Postgame: That Thing You Do

The sun sets at night and rises again in the morning.  Lindsay Lohan abuses substances.  And the Calgary Flames beat the Edmonton Oilers.  From what I’ve seen in my lifetime, those trends don’t seem to be changing, and on Saturday night, the Flames continued that trend with another all-too-easy victory in Edmonton, this time by a 6-2 score.  It finishes off a successful three game road trip for the Flames, where they earned five of a possible six points.

What Happened

A dominant first period was all the Flames needed, as they scored three times in the opening frame to put this one away early.  The first came on the tail end of a Calgary powerplay, with Mikael Backlund taking a pretty pass from Mark Giordano at 6:48 to convert his fourth of the season.  At 10:14, Blake Comeau’s slap shot from the left circle eluded Nikolai Khabibulin for his third of the season and his first in 13 games to give Calgary a 2-0 lead; they’d go ahead by three on Lee Stempniak’s first of the night and tenth of the season on a pretty shot at 18:52.  Scoring chances were 6-1 Flames after one, and their first period made the final 40 minutes a formality.

With just 36 seconds to go in the second period, Calgary would go up by four on another Stempniak goal, this one being allowed far too easily.  That’s really all you need to know about that period.

Andy Sutton and Ryan Smyth both scored in the third period, and the game might have been a little closer had those Edmonton markers not been covered off by Jarome Iginla’s team-leading 19th of the season and Stempniak’s hat-trick marker, to finish off a 6-2 win.

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames won?  Uh, because they played a decent game against a really bad opponent.  I’m not going to jump over the moon for a win over the Edmonton Oilers, but I’ll still give credit where it’s due.  Calgary’s effort wasn’t all that different from their last two games on the road, but those opponents were good teams, so things were a little closer and the Flames were able to eek out wins.  They didn’t need to eek out anything on this night.

Red Warrior

Hey, he’s the first player this season to get a hatty, so the nod has to go to Lee Stempniak.  He had just one goal in his previous 20 games heading into action tonight, so seeing Stempniak come away with three has to be encouraging.  His line go another goal, with Comeau’s first period goal also coming from their trio with Olli Jokinen.

Sum It Up

Breaking things down into little segments is fun to do, and for the Flames, having successful little runs like this three game trip allows them to continue sticking with it.  They got points in all three games on the road, and while I don’t see that overall style being the most sustainable, it is keeping them in this thing.  Now just one more game before the All Star break, as Calgary welcomes San Jose on Tuesday.

  • Vintage Flame

    Any win over the Oilers is a satisfying win…tack on that we need all the points we can get and I’m sure all Flames fans will be content to not complain about previous negatives or the usual flaws that we (myself included) tend to whine about.

    Good puck movement most of the night and I was happy to see the extra motion included in the powerplay, though it’s obvious that it’s still a work in progress. Being this close to a play-off spot does seem to have the team a little more energized, so let’s hope they bring that enthusiasm on Tuesday.

    I have one question if someone can answer it…are there no barber shops in Edmonton?

  • Franko J

    Solid effort to finish a three game road trip.

    Brass Bonanza!!!

    Way to go Stempniak!!!!

    Since losing to Boston Bruins the effort and playing within the system seems to be working. Playing with more grit and intensity.
    Keep it Going Flames!!
    Finally playing with some consistency

  • Captain Ron

    I don’t think it will ever get old going into Edmonton, stealing their girlfriend(s) and laughing about it all the way to our car(s) before leaving town with the booty. Only to return a few weeks later and do it all over again. It might end one day but we may as well enjoy it while it lasts.

    Some observations from tonight: I’m glad Smyth plays for them and not us. I didn’t notice Eberle much out there. Hall is going to be a great player one day when he matures.

    I really like our game right now and am encouraged that they are starting to show some consistency. Hope this secondary scoring tonight is a sign of things to come because they sure are going to need it.

  • Truculence

    Many analysts observe that NHL teams generally finish like they play in the second quarter of the season.

    In the first 21 games, Calgary went 8-12-1. In the following 28 games, the Flames are 15-8-5. That despite a locker room full of injuries.

    If the Flames play at that second-quarter pace for the remaining 33 games, they end up with a record of (roughly) 17-9-7 in those games, for a total of 43-29-13, yielding 99 points.

    So not only is there a glimmer of hope, but there’s a good, solid chance of making the playoffs.

  • Franko J

    So it’s late and I can’t add.

    The Flames’ projected record should be 40-29-13 for 93 points. Still a solid chance of making the playoffs, but they’ll have to up their game a bit.

