While the Chicago Blackhawks ran things at times in the first period on Friday night, the Calgary Flames were able to limit the damage fairly effectively and finished the opening frame even at a goal a piece. That allowed them to use a strong final 40 minutes, which helped them to a solid 3-1 win over the suddenly struggling Chicago Blackhawks. It snapped a three game home losing streak for the Flames and got them back within three points of a playoff spot.
A pretty dominant first period for Chicago didn’t yield them the results they maybe deserved, thanks in large part to some blocked shots and good goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff. Despite being outchanced 10-2 in the first period, it was the Flames opening the scoring thanks to Olli Jokinen, as his 13th of the season snapped a 15 game personal goal scoring drought at 12:24. Late in the period, Chicago would tie it, scoring their only goal thanks to Brent Seabrook’s fourth at 19:31.
The second period saw a complete reversal, with scoring chances favoring the Flames 11-2. They’d take the lead at 18:56 on the powerplay, with Jay Bouwmeester finishing off a rebound in front for his fourth of the season and a 2-1 lead. The man advantage was very good tonight, but, more on that later.
With the Hawks down a goal late, they did a decent job of chasing in the third period but still found themselves in penalty trouble, so weren’t able to keep that edge going. At 12:39, Alex Tanguay found Jarome Iginla on a clear breakaway, and the captain would make no mistake in undressing Ray Emery for his 19th, getting us to our final score.
One Good Reason…
…the Flames won? The powerplay. Momentum is an overused word in hockey, but I really do believe a strong powerplay can feed into what a team does 5-on-5. On this night, Calgary generated 12 of their 22 scoring chances on the man advantage, and while they scored just the one goal (which was also the winner), they set themselves up for some good play beyond that. The powerplay has scored six times in their last eight games, so while even strength scoring has been a struggle, they’re getting it done a man up.
Alex Tanguay. He set Iginla up on his third period goal and was in on Jokinen’s first of the night, but it comes less because of points and more because of just how dangerous he was. While he finished underwater at even strength, as most guys did, Tanguay was the most dangerous player on Calgary’s powerplay. When the powerplay was the reason the Flames won, we’ll give the nod to #40.
Sum It Up
We talked about taking advantage of opportunities in FGD, and I felt the Flames did that tonight. They limited damage in the first period, stayed with their game, and started to take advantage of things from the second period on. The Hawks were clearly tired and not really into playing after falling down, and Calgary didn’t allow them to get back in this thing. When they did, Kiprusoff was there as he has been all year long. Now it’s into the House of Horrors, also known as the Honda Center in Anaheim on Monday night.