The Webster’s dictionary defines the word comedy as an amusing event or sequence of events. Yeah that about fits what we saw Saturday night in Edmonton, with the Calgary Flames scoring three third period goals to tie a lifeless hockey game, and they’d eventually win thanks to their old friend, the shootout. Against the Oilers, it’s not so improbable, but seeing Steve Staios tie the game late in the third pretty much summed up the night. Season not over.
The Flames were absolutely listless in the opening 20 minutes, doing very little throughout the opening frame, and the worst nightmare seemed to be coming true…a lifeless Calgary team doing absolutely nothing in a game that means a ton. The Flames were down in the scoring chance count after one period, and they were down by a goal as well, thanks to Magnus Paajarvi at 15:24, converting a two-on-one for his 12th of the season and a 1-0 lead after one.
The second period was much the same, with Calgary doing very little once more. They would tie the game on the powerplay at 8:22, with Jarome Iginla rifling his 35th of the season past Devan Dubnyk from the blueline for a 1-1 tie. That tie game didn’t last long, with Teemu Hartikainen jamming home a loose puck in the plue point just 59 seconds later, restoring Edmonton’s one goal lead. A late powerplay for Calgary gave them an opportunity to draw even, but a bad play from Alex Tanguay would end up in the back of their net, with Colin Fraser scoring his third of the season with 26 seconds remaining, and the Oilers would take a 3-1 lead into the final frame.
The third period saw the worst possible start for Calgary, with Ryan Jones getting his 17th of the season at 3:31, giving Edmonton their largest lead of the night, and the feeling on Twitter was season over. But, then a marginal interference call on Hartikainen gave the Flames a powerplay, and Iginla would tally again, similar to the way he did in the first period. The captain’s 36th came at 5:55 and started the comeback, or the collapse, depending on how you look at it. Calgary was gifted one at 12:09, with a bouncing puck mis-played by Edmonton defenceman Jim Vandermeer landing right on the stick of Curtis Glencross. He’d make no mistake, and his 23rd of the season had the Flames right back within one, setting up the Staios narrative late. After a good shift in the final two minutes, Staios was noticeably down low for a long time, and the first Oilers player ever traded to Calgary would see the puck land on his stick in the right circle, and he’d make no mistake, beating Dubnyk, and sending this sucker off to overtime.
The overtime period was fairly uneventful, so the shootout, again…the 16th time this season Calgary would go to penalty shots. After the puck skipped off the stick of Jordan Eberle, it set up Mr. Automatic, and Tanguay would live up to that nickname in the shootout. Ryan Jones and Rene Bourque were stopped, and Miikka Kiprusoff would stop Hartikainen for the 5-4 Calgary won. And all I could do, honestly, was laugh a little.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? Because no game is ever over against the Edmonton Oilers. Iginla’s second of the night visibly rattled a young, inexperienced Oilers team, and Calgary stayed calm and took advantage. The Flames are a better hockey team, and they showed on this night that they can be the better team for, say, 15 minutes or so and still win a hockey game they were down by three in. Eh, does it save the season? That’s maybe a little dramatic, but it’s better than a season ending loss!
In terms of overall play for 60 minutes, there are better candidates. In terms of awesomeness, there are not. Steve Staios is your Red Warrior, because he’s awesome, because he has FlamesNation contest named after him, and because he tied the game with his third of the season.
Sum It Up
Okay, was it fun, yeah, it sure was. What does it mean? Well, that depends what the Flames make of it, as we update things, and I’ll do it on a team by team basis…
Elimination Number: 4.5
Anaheim’s regulation win means that Chicago is now the eighth place team in the Western Conference, and they need nine points to eliminate Calgary from playoff contention. They have eight games remaining, so a .500 record from Chicago will do it. But, with Anaheim looming as the next opponent for the Flames, hey, it could make for an interesting string here. All that said, Kent’s point in the scoring chances post is correct…Calgary can’t play like that, as they were hot garbage for the majority of this game. The fact they won is nice, but overall, they need to be loads better for the final five.