Postgame: Thems The Breaks

There have been a number of games this season where the Calgary Flames have played some pretty decent hockey only to catch a few bad breaks and come out on the losing end of things.  On Tuesday night, the Flames managed just 14 shots on goal against the New Jersey Devils, yet came out on the winning end of things by a 6-3 score.  Some shoddy goaltending and good fortune helped them along to their seventh straight win on home ice.

What Happened

The first period didn’t give us the best lasting impression of Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who was likely making his final start at the Saddledome.  Just 5:54 into the first period with a Calgary powerplay recently expired, the Flames opened the scoring on Jay Bouwmeester’s second of the season.  It was a weak one on Brodeur’s part, having the puck go right through him from the right point.  Less than two minutes later, Cory Sarich tallied his first on the year beating Brodeur on another one that probably should have been stopped, firing a shot high of the right circle for a 2-0 lead.  With Johan Hedberg entering the game in relief, the Flames made it 3-0 at 13:12 with Curtis Glencross finishing off a nice sequence for his 18th of the season.  At 16:38, T.J. Brodie would finish the first period onslaught with his second on the year; a powerplay goal gave Calgary a 4-0 lead.  Not bad for eight shots and two scoring chances!

There wasn’t much happening for much of the second period, until the 14:48 mark when Ilya Kovalchuk opened the scoring for New Jersey with his 16th on a nice pass from Adam Henrique to start a very odd final 25 minutes or so.  Lee Stempniak’s first goal in 16 games restored Calgary’s four goal lead at 16:38 before the Devils responded less than a minute later with a Henrique shorthanded marker.

A pretty powerplay goal from Patrik Elias at 6:04 of the third period got the Devils the within a pair of goals, the first time they’d been that close since the first period.  But a weird breakdown in the New Jersey end gave the Flames the last opportunity they’d need, as Jarome Iginla would complete the Gordie Howe Hattrick with his 17th of the season getting us to our 6-3 score.  Of note, Henrique also finished with the GHH, as he dropped the gloves with Iggy in the first period.

Of note in this game, the Flames scored six goals on 14 shots.  According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the largest goal total scored on 14 or less shots since 1967, when the NHL started tracking shots reliably.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames won?  Um, some good fortune.  I won’t say Calgary was lucky to win this one, because it wasn’t like New Jersey was shooting the lights out in the first half of the contest.  But when you score at least three, maybe four goals, that goaltenders would like to have back, you can make a pretty good case for Lady Luck smiling on you.  That’s fine though, because these things even themselves out over the course of an 82 game season, and needing points, the Flames will take the points.

Red Warrior

T.J. Brodie, hands down.  The guy gets more impressive every time you see him play, and tonight was no different.  He finished in the black in scoring chances at even strength, scored a goal, and counted at +3 in 22:43 of ice time.  The guy is an NHLer and has put the Abbotsford Heat behind him, and it’s awesome to say.

Sum It Up

The Flames weren’t overly happy with their performance following the game, and nor should they be.  The blueprint executed isn’t one that you’d put in the "sustainable" category, but on this night, it got them two points.  I felt Calgary was noticeably better Saturday against the Minnesota Wild, and with the lineup as it is right now, that’s the type of performance the team needs.  That said, take the money and run with this one!

  • flamesburn89

    When both Bouwmeester and Sarich score on you in the same period, you know your getting pulled. Sorry Brodeur, but it’s true.

    IMO, if your the Flames tonight, just take the points and run. Don’t think too much about the game, just move on to the next one.

  • Captain Ron

    Well that does it. I guess he’s not signing here as a UFA next year then. Might be too uncomfortable to share a locker room with a minor leager who outscored him tonight. I’m lovin TJ Brodie right now. I wonder what his ceiling is cause he sure has come a long way already.

    Who did Parise make that comment to?

  • CitizenFlame

    seems that it is pretty common place for more veteran players to take exception to rookies and young guns who play either with a bit of chip on their shoulder, or just a level of intensity which may seem beyond their years. Of course rookies want to make an impact and get noticed. A higher profile case in point though might be pk subban. So the real question i think is; does the hockey institution and culture dictate that it is inappropriate for rookies to play the same way as veteran NHL’ers? And is this double standard a reflection of condescension amongst the NHL’s veteran and star players?

    • RexLibris

      Good point. When I first read this I was thinking of when St. Louis blasted Omark for his shootout move, calling it disrespectful. Funny how it wasn’t more than a dozen games later that St. Louis, and many others, were doing the same spin move in their shootouts.

      One of hockey’s attractions has always been it’s team orientation and the common belief that no player is more important than the team (unless your name is Alexei Yashin). However, the negative aspect of that underlying philosophy is a kind of subsuming of the individual and any new faces to the point of institutionalized intimidation. The worst-case scenario being the hazing and bullying that occurred in the Windsor Spitfires many years ago and culminated in the Steve Downie/Akim Aliu incident.

      I have to wonder if Parise was again being quoted out of context, as he was with his “it’s about money and a chance to win” interview yesterday. Or if there were actual comments made after a frustrating loss. If the former, maybe he needs to find some new scribes or start being really really vague when talking to reporters. If the latter, then I am a little disappointed. Either way, what did Flames fans think and do people on this site still feel that Parise and/or Suter are the UFAs that will help rebuild the Flames on the fly?

  • However, the negative aspect of that underlying philosophy is a kind of subsuming of the individual and any new faces to the point of institutionalized intimidation.

