The Calgary Flames came into this game looking for redemption against the Blues for what was by far their worst game of the season. I don’t know if you could definitively say they got it, but they got the win.. and in the end, that’s all that matters. For most of the night, the Flames spent most of their time chasing the Blues and chasing the puck. Once again, shot totals were a concern, especially on the power play.
I’m sure most people expected the Flames to come out in the first period and go right after the Blues, but it didn’t quite happen that way. The Blues came out skating and as a result the Flames lapsed back into chase mode rather quickly. Most of the period didn’t warrant mention, a it was that uneventful. The Flames were lucky to get out of the period scoreless, being out-shot 8-7 and out chanced 5-3. Kiprusoff showed he was ready to play, making some nice saves to keep Calgary in the game.
It was more of the same in the second period. flames had 2 chances on the PP but couldn’t capitalize; instead they just staved off the St. Louis attack during the 4 mins, and actually gave up 1 scoring chance. Calgary took a 1-0 lead late in the 2nd period on a snapshot by Tom Kostopoulus. Roman Horak drew the assist with a nifty start to the play, showing continued confidence and the smart play-making that earned him the Red Warrior honours against the Avs, spearheaded by yours truly. Despite being out-shot 9-4, Calgary went to the intermission clinging to a 1-0 lead.
The third period was what we have become accustomed to seeing, when the opposition usually throws the kitchen sink at Calgary. St. Louis out-shot Calgary 12-7 and out-chanced them a whopping 8-3. Despite only having three scoring chances, the Flames managed to pot two more goals. Roman ‘Calder’ Horak gave the Flames a 2-0 lead at 12:16 with a beauty of a wristshot, after some nice hard work from the returning Glencross. That didn’t last long as the Blues answered right back, 12 seconds later on a strange spin-around shot from the boards by Alex Steen. With plenty of time left on the clock, the Blues surged and the Flames gasped to protect the fragile one goal lead. Perseverance paid off, and Olli jokinen sealed deal at 18:44. After that, you could put it in the win column.
ONE GOOD REASON…
… why the Flames won? No question about it, it was all goaltending tonight. Kiprusoff was in form early and stayed that way for the whole game. Even the one goal that got by him, was a bit of a shocker that seemed to catch him a bit off-guard. While they spent most of the game running around the ice and not generating any sort of push back on the Blues, Kiprusoff remained calm, cool and collected. The defence played pretty responsibly, and on the occasions when Miikka did let out the rebound, the Flames were quick to swipe it away. Another positive was the physical play of Butler. Made a few nice hits to separate Blues players from the puck in the defensive zone.
While I was tempted to go right back to Roman Horak, I figured I would rub Steinberg’s nose in my alternate choice from last game. Kiprusoff was the reason this team won tonight and he has shown that teh Blues are a team he likes to play against. Tonight’s victory stretched Miikka’s personal record to 19-2-2 in his last 23 games vs. the Blues, and was a fluke goal away from registering his 3rd straight shutout, going back to last season, against St. Louis.
SUM IT UP
It wasn’t pretty, but hopefully the positive outcome gives the team something to work on before the next game. The Flames are now 3-1-1 on this home-stand and that’s a pretty good thing to build on. They will have to get some things in order for the game against the Canucks, but Van isn’t playing to hot as of late either. If Kipper can settle into this mode of stable goaltending and the Flames can hear from some guys that were pretty quiet tonight, ie Iginla,Tanguay and Bourque, they might be able to steal one away from the Canucks and have a pretty good end to a much needed successful home-stand.