Photo credit: Terence Leung, calgaryflames.com
The Calgary Flames finished their 2011 preseason with a 4-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes Thursday at the Saddledome, a decent finish to their exhibition schedule. The Coyotes iced a fairly veteran laden lineup and were probably the best competition the Flames have faced thus far; Calgary controlled most of the game and did some damage on the powerplay to even their preseason record at 3-3.
The first period was very controlled on both sides, with neither team taking many risks. Phoenix had a few spans where they seemed to control the play, but all in all it was a fairly even opening frame with Calgary outshooting their opponents 9-6.
The Flames really took over in the second, however, firing 17 shots on net and scoring twice. Their first marker came on the powerplay at 11:47 when David Moss finished off a nifty passing play in front of the net; it was started with a pass from Niklas Hagman to Olli Jokinen on the half boards. Jokinen one touched it to Moss for a pretty opening score. Late in the second, Calgary would go on the powerplay once again, and it didn’t take long this time around. After a faceoff win, the puck went back to the point where Mark Giordano would lay it on a tee for Anton Babchuk; he’d hammer home his first of the preseason at 19:09 for a two goal lead.
The third period saw a couple scoring chances generated on either side, but nothing went in until the latter stages when Curtis Glencross scored on a sharp angle shot set up by Jokinen. That goal came at 16:03 but it took just 12 seconds for Phoenix to score their first of the night, with Boyd Gordon getting on the board at 16:15. At 17:51, a Keith Yandle shot would be stopped initially by Miikka Kiprusoff, but Ray Whitney would tap home the rebound on the doorstep, as the lead got slimmed to one. However Moss’s second of the night into an empty net would seal the game at 19:17 for Calgary’s second consecutive preseason win.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? They had the puck more. Calgary really turned things on in the final 40 minutes and made it difficult for Phoenix to generate much of anything, mostly because the Flames didn’t want to give up the puck. When things are rolling for this group, they can be a good possession team, and you saw that in this game. Add in some solid work from Miikka Kiprusoff when he was tested, and it was a pretty simple formula for success.
I actually really liked Moss tonight, and would have handed him this coveted award had he scored twice or not. Moss was good in front of the net on the powerplay, he helped work the cycle, and did some good work against the Doan line on his grouping with Jokinen and Glencross. He would have scored 20 goals last year had he stayed healthy, and I’ve got him down for doing that again this year.
Sum It Up
It’s a preseason win and the Flames did what they needed to do: finish off the preseason on a good note. Now, they have an interesting week plus to manage correctly. The team will skate on Friday and Sunday before spending the first three days of the work week in Banff. They’ll do some team building and some teaching, and this is a really good opportunity now for the Flames to work on a few of the new looks on the powerplay and some of the new things they’re working on killing penalties. FGD returns on October 8th.