Apparently you can play six minutes of effective hockey an win a hockey game. Okay, we’ll give them a little more than that (maybe ten minutes), but Tuesday’s 2-1 Calgary win over Edmonton really was the definition of finding a way to win. The Flames were almost entirely mediocre but used a solid final ten minutes to first tie and then win round one of the Battle of Alberta.
It was a rough start to the hockey game, with the Oilers getting a couple of opportunities right off the hop, blitzing Miikka Kiprusoff in the first few seconds. After a bad Tim Jackman post-whistle penalty, it was an Edmonton powerplay goal that opened the scoring at 6:42 thanks to a rocket of a Tom Gilbert shot from the left point. His first went roof on Kiprusoff and it was a score the Oilers took into the first intermission. Scoring chances favored the visitors after one, and it started a trend of some really sloppy hockey from both sides.
The second period saw much of the same, with some really hard to watch stretches from both sides. There was very little to get excited about, as both teams stuck to the outside for the majority of the frame, and Edmonton had the same lead heading into the third.
The third period really had the opportunity to get off the rails, as the Flames were slow to start their chasing game while they also took some penalties. Curtis Glencross and Mark Giordano both took stick foul penalties in the third period, but the Calgary penalty kill was very good, as was Kiprusoff. With the clock passing the fourteen minute mark, Calgary entered the zone effectively and kept possession long enough to find Jay Bouwmeester in the slot who sniped his first of the season. All of a sudden the building got a little more animated, and it got to cheer again 1:29 later. After Cory Sarich got a shot through on Devan Dubnyk, the rebound found it’s way to the side of the net and onto Alex Tanguay’s stick for his first of the season and a 2-1 Flames lead. Kiprusoff would make another really good save on Anton Lander as time expired and the Flames held on for their first home win of the season.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? Because they played decent hockey for half a period, which is really all they needed to do on a night like this. An effort like this wouldn’t fly in a game against the Red Wings or Sharks, but it kept them within a shot throughout. They turned it on in the final minutes, scored twice, and rode a pretty solid goaltending performance to the win.
As good as the Olli Jokinen line was tonight, I lean towards Miikka Kiprusoff. Making 24 saves for the win, Kipper made some big stops while the Flames were killing penalties and he held the team within one goal for a lot of the third period. I have had no real issues with his play so far this season, and he was a large factor in Calgary winning on this night.
Sum It Up
Pretty? No. Impressive? Not quite. A win? Yes. And a win is a win is a win is a win, especially knowing the spot the Flames are in right now. 2-3 is a whole lot better than 1-4 and they won the first of a six game homestand, regardless of how pretty it was. This needs to be a stretch to make up ground for Calgary, so they started it with the right result.