One of the main calling cards of the Calgary Flames during their improbable run last season was their ability to abide by the "don’t get too high, don’t get too low" mantra. After a 5-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, the Flames responded with a decent outing in Detroit to kick off a three game road trip, taking a 4-1 win over the Red Wings. It wasn’t anything special or overly dominating, which is exactly what the doctor ordered.
It was a fairly solid opening period of a three game road trip for the Flames, as they didn’t allow the Red Wings to get into full desperation mode by allowing just three scoring chances against. At 15:53 Calgary would open the scoring on one Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard would like to have back, as Lee Stempniak would stuff his second of the season home from the side of the net after the puck took a bounce off the side boards. The Flames would take their one goal lead into the second period.
The second period saw the Red Wings control the play but also saw them give up another goal, this time thanks to some nice powerplay passing work. Mark Giordano found Olli Jokinen with a great outlet pass with Jiri Hudler sitting in the penalty box, setting up an odd man situation for the Flames. Jokinen’s pass left to Curtis Glencross saw another pass left to Jarome Iginla in the circle and he’d hammer home his third of the season. On a powerplay of their own, Detroit would break through on a fortunate bounce, with Dan Cleary’s mid-section counting for his first of the season at 8:11. The Red Wings would outchance the Flames 7-3 in the second but found themselves down after 40 by a goal.
The third period saw Calgary lock things down fairly effectively and also saw them capitalize on a Detroit miscue in their own end. With a few Red Wings players overskating the puck on the way out of their own end, Glencross would feed Iginla in the left circle once again for the captain’s second of the night and fourth of the season. At 18:42 the Flames continued the frustration for Detroit with a Jokinen empty netter and a 4-1 victory. Final scoring chances saw the Red Wings ahead 15-14, but with Calgary having the lead most of the game, that’s a pretty decent effort for the visitors.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? They played a calm and composed brand of hockey and stayed with it to the end. There were never any overly great spans for Calgary, but when they had opportunities to score, they made good on them. On the other hand, and more positively, there were no stretches where the Flames were severely outplayed. Even in the second period when Detroit controlled things, the Flames still defended rather intelligently.
I really liked Alex Tanguay’s game against Detroit, as I felt he and Lee Stempniak drove things on their line with Brendan Morrison. I wasn’t big on the game from the centre, but I certainly liked the wingers, and while Tanguay didn’t end up with any points, I felt he played one of his best games of the season. His line was the only one in the plus when it came to scoring chances on the night, good stuff.
Sum It Up
It was exactly the type of effort the Flames needed after their effort at home to Vancouver two nights prior. Nobody needed to see Calgary come out and dominate the Red Wings, because that’s not something that is going to happen on a regular basis. Instead they stuck with what they needed to do, played a solid and composed game, and moved back to the .500 mark. Do it again against Buffalo on Friday and who knows, maybe they move above .500 for the first time this season.