Postgame: A Faint Pulse

Picture perfect wins aren’t what the Calgary Flames need, they just need the two points if they’re going to have any chance at the postseason.  Thanks in large part to Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary was able to take a 2-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche and make sure mathematically they weren’t going to be eliminated from the playoff picture.  Combining the Calgary win with a Chicago loss, and the Flames sit just one point back of a playoff spot with just two games to go.

What Happened

Not a whole lot to write home about in the first period, as you could tell the Avalanche were at the very least going to be competitive on the night.  Peter Budaj made a couple big stops in the first and the Avs had chances of their own, but it was scoreless after 20.

The second period was an odd one, because Colorado was markedly the better team, but the Flames had a one goal lead after 40.  With the Avalanche coming out WAY in front of the scoring chances by a 15-6 count, it was the Flames opening the scoring at the 10:23 mark on a bit of a broken play.  With Alex Tanguay gaining the puck behind the net, he was able to thread a pass to Olli Jokinen all alone in the slot; Jokinen put home his 17th of the season for a 1-0 Calgary lead.  Kiprusoff was very, very good in the second period, making a number of large stops to help the Flames keep the lead heading into the third period.

After not a very strong second frame, and not a very strong opening 40 minutes, Calgary was able to lock things down a little more in the third period, limiting the Avalanche to seven shots on goal and taking a two goal lead at 8:13.  With Jarome Iginla winning a puck battle, the captain would eventually feed Tanguay just under the right circle, and Tanguay would hit the water bottle for his 21st and a 2-0 Flames lead.  Milan Hejduk put home his 21st with five minutes to go, which made for a frantic finish, but Calgary would close it out and take a much needed 2-1 win.

One Good Reason…

…this is the first time I can remember this season, but the reason why Calgary won tonight was Miikka Kiprusoff.  He made some huge stops in the first 40 minutes, and when the Flames were better defensively in the third period, Kiprusoff still made the stops when the Avs earned their chances.  Erik Johnson’s shot right off a clean faceoff win was one that comes to mind immediatlely in the third period, and Kiprusoff was eager to accept the challenge.  He was very good.

Red Warrior

The aforementioned Kiprusoff gets the nod.  He hasn’t been among the NHL’s elite goaltenders this season, but he was very, very good on this night.  In a game where the team wasn’t very good in front of him, Calgary’s goaltender came to play and they needed it.

Sum It Up

I guess it’s a somewhat positive outlook for the Flames following their win, as they got help out of town.  The game that really helped was Chicago’s 2-0 loss to Tampa, and while Dallas’s 4-3 win over Anaheim hurts in one sense, at the very least it wasn’t a three point game.

Elimination Number: 1.5

Just like this game, Wednesday’s Flames-Oilers tilt at the ‘Dome is one where Calgary has no excuse not to come out with two points.  Saturday’s Vancouver game is a different story.  The most important thing about Calgary’s win over Colorado was that they cannot be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention prior to Wednesday’s game.

  • Vintage Flame

    Not too much to talk about in this game once you get passed the play of Kiprusoff. Tonight’s game probably should have been a mirror of what happened on Valentine’s Day. I guess it was good to see Tangs and Olli pot the goals, but again the real story was Kipper.

    Funny because not too lang ago it seems it was the Av’s doing this to Calgary, be it Budaj or Anderson. This was obviously one we needed badly [if it still matters] and if only one guy had to show up, good it was Kipper. He was all out tonight and left it on the ice. Even the Hejduk goal wasn’t Kipper’s fault. I think he deserved SO #7 tonight.

    Well Pat.. cue the music, cause like the man said.. “On to the next one”.

  • SmellOfVictory

    If the Flames make the playoffs over the Hawks this season I will have a hearty chuckle. A chuckle that will only be surpassed if they knock the Canucks out in the first round.

  • MC Hockey

    It’s just nice to have hope for a few more days. Can I see Chicago or Anaheim totally tanking…not likely but it’s nice to dream. I think Carson looks decent…hope the Flames keep it simple and stay young for the D in off-season. Trade Sarich, let Staios retire (maybe coach?), re-sign Pardy, Carson, Mikkelsson and give some farm-guys a chance too. Up front, well that’s messy! In goal, keep Karlsson because he’s decent, cheap, and really big!