  • Captain Ron

    It will be just like last season Chris tight right to the end. Remember how Chicago got in by default last year? Our chances of making it this season might actually be better since we have better depth players to cover for injuries than we did last year.

  • Captain Ron

    Hey Pat and Robert both asked who was 8 seeded that won the cup, think none, but Jersey Devil was 9th seeded in the East and they won the cup 1995/1996 season.

  • Captain Ron

    lets not forget the greaser in 2006 all the way to the final, just because you finish low does not mean you will not have a chance at the big dance.

    Look at the Highest ranking team (President Cup) and see their result in winning the cup, I think only 39 teams going back to the 20’s.

    So lesson to learn is that a midrage team has a better chance, and statistic never lie.

    Anyway as Lanny told me once, just keep cheering.

  • I still think Calgary’s chance of making the playoffs are 1 in 4 at best. They’re not a great possession team at this point and they need to start generating more at the right end of the ice.

    That said, 1 in 4 is better than it was in November!

    • Truculence

      I disagree, Pat. Yes, that`s pretty much the odds that sports statistics sites will tell you right now, but they don`t necessarily reflect reality. The Flames play the bulk of their remaining schedule at home, especially against the top-tier teams. As we all know, they have much better possession, special teams, and scoring percentages at home vs. the road.

      LA, on the other hand, plays two-thirds of their remaining schedule on the road. We`re ahead of Phoenix which has been in a free-fall throughout 2012, whether it be at home or on the road. Dallas has two games in hand, and if it wins both can technically be two points ahead, but they have similarly been dismal the last two months, and without Benn will continue to be so.

      That leaves Colorado and Minny. Minny in my mind will not be competing for a spot by the end of February, as the percentages have caught up to them. They are really a dreadful team. Colorado on the other hand has shown surprising resilience, but is a team we play three times. As all of you know, we have owned this team for the last two years, and I think if everthing else stays even, we will get in on the strength of defeating them at least two out of three times.

      Really outside of LA, Calgary has the best chance of the 5 teams competing for the last two spots. Given their foes, and the circumstances all of the teams find themselves in, I would say Calgary has a 50 percent chance of getting in, unlike last year at the same time (when Phoenix was a better team and LA and Dallas had bigger leads).

      p.s. Despite Anaheim`s recent play, there is no way in hell they keep winning at an .85 clip to make the playoffs.

  • RKD

    Love it when we beat up the Oilers, it’s very satisfying. Gotta keep it up as the level of competition increases.

    We play San Jose, Detroit, Chicago for the next three.

    If they are going to make the playoffs, they have to keep winning at home and steal some road games.

  • RKD

    Count me in as one of the converted. I am now pulling for the team to go for the playoffs. Watching the Oilers last night was a slap to the face for a blow-it-up rebuild. I do however would prefer Feaster to keep getting younger and pick up a few draft picks before the deadline. What about Broussard out of Columbus? He’s having a terrible season, and maybe a change of address would be of benefit to him. I’m starting to think like Darryl Sutter though, if Comeau (sp?) could get to 10-12 goals, and Stempniak could add another 10, it would go along way for a balanced attack and contributing to a few more wins. The Flames have to make sure that if they lose any games, it’s win three lose one, win four lose one. No more four or five game losing streaks, like the ones that have hurt this team for the last decade.

    • I agree, I never wanted to go the full TNT unless we totally stunk, which was a huge possiblity going into this year & quite frankly, I never expected some of the kids playing the way they have & the Cammi trade was a total bonus. We suddenly have way cheaper options on 3rd & 4th lines & 4-5-6 dmen that have performed as well as our 2,5 & 3.6 mill dmen & wingers. It’s allowed the Cammi deal & possibly one more bigger ticket 5-6 mill player(Jeff Carter maybe??). I knew we wouldnt be as bad as the Oilers were & are because we have some very good pieces even if we did get big returns on Iggy & Kipper. We’re there now, lets go for it. I still think we can go for it & be a seller, just not Kipper or Iggy right now. This next stretch of Sjose, Det, Chic, Ana(tough game now), San Jose, & Vanc & Phoenix. All tough critical games before mid Feb. So totally agree with John Deere, we cant go through a 3-4-5 game crap the bed losing streak or its over & then the selling opens up to the likes of Joker. This next month is our playoffs, I’m for one excited about it & they same to be entering this playing very well.

  • Decent win by the Flames.

    The only concern now is if Feaster really wants to make a push for the playoffs, it’s time to get on the phone with someone like Nashville and pry Ryan Suter from them for whatever it takes.