    Hockey is also rigidly hierarchical like the army, so players who don’t observe the pecking order get called out. For example, Iginla was pretty livid last night that Adam Henrique leveled him, even though it was a completely clean hit. I’m guessing if that was a vet, Jarome doesn’t jump and up and grab the guy.

    • flamesburn89

      I’m not so sure about that Kent. I think Iggy wouldn’t left Henrique alone if GlenX hadn’t tried to stick up for his captain. After Henrique levelled Iggy, (with a totally clean hit I might add) GlenX started talking to Henrique. Iggy might have only fought Henrique because he didn’t want Glencross going to the box for him. Anyways, just my view of the matter

      • Iginla hopped off the ice mad. Glencross talked to Henrique and shoved him, but that was it. Jarome didn’t fight Henrique because he wanted to avoid a penalty to Curtis (who got a penalty anyways), he did it because he was super pissed off. Which is the case when Iggy fights 99% of the time.

    • RexLibris

      I’m glad you brought up the Iginla hit because after I saw it I kind of stewed about it for awhile. So, here goes and I know I’m not going to make any friends here for saying this but…
      I am sick and tired of seeing guys have to fight after good clean hockey hits. I was a little ticked off at Iginla (and the media guys who complimented him for it in the break) for going after a rookie for laying a clean hit when his team is down 3-0. That is the kind of play that good hockey used to be about, instead now those hits are avoided and instead you get the kind of shlock you see in Canucks/Bruins matchups. Henrique was doing right by his team and his coach and for Iginla and Glencross to go after him like that only sends the message, in my opinion and to echo something of what you have said there Kent, that the kid ought to just sit down, shut up and take his team’s losing. Now, before anyone says anything about Oreskovich’s hit on Nugent-Hopkins that drew a scrum, those were different circumstances (late hit, game in balance, etc), but when Taylor Hall was hit by Wilson in Colorado and injured his shoulder Hall took the hit, called it clean, and blamed himself for leaving himself open. Any retribution I, or fans and media here, would have liked to have seen would have been a corresponding hit to Duchene or O’Reilly. I’m not saying Hall is classier than Iginla (they are at opposite ends of their career, any comparisons at this point are unfair), but I am saying that I wish Iginla had shown a little more class last night specifically and told Henrique off and then got back to playing the game rather than trying to tear the kid apart. Okay, rant done, I’ve got my Kevlar on, go ahead and fire away…(flinch)…

      • CitizenFlame

        I think that is a fair comment but I think this is a little different. I get annoyed when a guy gets jumped after a clean hit but its different when the guy grabbing him is the guy he hit. I don’t think that it was necessary for GlenX to jump in and he got the extra minor for his efforts (deservedly). I bet Henrique thinks twice about hitting Iginla the next time they play. Which is how a player like Iggy buys himself some space on the ice and keeps other players from taking liberties with him.

  • On the game itself, I can’t recall a bigger divide between outcome and actual performance in a long time. To be fair some of that was playing-to-score, but…yeesh.

    Oh well. Take the points and don’t look back.

    Finally, Backlund was excellent tonight, at least he appeared to be live.

  • I want to add some of my live observations here. Viewing the game live is obviously a different experience. I especially like that I can observe what happens between whistles because that’s where you get to see some of the coaches decision making.

    1.) Backlund played a lot and was the anchor on the Flames second. He got the most ice time on the team on the PK too. In the final frame, Sutter was putting Backlund out for defensive zone draws with the 4th line instead of Horak, which speaks to a lot of trust in the player from the coach. The talk may be of Backlund not getting the points this season, but he’s moved up a lot in Brent’s pecking order if he’s getting tougher assignments like that.

    2.) Brodie was even more impressive in person. He’s quick, of course, but he’s also making very good reads out there which is a great sign – means the kid is thinking the game at the right level, which is a prime hurdle for rooks.

    3.) Peter Deboar was assiduous when it came to giving his scoring players the upper hand, particularly after icings. When Calgary iced the puck, Parise/Kovalchuk would come out like clockwork, regardless of the match-up on the ice. In fact, at one point in the third, he combined Parise, Kovalchuk and Elias (mixing his regular line) to try to take advantage of an icing. I hope Brent Sutter was paying attention.

    4.) Brent chased the Parise/Iginla match-up most of the evening and it was frustrating to watch because the Flames first line was grossly outmatched the entire time. I guess Brent doesn’t have any other options, but it was odd to see Iginla et al. spend shift and shift in their own end only to see Brent throw them back over the boards when Parise took to the ice. The Flames trio scored a lot of points (somehow), but without the combined incompetence of Brodeur/Hedberg it would have been a lot uglier.

    5.) Kovalchuk is a player with great skill, but he’s just dumb. His decision making is infuriating. He loves to stickhandle into the teeth of traffic. He doesn’t bear down on the puck when he isn’t firing it at the net.

  • RKD

    Six goals on 14 shots, pretty lucky. Nice to see the defence contribute. Need secondary scoring from somewhere. Great to see Iggy keep rolling and Backlund get rewarded with two assists.

    The Parise comment is probably just frustration and didn’t like that he got him. The minor league reference was a little uncalled for.

    Iggy didn’t say anything about the hit he took from Henrique. Instead he fought him. If Parise wants to say something about it, he should have challenged Brodie to a fight.

    Even if Parise isn’t a fighter, he had an issue with the hit. Look at Briere who fought Turris a few nights back after taking a hit from Turris.