Yes, last season was a roiling pot of change, disappointment and entirely diametrically opposed outcomes. And, in the end, the Flames near mythical rebound failed to launch them into the post season, marking it the second time in as many years the capped-out club missed the dance.
There were some disappointments and surprises to be sure. But there was more than a few bright spots to enjoy as well. We’ve covered some of them so far in the positivity series, but today I wanted to share the particular games or moments that stood out for me last season.
5.) The 7-2 Win over Chicago
No team has treated the Flames like their own personal spittoons more than the Chicago Blackhawks the last few seasons. Calgary’s regular season (and playoff) record against the ‘Hawks since old man Wirtz left this world has hovered between pitiful and unspeakable. More than a few humiliating losses have come at the hands of Toews and company, including the game that spawned the phrase "a five goal lead is the most dangerous lead in hockey"
Which is why it felt so good to see the Flames come out and lay a good ol’ fashioned whoopin’ on the Hawks last November. Calgary was helped along by some less than noteworthy netminding by Marty Turco, but that doesn’t deflate the schadenfreude.
Bonus points to Matt Stajan, who makes a number of good plays in the above highlights.
4.) Curtis Glencross’ Incredible February
Calgary turned things around in the second half of the season for a number of reaosns, principle amongst them was Curtis Glencross catching fire in Feb. He managed eight goals and 14 points in just 13 games, including a four point effort versus the Colorado Avalanche on Valentines day. However unlikely it is that Glencross will repeat the feat down the road, it was still fun to watch him shred the bad guys for a month. And speaking of Valentines day…
3.) 9-1 boot-stomping of Colorado Avalanche
This one might have been even more personally satisfying for me than the 7-2 victory over the Hawks. During the previous season, the Avalanche had rode some of the most uncanny luck in recent memeory to their Cinderella playoff berth. The Flames ran face first into that fortune more than once in 2009-10, spending several frustrating nights peppering Craig Anderson only to see the Avs score the game winner on one of their few shots of the game.
On a more meta-level, the Avs unlikely success that year led to a bit of kerfuffle between the NHL stats crowd and Colorado fans. The latter looked at the data and concluded Colorado’s success was a fluke. The latter claimed the team’s young players and coaches had found a way to beat the odds. I, of course, was on the side of the bean counters.
So naturally I took some selfish joy in Joe Sacco going from a Jack Adams candidate to potentially losing his job in the space of a year. The merciless beating at the hands of my favorite team was the glistening, bourbon soaked cherry on top of the glorious I told-you-so Sundae.
Yes Colorado, your team sucks.
2.) The Alex Tanguay game tying goal
After losing three games in a row to decidedly mediocre opposition (uncluding B2B contests versus the Wild) the Flames ambled into Dallas on December 23rd on a low note. With the club near the bottom of the standings and behind in the finla frame 3-2, it looked like another disappointing loss was inevitable. Until this:
With the goalie on the bench, Tanguay’s break-away goal tied things up with with less than two minutes left in the game. He would go on to ice it for the Flames in the shoot-out shortly thereafter.
1.) Backlund burns the Canucks
Aside from the Blackhawks, the other Western Conference club the Flames have struggled most against in recent times is the Vancouver Canucks. That’s why the kids singlehanded strip-and-roof-job goal was so very sweet.
That’s it for me. Feel free to share your own favorite parts of last season in the comments.