    • Vintage Flame

      Here, here mchockey. It is nice to have these last games meaning something for sure. I haven’t really seen enough of Carson to say he looks decent or not. Sutter has been managing his ice time as to limit potential damage in these crucial games.

      I think you will see a shift in the D for next year, perhaps not a full on movement quite yet. i personally think Sarich is tradeable and I don’t believe the Flames will re-sign Babchuck. He’s going to get some ridiculous offer from someone, and well that will be that. He’s cheap now, but won’t be next year.

      As for Mikkelson, he might have played himself off the roster. I think the Flames are going to give a considerable look to Brodie and Erixon next year.. Don’t be surprised if we see Mikkelson as about as often as we did this year.. barring injuries of course.

      As for Karlsson, the only way I think they keep him is if they trade Kiprusoff and then run Karlsson and Irving as their pairing.. Even then, they probably go after someone like Vokoun or Brysgalov to take his place. Karlsson is a 27 year old still learning and the upside is greater with Irving. Especially with Ortio signed and already over here playing with the Heat. he probably sees 25 – 30 games next year in Abbotsford.

  • RKD

    In the 2003-04 season the Flames didn’t qualify for the playoffs until I believe game no. 81 or 82. At that time they had a record of 42-30-7-3 good for 94 points and enough for the sixth seed. Now it looks like 94 can’t even get you to eighth. Glad to see the Flames fighting until the bitter end. How Calgary has played 80 games so far is unreal, two games in the next six days. Where was this type of break earlier in the season?

  • Lucas73

    It is going to be funny if the Vancouver / Calgary game decides if it is Calgary/Chicago that faces the Canucks in the first round. Might be the first time ever half of Vancouver is cheering for a Calgary victory.

    • From being around the Canucks a few times this year, I honestly don’t think they care who they play in the first round. Vancouver is better than both Chicago and Calgary, and I really do not think there is any “we’d rather play Calgary than Chicago” sentiment at all.

  • MC Hockey

    Hey Vintage, For D-men, I agree Mikkelson may not be worth keeping on further thought and you may be right about what crazy offers that Babchuk gets. For young D, Brodie has more to offer, maybe Erixon too and then there’s former 1st-rounder Pelech who, if we lucked out by giving him a chance, could turn into a “poor man’s Regehr” or “mini-Sarich” (but much cheaper).

    But I bet Flames really WILL keep Karlsson as a goalie for one more year because more goaltenders “get” the NHL game in their late 20s and Irving, Keetley, and Ortio are just not ready or good enough (yet).

    Now, onto FORWARDS, if FLames owners don’t mind spending money to clear busts out, the FLames MUST buyout Kotalik and Hagman to clear $4M cap ($6M salary less $2M/year to buyout over 2 years). Then look at whether Kostopoulos and Ivanans are worth keeping at their salary and contribution levels because you need the $ for other guys (and I would think Modin is gone for sure. And hopefully if money is there we re-sign Tanguay (say 3.5M), Glencross (about 2.8M) and even Morisson (900K) for insurance depending on whether he fits under cap. Bouma and maybe Nemisz (who is expensive as ALL bonuses count next year) are likely to stay up at their pay rates or perhaps a cheaper farm guy instead of Nemisz who is only now in 1st year of pro.

    • Vintage Flame

      “Now, onto FORWARDS, if FLames owners don’t mind spending money to clear busts out, the FLames MUST buyout Kotalik and Hagman to clear $4M cap ($6M salary less $2M/year to buyout over 2 years).”

      I don’t think they will have to worry about Kotalik. I think he goes to the KHL or wherever. But if he stays, the Flames will have 4M count still against their cap with buying out him and Hags [2M each for the 2011-12 Season] So that frees up 2M to add to 4.3M they are under. Remember we also still have one more year of Nigel Dawes buy-out left at ~142K.
      – How do you sign Tangs for 3.5M and GlenX for 2.8M? that’s 6.8M there and you still want to add Morrison at 900K [7.7M]… Can’t even see where you find money for Karlsson now?