    If our D-core was something like Gio-Brodie, JBo-Suter, Butler-Hannan/Sarich, we might actually have a good chance at cutting down on goals against. Offload someone like Babchuk over to Nashville, perhaps Nemisz+pick. Throw in the pick only if Suter actually signs in Calgary.

  • If there was/is any way of getting a top 4 d-man, that would help make this team look totally different as well. I still think Butler is over his head when the Flames play a team with any speedy forwards. If the Flames can get a top 4 d-man, then Butler can play in a 5-6 role (where he should be) or maybe spare off an injury in 3-4 d-man slot if need be. I have no idea who would be available and for what price. If they are going to get a solid top 4 d-man though, it won’t come cheap, it may cost some youngsters or picks. So it could end up like the last few years here, robbing peter to pay paul (whoever they are?).

  • In my poinion, there are 3 playoff spots available in the West: 6,7,8. Nashville is somehow distancing itself a little bit from the pack, but I still think they’re part of the group. So you got Nashville, LA, Colorado, Minnesota, Calgary, Dallas and Phoenix battling for the final 3 spots. Aside from Nashville, the Flames have multiple games remaining against these teams. So, essentially, the Flames control their own playoff destiny. Win those games, and you’re in. Lose those game, and you’re out. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Just win. Should be a fun last couple months!

  • Dumb question of the day here. Would there be a snowballs chance in hell of Robin Regher coming back to the Flames? Buffalo is in a world of hurt right now and are likely to make some news up to the deadline. I realize Regher has lost a step and has had a tough year, but maybe he could come back and slot in Butler’s position.It would at least give the Flames a physical d-man to match up against the speedy wingers. At least when/if you get by Regher he will lay some graphite into your ribs. Now, I also realize that this is just re-assembling last years club depending who Buffalo would want in return, but I don’t see many teams looking to move top 4 d-men cheap (not that Buffalo is looking for a cheap return). I also read somewhere Johnny Oduya is rumoured to be available. I have no clue who he matches up against for the opposition, so I’m just spitballin’!

    • Captain Ron

      You know, I always thought Regehr was overrated and his play in Buffalo hasn’t been impressive. He’s even back with his old chum Leopold and he still looks bad out there.

      Caught the game before he got injured, he was lost out there and extremely slow. Seriously, Hannan might actually be an upgrade on him.

      • Captain Ron

        You know I was thinking the same thing about Hannan vs Regehr. Maybe we were brainwashed by D.Sutter all those years telling us that trading Reggie would be a disaster. Might be part of the reason so many people were afraid of losing him. Now it doesn’t seem to be that big a deal anymore. I watched him play a couple of times on tv as well and he looks to be struggling on that team right now. Can’t say I want him back. Did like him during most of his time here though.

  • Captain Ron

    Regehr is injured & I dont think it would be wise adding his 4 mill & at his age for next year as well. Everyone is in the market for a top 4 dman, probably why Sarich & Hannan will probably have good value at the trade deadline. Hell Babchuk may even get a 2nd or a 3rd if options get slim picking at the final hours. I’m not prepared to sell the future for a rental or nothing that can be a long term big piece going forward. Personally, I think our blue line has over achieved for 3 reasons, Kipper has been playing great, Brodie has looked like a top 4 for many games & JBO is actually having a way better year than last year, especially when Gio went down.

    If Columbus ends up selling Nash & Carter, I would swing for Carter & bring in that #1 centre we’ve been wanting. Would you give Backlund & Leiland for him?

  • Captain Ron

    Hey Kevin,
    I can’t say that I’m a huge Jeff Carter fan BUT we could do a lot worse than him if that was all that is available. I’d do that deal your suggesting but I’m not sure they would. Agree with you on Regehr. Now that he has been gone a while I don’t think the team misses him as much as we thought they would and we could find much cheaper alternatives down the road.

    • Captain Ron

      Hey Capt Ron. Heres the thing, Im concerned they are looking at putting Cammi or Iggy at centre to accomodate Tanguay. Okaaayyy. I could maybe live with that & if it works OK, but then where does Backlund go 3rd or 4th line??? So if this works & the line totally clicks, & personally I love the way Backlund has lifted his game, this would be a disaster for Backlund. I would rather package him up for a bonafide #1 centre or a top 4 dman. Either that, or if I were Feaster, we blow Joker out for a 1st rounder & build the 2nd line around Backlund.

  • Captain Ron

    Points taken guys.I guess I was just looking for a way to find a d-man that could help us on the top four.Not sure what else a GM could do to try and help us out.

    • Captain Ron

      I should add that it’s only been the last couple of seasons that I’ve noticed a severe drop in Regehr’s play. I think his knees are starting to fail, unfortunately.