’s a game the Flames should have won, so nobody is going to start the celebration because they did. But give them credit, they did exactly what they needed to do, and win a hockey game. It wasn’t a firing on all cylinders type night, but it was a firing on some cylinders night, and that’s all you need against who they played tonight. Now you go out on the road, with three crucial games in the Pacific. Once that trip is done, well…we’ll know.