Postgame: Climbing the Mountain

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.

What Happened

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.

Red Warrior

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.

  • MC Hockey

    I was at the game and definitely got worried when Colorado came back twice and threatened late in the game. Fortunately they took dumb penalties all night including with 4 mins left so that helped. Maybe the BSutter system of being hardworking, consistent, and defense-first focussed is taking hold in Flamesland….who knows!

  • Vintage Flame

    In the end it was a good result for the Flames. The PP may not have been dominant but they scored twice on the 2nd 4 min PP.. That’s good stuff.

    It was a game the Flames needed to win and they did. The story will be the same on Saturday against the Oilers.

    It seems the Flames realize there are teams that they just have to beat, regardless of the standings, and they are doing that lately. They may not be pretty wins, like the Canes, but they are winning. It should be enough to keep the team realistic but not delusional.

  • Captain Ron

    This was a good game tonight. I left the game feeling like I had been entertained as it was fun to watch. There were some frustrating moments while they were on the earlier powerplays but got the job done in the end playing the style of game they are being asked to play. If nothing else at least they are beating the teams they should beat.

    Its probably all false hopes and they’re screwing with my wish for a lottery pick in the draft but watching wins is certainly more fun than enduring ugly losses.

    One of the more noticable things has been their play in the defensive zone the last few games. The forwards are really helping out a lot more than they have been in the past. I still don’t think they are good enough to make the post season dance but the overall team play is much better.

    • T&A4Flames

      “Its probably all false hopes and they’re screwing with my wish for a lottery pick in the draft but watching wins is certainly more fun than enduring ugly losses”

      The Flames need to keep playing relatively well so that at the deadline we get some value for our players. As long as the powers that be don’t become disillusioned about the ablility of this team to make the playoffs. After the deadline we can begin to watch for the chance of a lottery pick.

  • Willi P

    OK,

    This team is NOT at .500. They have lost 2 more games than they have won. The loser point has nothing to do with being .500.

    When they are at 15-13-2, then they will be at .500 (15 Wins, 15 Losses). The loser points are a stupid Bettman bonus that should be eliminated from the game.

    End rant.

    Glad to see that the Flames won.

  • yomamen11

    I have a question, complete out of topic. I have to watch games on net and last two times the stream has really poor quality. But to my surprise, as I watched the highlights from this match on nhl.com, the quality was the same low. Why is that???

  • T&A4Flames

    As far as the powerplay goes, give me a break. They should’ve scored with that many opportunities. I think the Avs were short-handed for an entire period last night and the refs wouldn’t let them back into it.

    Avs had very few shots, but better scoring chances IMO. A lot of the Calgary shots were pretty weak, but they did completely dominate zone time and puck possession.

    Avs a very fragile. As soon as Calgary scored youcould see them deflate. No confidence in themselves at all. They need some goaltending and gave up a lot for the wrong guy.

    Captain Invisible made a pretty nice pass too. I wasn’t even sure he was dressed up until that point, but that one pass got him 3rd star.

    I lucked out with tickets (someone else’s) and was able watch the game from sec 110, row 2. The Flames are not overly impressive up close. A middling club beating up a bad club is all it is.

    Seriously, hollow victories (and close ones at that) against mediocre competion are not going to get me on the bandwagon.

    I feel like Groundhog Day. Same crap as last year and probably the same next year. A few wins and all is well again in Flames-land. Management will start believing this is the ‘real team’ again and then at then of the season we’ll finish in 10th again.