      I can’t see the possibility with Tangs and GlenX getting that kind of money. I think Tangs takes a marginal haircut here.. but as Kent and Pat have pointed out.. It looks like most probably, GlenX goes for the payday.

      The Flames also have to re-sign Irving, and as you mentioned Pelech.. among others. Not to say that the Heat players affect the cap in anyway.. minus if you need to bring them up.

    • wattree

      Buyouts are one of the most short-sighted moves a team can make. I personally don’t understand why a team would a.) pay people they no longer employ any amount of money and b.) have that money on the cap, which might prevent a team from signing a player of use.

      The thing people seem to forget is that Giordano is already getting a 3 million dollar raise next season. The Flames are technically over the cap this year, but with the LTIR savings from Lankgow-who is still under contract for next year-they are able to make the cap work. I don’t care how the organization does it, but they need to make 2 of Hagman, Kotalik and Sarich’s contracts disappear completely. I, for one, hope that both Brodie and Erixon are able to make the team out of camp next year. If the Flames are able to get rid of Sarich, a cheap (max 1 million) veteran d-man would be a beneficial addition to the team.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    Kipper isn’t going to get traded in the off-season. If he does get traded, feel free to bring this up at the time and I will humble myself publicly (well, interwebs-type of publicly). His NMC ends after next season.

    Killer knows the Flames and the Flames know Killer, so I think it would make sense to re-sign him as backup for next season. Ortio will play in Abby to try and force Irving to earn the #1 spot, and therefore earn some actual NHL (backup) time the season after next.

    I wonder what Kippers numbers would look like this season if the Flames had been an above average team.

  • Bob Cobb

    Next saturday’s game isn’t going to mean anything because the Oilers are going to finish the job they should’ve last time and finally put the Flames out of their misery.
    Merry Christmas.

    • Vintage Flame

      Lol.. I love Oiler trolls. Yeah Bob, they should have finished the Flames chances last week, but once again demonstrated that they can’t get the job done, no matter how much they “want it”. It was funny that no free agents wanted to sign there, it HILARIOUS that their own players don’t want to play there, and are even hurting themselves so they don’t have to.

      Good news is the Flames are going to be nice a rested for the Canuks, cause we have lots of days in between and once again will only have to play 10 min or so to beat the cOilers!

      Merry Christmas?? Not sure what calender you go by, but it must be the same one that you have the Oiler Cup parade day circled on…

      Hey Bob… Ding, Fries are done!

      • Bob Cobb

        I’m a Troll? Well in that case it worked because I got under your skin, that was the whole point. The funny thing you knew I was doing that and you let it get to you, Awesome. So to sum it up, Bob: 1, Vintage Flame: No score.
        Happy Festivus.

  • Vintage Flame

    Dear Flames Training Staff,

    I am a concerned Flames fan, writing you with some unsolicited advice on your pre-game regimen with Jay Bouwmeester. His recent play indicates to me that you have changed something. I don’t know if you are cranking him up on Red Bull or just feeding him a triple helping of Froot Loops before the game, but Mr. Bouwmeester’s recent play is so hyper and spastic I can only assume that there is some kind of stimulant involved.

    By way of example I point you to the lone Colorado goal last night. Our friend Mr. Bouwmeester would normally have done the staid and sensible thing by staying in front of the net to clear a possible scoring chance. Instead, this new version hopped up on goofballs or some such, erratically and frenzily chases a totally irrelevant player over to his partner’s side of the ice, leaving Mr. Hejduk uncovered for an easy goal.

    Exhibit “B” if you will took place with 9:56 remaining in the second period where Mr. Bouwmeester’s partner Mr. Regehr was battling for the puck in front of the net. Again, instead of staying in front of the net where he could have picked up an open and dangerous player, Mr. Bouwmeester chases a toally irrelevant player into the corner, resulting in an excellent scoring chance.

    As I noted, this is an extreme and unusual series of event for Mr. Bouwmeester who is normally much more reliable, so I can only attribute this to some new pre-game ritual involving exotic drugs or commercial stimulants. In place of this routine, could I suggest a regime of relaxing yoga, or meditation? It would do my hairline and heart a world of good, and may even increase the Flames chances of winning their remaining games.

