Thanks to their best run of the season, the Calgary Flames have scaled their way back to .500, taking their 13th win of the season on Thursday night, 3-2 over the Colorado Avalanche. In an odd game overall, the Flames scored a pair of powerplay goals in the third period along with a pretty Olli Jokinen winner, helping them to a fourth win over Colorado this season. Calgary now has wins in five of seven and points in six of those games.
A scoreless first period saw the Flames control most of the puck time, spending far more time inside the offensive blueline and generating seven scoring chances in the frame. While there weren’t a ton of high end chances, they still were the team controlling the play. Calgary was unsueccessful on a pair of first period powerplays and were even with the Avs into the second.
The middle frame saw the Avalanche open the scoring at 15:15 on a cough up in the defensive zone leading to an open look for Matt Duchene. The Colorado sniper did just that, wiring his tenth on the year upstairs on Miikka Kiprusoff for a 1-0 lead. It was another period controlled by the Flames, as they lead the chance count 8-2 this time around.
With a four minute powerplay opportunity in the third period, the Flames turned this game onn it’s side in a 86 second span early on. Lee Stempniak scored his eighth from the right circle after playing pass with Brendan Morrison at 6:21 before the Flames scored on the second half of the double minor at 7:47 with Curtis Glencross tapping home his eighth on the backhand. Just over two minutes later, an unfortunate goal would tie this game back up, with T.J. Galiardi good for his fourth on the rush and a 2-2 tie. But with the clock passing the 15 minute mark of the third period, the Flames scored on the rush (GASP) for the game winner. With Jarome Iginla charging hard on the right side, he fed Olli Jokinen who went roof on Jean-Sebastien Giguere for his eighth of the season at 15:10, giving Calgary a hard earned 3-2 win.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? Didn’t think I’d be saying this judging on the first 20 games of the season, but the powerplay. Calgary’s work on the man advantage in the third period turned this game in their favor, and all of a sudden, they were back in the heads of the Avalanche. I really get the feeling Colorado doesn’t believe they’re going to beat their division rivals, and they lost their ninth straight against them.
Curtis Glencross. He missed Tuesday’s action with the flu, lost five pounds because of it, blocked a shot with his hand i the first period, and finished the night with a goal and an assist. His line with Olli Jokinen and Jarome Iginla was the best on the ice for the Flames, and that’s exactly what this team needs: their top forwards playing like their top forwards. It was good to see.
Sum It Up
Calgary has yet to be climb above the .500 mark this season, and knowing the success they’ve had of late against the Edmonton Oilers, there’s no reason to believe they won’t do do that Saturday night. The Oil will be on the second half of a back-to-back, so a game like tonight should give them another good result at home. December has been good for the Flames thus far, and they’ll need that to continue as the opponents get much more difficult in 2012.