    Keep up the otherwise excellent work you are doing!

    Your humble fan,
    Tach

  • If Chicago wins tomorrow and on Friday, our last game may be totally irrelevant. Even if it is necessary, which Vancouver team shows up? The 8-2 win over the Flames from the end of last season, or the 4-1 loss to the Oilers the other night?

    If our playoff hopes depend on that game, we have to pray it’s the 4-1 team, or that Luongo breaks his legs playing frisbee on the beach before then.

  • T&A4Flames

    Really Calgary? REALLY? You REALLY think we are afraid to play you guys in a 7 game series?

    Umm who exactly are your centers right now? I want soooooooo badly to play you guys, so we can break out the brooms and start some early SWEEEPING.

    Yeah yeah I can hear you already bash us about the Oiler game. WEll we have nothing to player for except for the Cup. You guys have Tee times to worry about.

    Who in their right might thinks Iginla is better than LindeN? Iggy’s numbers are only better because he’s played more games.

    • T&A4Flames

      Trevor Linden- 1382 GP 375 G 492 A 867 Pts

      Jarome Iginla- 1104 GP 480 G 521 A 1,001 Pts

      Really Todd, really? At least get your facts straight before you make a comment like that. Plus there is no way in hell that Linden is better than Iggy.

      • Vintage Flame

        HAHAHAHAHA.. WOW! Isn’t Toad the one that said he knew more about Calgary than Flames fans did? Toad maybe you should stop all your blabbing around here and go and hit the books on your own team.

        I took a look at the threads over at the Canucks site.. NO ONE comments over there. For the last 4 or 5 articles anyway.. NO ONE. What’s the matter Toad, everyone over there speak different dialects of idiot, you can’t communicate with each other?

        Too funny. I can’t even call you an idiot anymore, you do a way better job of it yourself.
        Here’s an old proverb you should live by..
        “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

    • T&A4Flames

      Oh Yea, Todd the wad is back. How was the EDM vs. VAN game… idiot!

      Who thinks Igi is better? Anyone with at least half a brain. Linden was a 3rd liner who got decent minutes on a crappy team… for years!!! what world do you live in anyway??? Oh, fiction can be fun!

  • T&A4Flames

    I don’t understand the disdain some Flames supporters have for Miikka Kiprusoff. He may not be an elite goalie this year but he has been a good goalie. People are saying he should be dealt.Why? Roberto Luongo is the only goalie in the league with more wins than M.K. Luongo has 37 wins and Kipper has 36. People are pointing out that his goals against at 2.65 are going up while his save percentage at .905 is coming down. I attribute that to the amount of games he’s playing. Up to this point he has started 70 games. Only Cam Ward has played more minutes at 4139 to 4095. Over the last few years the Flames have worked him like an illegal immigrant. Yet he has shouldered the load without complaint and produced 36 wins this season. Vancouver management has finally figured out Luongo needs some rest and he has started only 58 games. I would suggest that if Kipper had only started 58 games his goals against and save percentage would be better. Without Kipper this team is the Edmonton Oilers.

  • Bob Cobb

    I agree, what’s with all the Kipper bashing? Did people forget already the Roman Turek years? Come on now!

    TOAD NICE GAME by your team against the Coilers. ON HOME ICE! BAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • T&A4Flames

    WOW TODD you are sooooooooooo stupid! ABC people. Anybody BUT CANSUCKS! Todd is EXACTLY the reason why I will NOT join the Canucks wagon in the playoffs. Iggy vs Linden? LOL LOL LOL LOL. I think you are getting way to much sun over there in Vancouver Todd.

    Flames please make the playoffs.

  • Greg

    “Who in their right might thinks Iginla is better than LindeN? Iggy’s numbers are only better because he’s played more games.”

    Dumbest comment ever win?

  • T&A4Flames

    Flames suck so bad! It was a good thing getting rid of one Sutter but why not the head coach now? Flames need to do what the Edmonton Oilers did by tearing the team apart and rebuliding. Sure the Oilers are last in the leauge but that is because they are still a learning bunch and the Flames are all old guys who cannot skate anymore. Time to rebulid

    GO FLAMES GO!… Next year